- The underdog Packers look to win their third-straight over the Vikings in Minnesota
- Los Angeles opens a new (empty) stadium against a favored America’s Team
- Read below for our best upset picks in Week 1
It’s back baby! Oh, no I wasn’t talking about NFL football. (But yeah, that’s cool too.) Instead, I’m celebrating the return of the award-eligible Upset Picks of the Week!
A simple concept that needs no explanation, I’ll provide one anyway, in a shameless effort to drive up this piece’s word-count. Each week, I’ll look at the NFL odds and find the underdogs that offer the best chance to win straight-up. I’ll have 3 “units” to allocate however I see fit and hopefully, each week we leave with more units than we went in with.
Confused? Who cares! You just clicked on this to see if I picked your team this week. Read on to see if I did!
Packers Start Hot in Minnesota
Under Aaron Rodgers, the Green Bay Packers are 9-3 in season openers (4-2 on the road), and they’re in a good spot to continue that success this weekend.
|Team||Moneyline at FanDuel|
|Green Bay Packers||+124|
All odds taken Sept. 11th
The Pack took both games off the Vikings last season, thanks in large part to a defense that coaxed the two worst passing days out of Kirk Cousins in an otherwise strong 2019 season. Minnesota’s $84-million man felt the pressure from Green Bay’s front seven, leading to some truly terrible throws.
Throwing it all away…. @KirkCousins8 wings an inadvisable first and goal INT to effectively hand the @Packers the win in a game they appeared keen to hand to the @Vikings… Massive penalty for removing his helmet in celebration against @stefondiggs didn't help either!#NFL100 pic.twitter.com/9BUCPlO6Wv
— Gridiron (@Gridiron) September 15, 2019
With Stefon Diggs gone, the Packers can put all their focus on Adam Thielen this weekend and force Cousins and these other unproven Vikings receivers to step up.
The same goes for Minny’s defense, which will be relying on a lot of unknowns in the secondary to stop Davante Adams. Whether it’s Mike Hughes, Holton Hill or Jeff Gladney drawing the matchup, it’s sure to be one Rodgers looks to take advantage of early and often.
Pick: 1.25 units on Packers moneyline (+124)
Rams Open SoFi Stadium With Win Over Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are one of the most hyped teams coming into this season, but picking them to lay an egg in primetime has proven to be a great call in recent years.
|Team||Moneyline at DraftKings|
|Los Angeles Rams||+128|
Ignoring divisional matchups against the NFC East (because it’s a garbage division that shouldn’t be on TV), the Cowboys are 1-6 in their last seven primetime games, and 0-5 as a favorite.
Dallas is favored here because of the seemingly endless potential of their offense, led by Dak Prescott in a contract year and buoyed by the likes of Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and Ezekiel Elliot. Cowboys fans are also expecting some addition by subtraction, after the team got rid of Jason Garrett’s unimaginative play-calling and replaced him with Mike McCarthy, a coach who was famously fired for the exact same reason.
— FOX Sports Wisconsin (@fswisconsin) April 4, 2019
The Rams meanwhile, are flying under the radar. They would’ve been a playoff team last season had the new seven-team format been implemented. They boasted a top-10 defense in DVOA, and even with Todd Gurley falling off a cliff, they still finished top 12 in scoring.
Whether the Rams rushing attack can return to form once again with Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson and Cam Akers is a moot point this week, as the way to beat the Cowboys is by attacking this suspect secondary. With no Byron Jones, Dallas will be in tough to stop Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, which is good news for Jared Goff.
Goff's also got a Top 10 PFF grade on first read throws over the last 2 seasons.
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) June 16, 2020
Throw in the fact that Sean McVay is 3-0 in season openers and I like the Rams to christen SoFi Stadium with the minor upset on Sunday night.
Pick: 1.25 units on the Rams moneyline (+128)
Washington Football Team Stuns The Eagles
There’s always at least one sizable upset in Week 1 of the NFL and while I’m sure most bettors are eyeing the Cardinals over the Deebo Samuel-less 49ers, I didn’t want to include two games that could be postponed in these picks. Instead, we’ll look at a potential upset in the NFC Least.
|Team||Moneyline at FanDuel|
|Washington Football Team||+210|
Washington played the Eagles close in both meetings last year, covering in Week 1 and suffering an all-time bad beat against the spread in Week 15.
— @Krackwins (@krackwins) December 15, 2019
Under new head coach Ron Rivera, Washington’s only path to success this season appears to be through pressuring the opposing QB. With a defensive line that features five former first-round picks, including second-overall pick Chase Young, the Football Team should be able to harass Carson Wentz all afternoon, especially if right tackle Lane Johnson is unable to go.
Offensively, Washington will be in tough to block that loaded Eagles d-line. But if Washington can scheme up a way to give Dwayne Haskins some time, the sophomore QB could surprise those who overlooked his solid end to 2019.
Dwayne Haskins ranked 10th in PFF passing grade from Weeks 9-17 in 2019 pic.twitter.com/cEIq1zraA3
— PFF (@PFF) May 29, 2020
This is far from my most confident pick, but it’s Week 1 and chaos tends to reign. Perhaps it will here?
Pick: 0.5 units on the Washington moneyline (+210)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.