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NFL Week 1 survivor pool picks, predictions: Avoid the Eagles in road trap

The Eagles are a risky bet for your NFL survivor pools in Week 1, while the Broncos offer some value as big road favorites.

ACTION NETWORK USE ONLY -- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (#1) is a risky bet for your NFL survivor pools in Week 1 in a road test against the Detroit Lions.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
ACTION NETWORK USE ONLY -- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (#1) is a risky bet for your NFL survivor pools in Week 1 in a road test against the Detroit Lions. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)Read moreMichael Reaves / Getty Images

So you think you can win your NFL survivor pool? It sounds easy enough to pick just one outright winner each week without repeating any teams throughout the 18-week slate ... right?

Not so fast. Your chances of doing that in any given season are less than 1%, and that drops to 0.1% across an 18-game season. To win your survivor pool takes a lot of planning, research, and coordination … and a little luck, too.

We’re here to help ahead of each week of this NFL season, starting with a treacherous Week 1 that features 10 road favorites at BetMGM – the most to open a season since 1978. Here’s how we’re playing this first week in our survivor pools.

Rank Betting Site Bonus States Claim
BetMGM Logo
INQUIRERMGM$1,000 Risk-Free Bet
  • AZ, NJ, IN, CO, DC, IA, MI, TN, VA, WV, WY only.
  • New customers only. Must be 21+. Welcome offer not available in NY & PA. Full T&C apply.
Caesars Sportsbook
$1,250Risk-Free Bet + 1000 Tier Credits + 1000 Reward Credits®
  • NY, NJ, WV, IA, CO, IN, MI, VA, TN, AZ, LA, IL Only.
  • New users only, 21 or older. Full T&Cs apply.
Caesars Sportsbook
$150 in Free Bets
  • AZ, CT, IA, IL, LA, MI, NJ, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY Only.
  • New users only, 21 or older. Full T&Cs apply.
$4002nd chance bet with code SPORTS
  • AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, MI, NY, PA, VA only.
  • 21+. New customers only. T&C apply

Top play

Denver Broncos

This could be the toughest week of the entire season in your survivor pool, with only six home favorites and no team priced larger than a touchdown favorite. There are issues with all the top favorites, too: the Baltimore Ravens (-300) are the obvious play, but we still don’t know the status of Zach Wilson and the New York Jets are frisky without him. The Indianapolis Colts (-350) and San Francisco 49ers (-300) are installing new quarterbacks this offseason, which makes each a risky bet in Week 1 against second-year QBs with upside.

The Denver Broncos are integrating a new signal-caller, too, but I have a lot more faith in perennial MVP candidate Russell Wilson opening the season on the road than I do in Matt Ryan or Trey Lance, respectively. It helps that Wilson is intimately familiar with Lumen Field, where he posted a 57-21 record in 10 years with the Seahawks, and has arguably the best supporting cast since making back-to-back Super Bowls in 2014-15.

Not only do these Seahawks own one of the worst rosters in the league, but this might be the biggest quarterback mismatch of Week 1 with Wilson opposite former backup Geno Smith, who’s flanked by a battered backfield and one of the NFL’s worst offensive lines. It’d be a stunner for the Broncos to drop this one in Wilson’s homecoming.

Sleeper pick

Tennessee Titans

There won’t be many times this season that you’ll want to rely on the Tennessee Titans, who lost top wideout A.J. Brown this summer and are built around an aging running back in Derrick Henry coming off a serious foot injury. This might be one of those times.

Even with a suspect offseason, this was still the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year led by Ryan Tannehill, who remains an upper-tier quarterback in this league. He’s got shiny new toys in Robert Woods – one of the sneakiest pickups of the summer – and Austin Hooper, and Henry could have a field day against one of the NFL’s worst run defenses a year ago.

Tennessee’s defense was quietly one of the best in the league in 2021, though losing elite pass-rusher Harold Landry doesn’t help matters. There’s risk here, especially if Daniel Jones takes a step under new New York Giants coach Brian Daboll. Still, this is a clear mismatch on paper and a fine choice for those averse to betting on a road team or looking for a contrarian play.

Team to avoid

Philadelphia Eagles

I almost picked the Colts here, given the team’s shaky 8-5 record as road favorites since Frank Reich took over in 2018. But I’m seeing too many people jump on this Philadelphia Eagles team, which feels like a recipe for disaster this early in the season.

Could this team make a leap and win the NFC East, if not the Super Bowl? Certainly. Should we be confident about that? Not in the slightest. The excitement around this team largely revolves around the “next step” for Jalen Hurts, who still hasn’t proven himself a capable thrower after completing just 61.3% of his passes in 2021 – which ranked 28th among qualified passers.

This roster has the pieces to contend, but I’d be gun-shy about staking your survivor pool on Hurts and co. in a road test against the Lions, who are ripe for improvement in Year 2 under Dan Campbell. Even if the hype on Detroit is also a little excessive, I’m happily staying away from both teams until we see how they look on the field.

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