Saturday's NFL Preseason Week 1 parlay at mega +611 odds: Champions back in action
All 32 NFL teams are on the field this weekend in Week 1 of the NFL preseason, which has been reduced to just 3 games since last year. There are 8 games on Saturday’s slate, plus the Raiders vs Vikings game on Sunday, and we’ve chosen 3 picks for Saturday’s games to form our mega parlay. It includes some of the most interesting matchups of the weekend too, with games featuring top teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams make their first appearance against city rivals the Chargers.
Betting on preseason games is not to everyone’s taste, and most of the challenge is assessing which team will be taking the game more seriously and playing their better players deeper into the game, but as long as you keep stakes small a small interest at decent odds can still pay off. That sounds like a Saturday mega parlay!
Let’s take a look at the three components of our parlay, which pays at +611 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook at time of publishing.
Chiefs ML (-110)
Dolphins -1 (-105)
LA Chargers -3.5 (-110)
Parlay odds: +611
Let’s break down each of the legs in our Saturday selection.
Get our NFL Preseason Picks for this weekend
Kansas City Chiefs ML over Chicago Bears (-110)
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid has a 42-45 overall preseason record, but he’s had a losing year only once in his last 6 preseason campaigns, going 4-0, 2-2, 2-2, 2-2, 1-3 and 3-0 since 2015 (there were no preseason games in 2020). Last year’s 3-0 record started with a road win at San Francisco, and their trip to Chicago should rate an easier test. When they went 1-3 in 2019, the win was in the opening preseason game with an unusually wide-margin 38-17 preseason success. Reid has said he will play each of his QBs for a quarter, including Patrick Mahomes in the first quarter, followed by Chad Henne, Shane Buechele and Dustin Crum, an undrafted rookie out of Kent State.
The battle for running-back places on the Chiefs roster could mean they have a strong ground game throughout the contest, with Jerrod McKinnon, Isiah Pacheco, Ronald Jones and Derrick Gore all wanting to get their hands on the ball. It’s not often you get a revenge storyline to liven up a preseason game, either, but it won’t have gone unnoticed that new Chiefs quarterbacks coach Matt Nagy is returning to Soldier Field to play the franchise that fired him as head coach last year.
Bears coach Matt Eberflus is embarking on his first preseason as a head coach, so no doubt will be out to impress, but he has a long job on his hands to turn the team around and if the top end of the roster is not great, the lower reaches could be tough to watch. Eberflus has suggested that his starters will get up to 15-20 snaps each, with some getting only 10-15 and a couple of starters, running back David Montgomery and tight end Cole Kmet, are unlikely to be seen at all due to injuries. Trevor Siemian and Nathan Peterman will likely take most snaps at QB for the Bears, and despite the home team starting a new era, Reid not shying away from giving his top squad some action can help the Chiefs get off to a winning start.
Miami Dolphins -1 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-105)
Tom Brady is not playing (for either team) in this game, and we may not see Dolphins starter Tua Tagovailoa either. The teams have been practicing against each other in Tampa this week and both coaches may think their starters have done enough in those sessions to not need to suit up on Saturday night. The battles down the roster matter more in preseason and Miami has excellent depth, particularly on defense, that should stand them in good stead in this contest.
Teddy Bridgewater could get plenty of action for Miami, while rookie Skylar Thompson has been the subject of favorable reports from training camp. and the Dolphins have a glut of high-quality wide receivers, some of whom they may even want to showcase for a potential trade. There has been talk that the Dolphins have been shopping Lynn Bowden and Preston Williams, and a couple of big plays could do their value no harm.
The Bucs are not short of experience at QB despite Brady’s absence, with Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin in the QB room, along with 2021 2nd-round pick Kyle Trask, who could probably use the reps most. The Dolphins can showcase the depth of their roster and win for new head coach Mike McDaniel.
Los Angeles Chargers -3.5 over Los Angeles Rams (-110)
The Super Bowl champions are making a habit of playing at home when it’s not an official home game. They won the Lombardi Trophy in the neutral venue of their own SoFi Stadium and now play their first road game of the preseason at… SoFi Stadium. The Chargers get no advantage for being the official home team but they look solid favorites against their LA neighbors. Rams coach Sean McVay’s attitude to preseason wins is similar to general manager Les Snead’s opinion of spending first-round picks on rookies — considered extremely non-essential. The Rams went 0-3 in preseason last year before winning it all, so there’s not likely to be any major change to their approach.
The first loss was in this equivalent rivalry game, which the Chargers won 13-6. The Chargers lost their other preseason games, but they should get solid quarterback play for most of the game with Chase Daniel and Easton Stick as Justin Herbert’s main backups. The Rams may not be keen to play 2nd-stringer John Wolford for too long given the recent concerns over starter Matt Stafford’s elbow, so there could be extended time for Bryce Perkins and Luis Perez. Take the Chargers to comfortably repeat last year’s opening win.