The road to Super Bowl LVIII just got a bit clearer on Thursday as the NFL rolled out its full 18-game schedule for every team in the 2023 regular season. Of course, you can see , but we'll specifically be looking at Week 1 of the upcoming campaigning, taking a gander at the odds and then providing some early leans. Of course, we should emphasize early leans (It is May after all!), but there is some intriguing value in what is shaping up to be a packed slate to begin the year.
Let's not waste any time! Below, you'll find the initial odds for the opening slate and our early picks for how we think each Week 1 game will unfold.
All NFL odds via Caesars Sportsbook.
Historically, betting on the Super Bowl winner in Week 1 has been a worthwhile endeavor. Since Super Bowl XXXIV, the Super Bowl winner has gone 18-4 SU and 13-7 ATS in Week 1. The Rams were the first team since the 2017 Patriots to lose the opener as they were blown out by the Bills to begin last season. However, the Chiefs do seem like a different animal. They were able to win and cover the last time they unveiled a banner a couple of years ago and while the Lions may be the sexy team to pick at the moment, they still need to prove that they can hang with a team of Kansas City's caliber.
Projected score: Chiefs 30, Lions 21
The pick: Chiefs -7
Both of these teams were sneaky solid to bet on in 2022 as they went 9-8 ATS. The Falcons decided against jumping into the quarterback market this offseason and seem fine to roll out Desmond Ridder as their QB1 for this season. Carolina did the opposite and jumped up to the No. 1 overall pick to select Bryce Young. With Falcons head coach Arthur Smith likely opting for a run-first offense, the Panthers won't have to ask Young to light things up through the air to keep pace, which should help him in his NFL debut. With Frank Reich at the helm and a solid amount of weapons around Young, I'll snag the field goal here.
Projected score: Panthers 23, Falcons 21
The pick: Panthers +3
Baltimore has loaded up this offseason at the wide receiver position and was able to smooth things over with Lamar Jackson, so they should be primed to hit the ground running. Houston is at the ground floor of their rebuild as they'll be ushering in No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud and first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans, so this is quite the mismatch.
Projected score: Ravens 30, Texans 17
The pick: Ravens -9
Cincinnati was one of the best teams to bet on in 2022 as they owned a 13-6 ATS record and I don't expect that to change much in 2023, especially after giving Joe Burrow some help along the offensive line this offseason. Deshaun Watson didn't look like a $230 million quarterback when he returned from his suspension last season, but a full offseason to prepare should help him get back to form and make Cleveland an interesting team to monitor in the early goings of the season. With this under a field goal, however, I'll lean on the Bengals to pull out the road win. As the road team in 2022, Cincy was 8-3 ATS.
Projected score: Bengals 28, Browns 23
The pick: Bengals -2.5
What will be interesting to see is whether or not Indy's first-round quarterback Anthony Richardson will be ready to roll in Week 1. Throughout the pre-draft process, Richardson was labeled as a prospect that ideally would need some time to develop, but it remains to be seen if he'll be afforded that with the Colts. If he doesn't start, Gardner Minshew would likely get the nod, but we'll lay the field goal and the hook regardless of who is under center for Indy at the moment. The Jaguars could be one of the biggest risers in 2023 with Trevor Lawrence entering his second season under Doug Pederson, so this could be too much for this young Colts team to handle this early.
Projected score: Jaguars 27, Colts 20
The pick: Jaguars -3.5
Buccaneers at Vikings (-7)
The Bucs are in a transition stage of their history following Tom Brady's retirement. They'll either be starting Baker Mayfield or Kyle Trask in this game, which is a major drop-off in talent at the position from where they were a year ago. That said, I don't hate picking up the touchdown in this spot. Minnesota's 13-4 record last season was pretty hollow and the club was 4-6 ATS at home in 2022. In a controlled dome environment, I think Tampa Bay surprisingly keeps it close.
Projected score: Vikings 27, Buccaneers 24
The pick: Buccaneers +7
Derek Carr will be making his New Orleans debut by taking on the Titans. The former Raiders quarterback should heighten the Saints' quarterback play from the previous few seasons and have them in contention for the NFC South title. However, I'm not sure this will be a coronation for Carr as I expect Tennessee to keep this game tight. The Ryan Tannehill/Derrick Henry combination on offense feels like it's on the back nine in Tennessee, but with fresh legs in Week 1, they'll be able to threaten an upset here.
Projected score: Saints 27, Titans 24
The pick: Titans +3.5
While there are some cases to jump on a line early, this may not be one of them. There isn't much clarity on how the 49ers quarterback situation is going to play out at this juncture with Brock Prudy still recovering from elbow surgery and Trey Lance being thrown around in trade rumors. With that in mind, you could be asking Sam Darnold to go into Pittsburgh down a field goal. The Steelers made several solid moves at the NFL Draft, bringing aboard Broderick Jones to solidify the offensive line and Joey Porter Jr. to help out the secondary. Each should be able to make an impact in Year 1 on top of Kenny Pickett and others taking a leap under Mike Tomlin. At home last season, the Steelers were 4-3-1 ATS.
Projected score: 49ers 28, Steelers 27
The pick: Steelers +3
Cardinals at Commanders (-5.5)
This isn't exactly expected to be a prolific game. With Kyler Murray still recovering from a torn ACL, the Cardinals will likely be starting Colt McCoy when they roll into Washington to take on Sam Howell and the Commanders. Howell is a virtual unknown as we only saw him in one game at the end of last season where he made more plays with his legs than he did with his arm. New offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy will certainly put Howell in a position to succeed, but in this situation, we'll back the experienced quarterback in McCoy with 5.5 points in our pocket.
Projected score: Commanders 23, Cardinals 21
The pick: Cardinals +5.5
It's a new day for the Packers as Jordan Love will enter Soldier Field as the undisputed QB1 following the trade of Aaron Rodgers. He'll begin his first season as the full-time starter against a team his predecessor enjoyed tremendous success against and the Bears will likely make sure Love doesn't carry that baton. If Justin Fields makes the right strides in his development as a passer in 2023, he could pose a lot of problems for Green Bay's defense.
Projected score: Bears 24, Packers 21
The pick: Bears -2.5
Raiders at Broncos (-3)
Russell Wilson needs to show that he can perform in Sean Payton's offense before we start laying a field goal with him even if it's at Mile High. Jimmy Garoppolo is very familiar with Josh McDaniels' offense dating back to their days with the Patriots, so I'm not concerned about a slow start in this spot.
Projected score: Raiders 30, Broncos 24
The pick: Raiders +3
I'm a big fan of what the Dolphins did this offseason, adding more speed to the offense and adding Jalen Ramsey to their defense. So long as Tua Tagovailoa stays healthy, Miami could crash the party in the AFC East. The Chargers also made some solid moves this offseason, most notably bringing in new OC Kellen Moore. What gives me pause about backing L.A. at this particular moment in time is the uncertain status of Austin Ekeler, who did demand a trade this offseason. If he's somewhere else by Week 1, it changes how you look at this unit led by Justin Herbert.
Projected score: Dolphins 30, Chargers 27
The pick: Dolphins +2.5
Eagles (-4.5) at Patriots
The team that lost the previous Super Bowl typically doesn't begin the next season hot. Since Super Bowl XXXIV, the Super Bowl runner-up has gone 8-14 SU and 4-18 ATS in Week 1, which includes the Bengals last season after falling to Pittsburgh at home. Does that history automatically put Philly on upset alert against New England? No. But we'll take the points and hope history continues to play out. After all, the Patriots did bring in Bill O'Brien this offseason. Maybe that's the magic fix for Mac Jones.
Projected score: Eagles 27, Patriots 24
The pick: Patriots +4.5
Rams at Seahawks (-5.5)
The Rams should be better after an injury-plagued season in 2023. They'll get Matthew Stafford, Aaron Donald, and Cooper Kupp all back healthy, all of whom were pillars to their Super Bowl win just a couple of seasons ago. Even with those stars, however, I like what Seattle is putting together. They doubled down on Geno Smith by giving him a contract and more weapons on offense, while also adding pieces to the defense like No. 5 overall pick and star corner Devon Witherspoon. Seattle could be a real factor in the NFC and has one of the better home-field advantages in the NFL, so we won't be fading them here.
Projected score: Seahawks 33, Rams 27
The pick: Seahawks -5.5
New York dropped both of its games against Dallas last season, but the team has gotten much better on the offensive side of the ball by bringing in weapons like tight end Darren Waller and rookie wideout Jalin Hyatt. Not to mention that Daniel Jones should be more comfortable in Brian Daboll's offense with a full season together under his belt. The Giants were also an NFL-best 14-5 ATS in 2022, so having them as home dogs is a little peculiar. Dallas also made some great moves this offseason (trading for Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore), but I'll bite and take the home dog in primetime.
Projected score: Giants 24, Cowboys 23
The pick: Giants +3
Bills (-1) at Jets, Monday
Aaron Rodgers will make his Jets debut under the "Monday Night Football" lights and will do so while taking on the Bills. Buffalo is slated to be New York's biggest competitor in the AFC East, so this is a statement game for both sides right out of the shoot. I'll ride with the continuity of Josh Allen in the Bills in this early high-stakes game as it may take Rodgers a few games to get fully acclimated in his new situation.
Projected score: Bills 30, Jets 24
The pick: Bills -1