With the NFL schedule release now official (here's a look), we can check out some lines for Week 1 of the 2023 season. In fact, Caesars Sportsbook has lines out for multiple weeks if you want to bet ahead. Even though we are months away from the regular season, there's value to be found in some of these lines.
Sure, you could get bitten by a preseason injury or two, but these lines are absolutely going to move by the time we reach September. Locking in a few picks now could be smart. Below, let's examine my against-the-spread picks for, and my top five ATS picks as well.
All odds come courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
2022 Top five picks ATS record: 43-45-1
2022 Overall ATS record: 135-129-7
2022 Straight up record: 177-92-2
Detroit Lions at Kansas City Chiefs (-7)
Thursday, Sept. 7, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)
Amazing. The Lions went from having zero prime-time games in 2022 to kicking off the season against the reigning Super Bowl champions in the first game of the year. I am just as intrigued by the Lions as everyone else. I even think they are the new "America's Team." But I'm also wary of giving this squad their flowers too early.
The Chiefs are the better team, and are probably going to win this game. Another reason I'm going to lock in this pick right now is because I'm completely sold this line is going to move in the Chiefs' favor by September. Give me the seven points before it's too late.
This is the first matchup between Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes since that epic 54-51 win for the Los Angeles Rams back in 2018. Defending Super Bowl champions are 14-4 in the NFL Kickoff Game since 2004, and the Chiefs have won eight straight Week 1 games -- the longest active streak in the NFL. Mahomes has been magnificent in season openers. He's 5-0 with 19 total touchdowns and zero turnovers.
The pick: Chiefs -7
Projected score: Chiefs 31-23
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)
Sunday, Sept. 10, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
With this game being in Baltimore, I imagine this is going to be a party atmosphere. Lamar Jackson got the extension he was searching for, Odell Beckham Jr. is headlining the new-look wide receiving corps and Todd Monken is now in charge of the offense. I think the Monken hire could be one of the most important decisions made this offseason in the NFL. With his arrival should come more passing, which could be fun.
The Texans have their new franchise quarterback in C.J. Stroud, but the truth is that this is a rebuilding team with a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback making their first "starts." This line will be double digits by September.
The pick: Ravens -9.5
Projected score: Ravens 27-17
Cincinnati Bengals (-2.5) at Cleveland Browns
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)
This line confuses me a bit. I'm expecting the Browns to be better with Deshaun Watson in 2023, but they still have a lot to prove as contenders. The Bengals don't. They are legitimate contenders.
Maybe this line has to do with the fact that Joe Burrow is 1-4 vs. the Browns, and has never won in Cleveland. However, he has a new left tackle in Orlando Brown Jr., and his young wide receivers are just getting better. I'm not expecting the Bengals to get off to a slow start like last year. With this number under a field goal, I'll take Cincy.
The pick: Bengals -2.5
Projected score: Bengals 27-23
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-6)
Sunday, Sept. 10, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)
Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp should be back in the lineup for the Rams in Week 1, but how good will they be? Despite Kupp's impressive early production in 2022, the Rams were not very good. The Seahawks, on the other hand, were the surprise of the 2022 season, and appear to be getting better.
The pick: Seahawks -6
Projected score: Seahawks 24-16
Buffalo Bills (-1) at New York Jets
Monday, Sept. 11, 8:15 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN)
I may be more bullish on Aaron Rodgers and the Jets in 2023 than anyone. But it's no guarantee they get off to a hot start with their new quarterback.
Rodgers has won a whopping nine straight starts on "Monday Night Football," but has lost his last two Week 1 starts by a combined score of 61-10! He hasn't thrown a touchdown in his last two season openers! Even with this game being in New York, give me the Bills to win.
The pick: Bills -1
Projected score: Bills 24-21
Other Week 1 picks
Jaguars (-3.5) 23-17 over Colts
Titans (+3.5) 24-23 over Saints
Steelers (+3) 24-20 over 49ers
Panthers (+3) 21-17 over Falcons
Commanders (-6) 26-14 over Cardinals
Vikings 27-21 over Buccaneers (+7)
Packers (+2.5) 25-24 over Bears
Broncos (-3.5) 28-23 over Raiders
Eagles (-5) 27-21 over Patriots
Dolphins (+2.5) 30-24 over Chargers
Giants (+3) 27-26 over Cowboys