Football is back, so the time has come to size up the NFL Week 1 odds.

The NFL makes its triumphant return with an electric Thursday night showdown between the defending champion Los Angeles Rams and the upstart Buffalo Bills.

The rest of the Sunday/Monday slate features a plethora of compelling NFL Week 1 odds, betting lines, and prop markets.

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As we examine some primetime matchups for the opening week, here are some NFL Week 1 betting odds to sink your teeth into and start planning your betting strategies:

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams – Thursday, September 8, 8:20 p.m. ET

• Betting Favorite: Bills (-2.5)
• Moneyline odds: Bills (-140), Rams (+115)
• Point Total: 51.5 (over/under)
• Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
• TV Network: NBC

Matthew Stafford and the Rams begin the quest to defend their crown, while Josh Allen and the Bills come in hungry, fresh off a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

Both teams are among the top Super Bowl contenders according to preseason odds at BetMGM, with the Bills (+600) garnering the best odds of any team and the Rams (+1100) ranking fourth highest.

Here are some things to consider when analyzing the top NFL week 1 odds in this matchup:

Buffalo looks like the real deal

The Bills are loaded on both sides of the ball. In 2021, they ranked among the best in the league in several key categories, including:

• Points per game: 29.8 (3rd)
• Points per play: 0.45 (1st)
• Opponent points per game: 18.3 (1st)
• Opponent yards per game: 289.3 (1st)
• Point differential: +194 (1st)

The Bills look poised to go further with notable off-season additions, including Von Miller, Rodger Saffold III, Jamison Crowder, and first-round pick Kaiir Elam.

There is no denying this is a tough spot for Buffalo. Going up against the defending champions on the road is no easy task. In fact, since the NFL started this format in 2006, the reigning champions are 13-3 straight up in opening Thursday night games.

With that said, it is also unusual for previous Super Bowl winners to be underdogs, let alone to have Super Bowl odds nearly twice as long as their visiting opponent. That is the kind of respect this Bills team is getting in the NFL betting lines for Week 1.

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Buffalo player to watch: Josh Allen

Josh Allen is quickly ascending the ranks of the game's elite quarterbacks. Here's a look at some of his 2021 regular season numbers:

• Passing Yards: 4,407
• Touchdowns: 36
• Interceptions: 15
• Rushing yards: 763

He saved his best play for Buffalo's two postseason games:

• Passing yards: 637
• Passing touchdowns: 9
• Interceptions: 0
• Rushing yards: 134

Expect him to pick up right where he left off against a surprisingly vulnerable Rams pass defense which ranked just 21st in defensive passing yards. Look for Allen to test out their secondary early and often.

When things break down in the pocket, Allen excels in making something out of nothing. Last year, he rushed for 897 yards between the regular season and playoffs.

When sizing up NFL Week 1 odds, fading Josh Allen looks extremely daunting.

Rams look to run it back

The Rams are fresh off a Super Bowl victory and looking to become the first team to repeat since the 2003/04 New England Patriots. Here are key areas the club excelled at a season ago:

  • Points per game: 27 (6th)
  • Yards per pass attempt: 8.2 (3rd)
  • Opponent points per game: 21.3 (9th)
  • Sacks per game: 3 (4th)
  • Rushing yards allowed per game: 91.6 (5th)

The most notable offseason move LA made was resigning prolific pass rusher Aaron Donald, who briefly flirted with retirement.

Other key additions included bringing on Allen Robinson III, who replaces Odell Beckham Jr as another vertical threat in the passing game. They also brought in future hall of fame linebacker Bobby Wagner to help sure up the defense.

Matthew Stafford put up some big numbers last season but also struggled with turnovers. Here is a quick snapshot:

• Passing yards: 4,886 (3rd)
• Touchdowns: 41 (2nd)
• Interceptions: 17 (tied for 1st)

Expect a ferocious Buffalo defense to try and capitalize on a critical mistake.

Los Angeles player to watch: Cooper Kupp

Rams leading receiver Cooper Kupp is coming off a season for the ages in 2021. He led the league in almost every wideout statistical category, including:

• Receptions: 145
• Receiving yards: 1,947
• Touchdowns: 16

Look for him to get the ball rolling on his 2022-23 campaign with a big effort here.

While the Bills' defense looked fearsome on paper, they were torched on several occasions during the second half of last season. This included giving up 41 to the Indianapolis Colts, 33 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and 42 against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs.

Top offenses like the Rams can move the ball on this unit. Cooper Kupp will be a crucial reason why.

Best bets

Among all the games and betting odds for NFL Week 1, this one might be at the top of the list.

Look for Josh Allen to pick up right where he left off last postseason. The Rams will be able to move the ball, but the champs will ultimately struggle to keep pace.

Best bet: Bills -2.5.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys – Sunday, September 11, 8:20 p.m. ET

  • Betting Favorite: Bucs (-1.5)
  • Moneyline odds: Bucs(-120), Cowboys (+100)
  • Point Total: 50.5 (over/under)
  • Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
  • TV Network: NBC

Ageless wonder Tom Brady launches his remarkable 23rd NFL season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys in an intriguing battle of top-tier NFC foes.

Tampa Bay opens as slight road favorites here, although this is among the tightest NFL lines for week 1.

Both teams are coming off playoff campaigns in 2021-22 after winning their respective divisions. They will be looking to take it a few steps further this year.

Here are some things to consider when looking at the Week 1 NFL odds for Sunday Night Football:

Do the Bucs have enough in the tank?

It was a tumultuous offseason in Tampa, with Brady initially retiring before changing his mind and re-upping for another season.

After winning the Super Bowl two seasons ago, the Bucs looked well on their way to defending their crown, running out to a 6-1 start last year. They faltered slightly down the stretch thanks to some key injuries and off-field distractions (cough* Antonio Brown).

They bowed out to the eventual Super Bowl champion Rams in the NFC Divisional Round despite a frantic second-half comeback attempt which fell just short.

Here is a look at how they stacked up last season:

• Points per game: (2nd)
• Points per play: (3rd)
• Passing yards per game: (1st)
• Opponent points per game: (7th)
• Point differential: +158 (4th)

The addition of Julio Jones gives Brady yet another massive target to go along with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Look for the Bucs to try and get him going in the season opener.

Adding Akiem Hicks should also help to sure up the defensive line, especially after noticeable departures, which include Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh.

Tampa player to watch: Tom Brady

Tom Brady continued to defy father time with another massive campaign in 2021-22:

• Passing yards: 5,316 (1st)
• Touchdowns: 43 (1st)
• Interceptions: 12

Despite all their offensive weapons, the hopes of this franchise are pinned to the arm of their 45-year-old quarterback.

If there is any question about how oddsmakers feel about Brady, it was summed up with a massive shift in Tampa's Super Bowl odds once he unretired:

• Bucs to win the Super Bowl without Brady: +2800
• Bucs to win the Super Bowl with Brady: +750

Tampa comes into the season with the best Super Bowl odds in the NFC and the second-best overall behind Buffalo.

Dallas looks to stay beasts of the East

The Cowboys come in fresh off a 12-5 campaign in 2021-22. A significant factor was their dominance over the NFC East. Dallas went 6-0 against divisional foes, helping them cruise to a comfortable division title.

Dallas was ousted in the NFL Wildcard Round, losing a nailbiter against the San Francisco 49ers. Playoff failure has become routine for the Cowboys, who are just 4-11 in their last 15 postseason games dating back to 1996.

The Cowboys aren't garnering much respect with Super Bowl odds at +1800. In fact, they are just narrowly favored to win the NFC East at +140 (Philadelphia is +160).

Here is how they performed a season ago in some key areas:

• Points per game: (1st)
• Passing yards per game: (4th)
• Opponent points per game: (8th)
• Turnover margin: (1st)
• Point differential: +172 (2nd)

Dak Prescott led an outstanding offensive unit that finished 4th in passing yards and 9th in rushing. Here's a look at his overall performance:

• Passing yards: 4,449
• Touchdowns: 37
• Interceptions: 10

He looks poised for a big night against a Tampa defense that ranked just 24th at defending the pass in 2021.

Last season, Dallas excelled in generating turnovers on defense with a league-leading 1.9 takeaways per game. The Cowboys will hope to force one or two mistakes on Sunday night.

Dallas player to watch: Micah Parsons

Micah Parsons is coming off a phenomenal season, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year. He established himself as a bonafide disruptor, racking up 84 tackles and 13 sacks.

Parsons will dial in on Brady on Sunday night as he figures to feature prominently in the Dallas pass rush.

A dynamic defensive playmaker stepping up with some big plays at crucial moments could tip the scales in a game that figures to be dominated by two elite offenses.

Best bets

This is among the most challenging NFL week 1 odds to break down.

While there are defensive playmakers on both sides, they will struggle to make an impact against the top two scoring offenses from a season ago. Expect both quarterbacks to light it up early and often.

Best Bet: Over 50.5

Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks – Monday, September 12, 8:15 p.m. ET

  • Betting favorite: Broncos (-6)
  • Moneyline odds: Broncos (-250), Seahawks (+200)
  • Points Total: 41.5
  • Location: Lumen Field, Seattle, WA
  • TV Network: ESPN

Week one culminates on Monday Night Football with a highly compelling contest. Much of the focus will be on new Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, who makes an immediate visit to his former team.

The latest NFL week 1 betting odds show Denver is a clear-cut road favorite.

After pulling off the blockbuster deal for Wilson in the offseason, Denver has seen a spike in their Super Bowl odds entering the season at +1600.

On the other side, losing their franchise QB has sent Seattle tumbling down the NFL odds boards. They have the third longest Super Bowl odds at +20000 ahead of only the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons.

Here is a closer look at the game and some NFL week 1 odds on Monday Night Football:

Can Denver compete out West?

The splash acquisition of Wilson immediately catapulted the Broncos back into the discussion in the AFC West. It's a division that features four top quarterbacks, with Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, and Derek Carr filling the ranks.

Denver should see some much-needed improvements on the offensive end after some lackluster numbers in 2021:

• Points per game: 19.7 (23rd)
• Passing yards per game: 211.4 (19th)
• Yards per play: 5.4 (19th)

Here is a look at what Russell Wilson achieved over 14 games last year:

• Passing yards: 3,113
• Touchdowns: 25
• Interceptions: 6

He should pair nicely with Denver's talented receiving corps, which features Cortland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy.

Denver also added Randy Gregory to help sure up their defensive line, bolstering what was a strong defense a year ago. Here's where the Bronco D ranked a season ago in some key areas:

• Points allowed: (2nd)
• Opponent yards per game: (9th)
• First downs conceded: (4th)

Denver player to watch: Russell Wilson

There is no denying that most of the storylines surrounding this game will center around Wilson. Can he make an immediate impact against his old team?

It will be interesting to see how mobile Wilson is in the pocket after rushing for just 183 yards on 43 attempts last season.

Can the Seahawks move the ball?

The absence of Russell Wilson leaves a glaring hole under center. Geno Smith and Drew Lock have been battling it out for the starting role, but neither possesses the same skill level as Wilson.

Smith was adequate for Seattle last year, filling in for four games:

  • Passing Yards: 702
  • Touchdowns: 5
  • Interceptions: 1

There is no question Seattle will be lacking some of the big play firepower we have grown accustomed to seeing.

Last year the Seahawks ranked 16th overall averaging 23.2 points per game. That number seems destined to take a hit.

Seattle player to watch: DK Metcalf

Even though the quarterback position remains a mystery, the Seahawks still feature some prominent targets in the passing game with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. If they are going to move the ball on Monday night, they need their playmakers to step up.

At 6'4 and with lightning-quick speed, Metcalf remains a game-breaking talent with the potential to singlehandedly shift NFL Week 1 odds. Last season he caught 12 touchdowns while piling up 967 receiving yards. Expect him to be targeted heavily here.

Best bets

Denver is a clear favorite in the NFL Week 1 lines, and for a good reason.

A combination of Russell Wilson and a tough Denver defense is a brutal way for the Seahawks to kick off a new era. Look for them to struggle to keep pace as their former quarterback immediately comes home to haunt them.

Best bet: Denver -6

NFL week 1 odds

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