Sundays full of football, plus Thursday and Monday action, and a constant focus on Super Bowl odds is back for another year when the season kicks off on Thursday night.
Let's all say it again one more time: The NFL is back!
Everybody and their dog (and probably also their tigers, ravens, cardinals, and any possible animal) has advice for how to approach the plethora of NFL odds available, and giving their best bets — but we've got the goods that everybody needs to see — the official NFL picks from the Covers staff!
We've polled our best pro football betting minds for their favorite plays for the upcoming season, getting their selection to win the Super Bowl, a regular season MVP pick, and best NFL futures play.
Check out where our crew is leaning this year, and then feel free to follow along — or fade us (at your own risk) — once the season gets underway!
2023 NFL picks
|Writer||Super Bowl||MVP||Fave future|
|Jason Logan||Eagles||Hurts||Lawrence O4,025.5 pass yards|
|Joe Osborne||Bengals||Tagovailoa||Jets to miss playoffs|
|Josh Inglis||Cowboys||Lawrence||Raiders U370 points|
|Rohit Ponnaiya||Dolphins||Burrow||Titans O7.5 wins|
|Jared Hochman||49ers||Mahomes||Dobbins O725.5 rush yards|
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Covers staff NFL picks
Jason Logan, Senior Betting Analyst (@CoversJLo)
- Super Bowl pick: Philadelphia Eagles (+800 )
- MVP: Jalen Hurts, QB, PHI (+1,200 )
- Favorite future: Trevor Lawrence Over 4,025.5 Passing Yards (-112 )
As a Cowboys fan, it really chaps my ass to pick the Philadelphia Eagles to win it all. But there’s no denying that this is the best two-way team in the NFL. The Eagles have multiple ways to win games, instead of relying on one or two key things. The offense is only getting better as Jalen Hurts progresses as a pro passer and the defense is disruptive and dangerous.
The Eagles aren’t completely reliant on Hurts to win, the same way Kansas City or Buffalo need their QBs to shine, but there’s no denying Hurts’ spot among the elite passers. And unlike the other guys above him on the NFL MVP odds board, Hurts can do damage with his arm or his legs — boosting his Most Value Player stock with additional gains on the ground.
Trevor Lawrence finished 2022 with 4,113 passing yards — 2,273 of those in the final nine games. Jacksonville will throw more in 2023, expanding on Doug Pederson’s playbook and utilizing one of the more underrated receiving corps. His player projections have most forecasts coming in at Over 4,025.5 yards, with a consensus of 4,109 yards through the air., and the Jacksonville Jaguars play 10 defenses ranked 16th or worse in 2023... and only four stop units inside the Top 10.
Joe Osborne, Senior Betting Analyst (@JTFOz)
- Super Bowl pick: Cincinnati Bengals (+1,100 )
- MVP: Tua Tagovailoa, QB, MIA (+2,200 )
- Favorite future: New York Jets to miss playoffs (+120 )
It’s rare for a team as young as the Cincinnati Bengals to have already established a winning culture like this and I think this is the year where they get to the top. They have major strengths on both sides of the ball and they were a major winner when they retained the services of defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo, who interviewed for head coaching jobs elsewhere. Combining this with the big-game ability of Joe Burrow — and the reasonable odds — makes the Bengals a great bet to win the Super Bowl.
The injury concerns for Tua Tagovailoa are warranted, but let’s consider the massive leap he took from year two to year three: Mike McDaniel came in, and for the first time in Tua’s career, the offense was built around him... and he flourished. Statistically, he was one of the top QBs in the NFL last season and was in the MVP discussion before concussions derailed his season. It’s a big “if,” but if he stays healthy, he should be in the mix for the award.
Aaron Rodgers has brought a lot of hype to the New York Jets, but is the aging QB really enough to get the Jets into the playoffs? Rodgers is coming off his worst season since his first year as a starter, and the Jets — who were bad last year — face a much more difficult schedule compared to last season. We’ve seen a lot of hype out of New York teams like the Nets and Mets recently... and I expect the Jets to follow in their footsteps as a major disappointment.
Josh Inglis, Betting Analyst (@Covers_josh)
- Super Bowl pick: Dallas Cowboys (+1,500 )
- MVP: Trevor Lawrence, QB, JAC (+1,600 )
- Favorite future: Las Vegas Raiders Under 370 points (+100 )
At +1,500, I think the Dallas Cowboys to win it all returns the best value. They have an elite defense, Mike McCarthy is on the hot seat, and Dak Prescott’s INTs last year were largely unlucky — plus the additions of Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore (and the subtraction of Zeke) help, too. New OC Brian Shottenheimer is the big question mark but a deep run vs. a weaker NFC is possible.
The Jaguars have a cupcake schedule and their defense could keep Lawrence throwing. It’s another full season with Doug Pederson and OC Press Taylor and everyone is projecting Calvin Ridley to put up prime Randy Moss numbers in his first season in Jacksonville. Lawrence's ascension last year was huge and a small jump in output could make him a Top 3 betting favorite come late November.
Jimmy Garoppolo is coming off foot surgery and finished 30th in air yards per attempt last year. The Las Vegas Raiders O-line is projected to be one of the leakiest in the league, Josh Jacobs is coming off a 404-touch season, and the additions of Jakobi Meyers and Austin Hooper don’t move the needle.
They are one Jimmy G injury from Brian Hoyer and bet365 has their team total points at 370 (3-way market), which works out to a max of 21.7 points per game. Josh McDaniels is 17-28 SU as an HC and his teams have finished 20th, 19th, 32nd, 27th, sixth, and 12th in points in the six seasons (as a HC and OC) without Tom Brady as his QB. This team will struggle to average more than three TDs per game, especially with a Top-10 difficult SOS.
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Rohit Ponnaiya, Betting Analyst (@Covers_Ro)
- Super Bowl pick: Miami Dolphins (+2,500 )
- MVP: Joe Burrow, QB, CIN (+750 )
- Favorite future: Tennessee Titans O7.5 wins (+114 )
The Miami Dolphins were a Super Bowl dark horse last year but bettors might be sleeping on them in 2023 despite upgrading their stop unit with new DC Vic Fangio and some key defenders. Jalen Ramsey might be injured until the end of the regular season but they have depth in the secondary and the pass rush should be much better. If that defense can get near the same level as their explosive attack — and Tua can stay healthy — getting them at around 25/1 will look like a steal.
Continuity is key for Burrow, who is surrounded by the same weapons and will finally have a left tackle that can protect him after Cincy added Orlando Brown Jr. Burrow actually was shaky to begin 2022, before catching fire and finishing with 4,475 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. It also helps that the Bengals face a relatively cushy slate of pass defenses (13th in CBS Sports Fantasy SOS for QBs), which rank significantly easier than other MVP contenders like Hurts (26th), Josh Allen (29th), and Rodgers (28th).
The Tennessee Titans ended last year with seven straight losses but they were a 6-6 team with Ryan Tannehill under center. Now, Tannehill isn't a gamebreaker, but he's a capable QB which is more than can be said for Joshua Dobbs or Malik Willis, who replaced him when he got hurt. With a healthy Tannehill, DeAndre Hopkins joining the WR corps, and Derrick Henry continuing to steamroll defenders, Tennessee's offense should be more consistent while the defense should be solid as well. Add in the eighth-easiest schedule in the league, per Pro Football Network, and the Titans should go over their modest win total.
Jared Hochman, Senior Publishing Editor (@JLHoch)
- Super Bowl pick: San Francisco 49ers (+1,000 )
- MVP: Patrick Mahomes, QB, KC (+600 )
- Favorite future: J.K. Dobbins O725.5 rush yards (-115 )
The San Francisco 49ers reached the NFC Championship for the second straight season last year, but got stomped after literally not having a QB for most of that game. However, despite bringing in Christian McCaffrey midseason and turning going to seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy as QB1 for the stretch run, the Niners still finished with the third-best record in football and the league's best point differential.
This year, San Fran still has arguably the best defense in the league, CMC will hit the ground running (literally), the receiving corps has three legit threats — I'm big on the Brandon Aiyuk breakout — and Purdy has an offseason of prep to help him settle, along with a competent veteran backup in Sam Darnold. At 10/1, sign me up for the Gold Rush to cash in.
Ho-hum, Patrick Mahomes is a very boring MVP pick, but let's be honest: He's simply the best player in the league. After leading the NFL with 5,250 passing yards last season, Mahomes could very well put up similar numbers again. He still has that seemingly telepathic connection with TE Travis Kelce, a competent backfield supporting him, plus the Kansas City Chiefs have four other competent receivers. Kadarius Toney, if he can stay healthy, boasts the potential to be a true WR1.
After rushing for 805 yards (in just one start) as a rookie in 2020, J.K. Dobbins lost the 2021 season due to injury, and was disappointing early in 2022 as he returned a little too prematurely. However, Dobbins started to look like the star we all expected when he rushed for 120, 125, and 93 yards in three of his last four games to close out 2022.
This is his +1 year following major knee surgery (when RBs are really expected to hit their stride again) and with new OC Todd Monken looking to pass more — and run Lamar Jackson less in an attempt to protect him — the Baltimore Ravens should be looking to Dobbins to play more of a true RB1 role, which has me thinking he can easily top 725 total rushing yards (equal to roughly 43 yards per game).
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