The NFL returns and there is a ton of value to be had betting underdogs. Here are The Wolf’s Week 1 tips for the Sunday slate.
Tennessee are without two starting linemen here so a big question over their protection. Underdogs of 5 or less with a worse record last year than their opponent cover at a clip of 59.4%, putting the Cardinals in a good spot here. Arizona have covered 10 of 13 as a road underdog. Tennessee have covered just one of their last five Week 1 games, three of which have been under Mike Vrabel.
Tip: Arizona +3
Same Game Multi: Kyler Murray TD/Chase Edmonds Over 42.5 Rec Yards/Derek Henry Over 105.5 Rush Yards ($8.75)
Trevor Lawrence becomes the first debutant QB to start his career as a road favourite. With two key offensive linemen questionable for the game, he projects to scramble a lot more. The under has hit in the last four Jags-Texans games in Houston. The under is also 5-1 when Jacksonville are favoured and has his in 13 of the last 20 Houston divisional games.
Tips: Under 45.5
Same Game Multi: Trevor Lawrence Under 247.5 Pass Yards/Trevor Lawrence Over 18.5 Rush Yards/Jordan Akins Over 16.5 Rec Yards ($6.50)
The Chargers have a fairly concerning injury report with Austin Ekeler and some key offensive linemen on in including arguably the best center in the NFL in Corey Linsley. The Chargers though will benefit from new head coach Brandon Staley and are 17-7 against the spread on the road and 8-1 against the number in Week 1.
Tip: LA Chargers +1.5
Same Game Multi: LA Chargers/Under 22.5 Total Points – First Half ($3.75)
Minnesota have failed to cover their last five as a favourite and their last six on turf so they look a take-on team every which way this game is cut. TE Irv Smith is out and there is some concern with key LB Anthony Barr. Underdogs of 5 or less with a worse record last year than their opponent cover at a clip of 59.4% and the Bengals have covered five of their last seven at home.
Tip: Cincinnati +3
Same Game Multi: Cincinnati Win/Cincinnati Win 2nd Half ($2.80)
Sam Darnold returns to take on his former team and more than happy to take on a mediocre quarterback when favoured, particularly by more than a field goal. Darnold is 2-6 against the spread when favoured in his short career. The Panthers have also covered just four of their last 16 when favoured and three of 13 when favoured by more than a field goal. Underdogs of 5 or less with a worse record last year than their opponent cover at 59.4% in Week 1. The Jets look a clear play.
Tip: NY Jets +4.5
Same Game Multi: Tevin Coleman TD/Terrace Marshall Jnr TD
Atlanta are as healthy as any team in the NFL and that puts them in good stead for Arthur Smith’s first game in charge of the Falcons. They are strong regression candidates for many pundits so expecting an improved season. Favourites of three of more who had a worse record than their opponent last season cover at a ridiculous 81.9% in Week 1. The Eagles have failed to cover their last six on the road.
Tip: Atlanta -3.5
Same Game Multi: Jalen Hurts Over 45.5 Rush Yards/Mike Davis Over 48.5 Rush Yards/Calvin Ridley Over 84.5 Receiving Yards
Tremendous game. Pittsburgh are usually highly reliable as an underdog, covering 25 of 33. This is a very good spot to be against them though. Road underdogs who won seven or more games the year prior cover at just 39% in the opening week of the season. Buffalo have covered seven of their last nine as a home favourite.
Tip: Buffalo -6.5
Same Game Multi: Dawson Knox TD/Stefon Diggs Over 88.5 Receiving Yards ($8.25)
Seattle have been awful bets when a road favourite, failing to cover their last five in the situation, so happy to take them on. The injury report is not ideal either with a ton of questionables on both the offensive line and in the defence. Underdogs of five points or less with a worse record last year than their opponent cover at near 60%. Carson Wentz played his best football with Frank Reich. The Colts look value as a home dog.
Tip: Indianapolis +3
Same Game Multi: Jonathan Taylor TD/DK Metcalf TD/Chris Carson TD ($6.50)
This looks a smash-up overs spot for both teams here on a very low total. San Francisco are loaded with offensive weapons and after a year ravaged by injury will be ready to fire early. The over has hit in five straight when the Niners are a road favourite. The over is 12-3 when Detroit are at home and has hit in 13 of their last 16 Week 1 games.
Tip: Over 45
Same Game Multi: Trey Sermon TD/Deebo Samuel TD ($9.50)
A rematch from last year’s playoffs, this shapes as the highlight of the Week 1 schedule. Losing Super Bowl teams have an awful Week 1 record covering just 5 of their last 21 but the numbers are horrific for the Browns. Road dogs who won seven or more games the year prior cover at just 39.4% in Week 1 while the Browns are 3-11 against the spread on the road under Mayfield and 4-12 against the number in their last 16 against the AFC.
Tip: Kansas City -5.5
Same Game Multi: Patrick Mahomes Over 14.5 Rush Yards/Travis Kelce Over 87.5 Receiving Yards/Tyreek Hill Over 88.5 Receiving Yards ($8.25)
Denver @ NY Giants
Two struggling offenses meet here and points really are going to be hard to come by here. Denver have gone with Teddy Bridgwater at QB but he is not a renowned machine. The Giants are a team of another era who have a lot of injury concerns. The under has hit in 8 of 10 when the Broncos are favoured. It has also hit in 13 of the last 16 Giants games including their last seven as an underdog.
Tip: Under 41.5
Same Game Multi: Under 42.5/NY Giants +3.5 ($3.20)
This game will be played in Jacksonville with New Orleans spitefully trying to find a venue that would be difficult for Packers nation to get too. The loss of Packers OL David Baktahari cannot be underestimated. New Orleans are an insane 21-7 against the spread as an underdog and six of seven getting more than a field goal.
Tip: New Orleans +3.5
Same Game Multi: Alvin Kamara TD/Robert Tonyan TD ($5.25)
Divisional matchups tend to go with the underdog but the Patriots are the play in this one. The home team is 16-5 against the spread in this matchup. They have covered 10 of 15 when favoured by a field goal or less at home. New England have put a lot of stock in this game and rookie QBs have an excellent first start record.
Tip: New England -3
Same Game Multi: New England D/ST TD/Damien Harris TD ($14.25)