The excitement is building, the suspense grows larger, and that means football is getting closer.
The opening week of the regular season will answer so many questions that have been surrounding all 32 teams league-wide, and if you’re looking for the best NFL picks against the spread, then you’ve come to the perfect place.
We’ll be placing our NFL ATS bets at Bovada, but we’ll also list a few other online sportsbooks with top odds.
Let’s dive in!
NFL Week 1 Odds & Spreads (Courtesy of Bovada)
Thursday Night Football (Sep. 7th)
8:20 PM EST
- Lions at Chiefs (-6.5)
Sunday Football (Sep. 10th)
1 PM EST
- Panthers at Falcons (-3.5)
- Texans at Ravens (-9.5)
- Bengals (-1.5) at Browns
- Jaguars (-3.5) at Colts
- Buccaneers at Vikings (-6.5)
- Titans at Saints (-3)
- 49ers (-3) at Steelers
- Cardinals at Commanders (-6)
4:25 PM EST
- Packers at Bears (-2.5)
- Raiders at Broncos (-4)
- Dolphins at Chargers (-3)
- Eagles (-4) at Patriots
- Rams at Seahawks (-5.5)
8:20 PM EST
- Cowboys (-3.5) at Giants
Monday Night Football (Sep. 11th)
8:15 PM EST
- Bills (-1) at Jets
Overview of the 2023 NFL Season: Storylines to Follow in Week 1
Storylines have been brewing all offseason surrounding each and every team building up expectations for the season ahead. Some will be true, some will crash and burn. Here are some of the top headlines to follow heading into the first weekend of regular season football.
Football Is Back
How’s that for an easy first one? The game we love has returned for another year, and it’s going to be a lot to take in for information. We will get a major first showing for all 32 teams and will get our first indication of expectations. Who will shine? Who will falter? What new names will rise to the rank of superstar, and who could potentially regress?
We’re in for an exciting season, so taking as much of it in as you can for the opening week will be important.
New Faces In New Places
As the season nears, the big aspect of the beginning of the year will be the new players all over the league. Whether it’s big free agents like QB Derek Carr in his first game with the Saints, major trades like WR Calvin Ridley joining an already impressive Jacksonville offense, or the rookies beginning their careers like Carolina QB Bryce Young.
Each fan base has a new player of some sort that is being looked to for an immediate impact. A strong start will go a long way in garnering the confidence of the fans to be a major impact player for the future of the organization.
Early Bouts For Divisional Control
Seven of the Week 1 games will be divisional matchups that can be a major first step for teams to get ahead in the standings and set themselves up to sustain those leads through the season. While not each game will be a bout between the top two teams in the division, there are still some games that could easily influence the playoff picture when we look back on these games.
Panthers vs. Falcons, Bengals vs. Browns, Cowboys vs. Giants, and Bills vs. Jets all should be excellent games, with a chance that these games play a major part in shaping the 2023-2024 playoff picture.
Explaining NFL ATS Bets: What They Are, and the Pros & Cons of Betting Them
What Are Spreads?
Spreads are point differentials put out by sportsbooks to encourage additional betting on football games where there is a window of point differential placed on the game that teams must cover in order for the bet to hit. It is possible for a team to lose the game and still cover the spread.
Reading A Spread
The spread placed on a game is split between three different numbers. There is a plus, minus, or PK.
For a plus sign, for example (+6.5), the team will need to either win or lose by 6 points or less in order for the bet to hit. These would be the underdogs in the game.
For the favorites in the game, they will have a minus sign. So if the line placed on them was (-4), then that team would need to win by 4 points or more in order for that bet to hit.
The final possibility you will see is a PK placed for both teams. This means the game is expected to be very tight, so sportsbooks aren’t picking a winner or point differential, and whoever you pick must win in order for the bet to be successful.
Advantages of Placing ATS Bets
Betting on spreads can be a great way to add intrigue to a game. Especially when betting on underdog teams, it’s a great way to take advantage of wrongly placed point spreads by sportsbooks.
There are also often better NFL odds for betting on favorites when you are expecting them to cover the spread as opposed to if you were to bet on them to just win outright.
Disadvantages of Betting Spreads
The disadvantage of betting on spreads is that you can sometimes have a single play change the outcome of your bet. You may pick the correct winner in a game but miss on your bet because of a point or two.
At the same time, there is a possibility that by betting on point spreads for underdogs, you sacrifice odds as compared to their moneyline returns should they win.
NFL Week 1 Against the Spread Predictions: Game-by-Game Analysis
The first week of the regular season is bound to be exciting regardless, but there are also countless games that should be worth the hype. Here is a game-by-game evaluation of each contest and an evaluation of the spreads placed on them by one of our top recommended sportsbooks… Bovada!
Lions at Chiefs (-6.5)
Analysis: The beginning of the regular season kicks off on Thursday Night, and that’s worth all the excitement for football fans across the world. The defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions as 6.5-point favorites on Thursday Night Football.
The Chiefs return with a ton of the same talent from last season, and any roster with QB Patrick Mahomes and TE Travis Kelce is bound to bring fireworks.
However, the Lions roll in with an established veteran in QB Jared Goff with exciting weapons like WR Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs to potentially match the production.
Writer’s Pick: Chiefs -6.5
The Lions look to be in for a promising season, but in Kansas City to kick off the season, it will be difficult to slow down or match this Chiefs offense. Expect them to control this game and cover the spread as a result.
Panthers at Falcons (-3.5)
Analysis: The NFC South is a division that didn’t have a single winning-record team last season. So this Week 1 match, where the Falcons currently sit as 3.5-point favorites over the Panthers, could be big for providing clarity for the season ahead.
The Falcons were a team littered with late-game ball-security issues that cost them plenty of contests. However, with QB Desmond Ridder getting the nod this season and the arrival of star rookie RB Bijan Robinson, there is expectation for Atlanta to potentially take a major step forward this season. That starts with a 3.5-point spread over the Panthers in the season opener.
Carolina is a talented team on their own, though the major questions will come with the new arrivals of rookie QB Bryce Young and new Head Coach Frank Reich as they look to kick-start a new era for the organization.
Writer’s Pick: Falcons -3.5
Both teams have their reasons to be believed in and doubted for the season ahead. However, Atlanta was very close last season to putting it together. With an improved defense and some moves to be better with ball security, they should be able to win this one on their way to turning things around.
Texans at Ravens (-9.5)
Analysis: Baltimore enters the season as nearly 10 point favorites to kick off the season against the Texans. The Ravens made some big time moves to change up their offense by hiring offensive coordinator Todd Monken to help revamp the approach. Then also adding two new weapons in the passing game with WRs Odell Beckham Jr and rookie Zay Flowers.
The Texans also made some notable changes, headlined by their new rookie QB CJ Stroud. Houston also brought in a new coaching staff under Head Coach Demeco Ryans, who should help revamp the defensive identity of the team.
Writer’s Pick: Ravens -9.5
This line is a tough one, as the point differential is so large, but the Ravens should be able to get ahead in this one and cover the spread while the Texans are still figuring things out.
Bengals (-1.5) at Browns
Analysis: The Bengals have one of the more complete rosters in the NFL with their past two seasons being very impressive to speak to their expectations as the season starts. However, their star QB Joe Burrow has missed some time due to a calf injury that could result in him missing this opener where the team is favored by 1.5 points.
The Browns disappointed last season as the team couldn’t get any consistency going with new QB Deshaun Watson at the helm. However, their roster is also one of the more well-structured squads across the league. If they can get going on offense, they’ll be difficult for anyone in the league to beat.
Writer’s Pick: Browns ML
The expectation is that Joe Burrow will play in Week 1, so that leans in favor of the Bengals. However, they have had some early season woes in their past two seasons that could lead to dropping the season opener here in Cleveland.
Jaguars (-3.5) at Colts
Analysis: The Jaguars enter the season as 3.5-point favorites as they head to Indianapolis for the season opener. They are one of the more exciting teams in the NFL, led by QB Trevor Lawrence, who looks to continue his progression into the top tier of the league. Jacksonville is also hoping that the arrival of WR Calvin Ridley to this offense will help them become one of the top teams in the NFL.
However, the Colts are an intriguing organization as well. While many are writing them off as a team rebuilding this season, new Head Coach Shane Steichen has a reputation for overachieving with his offenses throughout his career. With the upside surrounding QB Anthony Richardson, if he can take the major development steps early, then this Colts team could be sneaky.
Writer’s Pick: Jaguars -3.5
The Jaguars took the step last season and now should be looking to contend with some of the top teams in the AFC. They can’t overlook Indianapolis, but they have the offensive firepower to win and cover on the road to begin the year.
Buccaneers at Vikings (-6.5)
Analysis: The Buccaneers are entering their post-Tom Brady era after the star quarterback retired this past offseason. Now the offense is expected to be working with Baker Mayfield at QB. The big part of the Bucs identity sits on the defensive side of the ball, as they have one of the more irritating defenses for offenses to work against. Can it do enough to help them cover the spread where sportsbooks have them as 6.5 point underdogs?
The Vikings enter this season with plenty of offensive firepower despite losing established veterans in RB Dalvin Cook and WR Adam Thielen, but the big concern is on the defensive side where they have plenty of question marks all over the depth chart. However, newly hired Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores should help make up for some of their shortcomings which could help them continue their success from last season.
Writer’s Pick: Buccaneers +6.5
The Vikings likely win this game, but with the impact that pieces like DT Vita Vea and OLB Shaq Barrett provide in terms of pressure, they should be able to keep this one closer than many expect. Look for them to cover in this one.
Titans at Saints (-3)
Analysis: The Saints are regarded as the favorite in this one with the big change from past season is the signing of former Raiders’ QB Derek Carr. Carr has been a steady passer who can open up the offense downfield, so the Saints getting him when they were in desperate need of an upgrade at the position should be big for their chances to take a step forward this season.
The Titans were well on their way to making playoffs last season until injuries to QB Ryan Tannehill and pieces on their offensive line started to hinder their ability to produce points, and resulted in the team dropping their last seven games of the season.
Writer’s Pick: Titans ML
The Titans were one of the better teams in the NFL last season prior to injuries. They still have their red flags, but they should be back on track. That means they should be able to take down the Saints to open the season.
49ers (-3) at Steelers
Analysis: The 49ers will arrive in Pittsburgh as three point favorites led by one of the strongest defensive units in the league. To compliment that, they also have one of the more efficient offenses in the league headlined by star RB Christian McCaffrey who should be one of the most productive skill players in the league.
On the opposite sideline the Steelers are hoping that QB Kenny PIckett will take a sophomore leap to help lead the offense to competing not just in games but in the overall AFC picture for a chance at making the playoffs. The Steelers will need OLBs TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith to keep Purdy uncomfortable in order to pull off the upset, but they’re certainly talented enough to do so.
Writer’s Pick: Steelers ML
The 49ers are one of the best teams in the NFL, but with Purdy’s limitations against a strong defense, expect the Steelers to get a huge Week 1 victory to start the season.
Cardinals at Commanders (-6)
Analysis: The Cardinals arrive in Washington DC for their season opener as the underdog with the absence of star QB Kyler Murray expected to hinder the offense. Arizona is a team that is expected to use this season as a rebuilding year with a new Head Coach in Jonathan Gannon and the departure of star WR DeAndre Hopkins. However, will that make the gap wide enough to lose by over six points to Washington?
The Commanders season largely lies in the hands of how QB Sam Howell performs. The team also looks to improve in the secondary with the DB draft picks of Emmanuel Forbes and Quan Martin to bolster the defense. The team has plenty of potential, but can they turn it into production against the Cardinals?
Writer’s Pick: Cardinals +6
The Commanders have potential, but they’re still unknown. When both teams are unknown, a six point spread is way too big for you not to go with the underdogs to cover. Roll with the Cardinals.
Packers at Bears (-2.5)
Analysis: The Bears begin the season as 2.5 point favorites despite ending last season with the worst record in the NFL. However, there is a good reason for it. Chicago was active this offseason acquiring pieces like WR DJ Moore, rookie OT Darnell Wright, and a few defensive starters to help reshape the roster. Now the hope is that QB Justin Fields further develops to help this team take the next step. A win against Green Bay to open the season would be a big first one.
The Packers are entering a new era as former QB Aaron Rodgers departed to the New York Jets this offseason. Green Bay still has a backup plan in former first round QB Jordan Love who will look to step in and keep things rolling offensively for the offense.
Writer’s Pick: Bears -2.5
These teams are both a bit unknown, but the Bears seem to be on the right path in their rebuild while the Packers are just starting theirs. Look for Chicago to win this one with so much expectation surrounding the team.
Raiders at Broncos (-4)
Analysis: The Broncos will host the Raiders to start the season with new Head Coach Sean Payton expected to play a big piece in this team turning things around after a disappointing past season. If they can improve offensively, the team could potentially do some damage across the league.
For the Raiders, they departed with long-time QB Derek Carr and signed the 49ers former QB Jimmy Garoppolo. If the QB can help keep the offense consistent, then there’s a possibility they can control this game and cover the 4-point spread they’re underdogs for.
Writer’s Pick: Raiders +4
The Raiders have some concerns surrounding the team for season-long success. However, the Broncos looked a bit shaky this preseason, so betting on the Raiders to keep it close to start the year could be a good play.
Dolphins at Chargers (-3)
Analysis: The Chargers enter the season with a lot of pressure to get things going and progress to the next level of the AFC. They’re centered around star QB Justin Herbert who could be in for a big year with new Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore who was hired to help open up the offense and push the ball downfield.
The Dolphins were on their way to making the playoffs last season until injuries took out QB Tua Tagovailoa and led to the offense stalling too often. If Tagovailoa can stay healthy though, the offense could get back in rhythm and this team could be dangerous.
Writer’s Pick: Dolphins +3
The Dolphins have a high-powered offense to match up with anyone in the league. However, with Vic Fangio running the defense, expect them to keep this one close and potentially even pull off the victory.
Eagles (-4) at Patriots
Analysis: Fresh off of losing the Super Bowl, the Eagles look to get back to business against one of the toughest draws in New England. The Eagles lost some key pieces on both sides of the football, but they replenished their roster with some quality NFL draft capital with pieces like DL Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith selected in the first round.
The Patriots were one of the more complicated teams of last season, as they were very competitive but had no offensive consistency under former Offensive Coordinator Matt Patricia. With Bill O’Brien now holding the role, the hope is they can be much more productive offensively and potentially cover this 4-point spread in their season opener as a result.
Writer’s Pick: Eagles -4
The Patriots keep games close, but the Eagles are such a well-oiled machine that if they can win the trenches this one could get out of hand. Expect the Eagles to win with enough comfort to cover the spread.
Rams at Seahawks (-5.5)
Analysis: QB Geno Smith surprised the NFL when he ascended into a top level passer last season, but now this year it will be no surprise. With newly added rookies WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB Zach Charbonnet to help elevate the offense, the Seahawks look to continue working toward their chance to win the NFC. That starts in Week 1 against the Rams.
For Los Angeles, they crashed off of their Super Bowl victory with injuries decimating their roster. They lost key defensive pieces in CB Jalen Ramsey and LB Bobby Wagner departing, there are real questions for this team that will need to be answered if they want to cover the 5.5 point spread against Seattle.
Writer’s Pick: Rams +5.5
The Rams are in for a curious season with their defensive depth concerns. However, when fully healthy they are a bit of a sneaky team in the league. Expect this one to be tight, so roll with the Rams to cover.
Cowboys (-3.5) at Giants
Analysis: Dallas travels to New York as 3.5 point favorites with high expectations surrounding the team this season. The additions of WR Brandin Cooks and CB Stephon Gilmore should help solidify their roster, so now the pressure falls on the offense as Head Coach Mike McCarthy takes over play calling this season. The Giants in Week 1 will be a good first test.
The Giants turned things around in a major way last season, and now look for TE Darren Waller to help elevate the offense even further. If the offense can take the necessary steps, then the Giants could cover the spread and potentially win this one at home.
Writer’s Pick: Cowboys -3.5
Both of these squads made playoffs last season, but the Cowboys seem to be a level above this Giants team. Expect them to control this game and cover as a result.
Bills (-1.5) at Jets
Analysis: The big story surrounding the Jets is the arrival of new QB Aaron Rodgers, with the hope he will help elevate the offense to the next level after the struggles they endured last season. The defensive identity of this team is already established, so a good offensive game could help the Jets upset this Bills team and potentially win the AFC East.
The Bills are favored in this game, headlined by the dynamic duo of QB Josh Allen and WR Stefon Diggs. However, the team will be under a new defensive playcaller as former DC Leslie Frazier is taking a year off. They’ll need to play at a high level to cover the 1.5 spread they currently are favored by against this Jets squad.
Writer’s Pick: Jets ML
This game could hold plenty of weight for how the division will shake out but expect the Jets to take the first battle of this season in what will be a very exciting Monday Night Football game.
NFL Against the Spread Betting Tips & Strategies
When you are placing your bets this football season, it’s important to do so with proper research and strategy. Ultimately, it’s okay to roll with your opinions, but taking these tips and strategies into your approach can take your betting success to the next level!
1. Sign Up With Multiple Sportsbooks
Creating accounts with various platforms is an often overlooked concept, but it gives you a great opportunity to find the best odds daily, and take advantage of sign up offers that sportsbooks provide to new users. It’s easy to stick to one platform, but keeping your options open is a great way to give yourself the best approach.
2. Find & Utilize Promotional Offers
Both when you register and daily on their site, sportsbooks will constantly run promotions to try to encourage you to bed. Whether it’s first deposit matching or boosted odds, you can take approaches to increase your funds without even needing to hit on bets. It’s a win-win scenario just to give yourself more money to work with when betting.
3. Use the Spread & Moneyline Approach Wisely
Spreads are a convenient way to take advantage of game circumstances and incorrect lines put out by sportsbooks. However, there are also plenty of times that going with a moneyline bet is the better approach. If the line is small, don’t be afraid to try for a moneyline bet on the underdog. Try to have a score in mind before you look at the spread so that you can have a number in mind when making your decision.
Best Sites to Bet Against the Spread On Week 1 Of The 2023 – 2024 NFL Season
Bovada: Bovada has some great odds on their spreads that can favor you if you decide to bet on the favorites in matchups. They also are quick to put out lines and stay up to the minute on live betting if you want to bet on in-game spreads as well. Not to mention Bovada also offers a 50% deposit match for new sign-ups up to $250 using fiat currency or a 75% match up to $750 with Bitcoin using code BTCSWB750. A 5x rollover applies to both bonuses.
MyStake: Looking to bet on the Baltimore Ravens to cover their spread against the Commanders? MyStake has them currently at a -8.5 point spread, the best among our recommended platforms. New users are eligible to receive a 100% deposit match up to $500 with a minimum deposit of $20.
BetOnline: If you are looking to bet on the 49ers/Steelers game, then BetOnline’s spread is perfect for you as the split is 2.5 points. They offer a great sign-on promotion offer to new sign-ups that grants a 50% deposit match up to $1,000, although you’ll have to make a $55 deposit and meet a 10x rollover.
MyBookie: MyBookie is one of the better platforms for finding convenient spreads, as they have plenty of games that are closer than the average platform offers while presenting similar odds. Sign up today and you could be eligible for a 50% deposit match of up to $1,000 with a $50 minimum deposit.
Sportsbetting.ag: Sportsbetting.ag is a great platform for betting on underdogs as they tend to give better odds than other platforms for underdogs to cover. New users who sign up also are eligible for a 50% welcome bonus up to $1,000 using code SB1000, although a $55 minimum deposit and 10x rollover apply.
Guide to NFL Week 1 ATS Betting: Frequently Asked Questions
Heading into the football season, the last thing you want when betting is to have questions that you can’t find the answer to. Here is a selection of potential questions you may have, and some answers to help provide you with some clarity before you head to the sportsbooks to start placing your bets.
Is Betting ATS On the NFL Safe?
Betting on spreads in regard to the NFL is safe. Plenty of NFL betting apps will offer game spreads, so it should be fairly easy to find a platform that will dependably bring in your funds and return them to your account if you win. All bets carry some risk, so be sure to do proper research and evaluation before placing anything.
When Will Week 1 of the NFL Start?
Week 1 of the NFL Regular Season begins September 7th when the Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions on Thursday Night Football.
Kickoff for the game is scheduled for 8:20 PM EST and will be airing on NBC. The Chiefs are favored in the matchup by 6.5 points. Make sure to check our top picks for NFL online betting and stay safe!
Why Should I Bet On Spreads Over Other Options?
You certainly aren’t limited to only betting on spreads when it comes to betting on the NFL, but it is a relatively easier aspect to bet on when it comes to the NFL. Picking a spread grants you a window of accomplishment that can be used to your favor when betting which is always a positive when it plays to your favor.
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Ready to Place Your NFL Week 1 Against the Spread Bets?
The amount of Sundays left without regular season football is dwindling, and if you’re ready to bet, then it’s time to head over to a sportsbook of your choice and start taking a look at the odds and which spreads you’d like to bet on.
If you’re unsure which platform you’d like to choose, we’d advise one of our books listed in the top NFL betting sites paragraph above. Wherever you decide to bet this football season, though, we advise you to do so safely and responsibly!
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