NFL Week 1 Predictions & Best Bets: Browns Win?!

  • Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season starts on Thursday, Sep. 6th, and it’s the most unpredictable week all year.
  • Get the latest spreads, moneylines, and totals for all 16 games, plus expert score predictions and best bets. 
  • Spoiler alert! The Browns are notching their first win since 2016. 

Each Tuesday this season, check back here for the latest spreads, moneylines, and totals for every game on the slate that week, along with MTS’ expert picks for each game. Take note, Week 1 is the most unpredictable of the season. Don’t bet the house on teams you haven’t seen in over six months.

We will track our return on investment based on $100 wagers on each pick, along with our ROI on our three best bets of the week (which you will always be able to find at the very bottom).

On that note, let’s kick things off with Week 1!

  • 2018 ROI to date: $0
  • 2018 Best Bets ROI to date: $0

Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles

Time & Date: 8:20 PM ET, Thursday, Sep. 6th.

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Falcons +1.5 (-115) -105 O 44.5 (-110)
Eagles -1.5 (105) -115 U 44.5 (-110)

No Carson Wentz for the Eagles. Nick Foles struggles against a lightning-fast Atlanta defense, while Matt Ryan and the offense improve in their second year with Steve Sarkisian, particularly in the red zone.

Score Prediction: 27-21 Atlanta

Best Bet: Atlanta +1.5 (-115)

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Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Bills +7.5 (-115) +270 O 40.5 (-110)
Ravens -7.5 (-105) -340 U 40.5 (-110)

The Nathan Peterman era gets off to a rough start, but not five-interceptions rough. Both teams go run-heavy, shortening the game and keeping the score low. Baltimore wins, but by how much? Safer to go with the under.

Score Prediction: 19-13 Baltimore

Best Bet: Under 40.5 (-110)

Houston Texans vs New England Patriots

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Texans +6.5 (-110) +230 O 51.0 (-110)
Patriots -6.5 (-110) -270 U 51.0 (-110)

New England’s lack of a pass rush lets Deshaun Watson pickup where he left off last year while the Texans defense looks a little improved with the return of JJ Watt, the continued development of Jadeveon Clowney, and improved play in the secondary.

Score Prediction: 28-27 Texans

Best Bet: Texans +230

San Francisco 49ers vs Minnesota Vikings

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
49ers +6.5 (-110) +230 O 46.0 (-105)
Vikings -6.5 (-110) -270 U 46.0 (-115)

Jimmy Garoppolo’s perfect record as a starter quickly gets its first blemish as the league’s best defense shuts down the Niners’ young receiving corps. On offense, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen win their matchups with San Fran’s subpar corners, giving Kirk Cousins easy completions. Dalvin Cook returns with a vengeance for Minnesota while the loss of Jerick Mackinnon is felt by the 49ers’ run game.

Score Prediction: 28-17 Vikings

Best Bet: Vikings -6.5 (-110)

Cincinnati Bengals vs Indianapolis Colts

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Bengals +3.0 (-120) +130 O 48.5 (-110)
Colts -3.0 (EVEN) -150 U 48.5 (-110)

A rusty Andrew Luck is pressured mercilessly by Geno Atkins, Carl Lawson, and the rest of the Cincinnati pass rush, while the Bengals own revamped offensive line is able to contain Indy’s anemic front-seven. Given a little time in the pocket, Andy Dalton is able to put his many, many weapons (AJ Green, John Ross, Tyler Eifert, Joe Mixon, Gio Bernard) to good use.

Score Prediction: 26-20 Bengals

Best Bet: Bengals +130

Jacksonville Jaguars vs New York Giants

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Jaguars -3.0  (-115) -165 O 43.5 (-110)
Giants +3.0 (-105) +145 U 43.5 (-110)

The outlier seasons that Blake Bortles and the Giants defense had last year regress toward the mean, meaning Bortles lays the kind of egg that was his norm prior to 2017. Defensively, the Jaguars susceptible run defense can’t contain rookie RB Saquon Barkley and the Giants do just enough to start 2018 on a high note.

Score Prediction21-20 Giants

Best Bet: Giants +145

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Cleveland Browns

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Steelers -4.0 (-115) -210 O 45.5 (-110)
Browns +4.0 (-105) +175 U 45.5 (-110)

Without Le’Veon Bell, the Pittsburgh offense isn’t firing on all cylinders and the Browns’ pass rush — led by a dominant Myles Garrett — is able to force quick throws and limit the damage from Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith Schuster. A sprinkle of competent quarterback play from Tyrod Taylor coupled with decent RB production from Nick Chubb and Carlos Hyde lets Cleveland sustain a few drives against an underwhelming Pittsburgh defense. Browns win for the first time since 2016.

Score Prediction: 24-23 Browns

Best Bet: Browns +175

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Buccaneers +9.5 (-105) +330 O 49.5 (-110)
Saints -9.5 (-115) -460 U 49.5 (-110)

The Bucs defense looks better, but the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense keeps putting them in bad spots, and eventually the dam breaks. Drew Brees shows no signs of age, hooking up with Michael Thomas routinely as the third-year WR makes an early case for best wideout in the league. The game with the biggest spread of the week lives up to its billing as New Orleans houses Tampa.

Score Prediction30-10 Saints

Best Bet: Saints -9.5 (-115)

Tennessee Titans vs Miami Dolphins

Time & Date: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Titans -1.0 (-115) -120 O 45.0 (-110)
Dolphins +1.0 (-105) EVEN U 45.0 (-110)

Miami’s strong home-field advantage keeps Marcus Mariota and the Tennessee offense off-balance, but Ryan Tannehill also struggles in his first game in over a year. A sloppy affair all over, the Titans’ run game proves the difference, picking up decent yardage against a depleted Miami defensive line.

Score Prediction20-16 Titans

Best Bet: Under 45.0 (-110)

Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Chargers

Time & Date: 4:05 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Chiefs +3.0 (+105) +155 O 48.0 (-110)
Chargers -3.0 (-125) -175 U 48.0 (-110)

The Charger defense proves a bad matchup for rookie QB Patrick Mahomes, as Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram put him under constant pressure and the strong secondary limits Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers and the LA offense put the league on notice, as Rivers throws for three bills, utilizing his full slate of weapons out wide (Keenan Allen, Tyrell Williams, Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin) to torch a vulnerable KC secondary.

Score Prediction30-20 Chargers

Best Bet: Chargers -3.0 (-125)

Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos

Time & Date: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Seahawks +3.0 (-120) +130 O 43.0 (-110)
Broncos -3.0 (EVEN) -150 U 43.0 (-110)

Seattle’s new-look defense is still strong enough to make Case Keenum look like the Case Keenum of old. No longer able to rely on Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, and Kyle Rudolph, the Bronco pivot turns the ball over on 50/50 throws, setting up Russell Wilson with good field position and nullifying a strong effort from Denver’s own defense.

Score Prediction23-20 Seahawks (OT)

Best Bet: Seahawks +130

Dallas Cowboys vs Carolina Panthers

Time & Date: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Cowboys +3.0 (-115) +130 O 43.0 (-105)
Panthers -3.0 (-105) -150 U 43.0 (-115)

Dallas reminds everyone why it went 13-3 two years ago, pounding Zeke Elliott on the ground against a Carolina defense missing LB Thomas Davis. Joe Looney plays well enough filling in for Travis Frederick at center to limit the damage DT Kawann Short can do. Demarcus Lawrence feasts on a porous Panther offensive line while Tyrone Crawford, Sean Lee, and Jaylon Smith control Christian McCaffrey on the ground and in the screen game.

Score Prediction: 24-20 Cowboys

Best Bet: Cowboys +130

Washington vs Arizona Cardinals

Time & Date: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Washington +1.0 (-105) EVEN O 44.0 (-110)
Cardinals -1.0 (-115) -120 U 44.0 (-110)

Sam Bradford once again proves a very competent QB when healthy and David Johnson returns from his wrist injury as fast and dynamic as ever. Without rookie RB Derrius Guice, Washington’s lack of a run-game comes back to bite them as 2017 sack-leader Chandler Jones (17.0) makes Alex Smith’s Washington debut one to forget.

Score Prediction: 23-17 Cardinals

Best Bet: Cardinals -1.0 (-115)

Chicago Bears vs Green Bay Packers

Time & Date: 8:20 PM ET, Sunday, Sep. 9th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Bears +7.5 (-115) +270 O 47.5 (-110)
Packers -7.5 (-105) -340 U 47.5 (-110)

Khalil Mack looks good and the Bears’ defense holds for a while, but eventually Aaron Rodgers does what he (almost) always does to Chicago. Defensively, the Packers look invigorated under new DC Mike Pettine, and offseason additions Mo Wilkerson and Tramon Williams pay instant dividends on the line and in the secondary, respectively, putting an early halt to the “Mitch Trubisky is this year’s Jared Goff” talk.

Score Prediction: 28-17 Packers

Best Bet: Packers -7.5 (-105)

New York Jets vs Detroit Lions

Time & Date: 7:10 PM ET, Monday, Sep. 10th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Jets +7.0 (-125) +240 O 45.0 (-110)
Lions -7.0 (+105) -280 U 45.0 (-110)

Due to a serious lack of playmakers, Sam Darnold’s NFL debut goes rather poorly against an underrated Detroit defense. The Jets D puts up a fight; Jamal Adams, Trumaine Johnson, and Morris Claiborne limit the damage Matt Stafford can do with his strong WR corps, but ultimately, Detroit’s superior roster and home-field advantage win out in a low-scoring game.

Score Prediction: 20-13 Lions

Best Bet: Under 45.0 (-110)

Los Angeles Rams vs Oakland Raiders

Time & Date: 10:20 PM ET, Monday, Sep. 10th

Team Spread Moneyline Over/Under
Rams -4.5 (-110) -200 O 49.5 (-110)
Raiders +4.5 (-110) +170 U 49.5 (-110)

With the best player from their awful defense now in Chicago, a deflated Raiders team gets absolutely steamrolled by the young, hungry Rams. Jared Goff has instant chemistry with Brandin Cooks. Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh bring pressure up the middle even against the strong interior of Oakland’s o-line, forcing Derek Carr to have a quick trigger (which he does anyway). LA’s new corner tandem of Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters are able to play aggressively and jump routes as a result. All the punting makes Raider fans pine for Marquette King.

Score Prediction: 33-14 Rams

Best Bet: Rams -4.5 (-110)

Best Bets of the Week

  1. Arizona Cardinals vs Washington: Cardinals -1.0
  2. Buffalo Bills vs Baltimore Ravens: Under 40.5
  3. Cincinnati Bengals vs Indianapolis Colts: Bengals +130

Alexander is the MTS editor-in-chief. Frank, Alex, and Geoff brought him in when they realized that their betting expertise far surpassed their grammatical abilities. He loves overanalyzing college basketball trends. Talking to him during the first weekend of March Madness is like talking to a wall. A very focused wall, but a wall nonetheless.

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