Eric's favorite Week 1 bet is Raiders +3.5 vs. Chargers: there's no better time to ride the Raiders, fade the Bolts.
Ben's favorite future is Cardinals OVER 8.5 wins because after that Rams disaster Thursday, apparently Arizona primed to stay in NFC West mix all season.
Estimated reading time: 4 min
Welcome to the first weekly edition of PFF betting banter, our newest series sharing some of our favorite bets and the processes behind them each week. In this space we'll also discuss general betting strategies and philosophies, buzz from around the industry and hopefully even some non-football stuff from time to time.
Kicking off the chatter in Week 1 are PFF R&D boss Eric Eager and lead Betting and Data analyst Ben Brown.
Q: Favorite Week 1 bet?
Eric: Las Vegas Raiders +3.5 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
You're never going to get the Raiders at a better time than now, and you may never get to fade the Chargers at a better time than now.
Ben: Tom Brady OVER 2.5 passing TDs (+160 at BetMGM)
The spread continues to drift in the Buccaneers' direction against a banged-up Dallas team. The only concern is if Tampa were to run away with this matchup, but Dallas should be able to put up enough points to force Brady to throw for four quarters. If he does, the over at a +160 price is too enticing to bypass in Week 1.
Q. Sweatiest bet of Week 1?
Eric: OVER 47 in Packers-Vikings
This game hinges on how well the Packers can adjust to their new WR room, but the Vikings should give them enough of an opportunity.
Ben: Jets +7 vs. Ravens
Look, it's the Jets starting Joe Flacco in a rivalry game against the Ravens. PFF Greenline shows quite a bit of value on the Jets +7, and since I am a company man, I'll be sweating this one out profusely on Sunday.
But I am not excited about it.
Q: Favorite future bet?
Eric: Saints' Dennis Allen to win Coach of Year (+3000 DraftKings)
I’m personally of the opinion that Sean Payton’s loss is being underestimated in the market. However, conditioned on the Saints doing well — which is not that much of a long shot given their division and conference — Jameis Winston has the characteristics of a quarterback to support a COY winner, and Allen’s reputation for building and running what will have to be a great Saints defense is going to get him a lot of credit. This is a good bet.
Ben: Cardinals OVER 8.5 wins (-110 DraftKings)
After seeing how disastrous the Rams offensive line looked on Thursday night, I think it’s time to double down on one of my favorite mid-tier futures bets from this offseason. Arizona should stay in contention for the NFC West crown the entire season, and once they get DeAndre Hopkins back in Week 7, the Cardinals could have one of the best passing attacks in the NFC.
Q: Best Week 1 CLV?
Eric: Chiefs -3 at Cardinals
It's the best bet anyone has made this entire offseason, followed by Ravens -4 at Jets. Both of these were written up in our Week 1 lookahead in May.
Ben: Chiefs -3
But almost everything PFF printed in its first look at Week 1 lines is going to finish with closing line value.
Q: Most vexing unsolved betting mystery entering season?
Eric: How well can the Chiefs and Packers adjust to losing their WR1?
Ben: Will the impact of new coaching hires (specifically Kevin O'Connell in Minnesota and the Brian Daboll with the New York Giants) have as big of an impact as people currently project?
Q: Liveliest Week 1 dog?
Ben: The Giants are going to beat the Titans in Week 1 and everyone will be doing victory laps on their offseason.
Q: One piece of advice for new bettors?
Eric: It's a long season. Staying in the game, limiting the size of your bets to what you can afford, is the name of the game.
Ben: Player props and alternate betting markets are the best bets. Don’t spend much of your bankroll betting into stale game spreads and totals.
Q: Top TNF takeaway?
Eric: The Bills are and should be the league's favorite to win the Super Bowl, and Josh Allen is the rightful favorite for MVP.
Ben: The Rams relied on outlier performances at some of the game's most important positions, but if Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald and Cooper Kupp were to take even the smallest steps back, they don’t have enough help behind them to come close to winning the Super Bowl, much less the NFC this season.