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Early Look at NFL Week 1 Lines

Action Network’s Michael Arinze shares his early best bets for Week 1 in the NFL

Action Network Use Only - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 13: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to pass against the Chicago Bears during the first half of the preseason game at Soldier Field on August 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Action Network Use Only - CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - AUGUST 13: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks to pass against the Chicago Bears during the first half of the preseason game at Soldier Field on August 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Read moreMichael Reaves / Getty Images

Although the games are coming thick and fast for now, NFL fans will have to wait almost two weeks once exhibitions wrap up as the regular season kicks off on Sep. 8.

But with my anticipation already heightened, I decided to accelerate my preparations for Week 1.

After scouring through the card, I’ve got my sights set on two road teams I want to lock up while the line remains somewhat favorable.

To support our analysis, I’ll break down each matchup and look at some historical trends.

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Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers NFL odds

Moneyline: LVR (+160) vs. LAC (-190)

Spread: LVR +4 (-110) vs. LAC -4 (-110)

Total: Over 51.5 (-110) | Under 51.5 (-110)

There’s no team I’ve seen in action this preseason more than the Las Vegas Raiders as they kicked things off with the Hall of Fame Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and then played a standalone game on Sunday afternoon against the Minnesota Vikings.

Las Vegas was the right side in both games, and we cashed a few tickets along the way.

I think the Raiders have done a tremendous job assembling this roster because they don’t have to adjust their play calling schematically depending on which players they have in the game.

There’s a ton of balance up and down this roster, which has led to their success thus far in preseason.

While I know these games don’t generally mean much, the stakes can be a bit higher when you have a new head coach.

The Raiders’ Week 1 preparation should also benefit from having an extra preseason game. Las Vegas will face a Chargers team that it knows all too well as a divisional foe.

And who can forget last season’s overtime thriller between the Chargers and Raiders with a playoff spot on the line? Las Vegas won the game outright as a six-point underdog.

The Chargers will now lay four points as a home favorite, and I think that number’s too high in a divisional matchup.

According to our Action Labs database, divisional underdogs in Week 1 are 61-41-2 against the spread (ATS) for 17.29 units.

Moreover, the underdog is 19-7 ATS in the past 26 meetings, and the Raiders are on a 5-1 run ATS in Week 1.

The Chargers are getting a ton of buzz this season, but I think they’re a bit overvalued in this spot.

Raiders vs. Chargers pick

Raiders +4

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Arizona Cardinals odds

Moneyline: KC (-166) vs. ARI (+140)

Spread: KC -3 (-110) vs. ARI +3 (-110)

Total: Over 53.5 (-105) | Under 53.5 (-115)

This is an anti-Cardinals, anti-Kyler Murray play because I’m just not enthused about this team in the early goings, given the previous distraction stemming from a clause in Murray’s contract to watch game film.

Teams are often so desperate for a franchise quarterback that it’s rare you see them let one walk out their door. As a result, I felt it was always likely that Murray would sign an extension with the Cardinals.

Still, it’s hard not to speculate about possible tension between Murray and the organization.

We know that Murray and Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury haven’t always seen eye to eye on the play calling.

And almost as a parent trying to teach their child a lesson, Kingsbury opted to allow his quarterback to call some plays during Arizona’s 36-23 victory over the Bengals in the preseason.

After scoring touchdowns on three consecutive drives, the Cardinals offense was humming until Murray took over as play caller. Arizona had back-to-back three and outs in two series with a net gain of zero yards.

The thought of Murray calling plays is just another anecdote to a dysfunctional Cardinals preseason narrative.

I would have preferred seeing Murray on the field, at least taking some reps.

He’ll need some game experience with his wide receivers, given that DeAndre Hopkins is set to miss the first six games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

When given a choice between Murray and the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes in Week 1, I would gladly choose the latter.

Kansas City wasn’t shy about playing Mahomes in their preseason game. The Chiefs signal-caller looked to be in midseason form as he completed six of his seven passes for 60 yards and a touchdown.

As for Murray, he’s already told the media that he won’t play in the preseason, and I think that’s a big misstep for him.

Historically, the Chiefs have succeeded against NFC West teams as they’re 10-5-1 for 4.63 units.

One thing I’ll be on the lookout for is when alternate markets start opening up.

If I can find Kansas City at -2.5 without paying too much juice, I’ll look to add to my position at that price.

Chiefs vs. Cardinals pick

Chiefs -3

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