Handicapping NFL Week 1: Always the Hardest

The NFL is here, but there is no doubt that those handicapping NFL Week 1 are facing the age-old challenge that most folks encounter when they are trying to wager on what is arguably the hardest sport to make a profit on.


The reality is that there are a myriad of reasons the NFL is a challenging handicap, and while some of it has to do with the obvious unknowns of the season, there are additional factors as well.

The Unknown of NFL Week 1

This is one of the most obvious reasons, but without doubt, one of the chief reasons the NFL season, particularly Week 1, is so challenging is due in large part to the unknown of it all. When it’s a new season, every game is the first time the two teams within the context of the new season and year are playing.

This means that, absent the preseason games, we don’t really have any idea how the squads will objectively perform on the football field. The smarter bettor will have an advantage this season like no other.

This puts added pressure on handicappers because there is pressure to make snap calls as to how teams are going to perform when it’s all said and done. But regardless, there is no doubt that there are those who think they can make an easy call, when in reality, it’s not so easy!

Especially in 2020, where there was no preseason and many unprecedented changes to the flow of the game, it’s very hard to account for how it will eventually play out, making it very hard for handicappers to make a clear decision on what games are what.

Week 1 Game Picks | NFL 2020

Limited Situational Opportunities

In gambling, betting on a situation is always a good spot to make some money and a good place to start handicapping NFL Week 1. A coach lost a loved one the past week before the game? This is a great spot to see the team play their hearts out for him. 

Did a team lose a key cog, and everyone is overvaluing the loss and counting them out? That’s a great spot to take the team missing the supposedly critical and ultra-integral player. This will be a great season to look at betting NFL regular season props.

Plain and simple, there are so many reasons that people might bet on a game, but when you’re betting from the Week 1 context, you don’t have that same ability to bet based on a single narrative.

Situational narrative opportunities are obviously not surefire guaranteed ways of making wagers, but for many bettors, they are one of the better (no pun intended) ways to come out on the winning side, especially when you’re getting a lot of value on the opposite side.



The NFL is an inherently volatile sport. When you’ve got a bunch of teams who are completely untested and getting inflated lines, you’re bound for some wacky outcomes. 

This is why in Week 1, you need to stay away from public darlings and be a little contrarian. But remember, contrarianism can bite you back, so don’t fall too much in love with favorites or underdogs.

Either way, being a winner in Week 1 is still easily achievable, so hang tough!