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NFL Bets: Best First Quarter Bets in Buccaneers-Vikings, Jaguars-Colts and Rams-Seahawks

The 2023 NFL season is just weeks away. NFL bettors have had their eyes on point spreads and totals for the better part of the summer, and now they’re digging into the prop markets. The eyeballs and sharp money make NFL odds efficient, but pricing on derivative lines is still settling in, so there’s value to be found on NFL bets like first quarter spreads and totals. Let’s use OddsShopper’s top-down betting model to look at Buccaneers-Vikings, Jaguars-Colts and Rams-Seahawks bets on derivative markets this Sunday.

New to sports betting? OddsShopper’s selection of Betting 101 articles is here to help. Check out our guide to finding positive expected value (+EV) or our sport-specific guides, including our guide to NFL betting and our expert advice for NBA betting. If you’re looking for sharp plays each day, check out OddsShopper’s bet shopping pages — you can even unlock more +EV plays by signing up for OddsShopper Premium!

NFL Bets: First Quarter Buccaneers-Vikings, Jaguars-Colts, Rams-Seahawks Bets

Buccaneers-Vikings Odds, via BetRivers
Bucs: +200 | Vikings: -270
Bucs +6: -110 | Vikings -6: -110
Over 45.5: -108 | Under 45.5: -113

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a lot to prove in 2023. Tom Brady is gone and Baker Mayfield is in, creating a ton of uncertainty for this offense. Mayfield is a talented quarterback that was once a high NFL pick, but he has failed to put anything together throughout his career. He’ll look to turn things around in Tampa without the services of two of their best offensive weapons, Rob Gronkowski and Leonard Fournette, both of whom exited with the departure of Brady. Nevertheless, Mayfield does still have top receiving talent on the outside, including Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.

The Minnesota Vikings will need to replace longtime starting running back Dalvin Cook. However, despite Cook’s absence, they’ll holdover a consistent set of offensive skill position players, including Justin Jefferson. Arguably the league’s top receiver, Jefferson will once again be the preferred target for Kirk Cousins. He’ll be joined by tight end T.J. Hockenson, K.J. Osborn and rookie wide receiver Jordan Addison.

Sunday’s Buccaneers-Vikings bet are heavily leaning toward Minnesota. The Vikings are 6-point favorites and -270 on the moneyline. The game’s total is high, due in part to this being played in a dome, in addition to the fast pace that Tampa Bay played at a year ago. The first quarter total is 9.5 points, which can be had at BetRivers Sportsbook for +100. The bet has a 3% positive expected value given it’s 51% win rate and true odds of -105. It’s worth staking about 1.9% of your bankroll if you’re using the full Kelly Criterion for bankroll management.

Jaguars-Colts Odds, via BetRivers
Jaguars: -235 | Colts: +175
Jaguars -5: -110 | Colts +5: -110
Over 45: -110 | Under 45: -110

Trevor Lawrence is back for his third NFL season, and the hype could not be bigger. Lawrence led the Jacksonville Jaguars to their first postseason appearance in years in 2022. They defeated the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30 in the AFC Divisional Round before succumbing to the Kansas City Chiefs in a tight 27-20 loss. Lawrence threw for over 4,000 yards in 2023 and could even improve further this season with the addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley from suspension and running back Travis Etienne from injury.

Jacksonville will head to Indianapolis to take on a Colts team that is already reeling before even playing a regular season game. The organization is still dealing with a holdout situation with their star running back Jonathan Taylor. It is likely to trade Taylor if it can find a willing partner before the season starts. Otherwise, he could continue his holdout into the year. Taylor’s absence is bad news for Colts rookie starting quarterback Anthony Richardson. The veteran presence and strong running game could have been important factors for success given his inexperience.

The Jaguars are favored by 5 points over the Colts in this game. They’re -235 to win the game outright, and the game’s total is 45 points. The best Jaguars-Colts bet right now is on the first quarter total. You can also grab this one at under 9.5 (-104) at BetRivers. The bet has a 2% positive expected value with a win probability at 52%. The true odds of this NFL bet should be -109, making it worth staking about 1.8% of your bankroll if you’re using the full Kelly Criterion.

Rams-Seahawks, via BetRivers
Rams: +190 | Seahawks: -250
Rams +5: -110 | Seahawks -5: -110
Over 46: -110 | Under 46: -110

The Los Angeles Rams got bad news this week when it was announced that Cooper Kupp was likely to miss the season’s first week. Kupp, one of the league’s best receivers, adds a dynamic element to their offense that will be sorely missed. Without Kupp, the offense is likely to rely more on their run game and there could be additional targets to their veteran tight end, Tyler Higbee. There are still weapons on this team, but it will be difficult for them to keep up with the Seattle Seahawks without Kupp on the field.

Seattle surprised the world a year ago when Geno Smith took over– and outperformed– their previous quarterback, Russell Wilson. They feature Kenneth Walker III in the running game, and Smith can consistently hit wideouts D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.

The consistency for Seattle has them favored by 5 points over the Rams. The best NFL bet for the first quarter is yet another under. This time you can grab under 9.5 (+100) at BetRivers for a Rams-Seahawks bet with a 2% positive expected value. It has true odds of -104, making it worth staking 1.5% of your roll if you’re using full Kelly betting.

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