A look at Week 1 of the NFL season where 10 road teams are favored
Kickoff to the start of the 2022 NFL season is just three weeks away with the marquee match-up on Thursday, Sept. 8 between the Super Bowl favorite Buffalo Bills and reigning champions Los Angeles Rams.
The leading online sportsbooks have had the betting lines available for Week 1 since the schedule release in mid-May. On Tuesday, BetOnline provided an update on the betting handle for each game and which teams are taking the most money in the Week 1 match-ups.
A record 10 road favorites are on the opening week card, and no surprise the betting public has made six of those the most bet teams at BetOnline. That's topped by the Monday Night Football game with the Broncos (-5) and new QB Russell Wilson returning to Seattle with Denver taking 85% of the point spread
money thus far.
"Since these games have been up for a while they accrue much more action than in a normal week where there is just a week to bet," a sportsbook trader at Caesars told me. "It's among the biggest (handles) every year."
Week 1 is getting close 👀 here’s how much of the action is on who so far pic.twitter.com/XgVj3PtIaI— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) August 17, 2022
The Broncos line move from -3.5 to -5 is one the bookmakers will continue to monitor. Based on some others like the Ravens moving sharply up to -7, bettors could make Denver a touchdown favorite by kickoff. The Ravens are also taking a significant amount of spread money with 81% of the dollars in support of a Baltimore beatdown of the Jets in the Big Apple.
Last year, there were seven road favorites in Week 1 and those teams went 3-4 SU and 3-4 ATS. The San Francisco 49ers won 41-33 after building a huge lead, but the line closed -9.5 after opening -7 months in advance and sitting at -7.5 a week ahead of the game. So most bettors lost, and another situation to bet earlier if you like the favorites.
While it looks easy to bet on these road favorites, often winning teams from last year against losing teams, you'll see over time that it's not a prudent way to bet or beat the NFL. Green Bay was one of the most bet teams last year in Week 1 as a road favorite, and the Packers got pounded by the Saints, 38-3. And our Week 1 winner of the Las Vegas Raiders +4.5, bet down to +3, won outright as a home 'Dog over the Ravens.
Record Season Picking NFL Underdogs
And if you prefer to bet NFL underdogs, you've come to the right place. Last year we went 28-12 (70%) with 21 outright winners posting only NFL underdog picks on these pages. You can check out the full weekly selections from a banner year along with the profit produced beating the sportsbooks weekly NFL lines. Over the past five years picking underdogs on these pages for Offshore Gaming Association, we've produced a record of 128-91 ATS (58.4%) with 68 outright winners.
Needless to say, we'll be in action and reviewing much more player and team news, performances and injuries ahead of Week 1. But if you're looking for a base situation to start your handicapping approach, look at division games to start the season.
NFL Week 1 Angle - Division Home Dogs
Divisional home underdogs are 16-6-1 SU and 19-4 ATS in Week 1 since 2009.
In my Week 1 notes last year provided with the official picks that went 2-1, I pointed out the ugliest division home 'Dog of Houston, who was playing Jacksonville with the Jags off a 1-15 season. Bettors loved the Jaguars with the hyped new coach and rookie quarterback combo of Urban Meyer and Trevor Lawrence. Combined with all the negative news surrounding Houston and how terrible the Texans were going to be, bettors piled on the Jaguars. The sportsbooks held firm on Jaguars -3, but taxed bettors with -120 odds (vig). Final score: Houston 37, Jacksonville 21 and a bonus win for the sportsbooks. Beware of the division home 'Dog.
There were only two division games to kickoff opening week last year, and the Texans were the only home 'Dog.
This year's 2022 Week 1 schedule features five division games and two home underdogs.
- Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (-6.5)
- New Orleans at Atlanta (+5.5)
- New England at Miami (-2.5)
- Las Vegas at LA Chargers (-4)
- Green Bay at Minnesota (+2)
Biggest Week 1 Line Moves
The huge Thursday night opening match-ups between pre-season Super Bowl favorites Buffalo Bills and LA Rams is already one of the most bet games. It's also had one of the biggest line adjustments with the Rams opening a 1-point favorite and the Bills now favored at -2.5. This game will be wildly popular in live betting action as well. The Bills have taken 74% of the spread money thus far at BetOnline, and even more at other top online sportsbooks.
Note that two of the other major line moves in Week 1 include the New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings. The Saints opened -3.5 and are now -5.5. The Packers were Pk 'em and now -2.
"The Falcons on paper are projected as one of the worst teams this season."
That's what they said about the Texans last year.
If you're looking towards betting on the Vikings, top online sportsbooks Bookmaker and BetMGM currently have the Vikings +2.5. Minnesota will certainly be included in my Week 1 underdog picks (pending injuries, news) and a teaser on the Vikings is a prudent play as well.
I'll chip-in more updates and information you can bet on ahead of Week 1.
You can bet on it.
FairwayJay is a proven sports handicapper with unparalleled success in NFL pointspread prognosis. FairwayJay is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts, and he chips in additional sports betting coverage and reporting on industry news and events. Read more great insights from FairwayJay and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay