USA Today Sports

Three best NFL preseason Week 1 bets since 1995

Jason Logan
Betting on Week 1 of the NFL preseason is a bet on randomness. Teams may or may not play their starters. And if they do, it’s only for a few sets.

Second, third and even fourth-string players will decide your fate, so why not wager on teams that have shown some consistency in an otherwise chaotic stretch of schedule.

We look at the best Week 1 NFL preseason bets since 1995 and how those teams look heading into the 2013 exhibition calendar.

Denver Broncos (10-7 SU, 12-4-1 ATS in Week 1)

The Broncos have a laundry list of offseason issues and may be just trying to get through the preseason without adding to those troubles. Reports out of camp state Peyton Manning may see limited action this summer, with the offensive line missing some key cogs. Denver smoked Chicago 31-3 in last year’s preseason opener and is a 3-point underdog at San Francisco this Thursday.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-6 SU, 12-5 ATS in Week 1)

When you read headlines like “Bucs Just Hoping To Survive Preseason”, it doesn’t instill the greatest confidence in Tampa Bay bettors. The Buccaneers’ No. 1 priority is making sure everyone sees Week 1, which could mean plenty of play for third and fourth-string scrubs this summer. The Bucs beat Miami 20-7 as 3-point dogs in Week 1 last preseason and are 3-point home faves hosting Baltimore Thursday.

Seattle Seahawks (13-4 SU, 10-7 ATS in Week 1)

Seattle has the same ATS mark in Week 1 as the Titans and Bengals, but we focus on the Seahawks because they seem to give a crap about winning the warm-ups. Last year, Seattle beat Tennessee 27-17 as a 3-point home favorite in Week 1, en route to a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS preseason. This time around, the Seahawks are plugging the hole at WR left by Percy Harvin’s injury. Sidney Rice is also nursing a bum knee, so the Seahawks' passing game could have its wings clipped this preseason. Seattle is a 2.5-point road favorite at San Diego Thursday.

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