The new National Football League season is upon us and there is no other time that sees as much action as Week 1. It’s a new year for the teams, a new year for the players, and a new year for the gamblers. Needless to say, it’s an exciting time for our favorite sport. Baseball may be America’s pastime but football is definitely king.
Week 1 of the NFL presents an interesting time for gamblers. It’s a week which requires its own strategy and talking points. The playing field is completely level and gamblers, as well as oddsmakers, are playing it straight for Week 1. While the preseason provides some insight in what to expect from NFL teams in the season to come, it really doesn’t amount to more than a month-long try-out. Sure, you’ll see some things here and there. Flashes of potential and such but you really don’t know an NFL football team until the regular season begins. It’s a unique, once a year event and there are many factors to consider before stepping up to the sportsbook window. Follow these simple tips to be sure you are laying the best wager possible for the NFL’s opening weekend.
Home teams are always a good bet in any sport. There’s something about home-cooking that gives teams an advantage. Whether that means that a good team at home covers the points or if a bad team at home wins with the points. Either way, a home team is usually a good bet. This is especially true Week 1 for two reasons. One reason is simply the excitement of the game and a new season. Even a team that won two games the year before will be sold out Week 1. The future is brightest Week 1 at home so keep that in mind when laying a wager.
The second reason is that oddsmakers haven’t settled in yet and set lines accordingly. As mentioned before, the preseason doesn’t provide enough accurate information to create strong lines for Week 1. The NFL’s lines and point spread the most important factor is how they performed the game before. Therefore, a great rule to live by Week 1 is to be sure the team you like is playing at home. You’ll get the home-field advantage and a favorable point spread.
Take the Points
As mentioned, the oddsmakers are working with only limited information, too. As everyone is in Week 1. This leads to inflated lines as the sportsbooks don’t want to give too much away but still need to get some action coming through the door. Lines are favorable Week 1 and taking the points is a smart play.
There’s an old sports adage which promises that offense will win games but it’s defense that wins championships. Well, the defense also wins Week 1 as well. The modern NFL offense is a sophisticated and intricate system based on timing and execution. It involves eleven men all acting in accordance to successfully run even the most routine of plays. It’s not something that can be accomplished overnight or even in a month. Defenses are always well ahead of offenses in Week 1 so be sure the team you like has a good looking defense on them. Low scoring games are the norm as offenses attempt to sort their schemes out in real time. Take the Under, take the points, take the team with the defense.
Just like a good defense can take you places Week 1, so can a solid running game. The NFL is a passing league these days. Just look how every year the records for passing yards, passing TD’s, receptions, TD receptions and so on are broken more and more. It used to be unheard of for a receiver to have 85 catches in a season. Now, that’s the new normal. 100 catch seasons are commonplace. However, as mentioned, things aren’t clicking on all cylinders quite yet in the passing game. It’s the final piece to come along and takes a few weeks to perfect their routes, their timing, and their schemes. Stick to teams with good running games in Week 1. It’s something to fall back on as the passing game comes along. You’ll want to find teams with big running backs and big offensive lines.
The NFL wasn’t born yesterday and they know there are plenty of matchups the fans really want to see. They love to sprinkle in the enticing games throughout the season and Week 1 is where you will see a few of these type games. An always popular matchup is the revenge game. Different from the run-of-the-mill division rivalry game is a revenge game where the two teams have a recent playoff or Super Bowl history.
Losers in last year’s playoffs don’t forget such things and play with an extra chip on their shoulder with a chance at payback. You’ll see at least one of these games every Week 1 it seems. Provided they are still evenly matched squads and rosters, take the team looking for some retribution. Not only will they play harder, it’s just difficult to beat a good team twice in a year’s time.