Fairway’s Football Forecast – NFL Week 1 Underdog Picks And Preview

Identifying NFL Underdog Picks and Bets

We kick off the 2020 NFL season shooting for more touchdowns, birdies and green with our weekly NFL underdog picks. Fans will be in attendance at just a handfull of stadiums as the season begins. We’ll evaluate the impact of no fans, home field and other situations surrounding the impact of COVID-19 knowing there is hazards and rough ahead when navigating and managing the course and our game including with our Week 1 underdog picks.

My labor of love continues for a fourth straight NFL season providing Fairway’s Football Forecast with no tout talk or selling plays through companies which I have turned down numerous times since produding top of the leaderboard results over eight years ago. This exercise and handicapping project not only assists me in digging deeper into teams, players, match-ups and meaningful stats, but allows me to guage the market, place bets and share information you can bet on. Some have found this entertaining and excellent with positive results. I’m glad you’re engaged and hope to add more profit and green to your bankroll and that you perhaps even learn while you earn.

Our 3-year NFL run on these pages is now 77-54 ATS (58.8%) That’s selecting  almost exclusively underdogs (line moves can flip from ‘Dog to favorite and a few selections of PK to -2 priced like underdog).

I add more insight and information you can bet on with the initial underdog picks each week at Offshore Gaming Association. I have been contributing to osga for years prior to sports betting became legal in 2018 in states beyond Las Vegas. That’s when the the United States Supreme Court struck down the Federal Ban on Sports Betting. Today there are 19 states with legal sports betting and a handful of others with proposed legislation.

Stategies and Sports Betting Stories

For those wondering about my history and experience handicapping and betting on football and in this update the NFL, you can read my journey and story of producing ATS winners. I had a run of 8 straight winning and profitable NFL seasons while hitting better than 57% ATS on nearly 650 plays – all independently documented by a third party company for professional handicappers.

In addition, I’ve won NFL contests like the The Wise Guys challenge between professional handicappers. I’ve also had success and chipped-in back-to-back 60% seasons in the NFL SuperContest in Las Vegas, which has grown to thousands of entries each year along with Circa’s contest and million dolloar top prize.

Betting NFL Week 1

Making Week 1 underdog picks and bets in the NFL is always interesting, as the lines have been posted by the bookmakers for more than three months with plenty of time to evaluate. But in the final days before kickoff, the sportsbooks take the most bets and we see the most point spread and line movement. Fairway’s Football Forecast can only advise that you do your best to shop and get the best lines, but also recognize that this exercise and underdog picks series is provided at the end of the week and some of the lines move against us.

For Week 1 line moves on selected games, check out the market report and lookahead lines I post each week.

NFL Week 1 Underdog Picks

I’ll provide weekly underdog picks and selected analsysis, and chip-in more insight and information you can bet on. Hopefully you’ll gain more insight into NFL handicapping and betting, and add additional arsenal to your game to learn as you earn.

455 Cleveland (+8) at Baltimore – Browns Moneyline +270
462 Atlanta (+2.5) vs. Seattle – Falcons Moneyline +125
473 Arizona (+7) at San Francisco  – Cardinals Moneyline +250

These plays all fit proven, profitable profiles on opening week of teams that had losing seasons last year facing winning teams and/or playoff participants. Two teams won their divisions and had first round bye’s in the playoffs – Baltimore and San Francisco.

Cleveland at Baltimore

The Browns are high on my list as an improved team this year, and with no home field edge or fans in Baltimore, this price is too high. The market agrees with our Week 1 underdog picks, as we’re seeing 7.5 now showing too so bet this before it hits 7 on game day. Cleveland’s offense faced the most difficult slate of opposing defenses in 2019. It showed in the stats too as the Browns finished in the lower third of total offense (341 YPG) and league average yards-per-play (5.6). Those numbers will improve this year with better players, health, coaching, cohesion, personnel, play calling and execution. The Browns defensive line is better, and the offensive line definitely improved with additions and draft. We know the play calling will be better and utilize QB Baker Mayfield’s talent and play-action abilities better, and the running game will be even better. Maybe not like the Ravens run heavy game that includes QB Lamar Jackson and a juggernaut Baltimore offense that led the AFC at 415 YPG while executing at 6.1 yards per play and leading the NFL in scoring at 32 points per game. The Ravens did lose a top offensive guard to retirement. Baltimore is still expected to be strong, but some regression is ahead and we’ll buy on the Browns early in Week 1.

Seattle at Atlanta

Any points are desirable on the Falcons in this opening week match-up, as Atlanta gets a fresh start following last seasons injury-riddled campaign. As always, we suggest making some moneyline bets on competitively-lined underdogs at reduced wagers to include with your side bets and Week 1 underdog picks. The Falcons offense is healthy and returns intact.  They will be better than league-average (5.5 YPPL) like last year and take advantage of a suspect Seahawks defense that is below average again after allowoing 6.0 yards per play last season. Seattle still made the playoffs last season, thanks to the continued exceptonal play of QB Russell Wilson. Clearly, the Falcons should be added to your Week 1 teaser wagers and betting portfolio as well. Playing over the total in these early games may be more difficult with no preseason games or information and personnel to evalute. But with proven and veteran quarterbacks in place and suspect defenses, this looks like a game that can surpass the posted total, which will likely rise more by game day.

Arizona at San Francisco

The Cardinals played the 49ers tough in a pair of higher-scoring losses last year as double-digit underdogs. The 49ers were one of those losing teams entering last season that turned in around in a major way. San Francisco went from 4-12 to 13-3 and  Super Bowl appearance in one season.  The 49ers were a great example of a losing and under-rated team the previous season exploding onto the scene to reward value bettors and those recognizing improved teams. San Francisco started last season 8-0 SU and 6-2 ATS. It wasn’t until Week 7 that the 49ers were favorted by this big a number when they failed to cover against a very week and wounded Washington team in the rain. Now it’s Arizona’s time to shine from the sunshine state and make their improvement off a 5-11 season. Defense needs work, but the 49ers stop unit does not appear as strong this year either.

Check back weekly for NFL picks and updates with information you can bet on.

Author: FairwayJay

FairwayJay is a leading national sports and betting analyst providing insight and information you can bet on for nearly two decades from Las Vegas. His work, writing and content is provided to various sites and leading sources. Follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay