NFL Preseason Week 1 Best Bets: Spread, Moneyline, and Over/Under Picks

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published August 10, 2023
17 min read

After six long months, the NFL is finally set to resume its full operations with Week 1 of the 2023 preseason.

There will be 16 matchups with every team across the league in action, including the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC’s top squad, the Philadelphia Eagles.

Whether you’ve got your eye on the top rookies in the recent draft, stars on the move, or are just happy to be immersed in NFL action, we’ve got you covered with our best spread, moneyline, and over/under bets and picks for every Week 1 preseason matchup. Here we go.

Note: Coaches may make lineup adjustments all the way up to kick-off. Check to see the statuses of each lineup before placing bets.

*Odds from FanDuel sportsbook current as of 8/10/23. See other NFL Betting Sites for more betting opportunities.

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NFL Preseason Week 1 Picks Odds

Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots

For the full action with predictions and betting odds have a look at our Texans vs Patriots game preview.

Spread: Texans -2.5 (-115), Patriots +2.5 (-105)

Moneyline: Texans (-140), Patriots (+130)

Total: Over 38.5 (-110), Under 38.5 (-110)

🔥 Our pick: Texans’ Moneyline (-140) at FanDuel

In a time in the NFL where starters appear in fewer and fewer preseason games, the expectation is that the Texans and Patriots will ride with their first-stringers for at least a couple of series. Both teams have quarterback competitions, the Texans between Davis Mills and second-overall pick C.J. Stroud, and the Patriots between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe.

Neither team has any special playmakers and are especially thin at the receiver position. The Pats’ defense is significantly better than the Texans’, but new head coach DeMeco Ryans will have his group motivated and ready to play even if it is only the first week of the preseason.

Whoever gets the second-team reps of Mills or Stroud (likely the former) can do damage against the Patriots’ backups. Zappe showed promise by going 2-0 as a starter but is more of a question mark despite Mills’ terrible record. Our favorite pick is the Texans because of that confidence at QB and also because the players are more actively involved in competitions to make the team.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Seattle Seahawks

Spread: Vikings +4.5 (-110), Seahawks -4.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Vikings (+165), Seahawks (-195)

Total: Over 35.5 (-110), Under 35.5 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Vikings +4.5 (-110)

 The Seahawks were one of the surprise teams of the league last year, while the Vikings went 13-4 despite having a negative point differential and lost in the first round of the playoffs. Many fans and experts have penned the Seahawks as dark horse contenders for the NFC Championship in what looks like a wide-open conference outside of the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers, whereas the Vikings are flying under the radar.

Both teams demonstrated the ability to flourish as a pass-first offense and have great weapons on the outside but concerns in the backfield. They both also struggled on defense but made several moves during the offseason to remedy them, the Seahawks by signing Bobby Wagner and drafting corner Devon Witherspoon, and the Vikings most notably by hiring defensive coordinator Brian Flores.

Coaches rarely open up the playbook during the preseason, but Flores’ defense has reportedly caused tons of issues for the offense during practices. Second-string QB Drew Lock will likely have to deal with that pressure for the majority of the Seahawks’ offensive reps, but he has lots of starting experience under his belt. We give Seattle a slight edge here but not enough to justify the 4.5-point spread.

Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Spread: Packers -4.5 (-110), Bengals +4.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Packers (-200), Bengals (+170)

Total: Over 35.5 (-110), Under 35.5 (-110) 

🔥 Our Pick: Under 35.5 points (-110)

The Bengals’ season outlook completely changed when Joe Burrow pulled up lame during a scramble in the middle of practice last week. There is skepticism that he will be available for the opener, and Offensive Player of the Year favorite Ja’Marr Chase said that he hopes Burrow sits for the first month of the season. 

With Burrow likely sidelined by his injury (and surely for this matchup), Trevor Siemian will become the fill-in first-team starter. Siemian has never had a QBR of 50 (which is considered average) and has a career completion percentage of just 58.9%. On the other side, Jordan Love has no starting experience aside from one game in 2021, and his backup, Sean Clifford, is a rookie.

The Bengals’ defense ranked top five in points allowed last year, and the Packers’ has lots of talent. We believe that poor quarterback play and inexperience at the position will lead this game to finish under the prescribed 35.5 points, making it our best play for the game.

New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions

Spread: Giants -3 (-110), Lions +3 (-110)

Moneyline: Giants (-160), Lions (+135)

Total:Over 36.5 (-110), Under 36.5 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Giants -3 at FanDuel

The Giants and Lions are both coming off of productive seasons. The Giants’ struggled against the NFC (4-7-1) but made it to the playoffs and beat the Vikings in the Wild Card, while the Lions were stopped a game short of postseason qualification. 

With Jared Goff likely getting the night off, Nate Sudfield should see a lot of time under center for Detroit with rookie Hendon Hooker being unavailable (and Teddy Bridgewater getting a light workload). The G-Men will probably give a lot of snaps to Tyrod Taylor and Tommy DeVito and will also hold marquee offseason signing Darren Waller out of action. 

With all of the hype surrounding the Lions and the expected regression of the Giants, the latter should still have better quarterback play. They also have young defensive players that should see a fair amount of snaps and will help them ultimately win the game. Because the spread is only three points and does not exceed any critical numbers, we like them at -3 (and because they will refund, not lose bettors’ money if they get a push).

Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins

Spread: Falcons -2.5 (-110), Dolphins +2.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Falcon (-135), Dolphins (+115)

Total: Over 36 (-110), Under 36 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Dolphins Moneyline (+115) at FanDuel

The Dolphins had an impressive 2022 campaign despite only finishing 9-8. They made the playoffs and were an even better team than their record suggests but were forced to play with several backups, including during their Wild Card matchup on the road against the Buffalo Bills. 

Although the lesser quarterback play hindered them, it gives them a major advantage in this spot. Skyler Thompson played in the playoff game and has much more experience than a typical rookie under his belt, and newcomer Mike White demonstrated his ability as a downfield playmaker with the Jets. Taylor Heinicke on the other side is a great backup option, but Logan Woodside has thrown just one pass in his professional career.

The Falcons rebuilt their defense in the offseason but still aren’t a truly deep team. We believe the Dolphins are not only more talented but have the advantage at quarterback and offer comparable, if not better depth than the Falcons do.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

For more predictions, picks, and odds see our in-depth preview of Steelers vs Bucs

Spread: Steelers -1.5 (-110), Buccaneers +1.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Steelers (-120), Buccaneers (+100)

Total: Over 39.5 (-110), Under 39.5 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Steelers Spread (-120)

The Steelers and Buccaneers both have solid offensive lines and wide playmakers. They also have talented defenses, though we like the Steelers’ more (as noted in our defensive rankings power index). We also think the hard-nosed style Mike Tomlin preaches will be more effective than the Bucs’ desperate attempts to avoid another mediocre season.

Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph should see most of the backup snaps, though rookie Tanner Morgan could also sneak on the field. Either way, we have more confidence in that trio than we do the Bucs’ options, which consist of Baker Mayfield, Kyle Trask, and John Wolford.

We feel comfortable going with both the under and the Steelers’ spread in this spot, but we are more confident in the latter. Most of the Bucs’ key players are too old and/or experienced to see many, if any, snaps in this game, which paves the path for Pittsburgh’s dominance. 

Washington Commanders vs. Cleveland Browns

Spread: Commanders +3 (-110), Browns -3 (-110)

Moneyline: Commanders (+130), Browns (-155)

Total:Over 38.5 (-115), Under 38.5 (-105)

🔥 Our Pick: Browns Moneyline (-115) at FanDuel

The Browns used a late comeback to win the Hall of Fame Game over the Jets last week 21-16. Dorian Thompson-Robinson was especially impressive as he racked up 82 yards and a touchdown through the air on 8/11 passing to go with 36 rushing yards on six attempts.

The Commanders will look to match Thompson-Robinson and the others mostly with Jacoby Brissett and Jake Fromm as Sam Howell takes the first-team reps. The Browns’ second-string wideouts are speedy and could create problems for Wahsington’s backup defenders.

Washington has young talent but is not overly deep—not that the Browns are, but they are a bit more of a proven commodity since they already played. There are also concerns that Eric Bieniemy has not gelled with his offense just yet, and we believe the Browns will come out with another W.

Denver Broncos vs. Arizona Cardinals

See our full match preview of Broncos vs Cardinals for more predictions.

Spread: Broncos -5.5 (-110), Cardinals +5.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Broncos (-240), Cardinals (+200)

Total: Over 37.5 (-110), Under 37.5 (-110) 

🔥 Our Pick: Broncos Moneyline (-240) at FanDuel

We’ve repeatedly mentioned quarterbacks throughout these previews—that’s because the quarterback has the greatest influence on the game because they (and the center) touch the ball on every snap. Although having the best QB does not completely determine the final result, it is a strong indicator.

What the Broncos and Cardinals offer in a quarterback comparison is, well, not great. The Broncos will back up Russell Wilson (who has been confirmed as the game-time starter) with Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, while the Cardinals will spell the injured Kyler Murray with Colt McCoy, Clayton Tune, and David Blough. To make it worse, there’s a decent chance McCoy is limited or held out because he is the team’s Week 1 starter due to Murray’s injury.

The Broncos have a much more talented and deeper roster than the Cardinals, and their head coaching situation is much more of a guarantee. 5.5 points is one of the largest lines of opening weekend, but we believe that Denver has the advantage in nearly every department and will win this matchup by at least a touchdown.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills

Spread: Colts -5 (-115), Bills +5 (-105)

Moneyline: Colts (-210), Bills (+175)

Total: Over 39.5 (-110), Under 39.5 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Bills +5 (-105) at FanDuel.

The Bills will spend a lot of time with Kyle Allen and Matt Barkley on the field, the pair of which is nothing amazing but is experienced with a base level of talent. The Colts will play a combination of Anthony Richardson, Gardner Minshew, and Sam Ehlinger, which offers much more instability.

Richardson in particular was a question mark during the summer draft because of concerns that he cannot command the pocket. He will have been told by his head coach not to run the ball and instead to test his arm, which could cause him to struggle. Minshew has been up and down throughout his career, but Ehlinger has not impressed during his time on the field.

The Bills’ defense is one of the 10 best in the league and has real depth. The Colts are especially thin in the secondary and will likely be exposed at different points throughout the game. This line feels disingenuous, and we can see a world in the Bills win, but our safest pick is the Bills +5.

Tennessee Titans vs. Chicago Bears

Spread: Titans +3 (-105), Bears -3 (-115)

Moneyline: Titans (+150), Bears (-175)

Total: Over 37 (-110), Under 37 (-110)

🔥 Our pick: Titans Moneyline (+150) at FanDuel

We believe the Bears are a better team than the Titans, just like the spread suggests, but we don’t like them in this spot. A lot of that comes down to the style of game this figures to be and the disruption that will cause the Bears’ offense. Allow us to explain…

Justin Fields is such a unicorn of a player with his size, elite speed, and ability to air out the football. The Bears’ backups (PJ Walker and Nathan Peterman) do not possess the same traits and will either operate entirely different playbooks from what the team has practiced or will be forced into schemes and combinations they are uncomfortable with.

The Titans also have a couple of high draft picks in Will Levis and Malik Willis waiting to fill in for Ryan Tannehill, plus a strong run defense and a great head coach in Mike Vrabel. This looks and feels like a great opportunity to get an underdog for plus-money without taking a massive risk.

New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers

Spread: Jets +3.5 (-110), Panthers -3.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Jets (+150), Panthers (-175)

Total:Over 37.5 (-110), Under 37.5 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Over 37.5 points (-110)

The Panthers are entering a new dawn with first-overall pick Bryce Young under center and coach Frank Reich at the controls. They start their preseason against a New York Jets team that lost but showed impressive depth in the Hall of Fame Game against the Browns last weekend.

One of the largest upgrades the Panthers made this offseason was to their depth. They added a number of veterans all across the roster to blend with young, developing talents such as Brian Burns and Jaycee Horn. They also have a veteran backup QB in Andy Dalton that can be a steadying force if needed.

The Jets’ starting defense will be good, but the backups weren’t overly impressive last week and got torched by Dorian Thompson-Robinson. We expect Zach Wilson and company to find a decent level of success, just like we expect the Panthers’ offense to put points on the board. Therefore, our favorite play here is on the over.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys

Spread: Jaguars -4 (-110), Cowboys +4 (-110)

Moneyline: Jaguars (-180), Cowboys (+155)

Total: Over 37 (-110), Under 37 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Cowboys Moneyline (+155)

While we are extremely high on the Jaguars in the regular season (and we also like the Cowboys), we don’t like this spread. The Cowboys’ backup QB selection of Cooper Rush and Will Grier is better than the Jags’ of C.J. Beathard and Nathan Rourke, and they also have a deeper defense.

Second and third-stringers such as Mazi Smith, Dante Fowler Jr., and Malik Hooker are all bonafide NFL players, whereas many of the Jags’ backups are still playing for a roster spot. That should motivate them to play better, but we believe there is more talent on Dallas’ side of the football.

The Cowboys also have interesting offensive options with 5-foot-5 Deuce Vaughn, Jalen Tolbert, and several others. We like the Cowboys not only to cover the spread here but to win outright for positive odds.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens

Spread: Eagles +6 (-110), Ravens -6 (-110)

Moneyline: Eagles (+210), Ravens (-250)

Total: Over 35.5 (-110), Under 35.5 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: Ravens +6 (-110)

This matchup is tough to predict. The Eagles made it to the Super Bowl last year and are neck and neck with the San Francisco 49ers as the best team in the NFC, while the Ravens are a sleeper Super Bowl threat and a real AFC North contender.

The Eagles’ defense is deeper than the Ravens and is coming off of a year in which it was only two sacks of the all-time NFL record of 72 in a regular season. However, the Ravens’ offense has more playmakers in the second and third units in the likes of Gus Edwards, Nelson Agholor, Devin Duvernay, and others.

Marcus Mariota should give the Eagles good reps, but the continuity in play style between Tyler Huntley, Josh Johnson, and Anthony Brown (and their ability to operate Lamar Jackson’s playbook) should give the Ravens enough to cover the spread. 

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Los Angeles Rams

Spread: Chargers +3 (-110), Rams -3 (-110)

Moneyline: Chargers (+130), Rams (-150)

Total: Over 33.5 (-115), Under 33.5 (-105)

🔥 Our Pick: Rams Moneyline (-150)

Rams coach Sean McVay practically pioneered the approach of playing his starters zero snaps in the preseason, so we aren’t expecting to see much of his big-name players. However, Stetson Bennett won two national championships at Georgia and has proven that he can be a decent system quarterback, which could work well in a game in which he will mostly face backups.

The Chargers know their franchise’s hopes rest in the hands of QB Justin Herbert and won’t put him in harm's way this early. Easton Stick shouldn’t offer much, but Heisman candidate Max Duggan might have something to offer as a dual-threat playmaker.

Neither defense is particularly amazing in the second, third, and fourth string, so we’re going to stick with the Rams in the hopes that Bennett silences his critics and gets some early points on the board.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New Orleans Saints

Spread: Chiefs +3 (+100), Saints -3 (-120)

Moneyline: Chiefs (+145), Saints (-170)

Total: Over 37.5 (-105), Under 37.5 (-115)

🔥 Our Pick: Chiefs spread +3 (+100) at FanDuel

Andy Reid confirmed that Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ other starters will play the first quarter of their preseason opener. No matter if the Saints match with Derek Carr and the rest of their first-stringers, the Chiefs should be up early, which puts them in a comfortable position as spread underdogs.

The Chiefs don’t have many top-end names aside from Mahomes, Chirs Jones, and Travis Kelce, but they have lots of young developing players that could make an impact in the preseason. Wide receiver Justyn Ross in particular has made waves this offseason and could be one to watch.

The Saints should be a winning team this season, but the fact that they are likely to start down by a touchdown or more because of the Chiefs’ firepower means that we cannot justify taking them at -3. The Chiefs’ moneyline is in play, but we’ll stick to Chiefs +3 for the extra safety.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Spread: 49ers -4 (-110), Raiders +4 (-110)

Moneyline: 49ers (-180), Raiders (+155)

Total: Over 35.5 (-110), Under 35.5 (-110)

🔥 Our Pick: 49ers spread -4(-110) at FanDuel

The 49ers have not needed a dominant quarterback to thrive in the regular season over the past half-decade during the Kyle Shanahan era. The Niners’ head coach has also been complimentary of Sam Darnold, and the team spent three first-round picks to move up and grab Trey Lance two summers ago, so they should be set against the Raiders’ QB selection of Brian Horyer, Aidan O’Connell, and Chase Garbers.

The Raiders are also a far more incomplete team than the 49ers are. They were awful defending against the pass last season and did not make many major upgrades to their starting lineup or reserves, plus the Niners are one of the deepest teams in the league.

Even with the starters taking the day off of coming out early, we see this being a lopsided win for San Fran. We’ll take them at -4 and would even push that on an alternate spread up to six points.

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Grant Mitchell

Sports Betting Analyst & On-Air Host

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Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field. In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.
Nationality: American
Education: Bachelor in Sports Media and Analytics
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