NFL betting: Saints and Bills are popular early Week 1 bets

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We are still three-and-a-half months away from the start of the NFL season, but that doesn't mean that football has gone away. The NFL released their schedule a little under two weeks ago, and as a result, betting on games could commence. All 16 Week 1 NFL games are currently available to bet on at BetMGM.

While some people might not be ready to bet the NFL just yet, there are certainly others who are chomping at the bit and trying to beat the market before the rest of the football betting world joins in. Which teams are receiving the most early bets for their season opener?

Saints are the most popular bet

Last season, the New Orleans Saints finished last among all 32 NFL teams in passing yards per game. They ranked bottom five in the league in total yards per game as well. They used four different starting quarterbacks. Michael Thomas, their top receiver, didn't play a single snap and starting quarterback Jameis Winston went out for the year in October after tearing his ACL. Despite all of that, they finished the season with a 9-8 record and only missed out on a playoff spot due to a tiebreaker.

There is hope for the Saints on the offensive side of the ball in 2022. Winston should be ready to go for the opener. Thomas, once regarded as the best receiver in football, presumably should be good to go after missing most of the last two seasons. The team added Chris Olave in the first round of the draft and signed consistently productive Jarvis Landry in free agency.

It seems like bettors believe in the Saints as well. Currently, no team has received more bets for Week 1 than New Orleans. As of Tuesday morning, 88% of bets and 89% of the money is backing the Saints to cover as 4-point road favorites against the Atlanta Falcons.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 25: Jameis Winston #2 and Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints react after beating the Seattle Seahawks 13-10 at Lumen Field on October 25, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
The Saints are getting a lot of love as bettors begin to bet on Week 1 NFL games. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

While the Saints might be on the rise, this could also be viewed as a fade of the Falcons. Atlanta looks likely to go into this season with Marcus Mariota as its starting quarterback. As a result of that decision and an overall weak roster, Atlanta's 4.5 projected wins in the 2022 season is tied for the lowest in the league with the Houston Texans. Whether it's support of New Orleans, a fade of Atlanta or a combination of both, bettors are lining up to bet the Saints early.

Bettors like Buffalo in season opener

The NFL season kicks off with a heavyweight matchup on Thursday, Sept. 8, when the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills. The Rams have been installed as slight 1-point home favorites, but bettors are siding with the Buffalo Bills in the early going.

The Bills are a very good football team and a very popular and easy one to root for. That combination has resulted in Buffalo being the current preseason Super Bowl favorite at +650. It has also played a part in Buffalo getting 81% of bets and 91% of the money as a 1-point underdog against the Rams in Week 1.

The Rams are fresh off their Super Bowl win, and they should be a contender to win it again with Sean McVay, Matt Stafford, Cooper Kupp, Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey leading the way. However, the Bills are the public's pick in Week 1 as bettors are siding with Josh Allen and company to get the job done.

Five popular favorites

These five Week 1 favorites are getting over 80% of the early money:

  • Green Bay Packers: The Packers are 1.5-point favorites on the road against the Minnesota Vikings in their season opener. Despite losing their top weapon in Davante Adams, the Packers are getting 83% of bets and 93% of the money to cover the short number on the road. Some people are picking Minnesota as a potential darkhorse in the NFC under first-year coach Kevin O'Connell, but bettors are rolling with last year's No. 1 seed in the conference instead.

  • Denver Broncos: No team has received more money backing them in the early going than the Denver Broncos. Russell Wilson returns to Seattle, and his Broncos are 4.5-point road favorites against his old teammates. Expectations are high for Denver after the acquisition of Wilson, and the opposite is true in Seattle, where a training camp battle between Drew Lock and Geno Smith appears to be on tap. Denver has received 91% of the bets and 93% of the money thus far.

  • Indianapolis Colts: The only team laying more than a touchdown in Week 1 is the Indianapolis Colts, but that's not stopping bettors from backing them. The Colts are 7.5-point favorites in Houston against the Texans, who most project as the worst team in the AFC. Indianapolis acquired Matt Ryan in the offseason, a likely upgrade over Carson Wentz. Currently, 89% of bets are siding with the Colts.

  • Philadelphia Eagles: The offseason hype train is here for the Eagles. They've made big acquisitions in A.J. Brown and James Bradberry and all the pieces around Jalen Hurts are there. Philadelphia is a 3.5-point favorite in Detroit to open its season, and the Eagles are getting 85% of the money backing them to win the game by more than a field goal.

  • Kansas City Chiefs: It's been a hell of an offseason for Kansas City, as every team around them has improved while they lost their most dynamic weapon on offense in Tyreek Hill. Kansas City finally started covering spreads in the second half of last season after an awful run against the number that bridged the end of 2020 and start of 2021. The Chiefs are 3-point favorites in Arizona against the Cardinals, and 80% of bettors like them to cover that number against a team that will be without DeAndre Hopkins.

Five popular underdogs

These teams are not only getting points in Week 1, but they're also getting a lot of love in the betting market.

  • New York Giants: Brian Daboll enters his first season as the Giants coach, and his Giants are a 6.5-point underdog in Week 1 on the road against the Titans. Currently, 86% of bets and 96% of the money is backing the Giants to keep this game close. People appear to be down on the Titans entering this season after they laid an egg in the playoffs last season.

  • Las Vegas Raiders: The Raiders made the playoffs in 2021. They then hired Josh McDaniels as their head coach and traded for Davante Adams. Despite that, the Raiders are 4-point road underdogs against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 1. Bettors are believing in the Raiders though, as 90% of the bets are backing Las Vegas to stay within the number against the improved Chargers.

  • New England Patriots: The Patriots open the season as 3-point underdogs against the Miami Dolphins on the road. Miami has bought in an exciting young coach in Mike McDaniel, as well as weapons to surround Tua Tagovailoa with. They've been one of the more hyped teams over the first part of the offseason. However, it's hard to pass on Bill Belichick getting points against a rookie coach and young quarterback, no matter how his roster looks. Currently, 84% of bets and 90% of the money is on New England.

  • Chicago Bears: The Bears have been criticized for not surrounding Justin Fields with enough talent during free agency and the draft, but that hasn't stopped bettors from backing Chicago in Week 1. The Bears are 6.5-point home underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers, and Chicago is getting 80% of the early action.

  • Carolina Panthers: The Panthers open the season as 4.5-point home underdogs against the new-look Cleveland Browns, and 64% of the money is backing Carolina to cover that number. There's a lot of uncertainty about who will be under center for both of these teams in Week 1. It seems rather likely that it won't be Deshaun Watson for Cleveland. Reportedly, the Panthers remain interested in Baker Mayfield, which would be an upgrade for them at the quarterback position and create a tremendous Week 1 storyline.

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