NFL Week 1 Betting Tips: Jaguars and Bears to start season strong

By Tom Collins

Latest NFL Odds

10 September 2023

After an excruciatingly long 210-day wait, American Football returned to our television screens on Thursday night with the Lions defeating the Chiefs in a fantastic season-opening fixture.

About time too!

An intense pre-season featuring team cuts, big-money trades, player holdouts and coaching switches is about to come to an abrupt halt as the ultimate goal of the Super Bowl moves into vision.

There are more questions than answers leading into the first week of the regular season, so tentative punting is advised. With that in mind, here is my idea of a good-looking treble this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) @ Indianapolis Colts (+4.5)

Kick-off: 6pm Sunday BST

The Jacksonville Jaguars began last season with a 2-6 record after eight games but quickly turned their year around by winning seven of their last nine encounters, which earned them an unlikely place in the postseason. 

Trevor Lawrence grew into a real leader and led a high-powered offence that featured running back Travis Etienne, receiver Christian Kirk and tight end Evan Engram, who all made huge plays in decisive moments. The Jaguars organisation knew they had to keep that quartet to ensure future success and they have succeeded.

After winning all three pre-season games, Doug Peterson’s team will have a lot of optimism ahead of this campaign and I fancy them to cover the spread against the Colts in week 1 despite playing on the road. Don’t forget, they were leading 27-26 with 15 seconds to play in this exact match-up last year before conceding a late touchdown. They are after revenge.

The Indianapolis Colts have a new-look offence that is headed by rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who has the physical numbers to excel in the NFL but remains a raw prospect rather than a ripe and ready playmaker. Couple that with star player Jonathan Taylor’s absence and a lack of depth at wide receiver and they could struggle to put up points in the early part of the campaign.

Prediction: Jaguars -4.5 @ 10/11

Green Bay Packers (+1) @ Chicago Bears (-1)

Kick-off: 9.25pm Sunday BST

This section was not easy to write as a Packers fan, but loyalty and bias should rarely enter the equation when it comes to betting. 

All the headlines this off-season have revolved around long-term signal caller Aaron Rodgers’ move to the New York Jets, where he has joined former Cheeseheads Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard. The absence of such integral players has left a huge hole in Green Bay and, although there is a group of young playmakers who appear ready to make their mark, it’s seldom that straightforward in a transitional period.

Free agency was far kinder to the Chicago Bears, who picked up receiver DJ Moore to bolster their young and improving offence. Expect quarterback Justin Fields to be effective on the ground and through the air this season, while their defence will prove stingy and stubborn as always.

This match-up figures to go the way of the home side despite their poor record against the Packers in recent years - since 2010, the Bears have won just four of the 27 match-ups against Green Bay. That drought might end now Rodgers isn’t around to ‘own’ them once more.

Prediction: Bears -1.5 @ 10/11

Miami Dolphins (+3) @ Los Angeles Chargers (-3)

Kick-off: 9.25pm Sunday BST

Both of these teams have the offensive firepower to rack up a large amount of points, so the neutrals among us will be anticipating a high-scoring and extremely entertaining affair on Sunday evening. 

The Dolphins ranked sixth in total yards per game last year even though Tua Tagovailoa started just 13 regular season matches and Jaylen Waddle struggled with injuries throughout. It was a similar story for the Chargers as Justin Herbert led his offence to ninth in that category despite playing with a fractured rib cartilage from late September onwards. His receiving corps spent most of the year in the physio room, too.

Healthier and stronger this season, these offences can turn on the style at SoFi Stadium and comfortably hit the over in the ‘total points’ market.

Prediction: Over 51 total points @ 10/11

NFL Week 1 Tips

Jaguars @ Colts: Back the Jaguars -4.5 @ 10/11
Packers @ Bears: Back the Bears -1.5 @ 10/11

Dolphins @ Chargers: Back Over 51 total points @ 10/11
Back the above in a treble @ 5/1

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