- Betting lines for all 16 Week 1 games are available after the release of the 2020 NFL schedule
- The Raiders (+1.0) and Steelers (-3.0) face off against two of the league’s worst teams in their season openers
- Joe Burrow is looking to become the first QB drafted at No. 1 overall to win his first career start since 2002
The National Football League keeps delivering for sports fans in our time of need. After a fun free agency period and a flawless virtual draft, Thursday saw the release of the 2020 NFL schedule.
While it’s anyone’s guess if these Week 1 games will actually take place in September, it sure is fun to think ahead and place some bets. Let’s look at the early point-spreads for football’s opening weekend and pick some winners before the lines move.
WEEK 1 NFL ODDS
RAIDERS (+1.0) OVER PANTHERS
Entering year one in Las Vegas and season three of the $100-million Jon Gruden experiment, the Raiders enter 2020 with significantly higher expectations after restocking their talent pool in the draft.
Yet, they open the season as a one-point underdog to the Panthers, who are listed with a win-total of just 5.5 at most sports books and are a sharp pick to finish with the worst record in the league.
— Around The NFL (@AroundTheNFL) May 1, 2020
If Chucky loses the opener to Teddy “checkdown” Bridgewater and Matt “the preacher” Rhule, Las Vegas will be in for a long season as their next five games are against the Saints, Patriots, Bills, Chiefs and Buccaneers.
While they’re certainly no world-beaters themselves, the Raiders should have no trouble putting up points against Carolina’s threadbare defensive roster after adding speedster Henry Ruggs and physical-specimen Bryan Edwards to their receiving corps.
STEELERS (-3.0) OVER GIANTS
Absolutely loaded on the defensive side of the ball, Pittsburgh somehow managed to go 8-8 in 2019 while starting Mason Rudolph and “Duck” Hodges at quarterback for the majority of the year.
Even though his “beer and golf” workout regimen doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, the return of Ben Roethlisberger will add much-needed zing to an offense that has perpetually produced points throughout the 38-year-old’s Hall of Fame career.
“I talked to Roethlisberger today. He is definitely passionate about his rehab. My comments about him were more poking fun of him for what he’s done in the past. He’s really getting after his rehab”
— FOX Sports Radio (@FoxSportsRadio) May 8, 2020
Meanwhile, aside from the long-overdue retirement of fellow 2004 NFL draft-class member Eli Manning, the Giants look like the same team that went 4-12 last year.
While general manager Dave Gettleman poured draft resources into the G-Men’s offensive line to give his previous two first-round selections (Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley) more time and space to operate, oddsmakers don’t see New York suddenly becoming more competitive this season, giving them a 6.5 win-total.
OTHER LINES TO JUMP ON
Considering one team will be starting No. 1 overall pick/Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow and the other will be suiting up Tyrod Taylor, expect the line (Bengals +3 vs Chargers) to move in Cincinnati’s direction as the summer moves along.
Kansas City destroyed Houston 51-31 in the AFC Divisional Round after overcoming a 24-point deficit. Since then, Bill O’Brien traded away star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Andy Reid added pass-catching dynamo Clyde Edwards-Helaire to his already unstoppable offense. Take the Chiefs -9.5 over Texans in a season-opening blowout for the ages.
The Bengals host the Chargers in Week 1 in what will likely be Joe Burrow’s NFL debut.
The last 12 QBs drafted No. 1 overall are winless in their first career start (Kyler Murray tied last season).
The last one to win was David Carr in 2002. pic.twitter.com/Bxgerchu0m
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 8, 2020
Bears GM Ryan Pace famously passed on both Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft to (hilariously) select Mitchell Trubisky at No. 2 overall.
After stubbornly refusing to admit his mistake and bring in a real solution at quarterback (ahem, Cam Newton), it feels like another “last dance” is underway in Chicago for Pace and coach Matt Nagy. Lions -1.5 over Bears.