This week we’ll be looking into all of our NFL picks for Week 1. Today we’re covering three especially interesting matchups:
- Raiders vs. Chargers
- Giants vs. Titans
- 49ers vs. Bears
Let’s look at the NFL odds and what picks you should make!
Raiders vs. Chargers was an overtime thriller to end last season and should be the first of many outstanding matchups in a loaded AFC West this season.
The Titans were the AFC’s No. 1 seed last year but will have to find a way to bounce back from another disappointing home playoff loss. The Giants made an excellent hire in head coach Brian Daboll, but he has to fix quarterback Daniel Jones this year.
The 49ers-Bears is a vintage NFC matchup and the first between second-year quarterbacks Trey Lance and Justin Fields. While Fields has more experience, Lance has the higher potential and better team around him.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium
When the Las Vegas Raiders Have the Ball
Few matchups are more interesting this week than Josh McDaniels’ new Vegas offense against a revamped Los Angeles defense.
When McDaniels can line up Davante Adams anywhere on the field, ask Hunter Renfrow to dominate the slot like he’s 2007-12 Wes Welker, and exploit the deep middle with tight end Darren Waller, you are looking at the best receiving trio in the NFL right now.
Quarterback Derek Carr should have everything he needs to have his best year after he arguably did so last year. But the Chargers have been a tough opponent for him as he is 8-8 with just one 300-yard passing game in 16 tries. Carr has not broken 200 passing yards in four straight meetings with the Chargers, and this defense expects to be better after adding Khalil Mack to the team with Joey Bosa in the pass rush and J.C. Jackson to team with Derwin James in the secondary.
But this is a new ballgame for Carr and the first time we see him in McDaniels’ offense. The Chargers also have to show they can stop the run after getting gashed last year by most opponents.
When the Los Angeles Chargers Have the Ball
All eyes will be on Justin Herbert, one of the top candidates in the MVP race this year. He is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw at least 30 touchdown passes in each of his first two seasons. He comes back with a decent offensive line and his familiar cast of weapons in Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Joshua Palmer.
Herbert threw 30 incompletions when these teams last met in a de facto playoff game in Week 18, but he helped the Chargers convert six times on fourth down to force that game into overtime. He has 10 touchdowns to one interception in four games against the rival Raiders with a 2-2 record. Three of the four games were decided by five or fewer points.
But the Raiders should be a bit better on defense this season after adding Chandler Jones, one of the best in the game at converting his pressures into a high number of sacks. Teaming him with Maxx Crosby is a great move by the Raiders.
The problem is the secondary might be the weakest key position group in this matchup, which is something Herbert can exploit with some of the best deep balls in the league. Rock Ya-Sin was acquired in a trade with the Colts, but he will have his work cut out for him no matter if he guards Williams or Allen. Ekeler is also such a dominant back in the receiving game.
These games are usually close, so the spread is only 3 points with the Chargers favored at home. But for as much as I like the Chargers to win the opener, there is more value in the total, set at 52 points.
Despite Carr’s recent pedestrian passing numbers against the Chargers, three of the four meetings with Herbert since 2020 did hit at least 57 total points.
In Herbert’s career, the Chargers have allowed at least 27 points in a whopping 59.4% of his starts.
While that number should come down this year and both defenses should be improved, these offenses should shine in Week 1 and I would expect the over to hit in another 30-27 type of game.
New York Giants vs. Tennessee Titans
Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 04:25 PM EDT at Nissan Stadium
When the New York Giants Have the Ball
I hesitate to call this a boom-or-bust season for Daniel Jones in New York, but that is basically the situation he finds himself in going into his fourth season. If he busts under Brian Daboll, then he is going to be gone next year. But I don’t so much see a boom a la 2020 Josh Allen as I just see a guy who will be average after being below average for three years.
Allen worked a lot on his mechanics in 2020 to get better. Daboll can only call so much play-action and designed runs. Jones has to take the next steps himself, and it’s not like he has a Stefon Diggs coming to save the day. But for as disappointing as Kenny Golladay was last year, maybe the Giants can just throw more to Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney this year.
The Titans were dealt a blow last week when they placed top pass-rusher Harold Landry on injured reserve. He will be out for likely the season with a torn ACL. With the way Jones fumbles the ball, that is a big loss in this matchup.
When the Tennessee Titans Have the Ball
The Titans are going to look a bit different this year with wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones being replaced by Robert Woods and first-round rookie Treylon Burks. We know this team loves the idea of running Derrick Henry nearly 30 times a game, but Brown is a big loss for Ryan Tannehill, who is coming off another bad playoff game with three interceptions.
Giving Tannehill Woods to throw to is more akin to giving him Jarvis Landry in Miami than it is a legit No. 1 wideout. It is hard to see the Titans sustaining their usual offensive efficiency, but the Giants still have a lot to prove on defense too.
Top pick Kayvon Thibodeaux should develop into a strong pass rusher, but we’ll see if he can get anything accomplished in his debut after an injury scare this preseason.
The Titans are a 5.5-point home favorite with a total of 43.5 points. Similar to Raiders-Chargers, I am skeptical about many of the spreads this week because of the high level of uncertainty we have for these teams to start the season. I look more at how things have changed philosophically, and that is where I think the over has value again.
The Giants should not be the laughingstock on offense that they have been since 2016. This may not be a great matchup for them on the road against a physical defense, but the Giants scoring 20-to-24 points is not unreasonable.
The Titans also should be able to have success with a fresh Henry in Week 1 and Woods’ debut. I could see a 27-21 kind of game where the over hits.
NFL Pick: Over 43.5 (-110) at Bovada
San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears
Sunday, September 11, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Soldier Field
When the San Francisco 49ers Have the Ball
Trey Lance is really the wild card of this NFL season as he takes over for Jimmy Garoppolo on a talented roster that reached the NFC Championship for the second time in three years.
Lance has all the tools that Justin Fields has and perhaps more as he went higher in the 2021 draft. He also gets the benefits of Kyle Shanahan’s system and some of the best weapons in the game with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle.
It's also Week 1 so we know those guys are healthy, fortunately. Meanwhile, the Bears have a new head coach in Matt Eberflus, who never had elite results in four years as the Colts’ defensive coordinator. He also is unlikely to blitz Lance much in this matchup. The Bears lost Khalil Mack and Akiem Hicks up front.
Samuel had 171 receiving yards when these teams met last season with an 83-yard catch included. Elijah Mitchell rushed for 137 yards and a touchdown in a big 467-yard day for the offense.
Things will look different with Lance compared to Garoppolo, but the offense should be fine in this matchup. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is also 3-0 ATS as a road favorite of 6-to-7 points. The average NFL cover rate in that spot since 2017 is 54.9%.
When the Chicago Bears Have the Ball
The Bears have some element of surprise since we are not sure what the offense will look like under a new coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Luke Getsy, who came over from the Packers.
Justin Fields had a good preseason finale, but we know how unreliable that is for the real games. But the weapons around him are still not impressive, and he is going up against one of the best front sevens.
On the plus side, Fields faced this team last October and did not crumble. In fact, it was one of Fields’ best games as a rookie since it was the only one where he completed 70% of his passes, and it was his only 100-yard rushing performance with 10 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown. He took four sacks on the day.
Fields may be improved this year, but it is hard to feel good about the team around him in what should be a tough opening matchup to the season.
The 49ers are a 7-point road favorite with a low total of 41.5 points. This feels like a good spot to go bold and parlay the 49ers covering, with the over hitting (+264 at Bovada).
It was a 33-22 game when these teams met last October. That feels unlikely to repeat, but a 27-17 win by the 49ers sure makes sense to me. You can have reservations about Lance’s ability to go the distance in his first year as a starter while also acknowledging that the 49ers are a much better team than the Bears right now.
San Francisco tended to clean up in these games last year, beating the Jaguars 30-10, the Lions 41-33 (led by 24 points late), the Falcons 31-13, and the Texans 23-7 with Lance starting. I will take the 49ers and the over here to start 2022.
- 49ers -7 (-110)
- Over 41.5 (-110)
NFL Pick: Two-Legged Parlay (+264) at Bovada
*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.