NFL Preseason Week 1 best bets: Weekend action
It's the preseason for everyone. The idea is to get some early reps, don't extend yourself, and don't get hurt. This applies to both players on the field and bettors in the sportsbook. With three weeks of tuneups on the schedule, we'll proceed with extreme caution while we stretch ourselves out. Remember, these games don't count, but the bets definitely do.
There are nine dress rehearsals from early afternoon Saturday until Sunday night. With point spread bets, moneyline underdogs, totals, and teasers in hand, it's time to practice for your own version of the NFL grind.
Best spread bet
Chiefs (+3.5) over Bears
Patrick Mahomes won't be breaking a sweat, but Andy Reid still will. Because of that, and with six decent running back options, Chad Henne can put together a touchdown drive or two. That might be more than we can say for anyone on the Bears against the Chiefs' starters.
With 11 rookies on Kansas City's defensive depth chart, you can bet they'll get every opportunity to stop whatever Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman can muster offensively after Justin Fields departs. The Bears' motivation to win is reflected in the line, but they won't do it by this margin.
Steelers (-3) over Seahawks
Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Mason Rudolph. Those names won't get anyone excited about the Steelers' playoff chances, but that's not a bad trio for a preseason game.
The Seahawks will have Drew Lock, Geno Smith, and Jacob Eason running the preseason offense. They'll do so with minimal surrounding talent for most of the game and a conservative plan, even by Pete Carroll's standards.
Underdog moneyline bet
Panthers (+130) over Commanders
Expect Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold to play a lot before Matt Corral comes in and does Matt Corral things - scrambling and creating explosive plays - against a vanilla defense.
Although this moneyline price is due to the regular-season power ratings, Ron Rivera knows he doesn't need a win. However, Matt Rhule could use any available good vibes as he's the favorite to be the first coach fired. We'll take the plus-money in a coin-flip game.
Best total bet
Rams / Chargers over 30.0
Even if neither Matthew Stafford nor Justin Herbert sees a snap, backups John Wolford and Chase Daniel can run enough of an offense to collectively clear 30 points. But if that fails, Easton Stick - a veteran of the Chargers' system - and the athletic Bryce Perkins can put up late points to bail us out on the over.
Best teaser legs
Colts +7.5 / Cowboys +8.5 (-120)
Like we did for the Thursday-Friday contests, we'll keep it simple in the teaser game. The Colts and Bills are lined for just 34 points, while Cowboys-Broncos is supposed to be 50/50 to clear 31. With every point hard to come by, and the games' point spreads a coin flip, why not tease the Colts and Cowboys up over a touchdown and let the chips fall where they may?
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.
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