NFL - Best Bets Week 1 Preseason

Minnesota Vikings

Jay Pryce

Wednesday, July 26, 2017 3:34 PM GMT

Rejoice! The NFL preseason is roughly a week away. Exhibition betting can be a lucrative investment if done with well thought-out strategy and understanding. Don’t be shied away by the degenerate label, there is money to be made. If you lose, well then excuse it as preparation for the regular season. Ha!

Below are a couple of best bets worth considering for Week 1. There’s a common theme with each pick: practice and preparation.

Vikings at BillsFree NFL Pick: Vikings SU

NFL fans know Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer for his hard-nosed, disciplined instruction and defensive prowess. These strengths typically shine through at the beginning of preseason with his squad fully prepared and ready for action. Zimmer is 4-0 all-time in Week 1 of the preseason; this includes a 14-3 win over the Steelers in the Hall of Fame opener in 2015. The Vikings penchant to draft and sign players fitting Zimmer’s defensive schemes tends to see the plug-and-play approach in the second half of early preseason games dominate. The unit has allowed a combined 22 points through the final two-quarters of the four matchups.

Zimmer also has more position battles than usual in the works this year, which may spawn greater playing time between those fighting for the second team early on at key positions. Latavius Murray, who will begin the season on the PUP list, rookie Dalvin Cook and Jerick McKinnon will duke it out for the starting running back spot, while Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke will battle for runner-up quarterback to Sam Bradford with Teddy Bridgewater on the mend.

Buffalo’s first-year head coach Sean McDermott will be a good one. He proved he can get the most out of players in his time as D-coordinator at Carolina, but the many personnel changes among his staff and in the front office will stymie any early season success. Former head coach Rex Ryan, who was 1-7 lifetime in preseason openers, will haunt McDermott’s debut. The Bills will not be ready for this one. For my NFL Pick, I'll side with the Vikings.

 Falcons at DolphinsFree NFL Pick: OVER

Analysis: When Dan Quinn took over as Falcons head coach for Mike Smith three years ago, he instilled a big shot of energy, competiveness, and swagger. Like Zimmer in the above-mentioned preview, Quinn runs a highly specified and efficient camp. The payoff shows in Week 1 of the preseason. The Falcons, with oodles of talent on offense, have scored 23 and 31 points respectively in each of Quinn’s exhibition openers. Expect last year’s top unit to come out like a well-oiled machine, even with fill-ins and practice squad talent staffing the show. Preparation makes the difference early.

Dolphin’s second-string quarterback Matt Moore should see ample playing time with rehabbing Ryan Tannehill cemented at starter. It’s Moore’s seventh year in Miami and he understands the system, his role, and the team as well as anyone. In the preseason opener last season versus the Giants he tossed for 122 yards and a TD on 10-of-14 passing. Expect another productive start against a pass defense that allowed a 91.9 passer rating on average last season. Rookie Brandon Doughty and David Fales will see the majority of time under center with the No. 3 spot wide open.

Miami won this matchup last season 17-6 in the Week 3 dress rehearsal, but expect more scoring this time around. Miami’s hot, humid nights with some players struggling for game fitness should give way to several big plays and plenty of points, which translate into a good betting opportunity in the NFL odds.

**Editor's Note: Lines for these games have not benn widespread released by the betting sites. We will update once the odds become available.