NFL Best Bets: My 3 Top Plays For Week 1

min read
Baker Mayfield has reset the NFL odds market for the Carolina Panthers.
(AP Photo/Brian Westerholt)
Chase Kiddy @chaseakiddy Sep 09, 2022, 12:06 PM
  • NFL odds are back with the long-awaited arrival of the 2022 regular season.
  • Week 1 of the NFL features a huge number of short, sharp betting lines.
  • Bettors who like to load up on favorites should be very careful this week.

At long last, the 2022 NFL season has arrived.

Naturally, the inception of a new season also means it’s once again time to start handicapping the NFL odds market.

NFL Best Bets: Week 1 NFL Predictions

After I’ve handicapped the whole board each week, I will publish my three best plays from the wider canon of NFL betting lines.

I’ll provide a short explanation of why I like each bet, so you don’t have to go on faith alone.

If you prefer an audio version of this weekly article, you can always subscribe to The Lion’s Edge, my weekly handicapping podcast for BetMGM. More on that in a little bit. 

One rule to keep in mind: Any time there’s an underdog in the range of +3 to +7, I’m almost always sprinkling a quarter-unit moneyline play on top of the spread play. 

Steelers at Bengals (-6.5)

If you haven’t already read our staff’s best Week 1 NFL bets, I’d actually encourage you to start your handicapping research there. Lots of good perspective from our whole team on some NFL betting options for this opening weekend.

If you have already read that – or maybe you’ve already listened to The Lion’s Edge podcast this week – then you know Steelers +6.5 is one of my favorite bets of the week.

There are a lot of angles here, including the fact that I always feel like 6.5 is such a bait number when it comes to NFL odds. Even most novice bettors know seven is a key number, and so they come in hard on favorites priced at -6.5. A little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

I think the biggest angle for me is just how down the market is on the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he also ranked 37th out of 37 qualifying passers on PFF’s quarterback rankings for 2021. 

Despite his awful play, the Steelers still posted a winning record and made the playoffs. 

If Pittsburgh can get league-average from their quarterbacks this year, it’s actually a huge improvement over what they had last year.

Mix in the fact that this is a lot of points for a divisional game and some ironclad Cincinnati regression to the mean, and it’s arguably the best bet on the board for Week 1. 

Play: Pittsburgh +6.5; Pittsburgh ML +220

Browns at Panthers (-1.5)

It’s hard to look at the NFL odds this week and ignore this game. Much has been made of the Baker Mayfield revenge tour, but I’m not really sold that Mayfield has the talent around him to beat the Browns.

Cleveland might not have much juice under center for the first 11 weeks of the season, but they also have a far better roster than Carolina. I expect a heavy dose of ground game and short passes.

Carolina has the advantage at quarterback, but that might be it. 

Take some cues from the NFL betting odds marketplace. Carolina is a short favorite receiving more than three-quarters of all tickets, yet the Browns have pulled even with them in the moneyline market. Hmm… why might that be?

Play: Browns ML -110

Chiefs at Cardinals (+6)

Here’s another NFL bet that I’ve already written about. Arizona is 18-8-1 as an underdog since Kyler Murray was drafted. In the last two years, they are 9-3 straight up when playing as the dog.

Oh, and the Cardinals are also 5-1 straight up in September over the past two seasons.

The public is all over the Chiefs in this spot, but this is a great spot to bet the Cardinals. Bet on Murray early, when he’s healthy; fade him late, when he’s injured and the playoffs are approaching.

The line has moved from -4.5 to -6, so we’re getting some really nice value on both the point spread and the moneyline.

Play: Cardinals +6, Cardinals +200

NFL Parlay for Week 1

Every week, I’ll design a lucrative moneyline NFL parlay for those of you who are looking for something a little extra on top of the three straight bets.

Normally, I’m a proponent of stringing together favorites in a moneyline parlay. However, given the high likelihood of absolute chaos this weekend, I’m going to go a different direction and string some underdogs together for maximum ROI.

  • Raiders +150
  • Cowboys +115
  • Jaguars +115

This three-team dog parlay adds up to a price of +1055! 

NFL Week 1 Predictions

Want to check out the full NFL Week 1 podcast? Don’t forget to subscribe to The Lion’s Edge for intelligent, weekly insights into trends and betting tips across the online sports betting world. It’s available on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

You can also listen to it in the web player below.

Build an NFL Parlay at BetMGM

Take your NFL betting to the next level by building a parlay at BetMGM!

From the preseason through the postseason, you can build NFL parlays from a variety of odds, including spreads, moneylines, and player props. Whether you wanted to add two heavy favorites like the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs, two underdogs like the Jacksonville Jaguars or Detroit Lions, or quarterback props for Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins, there are parlay opportunities for everyone.

Check out updated NFL odds to start building a parlay bet today!

 

 

Jamie Foxx holding a mobile phone next to the BetMGM's risk-free bet offer.
About the Author

Chase Kiddy

Read More @chaseakiddy

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.

Chase Kiddy is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of The Lion's Edge, an NFL and college football podcast available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and everywhere else. He has also written for a number of print and online outlets, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Washington Post, Daily News-Record, and HERO Sports. His first novel, Cave Paintings, is in development.