NFL odds, predictions: Two totals we’re backing in Week 1
The Action Network's Nick Hennion breaks down his best total bets for Week 1 of the NFL regular season.
Only one day separates bettors from the start of the NFL regular season. The Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams meet in the season opener Thursday night.
Having previously outlined our favorite spread bets for Week 1 of the season, we’re now turning our attention to the totals. With only five days before the majority of games kick off, I’ve landed on two bets I believe give bettors a great chance of cashing a ticket.
Let’s dive right into the picks. All odds come courtesy of BetMGM and are reflective at time of writing.
Best bet No. 1: New York Jets team total under 17.5 (-110) vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens proved hugely disappointing on the defensive end last season, but a lot of that can be attributed to overwhelming injuries on that side of the ball.
A season after finishing ninth in the defensive DVOA rankings, Baltimore dropped to 28th last season, according to footballoutsiders.com. However, in the first five weeks of last season, head coach John Harbaugh’s team posted an above-average defensive DVOA percentage in three games. Additionally, in the first six games of last season, Baltimore held three of its opponents below this benchmark.
On the flip-side, the Jets ranked 22nd overall in the league last season and struggled offensively in the early parts of the season. For the first five weeks of last season, New York posted a negative offensive DVOA. Perhaps of greater concern is that all four of those occurrences came against teams that failed to make the playoffs last season.
Plus, it’s not as if the Jets drastically improved their offense over the course of the offseason and will enter this new campaign with virtually the same offense as last season, and Joe Flacco scheduled to start at quarterback. As for the Ravens, the team bolstered their defensive depth by signing safety Marcus Williams. That addition, in conjunction with a return to health for their key defensive pieces, should see the Ravens limit the Jets offense.
Best bet No. 2 - Green Bay Packers/Minnesota Vikings over 47 Points (-110)
Not only does this game feature two powerful offenses, but it also satisfies two NFL Week 1 betting systems.
Since 2015, indoor games played in Week 1 of the regular season are hitting the over at a 69% clip, cashing by six points per game on average. Additionally, Week 1 indoor games between two divisional opponents are 17-7 (70.8%) to the over, per my colleague Evan Abrams of The Action Network.
In addition to those trends, there are reasons to believe this game is a high-scoring one. Last season, the Packers ranked second overall in offensive DVOA while the Vikings were simultaneously a top-half offensive DVOA side. The Vikings also excelled offensively at home last season in games against divisional opponents, averaging 28 points per game. Included in that sample is a 34-point output at home against the Packers in a game that saw these teams combine for 65 total points.
In fact, the Vikings have cleared 30 or more points in two consecutive home meetings with the Packers and both of those games cleared the 47-point benchmark. Against a Packers defense that ranked 22nd in defensive DVOA last season, expect that trend to continue.
All that said, the Packers offense should contribute to this total as well. Despite trading star wide receiver Davante Adams, this is still a team led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers that scored nearly 34 points per game last season against divisional opponents.
Adams will undoubtedly be missed, but don’t expect the Packers to fall off a cliff. Play this number up to 48.
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