The first week of the NFL season is approaching with betting lines and the thoughts of making NFL football picks is everywhere flashing like the biggest Broadway show opening. So how to evaluate? You can start by ignoring what you just saw in preseason. Three weeks of August exhibition football is no guide for what to expect in Week 1 when the games actually mean something in the standings.

Preseason is about player evaluation, roster spots, new coaches adding new wrinkles, and trying to stay healthy. It's more important for most NFL coaches to know if their No. 3 and 4 safeties are capable of playing in their system than rolling up points on the scoreboard or preseason victories, even if the team is playing at home.

Remember that oddsmakers know the least in Week 1 about how each team will perform as they're basing numbers on expectations built around last year's stats. But results change from season to season, sometimes dramatically, which can surprise the NFL experts in Week 1.

Why Use NFL Week 1 Picks

With so many unknowns it's essential to keep an open, flexible mind when assessing the first week of the regular season. The best quarterbacks in the league can have mediocre openers while NFL rookies can play even worse. There's a huge difference in the speed of the college game compared to the NFL. Utilizing NFL Week 1 picks helps get a step up on what to expect. And the more pieces of data and information you accrue will add to the intricate handicapping puzzle.

Betting Value in NFL Week 1 Picks

Line moves are common in Week 1. If an NFL underdog goes from +7 to +5 (and you'll see that), it suggests several sharp bettors see an improvement in talent, depth, or coaching that the average bettor doesn't. Or, if an NFL Week 1 total drops from 48 to 46, it implies the Wise Guys see offenses that aren't as in sync as they're going to be in October.

NFL underdogs have a long history of pulling surprising upsets in the first week and you can see that with moneylines moving toward the dog before the games kick off. Getting the early jump on the odds helps you anticipate the Week 1 potential surprises.

Wunderdog NFL Week 1 Picks

I spend weeks getting ready for the NFL season to begin, tracking changes each team has made, from coaches to player personnel, along with line moves that are major and subtle. My NFL Week 1 picks provide insight gathered over weeks from a pro who has been wagering and winning for over two decades. You can have access to these releases for improving your handicapping understanding as well as betting on them.

Free NFL Week 1 Picks vs. Premium Picks

Free NFL Week 1 Picks Pros:

  • From a handicapping perspective, Week 1 is similar to the first round of the playoffs: What happened the previous few weeks is far less important as it's a new season. Gathering different viewpoints on these changes expands your betting knowledge.
  • No cost. It doesn't cost you a dime to get these selections and you won't lose any money if you don't wager on them. Simply acquiring them can open your eyes to new wagering angles while keep track of the results - all for free.
  • See if the plays you like are the ones the pros are on. If they're on the opposite side, take a second look at the game. What did they see that you didn't?

Free NFL Week 1 Pick Cons:

  • Week 1 is the toughest week of the NFL campaign. It's the only week where there are no stats available to assess the new season. Handicappers have to apply more thought in other areas.
  • Line movement. The NFL betting public busts out with a higher surge in money and opinions than preseason. A higher propensity for side and total movement is likely, which can cause confusion among novice bettors.
  • Know who you're getting the free releases from, someone with a proven track record of documented and consistent winners.

Premium NFL Week 1 Pick Pros:

  • Premium picks should have detailed analysis explaining all the reasons for high-rated releases. The attached insight will expand your handicapping knowledge.
  • Weeks 2-17 betting lines will only be posted for 6-7 days, but Week 1 lines are posted for months. This provides professional handicappers with a key edge in analyzing long term money movement along with jumping on early weak numbers.
  • The pros are betting these plays themselves, urging you to put money down on winners to get a jumpstart on starting your season off on a winning note.

Premium NFL Week 1 Pick Cons:

  • Underdogs offer excellent value in Week 1 as the oddsmakers have far less to go on. If a pro capper is releasing mostly favorites in Week 1, be skeptical.
  • Getting off to a bad start in Week 1 may shake a bettors' confidence. Uncertainty can carry over to Weeks 2-4 for novice bettors which is detrimental to accruing a football prophet by season's end.
  • Betting small amounts of your bankroll on multiple games is smark money management. If your service is advising placing 40% on one big play that's not a recipe for financial success.

How To Win With Free NFL Week 1 Picks

Week 1 in the NFL is a media event that has been publicized for months. There's a tendency to get fired up as none of us have had NFL action to watch, win, and wager on for months since the Super Bowl. However, you must remain even-keeled and think of this as a 20-week march.

There will be good betting weeks, bad weeks, break-even weeks, and great weeks. Don't blow out your bankroll just because it's the start of a new and exciting season. Remaining calm while adding layers of understanding is the only way to build your betting bankroll.

Free NFL Week 1 Betting Strategy

Ignore Preseason

It's too bad the NFL preseason ticket prices are so high because the games are meaningless, especially for projecting what might happen in Week 1 of the regular season. The Detroit Lions are the poster child for this. In 2008, the Lions won all five of their preseason games...then went 0-16 when the games actually counted!

In Week 1, the Lions got blasted out of the building by Atlanta, 34-21. And it didn't end there: From 2009-10, the Lions had back-to-back 3-1 preseasons looking pretty good, then had regular seasons of 2-14 and 6-10. In Week 1 of 2009, Detroit lost 45-27 to New Orleans and in Week 1 2010 lost 19-14 to Chicago. Conversely, the Kansas City Chiefs had 1-3 in preseason, then went on to win the Super Bowl a few months later with QB Patrick Mahomes.

The 2007 Patriots went 2-2 in preseason, then 16-0 when the games meant something. Focus on depth in August exhibition games along with what new coaching staffs are trying to implement, but ignore almost everything else when Week 1 in September dawns.

Underdogs

In Week 1, oddsmakers incorporate stats based on how a team performed the previous year. Well, this is a new season, so don't overemphasize last year's stats. The Denver Broncos had a record-setting offense in 2013 including 55 passing TDs. But in Week 1 of the 2014 season, the Broncos failed to cover as a big favorite in the opener at home against the Colts in a close game, a 31-24 final.

The 2007 Patriots had their own record-setting offense with 50 TD passes while going 16-0. In the 2008 Week 1 opener, New England was a 17-point favorite over the Chiefs but didn't even come close to covering in a 17-10 victory. Just because a team was dominant the previous year doesn't mean they're going to roll over opponents in the next campaign, which is especially true in Week 1.

In many ways the oddsmakers don't know how a team is going to perform, so there's value with NFL Week 1 underdogs.

Better Defenses

Offenses aren't going to be in midseason form in Week 1. Getting an offense to click takes execution, chemistry, repetition, and some time. Preseason isn't enough time with starters barely taking the field. It's common for offenses to struggle in Week 1. In addition, new head and assistant coaches are implementing new wrinkles to the offensive playbook.

Sometimes it's a whole new playbook they're introducing. It's going to take a while for receivers to learn new routes, QBs to absorb all the new plays, and for players to execute blocking patterns efficiently. All of which combines to give defenses a Week 1 edge.

Free NFL Week 1 Picks Subscription

I incorporate all of the above betting knowledge and angles, along with a lot more, as I've been successful at this for decades. You can get my NFL Week 1 Picks complete with the reasons why via a regular subscription service. Point spread get much of the attention nationally, but there is betting value all over the board with moneyline plays, totals, parlays, and teasers. Have these picks e-mailed to help you become a better bettor.

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