Football is right around the corner, and Week 1 of the NFL is sneaking up. Lines have been available on DraftKings Sportsbook for quite a while now, but it’s finally time to put up an article about a month in advance with a few games that’ll be on my Week 1 card.
I actually posted two of these plays to Twitter in late June, and while we’ve seen some movement on them, they are still at a number you can make a play on for now.
Almost all of my football futures and week-to-week plays will be posted in article form, but as always follow along on Twitter, as some will just be posted here — @julianedlow.
MIA -2.5 (-115) — 1.5-units
I’ve been talking up the Dolphins as the second-best team in the AFC East all season, but l’m yet to back Miami in the futures market. A combination of needing to see it to believe it from Tua Tagovailoa along with a tough schedule is going to ultimately prevent me from doing so.
I’ve also been hesitant to fade the Patriots in the futures market, despite talking them down all offseason. All reports out of training camp are that this offense is a mess, but we know Bill Belichick coached teams will improve throughout the season. This feels like an eight or nine win team, so I’m not going to bet a coin toss win total.
That said, I think the perfect way to back Miami and fade New England is simply playing this Week 1 matchup. The Dolphins have a lot to prove, and have played the Pats well over the last few years — a 3-0 record in this matchup for Tua, plus a sweep last season. The Fins have surrounded Tua with the pieces he needs if the success is ever going to come, adding Tyreek Hill opposite Jaylen Waddle, along with bringing in a rock solid offensive line. On the other side of the ball, Miami returns almost all of a very solid defense. Only red flag on this side would be a rookie head coach.
The Patriots in general get off to slower starts in the regular season before finding their stride, and also have a very tough time down in the Miami heat (particularly this early in the season). Throw in all of the aforementioned training camp struggles, and I’m worried about this team in the early going. Poor offensive line play could be the key that turns this game.
Ultimately, I’m siding with Miami to make more plays on both sides of the ball and win this one by at least a field goal.
NO -4.5 (-110) — 2-units
This one was put out on June 25, and has since moved to -5. I’m good with this one up to 5.5, and if it moves past that, then we’re looking at a teaser leg or a piece of a moneyline parlay.
The Saints get both Jameis Winston and Michael Thomas back from serious injuries, and it couldn’t be a better matchup against this soft Atlanta defense. New Orleans scored 55 points in two games against Atlanta last year, and that was without both of these key pieces on the offense. The Saints were in the playoff mix down the stretch last season, and should be right there again this season. A .500-type team like this should have no issue going to Atlanta and beating down on maybe the worst roster in football. A healthy Jameis with Thomas, Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave and deep threats in Tre’Quan Smith and Marquez Callaway is far too much firepower for the Falcons to keep up with ... Not to mention a running back room that still features Alvin Kamara.
The Saints also probably have a top 5-10 defense in the NFL, giving us another advantage over this mix-and-match Atlanta offense. While the Falcons have used top-10 picks on nice offensive weapons in the last two drafts (Kyle Pitts and Drake London), Marcus Mariota still has to get them the ball. The running game is near non-existent, and while Mariota can use his legs, that’s not going to be enough to keep the Falcons in games. The trickledown effect of Atlanta using those high picks on offensive players is that this dreadful defense still remains without help.
The Falcons should be a terrific fade this season, and we should see them become much larger dogs as the season progresses. Let’s take advantage of that early.
DEN -4 (-110) — 2-units
I also put this one out on June 25, and it moved a half-point since then. Like the Saints, I’m cool playing this one to 5.5 before considering it for teasers or moneyline parlays.
This is probably one of the more public plays for Week 1, backing a much better Denver roster that feature Russell Wilson beginning his career as a Bronco in his former home of Seattle. But these are two teams headed in completely different directions, and we should see that play out on the field. Denver has always featured a pretty strong defense, and should continue to. The defense will have the pleasure of facing whoever wins an ugly QB battle between Drew Lock and Geno Smith. Either way, the massive falloff at QB is something I’m looking to fade, regardless of having some good pass-catchers on the roster.
Meanwhile, Denver finally gets a chance to show what it can be with an elite QB at the helm. This is one of those teams that’s been saying it’s a QB away from contending since Peyton Manning retired. Now they have a chance to show it, and in a primetime game (MNF) with a revenge narrative going for Wilson, I don’t expect Seattle to be able to hang.
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All views expressed are my own. I am an employee of DraftKings and am ineligible to play in public DFS or DKSB contests.
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