Week 1 is our first chance to bet on professional football since the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Cincinnati Bengals during the Super Bowl seven months ago.
As I explained in my favorite spread picks article, it is better to place your bets earlier in the week. You might want to wait for more information, such as injury updates, but oddsmakers have access to that information as well. And they are better at reacting to that than you are, which is why the betting lines tend to become more efficient by the end of the week.
With that in mind, I am going to highlight three point total picks that have caught my eye at this point in the week. Betting lines are provided by Caesars Sportsbook, which is the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports. Sign up today to take advantage of their new-user offer to get your risk-free $1,250 bet and get in on the action for Week 1.
Los Angeles Rams vs. Buffalo Bills | Total: 52
Thursday, Sept. 8, 7:20 pm, NBC
This is one of three total bets I have already placed for this week, as I am on the over for the first game of the 2022-23 NFL season.
There has actually been some nice back-and-forth within the market for this game, with the total getting as high as 54 after opening at 52.5. The conflicting bets suggest there is an argument for both sides, because under bettors are pointing to Matthew Stafford’s health (arm) being up in the air. Sean McVay said on Sunday that there won’t be any limitations with Stafford, which is a good thing because the Rams should be able to find their spots on Thursday.
Buffalo ranked No. 1 in defensive DVOA (a metric created by Football Outsiders) last year, but were probably aided by the fact there are not many intimidating quarterbacks in the AFC East. The Bills will be without cornerback Tre’Davious White, who is recovering from an ACL surgery and that will have a big impact on the secondary in the opener. On the other side, the Bills are explosive on offense led by Josh Allen, who proved last postseason that he is a game-breaker when at his best.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers | Total: 44.5
Sunday, Sept. 11, noon, CBS
Bettors might be scared to take an under in a Bengals game after watching Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase set the league on fire last year. But only eight of their regular-season games went over the closing point total in 2021.
Defenses will surely adjust to this explosive offense, and the Pittsburgh Steelers might be the best bet to do just that. The Steelers have plenty of talent on the defensive side of the ball and are obviously familiar with the Bengals’ attack after facing them twice last year. This is also a bet on the potential outcome of the Steelers’ offense being horrible in Mitch Trubisky’s first start for his new team.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Green Bay Packers | Total: 46.5
Sunday, Sept. 11, 3:25 pm, FOX
The market went heavy on the under Tuesday morning, forcing this total to go from 49 to 46.5. Whenever that happens, it can be beneficial to at least consider looking at the other side — and there is an argument to do so in this case.
Many are optimistic about the Minnesota Vikings because head coach Kevin O’Connell should get more out of this offense. The Packers, meanwhile, have the back-to-back MVP in Aaron Rodgers. He might have lost his best receiver, but there are still enough talented weapons for this offense to find enough success against its rival. Look for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to be focal points of the offense in the opener.
I make this number closer to what it opened at, so I’ll certainly be buying the market dip on this one.