Wednesday will mark three months until the 2023 NFL season opener and spreads are already out for all 16 Week 1 games.
Some of the league’s top teams are set to clash in the first regular-season action of the year, which makes for some interesting matchups, specifically from a bettor’s point of view. Patrick Mahomes and the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs begin the year at home against Jared Goff’s Lions on Thursday Night Football and Aaron Rodgers’s Jets host Josh Allen’s Bills on Monday Night Football to bookend the opening weekend of the season.
With September inching closer by the day, let’s take a look ahead to the five best NFL games to bet on Week 1.
Detroit Lions vs. Kansas City Chiefs Odds
Spread: Detroit +6.5 (-110) | Kansas City -6.5 (-110)
Moneyline: DET (+240) | KC (-300)
Total: 53.5 – Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Game Info: Sep. 7, 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
It should come as no surprise that this game has the highest over/under of the week, considering Kansas City led the league in scoring last season (29.2 ppg) and Detroit finished fifth (26.6). Mahomes, flanked by two new tackles, will be up against what the Lions hope is a much-improved secondary given the capital they invested in their pass defense. And Goff will be throwing to a largely new cast of skill position players while his line tries to keep Chris Jones at bay.
Only two teams finished with a better record against the spread than Detroit (12–5) in 2022. The Lions also covered the spread in three of four games when they were underdogs of six or more points. On the other hand, the Chiefs (6–10–1) were one of the worst teams to bet on last year, though they finished 5–5 against the spread as a favorite of six-plus points.
The right move here might be to bank on a high-scoring affair and take the over on Kansas City’s team total — the implied total is 30. The last time the Chiefs played in the season opener was in 2020 when they thumped the Texans, 34-20, fresh off Mahomes’s first ring. They’ve also scored 33 or more in Week 1 seven years in a row. Andy Reid’s offenses tend to hit the ground running.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Odds|
Spread: San Francisco -3 (-110) | Pittsburgh +3 (-110)
Moneyline: SF (-154) | PIT (+130)
Total: 40.5 – Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Game Info: Sep. 10, 1 p.m. ET | Fox
Even though it’s not yet known who the 49ers will be rolling out at quarterback come Week 1, they are still favored by a field goal in Pittsburgh. Those in survivor pools might recall San Francisco's shocking season-opening loss in Chicago last season as an eight-point favorite. That was with Trey Lance starting under center, which might be the case again in September if Brock Purdy (elbow) isn’t cleared in time.
The Steelers clawed to a winning record in 2022 following a 2–6 start and rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett showed signs of improvement as the year went on. Despite those early-season struggles, Pittsburgh finished 10–6–1 against the spread, just behind San Francisco, which went 11–6 and did not lose after Week 7.
The 49ers undoubtedly have one of the best rosters in the NFL but there’s currently a question mark at the most important position. Coach Mike Tomlin helps elevate a Steelers roster that doesn’t necessarily stack up to San Francisco’s on paper but still has a fair share of top-end talent, specifically along the defense. Pittsburgh has also pulled off a major upset in the last two season openers as a 6.5-point underdog versus the Bills in 2021 and as a seven-point underdog against the Bengals in 2022.
This line might tilt even further in the Niners’ direction if positive news comes out about Purdy’s Week 1 status. Keep an eye on it as the opener approaches.
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears Odds
Spread: Green Bay +2.5 (-110) | Chicago -2.5 (-110)
Moneyline: GB (+120) | CHI (-143)
Total: 44.5 – Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Game Info: Sep. 10, 4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
The last time Chicago was favored against Green Bay was September 2019. The Packers won that game as well as the next seven in the series and they will put that eight-game winning streak on the line in Week 1 at Soldier Field as a 2.5-point underdog.
The Bears are believed to be a team on the rise after Justin Fields flashed during his sophomore season and the front office used the No. 1 pick to trade down and get their quarterback help in the form of an established receiver (DJ Moore) and a rookie tackle (Darnell Wright). Green Bay is trending in the opposite direction after the Rodgers trade cleared the way for Jordan Love to start under center three years after he was taken in the first round.
It’s a far cry for Chicago to go from having the worst record in the NFL (and the second-worst mark against the spread at 5–11–1) to becoming a threat in the NFC. But the Bears are viewed by some as a sleeper pick to win the division and that starts with beating the team that’s owned them for the better part of the last two decades. Even in a down year, the Packers swept Chicago in 2022 but there’s reason to believe the power dynamic might have flipped. At the very least, it’s not a huge shock to see the Bears favored.
With Love set to make his second career start, the best play here might be the under, assuming Chicago’s free-agent spending spree shored up some of the shortcomings on its league-worst defense.
Miami Dolphins vs. Los Angeles Chargers Odds
Spread: Miami +2.5 (-110) | Los Angeles -2.5 (-110)||
Moneyline: MIA (+115) | LAC (-138)
Total: 49.5 – Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Game Info: Sep. 10, 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert, the two quarterbacks who went back-to-back in the 2020 draft, have gone head-to-head twice before. Tagovailoa won Round 1 in 2020; Round 2 went to Herbert in 2022. Now they’re set to meet again after an offseason that saw personnel changes on both rosters and at key coaching positions.
Miami brought in defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who should be familiar with Herbert from his time coaching the Broncos, and traded for cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Los Angeles tapped Kellen Moore to call its offense and added receiver Quentin Johnston in the draft. Both teams earned wild-card spots a season ago but have loftier goals for the coming year.
This is the second-highest over/under of Week 1 after the Lions-Chiefs game and it will also be the first time the Chargers are favored over the Dolphins with these respective signal-callers on the field. Miami was favored by three at home three years ago and by three again on the road last season.
The Chargers finished with a better record against the spread (11–5–1) than the Dolphins (9–8) but in what figures to be a tight contest, the play here might be the over with both Tagovailoa and Herbert healthy entering the year.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Odds
Spread: Buffalo -1 (-110) | New York +1 (-110)
Moneyline: BUF (-118) | NYJ (+100)
Total: 47.5 – Over (-110) | Under (-110)
Game Info: Sep. 11, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN, ABC
Rodgers will make his Jets debut under the lights against the division-favorite Bills. His move to New York was the biggest story of the offseason so it’s fitting that he’ll get the prime-time treatment to begin the year. Even though Buffalo, specifically Allen, struggled in this matchup last season, the defending AFC North champs are set to enter MetLife Stadium as slim road favorites.
Rodgers, undoubtedly an upgrade over Zach Wilson, will be put to the test early on in his new threads against what figures to be a fully healthy Bills secondary. He brought over some familiar faces from Green Bay (Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb) but just how quickly will he mesh with second-year receiver Garrett Wilson? And will Allen, at the behest of general manager Brandon Beane, actually dial back his aggressive running? Only time will tell.
These were two of the five best defenses in football last season and both units saw to it that the under hit more often than not (71% of the time for New York and 63% for Buffalo). Perhaps the under is the way to go in a game that’s tied for the third-highest over/under of the week featuring a quarterback making his first start with a new team. Allen is 6–3 versus the Jets in his career and 2–0 against them in season openers.
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