Week 1 of the NFL season is (nearly) in the books, and what an opening weekend it was.
It was great to have football back, even if the hot takes are already flying on this first post-NFL Monday morning. We knew Week 1 was going to lead to plenty of overreaction, but it is up to bettors to try to determine what is real and what isn’t to help stay ahead of the market.
That will be the purpose of this weekly column, where I write about a few of my immediate takeaways before diving into how to bet on the following week’s slate. Make sure to place all of your bets at Caesars Sportsbook, which is the official odds partner of Bet Chicago Sports.
Week 1 was an extension of the preseason
This doesn’t feel like an overreaction at all. The football was not necessarily good on Sunday, especially on the offensive side of the ball. From a point total perspective, unders have gone 10-5 in Week 1 pending the result of the Monday Night Football matchup.
In hindsight, we probably should have seen this coming.
Ever since the NFL changed the preseason to three games, every team has handled the exhibition stretch differently. Some squads sit their starters entirely, others play them for a limited amount of snaps. Regardless, I think it all led to a lower-scoring slate on Sunday.
Nineteen different teams scored 23 points or fewer in the season opener. For comparison, the Seattle Seahawks were an average offense by ranking 16th in scoring at 23.2 points per game. It is a long season and offenses will eventually get on track, but don’t be surprised if it doesn’t happen right away.
The NFC race will be wide open
This is somewhat cheating because I felt this way before, but the opening weekend confirmed that the NFC lacks an elite team. This will open the door for a surprise squad, so make sure to monitor the futures market in this conference all year.
Thursday set the tone for all of this, with the Los Angeles Rams getting rolled by the Buffalo Bills in the opener. It was a performance that highlighted some concerns for the defending champs, even if they have a get-right game with the Atlanta Falcons on deck.
Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be the favorite in the NFC, but the offensive line is a concern for a team that only recorded a 19-3 win over the Dallas Cowboys, who lost starting quarterback Dak Prescott for several weeks.
In the first game without Davante Adams, the Green Bay Packers managed just seven points in a 23-7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. The Eagles have become a trendy sleeper, but they surrendered too many points in a 38-35 win over the Detroit Lions.
It was just one week, but I would encourage people to take advantage of a wide-open NFC when putting together their futures portfolio this year. For example, the Vikings (+900) to win the NFC might be work a look after their statement win in an early NFC North showdown to shake things up in a division that has been dominated by the Packers of late.
The Lions are who I thought they were
Another case of my priors being confirmed, but I’m taking a Week 1 victory lap on the Detroit Lions. I’m fully aware it is a long season, and I could eventually regret this section.
In my preseason recap of the NFC North, I explained that I thought the Lions were going to be an over team in 2022. They were getting a lot of hype as a sleeper team, but that was counting on too much of a leap from a defensive unit that was the worst-ranked in the league last year. Thanks to the combination of nice offensive pieces and a bad defense, targeting the over on point totals made a lot of sense.
Game 1 went according to plan. The Lions got off to a strong start, but the Eagles took over the game on a Pick 6 midway through the second quarter. After that, each of Detroit’s final four touchdown drives came when they were down by double-digits: 14, 17, 17 and 10.
The Lions ended up covering the spread after going 11-6 against the spread last year. But Dan Campbell’s crew never had a shot to win this game, and has a bit to go before we can justify why the Lions were the most popular win total over (6.5) entering the year.
Just watched Lions-Eagles. Detroit backers somehow got their cover, but Lions never really had a shot after the Pick 6 midway through the 2Q.
After that sequence, each of the final 4 TD drives by the Lions came when they were trailing by double-digits.
— Shane Jackson (@SJacksonBET) September 12, 2022
Source: The Daily Chronicle