NFL Preseason Week 1: Best Bets for the Weekend

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Quarterback Justin Herbert #10 hands the ball off to running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers. Chris Unger/Getty Images/AFP

The NFL preseason officially kicked off last week with the Hall of Fame Game but now we have a full, long weekend of action.

Below we focus on the odds for Saturday’s slate of games and isolate our three top NFL picks!

Preseason Betting Rules

  • Your handicapping confidence level on these games should be as low as it will be all year because we don’t know who will be playing nor for how long.
  • Whatever your average unit wager is, cut it at least in half, maybe even quarter it because, well, see above.
  • A head coach’s preseason record might be your best insight into these games. Some coaches believe winning exhibition games is important, others don’t care.
  • Don’t base your in-game betting on momentum. Those you see playing in this quarter will unlikely be on the field in the next quarter.
  • If you are losing, don’t manufacture an opinion just to get even. Chasing your losses is never a wise idea and, in the preseason, it can be downright lethal to your bankroll.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Saturday, August 13, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at Acrisure Stadium

Move over Heinz Field and welcome Acrisure Stadium. Catchy, right? A big insurance company out of Michigan decided to pay a bundle for the naming rights when Heinz declined and now the Seahawks will be the first visiting team to christen the joint.

So, what do we know about this one? Well, it’s a new era for sure as the corpse of Ben Roethlisberger’s battered and beaten body finally said no mas and limped away in the offseason.

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We also have two veteran head coaches that have had tremendous staying power in their current positions with Pete Carrol and Mike Tomlin adding to their lengthy tenures in Seattle and Pittsburgh, respectively.

Carroll has an impressive 36-20 preseason ATS record but it’s deceiving. In Weeks 1 and 2 he is 15-13 but in Weeks 3 and 4 he puts the hammer down as evidenced by his 21-7 mark. Tomlin is around .500 against the number in the preseason and 7-6-1 in Week 1.

Seahawks vs. Steelers Betting Pick

I believe the masses are getting a little too worked up over the heir apparent, Kenny Pickett, taking the helm from Big Ben and the legions of Steelers fans are expecting him to work wonders in the first preseason game.

However, the Seahawks need to get their dynamic duo, Geno Smith and Drew Lock, up and ready which actually bodes well for Seattle because both have had NFL experience.

Let’s grab the points and back the Hawks.

NFL Pick: Seahawks +3 (-105) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Seahawks +3 (-105)
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New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans

Saturday, August 13, 2022 - 08:00 PM EDT at NRG Stadium

Before we get into the nuts and bolts, let’s talk about each coach’s preseason Week 1 records.

Dennis Allen, New Orleans’ new head coach taking over for Sean Payton after 16 years in the big chair, was 4-8 against the spread (ATS) during his tenure with the Raiders several years ago. He was also 1-2 ATS in Week 1 of the preseason.

Over on the Saints sidelines, we will see the venerable Lovie Smith commanding the reins of the Houston Texans where he will try to improve upon, or maybe not, his 3-8 ATS preseason Week 1 record.

He returns to the NFL after a four-year stint as head coach of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini.

Saints vs. Texans Betting Pick

If it’s motivation we are seeking, then my bet is on Dennis Allen, taking over for Payton and wanting to prove himself in Cajun Country.

Lovie Smith is simply holding a seat until the team rebuilds and can land a longer-term solution.

I also believe the Saints have more depth than the Texans (who doesn’t?), and will therefore lay the one on the road chalk.

NFL Pick: Saints -1 (-110) at Heritage Sports (visit our Heritage Sports Review)

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Saints -1 (-110)
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Los Angeles Rams vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Saturday, August 13, 2022 - 10:00 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium

A battle between two high-priced roommates will be waged on Saturday night and it should be a fun one to watch.

Of course, we won’t see Matthew Stafford (injured) or any of the household names that litter the locker room of the defending Super Bowl champs but the Bolts won’t be trotting out their ace under center, Justin Herbert, either.

But it does feel like a good spot for the Chargers to get a little street cred here, doesn’t it? After all, they are playing in the same sandbox as the Super Bowl champs yet lack the necessary cachet to grab top billing in the City of Angels.

Rams vs. Chargers Betting Pick

This line has moved from Chargers -2 ½ to -3 ½ which is a significant jump considering it is crossing the magic three.

We’re laying a bad number to be sure but I’ll relent and be a steam-chaser as I believe the Bolts have more depth and experience at the quarterback position and will look to make a statement here.

NFL Pick: Chargers -3 ½ (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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Chargers -3 ½ (-110)
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*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.