We’re less than three weeks away from the start of the 2020-21 NFL regular season. Our GameAdvisers NFL expert handicappers have released five NFL week 1 against the spread predictions so our readers can start the season in the black with a handful of wins.
This season is going to be unlike any other, as most teams will start the season without fans. At the time of publishing, only the Chiefs and Jaguars plan to have fans in the seats for week 1.
The Jaguars plan to have 25% attendance and the Chiefs are aiming for 22% of capacity.
The Chiefs open up the season on Thursday, September 10th 2020 at Arrowhead Stadium. They host the Texans and come into the game as huge double-digit (-10.5) favorites against the spread.
There are 13 games scheduled for Sunday, September 13th 2020 and two on Monday night.
NFL Week 1 Expert Picks (Free Five Pack)
These are our experts’ five NFL best bets for week 1:
Cleveland Browns +8.5 (-115) vs. Baltimore Ravens
For the last two years, the Browns and Ravens have split the regular season series. In 2018, Cleveland won 12-9 at home in OT and then lost 26-24 on the road. Last season, the Browns lost at home (31-15), but won in Baltimore (40-25). Playing with no fans will benefit the Browns on the road too.
Here’s an interesting trend. Since 2003, teams getting more than a touchdown on the point spread have gone 17-7 (70.8%) in week 1 (37% ROI). Taking the points here is the best bet.
Baker Mayfield will have better protection with the additions of Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills (#10 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft), allowing him more time to find Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
After hauling in 71+ receptions in each of the last two seasons, Austin Hooper is now the Browns #1 TE. Mayfield is going to have a lot of weapons, plus they have RBs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
We love the Browns and they’re one of the best NFL week 1 against the spread predictions, as the public will be hammering Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Buffalo Bills -6 (-105) vs. New York Jets
After posting a 10-6 record last season and earning an AFC wild card spot, the Bills will have hopes of clinching the AFC East title for the first time since 1995 now that Tom Brady is out of the division.
Josh Allen took a big step forward last season and expect another leap this season.
The Bills brought in WR Stefon Diggs (1130 receiving yards and 6 TDs in 2019). Adding a #1 WR is what Buffalo needed this off-season. John Brown and Cole Beasley make up a nice receiving unit.
Having Devin Singletary as the lead RB from week 1 will be a big boost from Frank Gore.
Both teams were low-scoring in 2019. The Bills averaged 19.6 PPG (23rd) and the Jets averaged 17.2 PPG (31st). However, the Bills offense is going to be better in 2020. Action has been relatively split on this NFL week 1 game and we haven’t seen much line movement (Bills opened at -5.5 points).
Last season, the Bills opened up with a week 1 win against the Jets (17-16) on the road.
With this game being at home, our experts are comfortable betting the Bills to cover ATS (-6).
Minnesota Vikings -3 (-110) vs. Green Bay Packers
This NFL week 1 betting line is likely to jump to Vikings -3.5 before kick-off.
Don’t bet the Vikings at more than a FG, but getting them at -3 is good value at home. GB went 13-3 in 2019 and won the NFC North, while the Vikings finished in 2nd place (10-6 record).
If the Vikings want to win the division in 2020 they need to find a way to beat the Packers. GB won both head-to-head games in 2019 – 21-16 at Lambeau and 23-10 in Minnesota.
After the Packers refused to add a WR this off-season, Aaron Rodgers isn’t too happy. Green Bay used their first round pick on QB Jordan Love, which didn’t help the relationship with Rodgers.
Losing Diggs hurts the Vikings, but they drafted Justin Jefferson (#22 pick in 2020 NFL Draft) and still have Adam Thielen. The run game is among the best in the NFL too.
Last season, the Vikings ranked #8 in rushing yards (127.2 RYPG). Dalvin Cook is in his final year of his rookie deal and he wants big money, so look for him to put up big numbers.
We can almost guarantee that the Cowboys point spread will be -3 or -3.5 by kick-off.
Jump on the Cowboys against the spread while you can still get them under a field goal. This is a team with one of the best offenses in the league. In 2019, Dallas averaged 27.1 PPG (6th).
The Cowboys also ranked #2 in passing yards (296.9 PYPG) and #4 in rushing yards (134.6 RYPG).
They should be even better in 2020. Dak Prescott has another year of experience, Amari Cooper is going to lead a WR unit that just added CeeDee Lamb (#17 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft).
In last season’s head-to-head meeting, the Cowboys won 44-21 at home. Dallas rushed for 253 yards in that game – both Tony Pollard (131) and Ezekiel Elliott (117) rushed for 100+ yards.
This game will be played at the Rams new SoFi Stadium and likely without fans. With Todd Gurley and Brandin Cooks gone, the Rams offense isn’t nearly as deep as it was in recent years.
Denver Broncos -1.5 (-110) vs. Tennessee Titans
The Broncos close out NFL week 1 action against the Titans on Monday Night Football.
Denver are being hyped up a lot this season, which is concerning, as they’re not NFL Super Bowl contenders, but they’re at home and it’s never easy playing at Mile High. Even last season the Broncos went 5-3 at home (2-6 away).
Drew Lock is the #1 QB heading into 2020 after posting a 4-1 record to finish 2019.
Jerry Jeudy (#15 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft) will slide into the #2 WR role. Cortland Sutton will look to build upon a big 2019 season (1112 receiving yards and 6 TDs).
The run game is also strong. Phillip Lindsay is back and Melvin Gordon (questionable for week 1) will form a formidable RB duo. Denver’s offense should be a lot more exciting in 2020.
Tennessee signed Ryan Tannehill, but I’m not convinced he’s the answer at QB. They’ll look to ride RB Derrick Henry into the NFL playoffs again, but teams should have this offense figured out by now.
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