Take this for what it’s worth but ESPN simulated the entire 2019 season 20,000 times using the ESPN Football Power Index and it came out with a Saints-Chargers Super Bowl, with New Orleans winning the title. I actually agree with that Super Bowl matchup but think the Chargers will win it as long as they get holdout running back Melvin Gordon at some point this season. Here are two games to parlay this week on NFL betting lines.
2019 NFL Week 1 Parlay Picks
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings
One of the better Week 1 matchups even though both missed the playoffs last year. Minnesota finished 8-7-1 and was second in the NFC North, while Atlanta went 7-9 with a second-place finish in the NFC South. Both teams made the playoffs in 2017. We think they both play extra football this season.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Falcons counterpart Matt Ryan finished in the top 10 in passing yards, completion percentage, touchdown passes and passer rating in 2018. Cousins became the only player in NFL history to throw for 4,000-plus yards and complete 70 percent of his passes while throwing at least 30 touchdowns with 10 or fewer interceptions. Ryan just missed, completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 4,924 yards, 35 scores and seven picks.
Ryan, 34, looks to start all 16 games for the 10th consecutive season, while 38-year-old backup Schaub’s last NFL start was a 15-13 loss to the Dolphins as a Baltimore Raven in December of 2015. Ryan should surpass 50,000 career passing yards by season’s end.
Julio Jones should play for Atlanta despite not doing so at all this preseason. Jones, who boasts the highest average for receiving yards per game in NFL history at 99.9, seeks a sixth-straight season of 80-plus catches and 1,400-plus yards. Former Redskins wide receiver Josh Doctson reached a one-year deal with the Vikings just two days after releasing another former first round wideout. That was Laquon Treadwell. Doctson recorded his best season as a pro with Cousins as his quarterback in 2017, finishing with 35 catches, 502 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
These teams last played in 2017 and Atlanta was a 14-9 home loser to Minnesota. Vikings QB Case Keenum, who was 25 of 30 for 227 yards, hooked up with Jerick McKinnon on a 2-yard scoring play in the second quarter and went to Kyle Rudolph for a 6-yard TD on the first play of the fourth quarter, capping an 89-yard drive that consumed more than 8 minutes. Keenum is now with Washington. The Falcons were held without a touchdown for the first time since Dec. 13, 2015. Ryan’s streak of 30 straight games with a touchdown pass also ended, going down as the eighth-longest in NFL history.
2019 NFL Week 1 Betting Trends
- Falcons are 6-12 SU in their last 18 games against Minnesota
- Falcons are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on the road
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Atlanta’s last 6 games played in September
- Vikings are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games against an opponent in the NFC South division
- Vikings are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games played in week 1
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Minnesota’s last 5 games at home
Indianapolis at LA Chargers
The Colts got off to a rough start in 2018, going 1-5 before turning things around and earning a Wild Card spot in the playoffs with a 10-6 record. The Chargers were the other AFC Wild-Card team, finishing with a 12-4 record.
The Colts begin life without star quarterback Andrew Luck, who shockingly retired in Week 3 of the preseason. The team now turns to Jacoby Brissett. Brissett started 15 games for the Colts in 2017, completing 58.8 percent of his passes for 3,098 yards, 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Back then, Brissett worked behind an offensive line that resulted in him seeing pressure on 40.1 percent of his dropbacks. Per Pro Football Focus, only Russell Wilson was pressured at a higher rate among quarterbacks who took at least 50 percent of their team’s snaps.
The Chargers lead the all-time series 16-10 including playoffs but Indy won the last matchup 26-22 in Week 3 of the 2016 season. Los Angeles is without two of its best players in running back Melvin Gordon, who is holding out, and safety Derwin James, who begins the year on injured reserve.
The Chargers claimed James with the No. 17 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and he immediately became a defensive anchor. James recorded 105 tackles, three interceptions, 13 passes defended and 3.5 sacks to earn Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors. The latter made him one of eight rookie defenders to make first-team All-Pro since the 1970 merger. One of the reasons that the Chargers were so unpredictable in 2018 is that they would line James up at linebacker, inside and outside, or at his traditional safety position.
The Chargers have scored just six points in the first quarter of season openers under Anthony Lynn, and 19 total points in the entire first half of those two openers. Unsurprisingly, they lost those games. But we like them here.
2019 NFL Week 1 Betting Trends
- Colts are 5-1 SU in their last 6 games
- Colts are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games against LA Chargers
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Indianapolis’ last 5 games on the road
- Chargers are 10-3 SU in their last 13 games against an opponent in the AFC conference
- Chargers are 17-2-1 ATS in their last 20 games against an opponent in the AFC South division
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of LA Chargers’ last 5 games at home
Expert 2019 NFL Week 1 Parlay Picks
Back Vikings and Chargers, but buy the Bolts down to -6.5.