Week 1 of the 2020 NFL regular season will offer the same sweats we are accustomed to betting on the over/under; garbage time has an all-new meaning when you bet the under and the over hits with 42 seconds left in an impossible-to-come-back-from deficit. Learn from the PFN betting team’s experiences and bookmark us here — we will continue to offer our readers 100% free content that helps you build your bankroll.
Highest Rated Over/Under Bet: Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams under 52 (-110) for three units
The total of 50+ for this matchup provided mild shock given the lingering concerns I have for both on offense, the confidence I have in their respective defenses, and the pace I expect this game to be played at. My simulations have this over/under at slightly over 45, providing tremendous value.
Do the Rams lack flare on offense?
There are mighty concerns about this Rams offense, in stark contrast to the offensive mastermind legacy Sean McVay built his pedigree on. The qualms are so prevalent that I bet the under on Jared Goff’s season-long passing yardage total.
This offense is a shell of what it was in 2018 when it was prolific, and that Rams team made it to the Super Bowl. No Todd Gurley, and even more importantly, no Brandin Cooks, leave this team with a severe lack of explosiveness. If the Rams can move the ball, it will be by running the ball for small chunks with their RB-by-committee approach or by intermediate routes, as they no longer have a receiver with the explosiveness of Cooks. No big splash plays are key for betting unders.
Will the Cowboys defensive strengths create an ideal matchup?
This Rams offensive approach plays right into the strengths of the Cowboys defense, who have elite players across the defensive line and linebacker positions but are a little lacking in the secondary. Expect this defensive line comprised of Everson Griffen, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dontari Poe, and Tyrone Crawford not to leave many holes to run through.
Aldon Smith and Jaylon Smith are supremely talented and will get after Goff on the edge; middle linebackers Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith lurk to help both the run and pass defense. Ultimately, I think this defensive unit and scheme is in a perfect spot to shut down this Ram’s offense that is lacking in star power and may continue their 2019 offensive regression.
New Cowboys head coach may cause growing pains
On the other side of the ball, it goes without saying that this offense is exceptionally talented. They have a great offensive line as well as a top-three talent at running back in Ezekiel Elliot running behind them. Dak Prescott may not be an elite passer, but he certainly is an elite playmaker. Prescott now has a bevy of receiving options with the addition of first-round pick CeeDee Lamb.
However, they have a new head coach in Mike McCarthy this year, which should cause slight growing pains offensively. With everything this crazy offseason has brought us, I think continuity at the coaching positions will be especially crucial.
Can the elite Rams defense match the Cowboys offensive firepower?
This talented Cowboys offense is going up against an equally-talented Rams defense that features two absolute superstars in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey. I believe Ramsey’s competitive fire, along with Donald’s no-nonsense mentality, will create an outstanding leadership tandem for this defense.
This defense has super talented players that may not be household names. Still, they will make severe impacts on the field in 2020 and particularly in this game. Some names we can expect to make some plays include Michael Brockers, Micah Kiser, Taylor Rapp, and Troy Hill, to name a few. Expect the talented secondary to force the Cowboys to lean on their run game, which still may not have that much success against Aaron Donald and company upfront. This will keep that clock running and furthers my confidence in the under.
Official Play: Under 52 (-110), 3 units
Over/under bets from the rest of the PFN betting team for NFL Week 1
Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings, under 45 | -110 for 1 unit
It’s a good idea to be conservative with totals early in the season since Weeks 1-4 will function as the preseason part of the NFL season. Typically defenses are ahead of the offense, and if that’s the case, these two defenses are superb enough to keep this total under 45. Lots of questions for both offenses, from Aaron Rodgers’ issues with his shoulder and the lack of addition of wide receivers for the Packers, to the loss of Stefon Diggs for the Vikings.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts, over 45 | -110 for 1 unit
Gardner Minshew managed 21 touchdowns against six interceptions, and that was with little preparation to be the starter. Now, with a full offseason under him and still boasting good talent at wide receiver, this Jacksonville offense is better than you think. The Colts believe they upgraded with Philip Rivers and added one of the best running backs in the draft with Jonathan Taylor. This will be the rare game that goes over the total early in the season.
Parlay (Jags/Colts over 45, Lions/Bears under 42.5, Packers/Vikings under 45) | +600 for 1 unit
Lions’ injuries on offense and the presence of Mitchell Trubisky starting for the Bears gives me confidence in the under there. Both the Packers and Vikings will run the ball a lot and both those offensive lines struggle to protect the quarterback. As for Jaguars/Colts my confidence is in Gardner Minshew to produce (if you listened to Fantasy Force this week you would’ve found out that Minshew had more passing touchdowns than Kyler Murray last year) and the Colts stacked running game to give them scoring chances.
Minnesota Vikings under 23.5 points | -110 for two units
The Minnesota Vikings may have scored the eighth-most points in the league in 2019, but they struggled massively against the Green Bay Packers. In the two matchups between these teams, the Vikings scored a total of 26 points. With Green Bay having a strong secondary, and the Vikings passing game being a relative unknown, it will be hard for Minnesota to score points quickly. Look for this to be a low scoring, grind-it-out type game from the Vikings offense.
Other NFL Week 1 over/under plays this week from Ben: Arizona Cardinals over 19.5 total points (-110 for 1 unit)
New England and Miami under 42.5 | -115 for 1 unit
There are a lot of questions surrounding both of these teams. New England is heading into their first season without Tom Brady and with Cam Newton under center. They have had several players opt-out for the season and are somewhat lacking offensive weapons. Miami, on the other hand, has questions regarding the plethora of new faces that they have added either through the draft or free agency.
Miami does have some consistency under center with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting over Tua Tagovailoa, but they haven’t upgraded their offense, which was already ranked 25th in scoring last year. Their most vital position on the field will likely be their secondary, so I don’t see the Patriots being able to put up points here. This one is going to be a low scoring affair, while both teams try to figure out who they want to be this season.
Other NFL Week 1 over/under plays this week from Ryan: San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals, over 47.5 (-115, 1 unit), Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Rams over 51.5 (-117, 1 unit), Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants under 46.5 (-110, 1 unit), Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals over 41.5 (-115, 1 unit)