The kick-off of the 2020 NFL season is still far away, but it’s the right time for the Week 1 best bets. The bookies have already announced the odds and lines, so we can dig in and find the best value on the market.
A lot of interesting matchups are scheduled for the opening round, including the marquee NFC South clash between the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. We’ll see a couple of divisional battles in the NFC North, too, while the Dallas Cowboys will start a new era under Mike McCarthy with a great duel against the LA Rams.
Some of the Week 1 matchups offer very intriguing value this early, and we don’t want to miss a chance to make some profit. Therefore, let’s take a closer look at my best early bets for Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints, Over 49.5 Points (-110)
Tampa Bay will be a completely different team in 2020 than we used to see from the Bucs over the last few years. With Tom Brady under center, the Buccaneers’ offense looks terrifying, as they kept Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Also, Rob Gronkowski returns from retirement, so Tampa Bay’s offensive unit seems like one of the best in the league at the moment.
Their upgraded offense should help the Buccaneers to improve defensively, too. Jameis Winston’s 30 picks made a huge difference in 2019, and the Bucs’ defense just couldn’t catch a breath. However, visiting one of the best offensive teams in the league in the opener doesn’t look promising at all.
The New Orleans Saints have so many lethal weapons offensively. Drew Brees is still throwing the ball at the highest level, Michael Thomas is a top-notch receiver who just set the NFL record for the most receptions in the regular season (149), and the Saints have acquired a two-time Pro Bowl Emmanuel Sanders.
Everything indicates that we should see a proper high-scoring affair at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on September 13. Last year, the Saints beat the Bucs twice, and both games produced more than 49 points in the total (31-24 in Tampa Bay and 34-17 in New Orleans).
Also, four of the last five encounters between the Saints and Buccaneers went over, including their previous two meetings in Louisiana. I don’t see why this trend won’t continue. It is the opening game of the season, so both teams shouldn’t be sharp on the defensive end, but their offenses are always ready to rumble.
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills, Buffalo -6.0 (-110)
Despite a 7-9 record in 2019, there were some positives in the Jets’ game. Their run D was the second-best in the NFL, yielding only 86.9 yards per game and 3.3 per carry. Also, they were solid 16th in the league in points surrendered per contest (22.4).
On the other hand, the Jets’ offensive line was terrible, allowing the fourth-most sacks in football (52). The Jets were the second-most inefficient team, scoring paltry 17.3 points per game. Likewise, their ground game was the second-worst in the NFL with just 78.6 yards per game.
Therefore, the opening clash of the season will be a big test for Adam Gase’s team. The Jets will be on the road, meeting one of the most talented teams in the league. The Bills possess a tremendous defensive unit and should be playing at a high level from the start.
Furthermore, the Bills acquired Stefon Diggs, who will bring a completely new dimension to their offensive outlook. The 26-year-old wide receiver spent five years with the Vikings, surpassing a 1,000-yard mark in each of the previous two seasons.
Last year, these two AFC East foes split their two-game series, but the Bills had nothing to play for in the ultimate week of the season when they lost 13-6 as 1-point home dogs. They also met in Week 1 of the 2019 season, and the Bills barely outlasted the Jets 17-16 as 2.5-point road dogs.
I expect to see a strong start of the season by the Bills, especially because they play in front of the home audience. They should dominate the Jets on the defensive end and hopefully cover a 6-point spread.
Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams, Over 49.5 Points (-110)
The LA Rams and Dallas Cowboys will meet each other for the third time in less than two years. Back in January 2019, the Rams beat the Cowboys 30-22 as 7-point favorites in the divisional playoffs. This past December, the ‘Boys thrashed off the Rams 44-21 as 1-point home dogs.
The Rams went 9-7 last season and missed the playoffs in the fully-stacked NFC, as well as the Cowboys, who had a disappointing 8-8 record. Now, both teams want redemption and will be highly motivated to kick-start the new season with an important Week 1 victory.
The last four encounters between the Rams and Cowboys went over and had at least 52 points for the total, while three of those four contests produced 60-plus points. Interestingly, the Rams opened the previous season with a 30-27 home victory over the Panthers, while Dallas hammered the Giants 35-17 in Texas.
The Cowboys leaned on their offense heavily in 2019. They led the league in total yards per game (431.5) and were sixth in points per contest (27.1). On the other side of the ball, they were surrendering 20.1 points per game (11th in the league) on 327.0 total yards (9th).
The ‘Boys will need some time to gel things under the new head coach. Mike Nolan is a new defensive coordinator and will have a tall task to pick up the pieces in the Cowboys’ defensive unit that will have some new faces in 2020.
On the other side, the Rams were a disaster defensively in 2019. They were 17th in the league in points allowed (22.8) and 19th in rushing yards allowed per game (113.1). So I expect the Rams to struggle defensively in the opener, especially on the ground.
Still, the Rams should have enough firepower to drop a bunch of points on the Cowboys. They will play in front of the home fans and will try to take advantage of every flaw in Dallas’ defense.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots, New England -6.5 (-110)
The Dolphins pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the previous season, beating the Patriots 27-24 in Week 17 as 17-point road underdogs. They sent the Pats to the wild-card playoffs and were undoubtedly meritorious for the end of Tom Brady era in New England.
Now, that’s the main reason why I think the Patriots will win this time. They will be fired up to get revenge, and Bill Belichick is well-known as a great motivator.
The Dolphins played above all expectations in the second half of the previous season. They’ve won five of their last nine games overall, including a pair of victories to wrap up 2019. Still, the Dolphins have a lot to work on this summer. They selected five players through the first two rounds of the 2020 draft and will need some time to get everyone into their system.
On the other side, the Patriots will continue to lean on their terrific defense. Jarrett Stidham will get his first-ever start under center, and the 133rd pick overall from the 2019 NFL Draft could struggle under pressure. But that won’t drive me away from this matchup.
The Pats have been ruthless at home for years, and not only because of Tom Brady. Bill Belichick always wants only the best from his defense, and that trend will continue at Gillette Stadium. The Pats are 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight home meetings with Miami, while they are 14-5 ATS in the previous 19 outings at home as favorites of seven or fewer points.
Miami has covered in five of its last seven road tilts, but the Phins are only 3-9 ATS in their previous 12 showings away from home as single-digit dogs. I’m looking for an exciting game on September 13, but the Pats’ D should make the difference.
An NFL Parlay for Week 1?
If you combine all four games from above, you’ll get a nice parlay with the odds at +1200. Also, all four tilts are set for Sunday, September 13, 2020, so you’ll cover the whole day.
Don’t wait for too long, as the lines could easily change. And remember to shop around at the top NFL betting sites to find the best odds and lines available.