The 2020 NFL season shapes up to be unlike any other as all 32 teams prepare to kick off their season in the midst of a pandemic.
Punters are largely stepping into the unknown with no fans and no training camps to speak of, meaning we should see our fair share of upsets over the course of the regular season.
Ten divisional games headline Week 1 and there is a stack of value to be found from Friday right through to Tuesday.
We’ve run our eyes over all 16 games and offer our top tips in our 2020 NFL Week 1 Preview below!
Kansas City Chiefs
Friday 11 September, 10:20am, Arrowhead Stadium
The Super Bowl champion Chiefs will be hoping for a repeat performance of last year’s divisional round when they meet the Texans in Friday’s season opener from Arrowhead.
Kansas City has opened as the odds-on favourites in the market following a very challenging offseason for just about everyone in the league.
The Chiefs famously clawed their way back from a 24-0 deficit against the Texans during last year’s playoffs to score a playoff record seven consecutive touchdowns over their next eight drives.
With that in mind, it is no surprise to find a very high Points Line (54.5) heading into their rematch.
The pandemic aside, the Texans have faced their own challenges this offseason in the form of scrutiny.
Houston chose to trade away star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a swap with the Arizona Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a move that likely turns out to be a complete catastrophe rather than a stroke of genius.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, added another weapon to their backfield by selecting talented LSU running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round of the draft.
Now joining the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, Kansas City’s newest addition spells potential disaster for a Texans defence that allowed the fifth-most yards to opponents last year.
The crowd normally plays a huge factor at Arrowhead, but an empty stadium might just put these two teams at ease and help limit their mistakes.
The Total has gone Over in each of Kansas City’s last five season openers, so we’re taking the Chiefs and the Over to ensure some value.
Tip: Back the Chiefs to Win & Over 54.5 Total Points
Las Vegas Raiders
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, Bank of America Stadium
The Panthers lost eight straight games to close out the 2019 season as they find themselves at +3 heading into Week 1 against the Raiders.
Carolina enters a new era with Teddy Bridgewater replacing Kyle Allen under center, which poses a potential nightmare for opposing teams as they now try and game plan against Bridgewater and Christian McCaffrey.
The Raiders also enter a new era after making the move from Oakland to Las Vegas.
Jon Gruden’s side finished 7-9 last season, but they might improve on that mark after adding some much-needed depth at wide receiver during the draft.
The Raiders had their share of troubles defensively last season, but they did allow the seventh-fewest yards on the ground.
This poses potential trouble for the Panthers’ run heavy offense and a huge opportunity for the Raiders to open with a win.
Tip: Back the Raiders to Cover the Line (-3 Points) @ $1.83
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, TIAA Bank Field
The Colts are set to open the season with a new quarterback under center for the second year in a row.
Indianapolis has now turned to veteran Philip Rivers after the Jacoby Brissett experiment failed to deliver a playoff berth last year.
Rivers’ best years are no doubt behind him, but he should be afforded every opportunity to deliver with a talented group of receivers and running backs at his disposal.
The Jaguars appear to be a comfortable opponent for the Colts to begin the season coming off a disappointing 6-10 finish last year.
Jacksonville does have some upside with the exciting Gardner Minshew and DJ Chark returning, but the shock release of Leonard Fournette last week does leave the Jags looking incredibly thin at running back.
Indianapolis was a great bet last year against fellow division opponents covering in four of their six games.
This is a ‘prove it’ game for not only the Colts, but also Rivers, so don’t be surprised if they make a statement.
Tip: Back the Colts to Cover the Line (-6.5 Points) @ $1.85
New England Patriots
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, Gillette Stadium
The Patriots kick off a new era from Gillette on Monday searching for their12th consecutive AFC East crown.
Cam Newton will lead the charge as Tom Brady’s replacement as the Patriots seek some revenge on the Dolphins for their Week 17 loss in Foxboro last year.
The Patriots are the first team in NFL history to replace one MVP quarterback with another, but that isn’t to say the new ship is set for smooth sailing right away.
New England’s lack of depth at wide receiver cost them dearly towards the back end last season, which could pose a few headaches as the Patriots try and adjust to Newton’s on-the-fly style of offence.
The Dolphins proved to everyone last year that they aren’t to be taken lightly, and while we do have to wait a while longer to see Tua Tugavailoa, there is still plenty to like about Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Miami forced a pair of turnovers in their Week 17 win over the Patriots last year, so with Newton’s health and mobility still in question, the Dolphins appear a good bet to keep this tight.
Tip: Back the Dolphins to Cover the Line (+6.5 Points) @ $1.90
Washington Football Team
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, FedEx Field
The Washington Football Team will be looking to put a tumultuous offseason behind them on Monday when they face the rival Eagles at FedEx Field.
Washington lost their last four games to close out the 2019 season and their recent track record against the Eagles, and the NFC East, suggests they aren’t a great bet to open 2020 with a win.
The Eagles have won six straight over Washington dating back to 2016, while Washington has also lost each of its last 11 games to division opponents.
Philly themselves remain a large question mark heading into the season with a complete lack of depth at wide receiver, but they should be able to rely primarily on the ground game this week against a Washington side that allowed the second-most running yards defensively last year.
Tip: Back the Eagles to Cover the Line (-6 Points) @ $1.90
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, Mercedes Benz Stadium
Monday’s showdown between the Falcons and Seahawks should be one of the highlights of Week 1, especially if it turns out like their Week 8 meeting last year.
Seattle won 27-20 in Atlanta and are now being favoured by less than a field goal in the market.
The last time we saw the Seahawks they lost on the final drive against the Packers in the divisional round, a result that forced the front office to get busy drafting defenders back in April.
The Falcons, meanwhile, were winners of four straight to close out the season.
Atlanta has improved offensively by adding Todd Gurley at running back, a move that could pay immediate dividends against a Seattle defence that allowed the third-most touchdowns to opposing running backs last year.
The Falcons looked a very dangerous team in the second half last year and it’s worth remembering this is a team that features one of the top wide receiver duos in the league.
Which version shows up is the big question, but with six wins in their last 10 games as an underdog, don’t be surprised if the Falcons emerge with an upset.
Tip: Back the Falcons to Win @ $2.10
Green Bay Packers
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, US Bank Stadium
The Vikings and Packers will write another chapter in their long-standing rivalry on Monday in the first of two NFC North divisional games.
Minnesota are being favoured with home-field advantage, but they have their work cut out against a Packers side hungry to forget all about their blowout loss to the Niners in last year’s NFC Championship Game.
The Vikings are also hoping to put the past behind them after losing twice to the Packers last year.
Kirk Cousins has lost a major target in Stefon Diggs, which places plenty of pressure on rookie receiver Justin Jefferson to fill the void.
The Packers have only grown stronger at running back after adding A.J. Dillon in the second round, although there is concern at receiver after the team failed to draft a No. 2 to compliment Davante Adams.
On the flip side, the Packers defence may just do the talking in this game.
Green Bay finished seventh in turnovers last year, while the pass rush gave the Vikings plenty of problems on both occasions.
The Packers finished 2019 4-2 at the line against division opponents, so there’s a bit to like about a team that finished only one game away from the Super Bowl last year.
Tip: Back the Packers to Cover the Line (+2.5 Points) @ $1.96
New York Jets
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, New Era Field
The Jets will be hoping to pickup where they left off last season with a win over the Bills.
New York held on for a narrow 13-6 win in Week 17 as the Bills rested most of their stars heading into the playoffs.
The Bills went on to lose in the Wild Card round to the Texans, but a lot has changed since then.
Former Viking Stefon Diggs has been added to the fold to give Josh Allen a legitimate option down field, while the Bills also bolstered their scary defence by adding A.J. Epenesa in the second round of the draft.
The Jets remain in the midst of a firm rebuild and it is difficult to get too excited about their roster.
Sam Darnold looks to be in for another tough season with very little talent at wide receiver, meaning we should see the Jets rely heavily on the ground game again with Frank Gore now complimenting Le’Veon Bell.
On the flip side, the Bills did finish 4-4 at home last year, so this is a fairly big game as they look to set the tone for the rest of the season.
Considering this is basically a Top 10 defence taking on a Jets team that finished dead last in total offensive yards last year, the -6.5 line looks rather generous.
Tip: Back the Bills to Cover the Line (-6.5 Points) @ $1.85
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, M&T Bank Stadium
The Ravens are the odds-on favourites to defend their AFC North crown as they kick off Week 1 against the rival Browns.
Baltimore carries over much of the same roster that led them to the divisional round last year, but they’ll be looking to go a step further this time following a crushing defeat at home to the Titans.
Cleveland’s season ended abruptly at 6-10 as the Freddie Kitchens experiment resulted in nothing more than heartbreak.
The Browns have now turned to Kevin Stefanski to right the ship as the former Vikings offensive coordinator attempts to pull off what would arguably be one of the most famous upsets in team history.
The Ravens are capable of hurting you in a number of ways, with their favourite method coming on the ground.
Reigning MVP Lamar Jackson has reinvented the quarterback position, while the trio of Mark Ingram, Gus Edwards and rookie J.K. Dobbins is set to wreak havoc on the rest of the league for years to come.
The Browns gave up the third-most rushing yards to opponents last year, so you don’t have to be a genius to work out why the Ravens are favoured by over a touchdown.
Baker Mayfield, OBJ and Nick Chubb are more than capable of making a game of this, but Baltimore’s 11-2 record as the home favourite against the Browns is way too impressive to argue against.
Tip: Back the Ravens to Cover the Line (-7.5 Points) @ $1.90
Monday 14 September, 3:00am, Ford Field
The NFC North remains an absolute guessing game heading into Week 1, but we should receive some clarity nice and early with two divisional games scheduled for Monday’s slate.
The Lions have been a popular dark horse to take out the crown this season and they do look good value here against a very questionable Bears team.
Long time quarterback Matthew Stafford returns from a back injury after missing the entire second half of last season – an exciting prospect with Kenny Golladay, T.J. Hockenson and Kerryon Johnson all poised for a big season.
Chicago’s hopes hinge entirely on the defence after the team named Mitch Trubisky as its starter last week.
The Bears actually won three of their final five games last year, but it is worth noting they haven’t opened the season with a win since 2013.
A touchdown or less has separated these two sides in each of their last four meetings, so it is no surprise to find the line at only a field goal.
The Lions have covered in each of their last six games as the home favourite against Chicago though, so you have to like Detroit to really make a statement with Stafford returning to the fold.
Tip: Back the Lions to Cover the Line (-3 Points) @ $1.94
Los Angeles Chargers
Monday 14 September, 6:05am, Paul Brown Stadium
The Bengals and the Chargers are both expected to miss the playoffs this year as both teams enter a new era at quarterback.
Andy Dalton has been replaced by No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, who the Bengals have announced will start Week 1.
The Chargers, meanwhile, have bid farewell to Philip Rivers in favour of Tyrod Taylor, and perhaps first round pick Justin Herbert further down the line.
Los Angeles are still stacked with talent on both sides of the ball and it no real surprise to find them favoured heavily against a Bengals team that won only two games last year.
The Chargers finished last season ranked sixth in passing yards and seventh in first downs, while the defence also held its own allowing the fifth-fewest yards through the air.
Cincinnati could prove to be a handful this year, but it’s difficult to get on board this early.
Rookie Joe Burrow has been thrown in the deep end right away, and while he does have a handful of talented receivers around him, there’s no getting around the fact the Bengals scored the third-fewest points last year.
Tip: Bengals Under 20 Points @ $1.88
San Francisco 49ers
Monday 14 September, 6:25am, Levi’s Stadium
The Arizona Cardinals will be hoping to create another headline this week with an upset win over the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium.
Arizona made a splash right before the draft by acquiring wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a trade that sent running back David Johnson packing to Houston.
As a result, the Cardinals are left with what appears to be one of the most talented offensive rosters in the league with offensive mastermind Kliff Kingsbury pulling the strings.
San Francisco, meanwhile, has spent the better part of six months wondering what could have been.
The Niners looked well on their way to winning the Lombardi Trophy last year before some questionable fourth quarter decisions got in the way.
Defensively, the Niners have what it takes to stifle the Cardinals, but one has to wonder if we’ll see another Super Bowl hangover unfold similar to the Falcons and Rams in recent years.
The Cardinals are firmly a contender for the NFC West and are easily the most improved team heading into the season.
Arizona gave the Niners a real scare on both occasions last year, so the fact we’re getting +7 at the line is quite remarkable.
Tip: Back the Cardinals to Cover the Line (+7 Points) @ $1.85
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monday 14 September, 6:25am, Mercedes-Benz Superdome
This might be one of the most highly anticipated games in NFL history.
The wait finally comes to an end as Tom Brady steps out onto the field a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, joining a talented cast of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and the newly signed Leonard Fournette.
On paper, Tampa Bay appear a legitimate shot to contend for the NFC South crown, but they’ll need to prove themselves nice and early against the Saints in Week 1.
New Orleans also has a point to prove after yet again coming up short in the playoffs last year.
The Saints remain relatively unchanged heading into the season, instead opting for the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” motto after winning the division the last three years running.
When it comes to the Bucs, there are two very important stats to consider.
Tampa Bay finished fourth in points scored last year and fourth in points allowed.
The last two games between these sides have both gone Over the Total, so don’t be surprised if we get a bit of a shootout between Brady and Brees.
Tip: Over 49 Points @ $1.90
Los Angeles Rams
Monday 14 September, 10:20am, SoFi Stadium
The Cowboys will open their season on the West Coast this year under new head coach Mike McCarthy.
Dallas has dubbed McCarthy their newest solution to a long list of problems as they hope to return to the playoffs following a lousy 8-8 season last year.
The Rams are also hoping to make up for lost time following their Super Bowl slump in 2019.
After failing to show up against the Patriots on the big stage two years ago, the Rams slumped to a 9-7 record to finish third in the NFC West.
Despite their long list of shortcomings, Dallas has improved significantly through the draft by adding first round talent CeeDee Lamb to the roster.
Lamb was a standout at Oklahoma and is sure to provide Dak Prescott with a sorely needed threat down field in his contract year.
Jared Goff, meanwhile, faces a “line in the sand” type season with doubts surrounding his leadership and overall ability.
The Cowboys defeated the Rams 44-21 late last year and it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if we received another high-scoring result on Monday.
The Total has gone Over in each of the last three games between these two sides, while it also went Over in five of Dallas’ eight games on the road last year.
Tip: Over 52 Points @ $1.90
New York Giants
Tuesday 15 September, 9:05am, MetLife Stadium
The Steelers will be looking to revert back to their dominant ways in Week 1 with Ben Roethlisberger finally returning from injury.
Pittsburgh finished second in the AFC North last year at 8-8 under Mason Rudolph and they will now be eager to wash away the taste of three consecutive losses to end the season.
The Giants are heading into another rebuild year after winning just four games last season.
Daniel Jones is back under center after starting 12 games last year in place of Eli Manning, while the bulk of the Giants’ offence should come through Saquon Barkley, who rushed for 1,000 yards for the second straight year.
These two teams haven’t met since 2016, so it’s difficult to read too much into the trends.
Stats wise, the Giants finished third in turnovers last year, which poses a few questions against a Steelers outfit that led the league defensively in the same department.
Tip: Giants Under 20.5 Total Points @ $1.85
Tuesday 15 September, 12:20pm, Empower Field
The Broncos and the Titans conclude the annual Monday Night Football doubleheader in what might turn out to be the most exciting game of the week.
Tennessee overachieved last season by making it as far as the AFC Championship Game, a tall order for not only Ryan Tannehill to live up to, but also head coach Mike Vrabel.
The Titans face a massive test at Mile High on Tuesday against a Broncos team that looks a live chance to sneak a Wild Card berth.
Denver claimed a win over the Titans in Week 6 last year before closing the season with back-to-back wins over the Lions and Raiders to finish a respectable 7-9.
The Broncos have also been busy during the offseason adding Melvin Gordon to a backfield that already featured 1,000 yard rusher Phillip Lindsay, as well as Alabama standout Jerry Jeudy in the draft.
You might say the Titans have the defence and the running game to match Denver, but history suggests otherwise.
Tennessee has never beaten the Broncos at Mile High since they became the Titans back in 1999.
Tip: Back the Broncos to Win @ $1.90
With training camps done and dusted, preseason previews wrapped up, and final rosters announced, it’s time to get down to business.
A pair of historic rivalries bookend Week 1 of the NFL, and to help celebrate the league’s 100th season, we’re back with our weekly previews to help you with all things X’s and O’s.
In case you need a quick refresher, you can also find our complete 2019 NFL Season Preview here, which details all 32 teams to help you lay down some juicy futures bets.
As for Week 1 one, be sure to check out our best bets and Same Game Multi tips below.
Green Bay Packers
Friday 6 September, 10:20am, Soldier Field
Chicago 3 – Green Bay 10
It’s only fitting that the NFL’s 100th season kicks off with a classic rivalry game from Soldier Field on Friday.
Chicago’s season ended in bitter fashion last year due to a missed field goal in the NFC Championship Game, while Green Bay’s self-destructed under long-time head coach Mike McCarthy, who has since been replaced by former Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur.
The Packers have won four of their last five games over the Bears, including last year’s Week 1 come from behind victory made famous by Aaron Rodgers’ one-legged, three touchdown performance.
Chicago’s biggest strength is defence, something defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano hopes to carry over into the new season. The Bears finished with the fewest rushing yards allowed in 2018, as well as the fifth-fewest touchdowns allowed through the air.
Opening the season at Soldier Field is tough, particularly on the prime-time stage of Thursday Night. You can expect Pagano to dial up plenty of blitzes early to rattle Rodgers in the pocket, and if the Packers respond by running the ball, they’ll certainly be playing into Chicago’s hands.
On the other side, the Bears are a huge question mark offensively. Mitchell Trubisky showed signs of promise at times last year, but overthrown passes remain a concern. Rookie running back David Montgomery also has a bright future ahead of him, but you can expect plenty of growing pains as he adapts to the NFL level.
In a nutshell, the Bears hold the advantage on defence, while the Packers are the elite team offensively.
The last three games between these two sides have been decided by no more than a touchdown, and considering Green Bay are 3-1 as the away underdog at the line against Chicago, it’s worth playing it safe by backing the Packers to keep things close.
Best Bet: Back the Packers to Cover the Line (+3 Points) @ $1.96
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Aaron Jones ($2.50), Allen Robinson ($2.50), Cordarrelle Patterson ($7.50)
Bears vs Packers Same Game Multi
New York Jets
Monday 9 September, 3:00am, MetLife Stadium
NY Jets 16 – Buffalo 17
The AFC East looks to be a little more competitive following a big offseason from the Jets.
New York added star running back Le’Veon Bell through free agency, and although this could turn into another LaDainian Tomlinson situation for the Jets, there’s every chance Bell puts up some big numbers after sitting out the entirety of the 2018 season.
Buffalo looks destined to occupy the third spot in the division this year with Josh Allen under centre. Sean McDermott returns for his third season as head coach, but he has even less to play with following LeSean McCoy’s release in the final week of preseason.
On paper, this isn’t the most exciting game in terms of matchups. Two second-year quarterbacks, Allen and Sam Darnold, square off, while the pair have only five seasons above .500 between them over the last decade.
The money looks about right, but since it is Week 1, don’t be surprised if this game turns into an upset.
Buffalo was sneaky good on defence last year, particularly through the air, where they allowed the fewest passing yards. With an equally impressive 8-3 record as the line underdog on the road against the Jets, back the Bills to give New York a real scare.
Best Bet: Back the Jets to Cover the Line (-3 Points) @ $1.92
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Le’Veon Bell, Josh Allen
Jets vs Bills Same Game Multi
Monday 9 September, 3:00am, Hard Rock Stadium
Miami 10 – Baltimore 59
The Ravens are firm favourites this week in Miami as they look to return to the playoffs for the second straight season.
Speaking of favouritism, the Dolphins already look to be the odds-on favourite for the No. 1 overall pick in next years draft.
Miami’s offseason has been choc-full of headlines, particularly at the quarterback position following a blockbuster draft-day trade to acquire former Arizona Cardinal, Josh Rosen.
The 22-year-old won’t start Week 1, or anytime soon for that matter. Instead, Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under centre as the Dolphins host the Ravens, and if the 13-year pro gets off to a hot start like he did last year with the Bucs, Miami might work some magic against Baltimore’s secondary.
John Harbaugh remains at the helm for his 11th straight season in Baltimore, and he should have fewer distractions to deal with now that Joe Flacco has departed for Denver.
That means we’ll officially get a good look at Lamar Jackson against a Dolphins defence that allowed the second-most rushing yards last season.
Baltimore has a lot to play for this week as they look to make up for last year’s Wild Card loss to the Chargers. The Ravens have won eight of their last 10-games over Miami and are also 8-2 against the spread.
The Dolphins made some moves in the draft to bolster their defensive line, but it mightn’t be enough to stop the Ravens from running riot. Aside from Jackson, Baltimore also features Mark Ingram – a dangerous downhill running back making his Ravens debut.
All things considered; this one isn’t worth overcomplicating. Ravens in a blowout.
Best Bet: Back the Ravens to Cover the Line (-6.5 Points)
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram
Dolphins vs Ravens Same Game Multi
Kansas City Chiefs
Monday 9 September, 3:00am, TIAA Bank Field
Jacksonville 26 – Kansas City 40
Plenty has been made of Kansas City’s offseason as the Chiefs hope to get back to the AFC Championship Game.
After last years defensive meltdown against the Patriots, the Chiefs got busy during the draft adding safety Juan Thornhill and cornerback Rashad Fenton. Both will play a role down the stretch, while the offseason signing of Tyrann Mathieu should also help strengthen a secondary that allowed the second-most passing yards last year.
In seasons past the threat of Jacksonville’s passing game has been almost non-existent, but times are about to change with Nick Foles under centre. The Eagles’ Super Bowl-winning quarterback signed a tidy four-year deal during the offseason, ending the Blake Bortles era in Jacksonville and hopefully, providing some spark on offence.
This time last year the Jaguars were revered on defence, only to record 11 interceptions – the ninth fewest in the league. Jacksonville wasted little time addressing their needs though, picking up perhaps the most talented defensive end in the draft, Josh Allen.
The Chiefs offence is legit, and quite easily the best in the league. Patrick Mahomes is capable of picking apart the Jags’ defence, but this could turn into a real shootout that boils down to a big defensive play.
Tip: Back the Jaguars to Win @ $2.30
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Leonard Fournette, Travis Kelce, Dede Westbrook
Jaguars vs Chiefs Same Game Multi
Monday 9 September, 3:00am, First Energy Stadium
Cleveland 13 – Tennessee 43
The Browns have opened at a very short price on Monday as they prepare to face one of the leagues biggest unknowns.
You mightn’t have noticed, but Tennessee somehow managed to finish last season 9-7 despite a variety of problems on both sides of the ball.
Cleveland are among the Super Bowl favourites this year after a big offseason headlined by the acquisition of Odell Beckham Jr. The Browns once crowded backfield now features lone back, Nick Chubb, at least until Kareem Hunt returns after Week 8.
Baker Mayfield is also among the favourites for MVP this season, but it’s easy to forget some of the mental mistakes he made at times last year. There’s no doubting Mayfield’s cannon arm, but against a very underrated Tennessee defence, don’t be surprised if we see a few turnovers.
The Titans allowed the fifth-fewest rushing touchdowns last year, which isn’t surprising for a Mike Vrabel coached team. Tennessee had big success running the ball themselves behind Derrick Henry, which led to four wins in their final five games.
This season relies entirely on the relationship between Marcus Mariota and new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith, but with a fairly generous line set, it’s worth backing the Titans’ defence to keep this game close.
Tip: Back the Browns 1-12
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Marcus Mariota, Nick Chubb, Jarvis Landry
Browns vs Titans Same Game Multi
Monday 9 September, 3:00am, Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia 32 – Washington 27
The Eagles are banking on a bounce-back season from Carson Wentz as they look to reclaim top spot in the NFC East.
Unlike years past, the division shapes up as a two-horse race between Philly and the Cowboys, but the Eagles look to have the advantage on paper with a stacked offence made up of receivers Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor, as well as newly-signed running back, Jordan Howard.
The Redskins did a lot right last year despite their 7-9 record. Washington’s Wild Card hopes were dashed by a gruesome injury to starting quarterback Alex Smith late in the year, an absence that forced the Skins to sign Case Keenum during the offseason.
Depending on what version of Keenum turns up on Monday, the Redskins could certainly keep things interesting on the road in Philly. Washington hasn’t won at Lincoln Financial Field since 2016, but with a highly underrated defence, don’t be surprised if they match Doug Pederson’s play calling early.
The odds also don’t lie, and after belting the Redskins 24-0 during Week 17 last year, the Eagles should prove too much in the end.
Philly are 7-4 as the home favourite against Washington head-to-head, so back the Eagles to win this one comfortably in the end.
Best Bet: Back the Eagles 13+
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Zach Ertz, Wendell Smallwood
Eagles vs Redskins Same Game Multi
Monday 9 September, 3:00am, US Bank Stadium
Minnesota 28 – Atlanta 12
This time last year the Falcons opened their season in Philadelphia, a loss that set the tone for the remaining 15 games.
Things aren’t about to get any easier this time around as the Falcons travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings on Monday. U.S. Bank Stadium is one of the toughest places to play in all of football, a recipe for disaster for a Falcons defence that allowed the sixth-most passing yards and the eighth-most rushing yards last season.
Minnesota has plenty of lost time to make up for in a very crowded NFC North picture. After forking out a hefty deal for quarterback Kirk Cousins, many fans feel they haven’t received what they were promised two offseasons ago.
In Cousins’ defence, the 31-year-old performed exceptionally well during his first year in Minnesota. Cousins threw for over 4,000-yards and 30 touchdowns last year, and also posted the second-highest completion rate.
The Falcons have plenty of reasons to feel confident offensively heading into this game, but a lack of depth on defence could be their downfall for the second year in a row.
Atlanta won only three games on the road last year, and after allowing the eight-most points-per-game in 2018, it’s difficult to see them containing Minnesota’s long list of weapons.
Best Bet: Back the Vikings to Cover the Line (-4.5 Points) and Under 48.5 Total Points @ $3.80
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Stefon Diggs, Calvin Ridley, Adam Thielen
Vikings vs Falcons Same Game Multi
Los Angeles Rams
Monday 9 September, 3:00am, Bank of America Stadium
Carolina 27 – LA Rams 30
These two sides have something in common: they are both looking to bounce-back from a disappointing end to 2018.
For the Rams, it was a loss in the Super Bowl thanks to an uninspired three-point performance. And for the Panthers, it was a playoff bound season disrupted by yet another injury to Cam Newton.
It’s tempting to back the Overs in this game with so much firepower on the field, but the Panthers do look a little wide at their current price.
Carolina spent the offseason growing stronger on and off the field, first by drafting linebacker Brian Burns and second, by helping Cam work on his mechanics and arm angle.
It’s easy to forget the Panthers were 6-3 heading into Week 10 last year, and it’s even easier to forget just how much talent is on the roster in the form of Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olson, and up and coming receiver, D.J. Moore.
The Panthers are also 10-3 in their last 13-games at home, and as we’ve seen in years past, often the losing Super Bowl team can suffer from a dreaded hangover.
Tip: Back the Panthers to Win @ $2.20
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Cooper Kupp, Christian McCaffrey, Greg Olsen
Panthers vs Rams Same Game Multi
Los Angeles Chargers
Monday 9 September, 6:05am, Dignity Health Sports Park
LA Chargers 30 – Indianapolis 24
The bookmakers acted accordingly to the news of Andrew Luck’s retirement, fading the Colts in the Super Bowl futures market as well as their Week 1 matchup against the Chargers.
It’s a shame we won’t get to see Luck go head-to-head with Phillip Rivers, but that isn’t to say the Colts are no chance on the road this week.
Indianapolis was high on Luck’s replacement Jacoby Brissett, and with a long list of talented receivers ranging from T.Y. Hilton all the way down to rookie Parris Campbell, there’s still reason for optimism in Colts camp.
Los Angeles stack up as another serious challenger in the AFC playoff picture, but their offseason hasn’t exactly been a walk in the park, either.
At time of writing, it looks as though star running back Melvin Gordon will miss Week 1 due to a contract dispute, thrusting Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson into the starting role for the indefinite future.
The Chargers have plenty of depth to rely on, and they are also an elite team defensively ranking inside the bottom ten in yards allowed both on the ground and in the air last season.
That being said, the Colts won five of their final six games last season. The Chargers are notoriously slow starters, with their last Week 1 win coming way back in 2015.
Tip: Back the Colts to Cover the Line (+6.5 Points) @ $1.92
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Keenan Allen, Marlon Mack
Chargers vs Colts Same Game Multi
Monday 9 September, 6:05am, Century Link Field
Seattle 21 – Cincinnati 20
The Bengals will need to pull out something special if they wish to earn their first win at the Link since 2011.
A trip to Seattle is tough at any point during the regular season, let alone during Week 1. And with a tattered offensive line supporting Andy Dalton, who is also minus his No. 1 overall receiver A.J. Green, it’s no surprise to find the Bengals at such long odds.
The Seahawks fooled everybody last year as they snuck into the Wild Card game behind a 10-6 record. Seattle’s season didn’t last much longer as they lost to the Cowboys a week later, but there’s still something very underrated about this current Seahawks squad.
In the span of an offseason, Doug Baldwin has retired, Russell Wilson has been paid handsomely, and the Seahawks are now the proud owners of Jadeveon Clowney.
It’s far from the glory days of 2013, but with a strong running back committee comprising of Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny, there’s simply too much for a razor-thin Bengals defence to overcome.
Cincinnati allowed the most passing yards and the fourth-most rushing yards last season, so this should be nothing more than a blowout.
Tip: Back the Seahawks to Cover the Line
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Nick Vannett, Rashaad Penny, Tyler Lockett
Seahawks vs Bengals Same Game Multi
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
San Francisco 49ers
Monday 9 September, 6:25am, Raymond James Stadium
Tampa Bay 17 – San Francisco 31
The money looks just about right for these two teams following a rather forgettable 2018 season.
San Francisco finished 4-12 following Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending knee injury in Week 3. The Niners have a renewed sense of optimism heading into the year, but the offseason hasn’t come without its share of hurdles.
Running back Jerick McKinnon will miss his second straight season due to a knee injury, leaving the 49ers a little thin at running back. Matt Breida and the newly signed Tevin Coleman will be in charge of the workload, and they’ll need to hit the ground running in an extremely competitive division.
Tampa Bay has also endured a big offseason with the firing of head coach Dirk Koetter in favour of Bruce Arians. In five seasons with Arizona, Arians showed a tendency to throw caution to the wind, which should suit Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston nicely.
This game shapes up as a bit of a coin flip head-to-head, which makes the Total Points market your safest play. Not surprisingly, the bookies have set a high Total with both sides struggling against the pass last year.
Realistically, 50.5 points looks a little high when you consider these two sides ranked first and second in turnovers last year.
Four of San Francisco’s last five away games in Tampa Bay have also gone Under the Total, so back this one to be low scoring.
Best Bet: Under 50.5 Total Points @ $1.92
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Matt Breida, Mike Evans, Peyton Barber, George Kittle
Bucs vs 49ers Same Game Multi
Monday 9 September, 6:25am, State Farm Stadium
Arizona 27 – Cincinnati 27
The Lions have opened as minor 2.5-point favourites ahead of their trip to the desert to face the new-look Cardinals.
Detroit finished last season 3-5 on the road, but there’s certainly something sleeper-ish about the Lions this year.
The Cardinals also remain a bit of a mystery under new head coach Kliff Kingsbury. This game could go a long way to illustrating how good or bad both teams might be this season, and with plenty of talent on paper, we could certainly be in for a high scoring affair.
Depending who you talk to, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a down year by some fans’ standards. Upon closer inspection though, the 31-year-old still managed to complete over 66% of his passes last season and throw over 3,500 yards.
We know what to expect from Stafford, but the same can’t be said for Cardinals rookie Kyler Murray. At just 5’10, the former Oklahoma star could turn into the next-best undersized quarterback, or he could turn into a liability very quickly against top-level pass rushers.
The Lions are a measly 2-7 in their last nine games against Arizona, but don’t let that fool you. Detroit welcome running back Kerryon Johnson back into the fold this season, which could spell big numbers against a Cardinals defence that allowed the most rushing yards last season.
Detroit is extremely underrated on offence, which fits in perfectly with most of Stafford’s career numbers. Johnson is an explosive back, while both Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay make up part of a very talented wide receiver corps.
With all that in mind, the Lions should prove too much for the Cardinals’ defence to handle.
Tip: Back the Lions 1-13
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Kerryon Johnson, Christian Kirk, Marvin Jones Jr
Cardinals vs Lions Same Game Multi
New York Giants
Monday 9 September, 6:25am, AT&T Stadium
Dallas 35 – NY Giants 17
The odds might suggest otherwise, but this is still a classic NFC East rivalry game that could hold a few surprises instore.
The first came on Wednesday night as disgruntled running back Ezekiel Elliott signed a whopping six-year, $90 million contract extension with the Cowboys after sitting out the entirety of training camp.
Elliott will likely receive limited snaps in Week 1, but his inclusion alone is enough to place full faith in the Cowboys.
The Giants defence was gashed by running backs last year, allowing the fifth-most rushing touchdowns and the sixth-most receiving touchdowns. Big Blue has a pretty handy running back themselves in Saquon Barkley though, who just so happened to put up 142 scrimmage yards on the Cowboys during Week 17 last year.
Games between the Giants and Cowboys can sometimes be one-sided, but never low scoring. The pair combined for 71-points when they last met, so back the Overs with confidence.
Best Bet: Over 45.5 Total Points @ $1.92
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: Saquon Barkley, Amari Cooper, Dak Prescott
Cowboys v Giants Same Game Multi
New England Patriots
Monday 9 September, 10:20am, Gillette Stadium
New England 33 – Pittsburgh 3
The Patriots host the Steelers on Sunday Night Football in a game that might wind up being a potential playoff preview.
New England hasn’t lost to the Steelers at home since 2008, leaving the Patriots at very short odds to kick off their season with a win.
Pittsburgh’s offseason has been all about two things: Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Two of the Steelers’ top offensive players have now departed for not-so-green pastures, but with zero distractions off the field, Pittsburgh can finally focus on a return to the AFC Championship Game.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers got the last laugh over New England last year winning 17-10 at Heinz Field right before the playoffs. Prior to that though, the Patriots had won five straight games over Pittsburgh dating back to 2013.
Sunday night will mark another chapter in the long rivalry between Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, but unlike years past, this game should feature more of the ground game than anything else.
New England, made up of a strong committee of running backs featuring James White and Sony Michel, will battle James Conner, fresh from a 900-yard season in Bell’s shadow.
The Patriots held up well defensively last year allowing the 10th fewest rushing yards. Not to be outdone, the Steelers also allowed the sixth-fewest, which could make moving the chains difficult in this one.
Head-to-head it’s difficult to go past New England, especially considering the Steelers are just 1-6-1 against the spread in their last eight Week 1 games. That said, six of the last 10-games between these two teams have gone Under the Total, so it might be worth backing some value.
Best Bet: Patriots to Cover the Line (-5.5 Points) & Under 49.5 Total Points @ $3.60
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: James White, Juju Smith-Schuster, James Conner, Julian Edelman
Patriots v Steelers Same Game Multi
New Orleans Saints
Tuesday 10 September, 9:05am, Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans 30 – Houston 28
These two teams are among the top contenders in their respective conferences, although you wouldn’t know it judging by the money on offer.
The Texans, who finished last season 5-3 on the road, have won two of their last three games over the Saints, although you do have to rewind all the way back to 2015 to find their last meeting.
Monday Night Football is reserved for the NFL’s top contenders, and while both sides are the current favourites to win their divisions, don’t be surprised if this one turns into a Saints blowout.
The Texans chances of winning the AFC South for the second season in a row increased dramatically following Andrew Luck’s retirement, but on the same night, Houston also lost running back Lamar Miller to a season-ending ACL injury.
Miller isn’t the flashiest runner in the NFL, but he did help the Texans finish eighth in rushing last year. In his place, Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde will try and fill the void, but with a spotty offensive line that is yet to improve, the Saints defence could be in for a feast.
Houston led the league in sacks allowed last year, as Deshaun Watson hit the turf 62 times. The Saints pass rush, meanwhile, accounted for the sixth-most sacks in the league, which spells disaster for the Texans on Tuesday.
Tip: Back the Saints 13+
Anytime Touchdown Scorers: DeAndre Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara
Saints vs Texans Same Game Multi
Tuesday 10 September, 12:20pm, Oakland Coliseum
Oakland 24 – Denver 16
Week 1 opens with the games most historic rivalry and closes with a not-too-distant second.
These two division rivals split their two-game series one win apiece last year, but it’s the Broncos who find themselves with an edge in the market on the road.
Denver’s offseason was a busy one, and it all started with the signing of Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco in free agency. The 34-year-old replaces Case Keenum under center, while there’s also a new man under the headset as Vic Fangio was appointed the new head coach back in January.
For the Raiders, the offseason has been as busy as it has been dramatic.
Things got off to a promising start with the signing of Antonio Brown in free agency, followed by two blockbuster picks in the first round of the draft in Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell and running back Josh Jacobs.
Quickly, things turned for the worst though as Brown suffered frostbite during a preseason training regime in Europe. Next, a helmet dispute with the league threatened to derail his season entirely, but the good news is No. 84 is set to play in Week 1.
In a nutshell, it’s difficult to know what to expect from either side this season. On one hand, you could make a Wild Card case, while on the other, both teams could easily wind up 4-12.
Perhaps the one guarantee is Denver’s defence. The Broncos ranked sixth in interceptions last year and also allowed the eighth-fewest rushing touchdowns, which could make life difficult for a Raiders team relying solely on a bounce-back year from quarterback Derek Carr, and something special from rookie running back Josh Jacobs.
Not much is expected from Flacco, which is fine considering the Broncos can trust running back Phillip Lindsay with the ball. Denver are 11-4 in their last 15 games against Oakland, so take the value on offer.
Best Bet: Broncos to Win @ $1.80
Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Phillip Lindsay, Josh Jacobs
Raiders v Broncos Same Game Multi
The NFL returns to our screens on Friday, and after a year filled with upsets, Week 1 promises to deliver much of the same.
Gearing up to defend their Super Bowl title, the Philadelphia Eagles kick things off on Friday, but the action doesn’t stop there as we prepare for 13 games on Monday and a big double-header on Tuesday morning.
Can the Eagles start things off with a win? Can the Cleveland Browns pull off unthinkable? And what will we make of Tom Brady and the Patriots?
Check out our full 2018 NFL Week 1 tips below!
Friday 7 September, 10:20am, Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia 18 – Atlanta 12
All signs point toward’s Carson Wentz missing the season-opener.
It’s a huge blow for Philadelphia, especially since back up (and Super Bowl MVP) Nick Foles has had an awful preseason.
They say bad news comes in threes, and after wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was also ruled out last week, it makes you wonder what’s next for the Eagles.
Normally when two of your key playmakers are missing on offense, you’d expect a team to play conservatively.
With head coach Doug Pederson under the headset though, expect anything but.
For the Falcons, that might spell bad news.
Atlanta’s defence allowed the eighth most yards-per-game during the preseason, but on the flip side, the Falcons’ defence was a turnover machine in 2017, and they look likely to replicate that form again this year.
Betting wise, the Eagles have won two of the last three with the points total resulting in the Under in Atlanta’s last five games.
As last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff game suggests, this should also be close.
The Eagles won that game 15-10, but Philly failed to score a single receiving touchdown, instead relying on running back LeGarrette Blount who has since departed for Detroit.
This time around, it’s going to come down to the defence, but with the Falcons adding another weapon in wide receiver Calvin Ridley, nothing is going to come easy.
Matt Ryan has another option to throw to now, one that takes the focus away from Julio Jones.
Don’t look past Atlanta spoiling Philly’s home-field party.
Back Falcons To Win @ $2.20
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, M&T Bank Stadium
Baltimore 47 – Buffalo 3
Both the Ravens and the Bills figure to feature toward the bottom of their respective AFC divisions, but this is a big chance for either team to earn what could be a rare win this season.
It’s been an offseason to forget for Buffalo, plagued with off-field storylines surrounding running back LeSean McCoy, as well as the trade of starting quarterback A.J. McCarron last week.
Now, it looks as though the Bills are flying the white flag and conceding the rebuild to be officially underway, but are they any chance of toppling the Ravens on the road?
The bookies don’t think so, but the Bills are 4-1 at the line in their last five games.
More importantly however, the Ravens are 5-2 in head-to-head markets over their last seven games.
Baltimore figure as a tough team to get a read on this season.
Joe Flacco is probably one bad month away from losing his job to backup Lamar Jackson, but the running game is sound with Alex Collins, and the additions of Michael Crabtree and Willie Snead figure to help the passing game.
The Ravens in 2018 will be a big wait-and-see, but Baltimore should start their year off with a win on Monday morning.
Back the Ravens 1-6 @ $3.60
New York Giants
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, Metlife Stadium
NY Giants 15 – Jacksonville 20
There’s always plenty of optimism surrounding the Giants to start the season, but this just feels a little different.
We’ve already sampled first round draft choice Saquon Barkley throughout the preseason, but the young gun receives his first real test against one of the NFL’s elite defences this week.
The Jaguars, well what you see is what you get.
Jacksonville’s defence carried them all the way to the AFC Championship game last year, and on the heels of a season that saw the Jags rank first in points off turnovers, this is hardly the team you want to face when you’re rebuilding your offense.
Defensive coordinator Todd Walsh sees all of his stars return this year, but the same can’t be said for Jacksonville’s offense.
Wide receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson have since departed, leaving questionable quarterback Blake Bortles even less weapons to target.
It’s safe to say the Jaguars will run it down the Giants’ throats this week, which is okay if Leonard Fournette is up for the task.
There’s no doubting the power of the 2016 first-rounder, but the Jags still need Fournette to help out in the receiving game more and more.
So who wins this?
It’s going to come down to Eli Manning playing smart, conservative football, and with this offensive line, it’s hard to see that happening.
The Jaguars will blitz and apply pressure, and even with Odell Beckham Jr returning, this game shapes up as a learning curve for hopeful Big Blue.
Back the Jaguars To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points) @ $1.87
New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, Mercedes Benz Superdome
New Orleans 40 – Tampa Bay 48
Surprise, surprise, the NFC South figures to be the toughest division in football once again, and the Saints are the early season favourites to capture the title.
Chalk it up to Drew Brees or New Orleans’ strong defence, either way, the Saints are the team to beat right now.
Sean Payton’s side are 12-4 as the head-to-head favourites in their last 16 games, and the Saints grew only stronger in the offseason with the addition of former Bears wide receiver, Cameron Meredith.
As if Brees needed another weapon, the Saints offense looks deadly in the red zone, which spells bad news for a Bucs team that ranked first in yards allowed per-game last season.
To make matters worse, Tampa also goes without starting quarterback Jameis Winston for the first four weeks of the season.
There’s plenty of talent on the offensive roster, including rookie running back Ronald Jones II and trusty receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, but with a trip to the Superdome, a venue Tampa haven’t won at since 2015, this looks a little beyond the Bucs.
Back the Saints 13-18 @ $4.75
New England Patriots
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, Gillette Stadium
New England 27 – Houston 20
These two have played out some real classics in recent memory, including last year’s three-point nail-biter at Gillette Stadium.
For all of the Texans’ hard work though, they haven’t had the better of New England since 2010.
That’s the story of Houston’s history really – close, but nice try.
Things look different this year however, and if starting quarterback DeShaun Watson can stay healthy, the sky is the limit.
The same also goes for star defensive end J.J. Watt, but after last season started off so promisingly, all eyes will be on Houston to make the playoffs this year.
As for New England, this is perhaps the most worried Pats Nation has felt in a long time.
Bill Belichick’s team is incredibly thin at wide receiver, relying on the newly signed Cordarrelle Patterson and Chris Hogan to fill the void left by Julian Edelman’s four-week suspension.
There’s a lot of unknowns about this Patriots team, and it doesn’t just stop at receiver.
Who’s the feature, go-to running back and how will the defence fare without coordinator Matt Patricia?
No one’s arguing the Patriots won’t win the AFC East, but at these odds, the Texans are a favourable upset play in your multi this week.
Back the Texans To Beat The Line (+6.5 Points) @ $1.91
San Francisco 49ers
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, US Bank Stadium
Minnesota 24 – San Francisco 16
Quarterbacks are always under the microscope, but perhaps no two will be more closely analysed than Kirk Cousins and Jimmy Garoppolo this week.
In what could easily shape up as the best game of the week, the Vikings look to build on their bitter disappointment in the NFC Championship Game last year.
Like many others, there’s plenty of unknowns this season, but while all eyes will be on Cousins’ adjustment to a new offense, Dalvin Cook’s return to the running back spot should give Minnesota that extra spark on attack.
Speaking of running back, the 49ers now know how it feels to lose your starter to an ACL injury.
It was announced during the week that Jerrick McKinnon would miss the remainder of the year, leaving Alfred Morris and Matt Breida to take his place.
This game is a huge test for the Niners.
Minnesota is a tough environment to play in, but after closing out 2017 with a 5-0 head-to-head record, an upset isn’t out of the question.
Unfortunately, the Vikings are also 5-0 in head-to-head markets against the 49ers, and it looks as though Minnesota might have too many weapons for San Francisco to cover.
Richard Sherman on wide receiver Adam Thielen should provide plenty of highlights, but at home, it’s tough to back against the Vikings, and unfortunately that leaves little value in the market.
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, Hard Rock Stadium
Miami 27 – Tennessee 20
Plenty have the Dolphins and Titans pegged as sleepers this season, and it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see either clinch a Wild Card berth.
Miami welcomes back Ryan Tannehill after a season-ending ACL tear cost him all of last season.
Now healthy, it remains to be seen how confident Tannehill is in the pocket, and he’ll have to adjust quickly with go-to wide receiver Jarvis Landry now playing in Cleveland.
The Titans, well where do we start?
Tennessee shocked everyone last year by making it as far as the AFC Divisional Round, but the firing of coach Mike Mularkey came as the bigger surprise.
Former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel now takes over, which should result in bigger and better things for the defence.
As far as this game goes, much of it should come down to the running game.
Big things are expected from Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake, while we also get our first look at the Titans’ two-headed machine of Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry.
Unfortunately for Miami, the Titans are 4-1 in their last five games at the line, and also hold a big advantage in the receiving game.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota needs to turn the corner this season and compile not only a big season on the scoreboard, but also an accurate one. This is a chance for him to prove himself on the road.
Back the Titans To Win @ $1.90
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis 23 – Cincinnati 34
The Andrew Luck foot/injury saga wages on, but it looks as though the 28-year old will make his long awaited return to regular season football this week.
It’s hardly a throwaway game, but a home match up against the Bengals is a nice transition from injured reserve to full-speed contact.
The Colts don’t figure as playoff contenders this year, and neither do the Bengals, but that isn’t to say either team isn’t capable of winning six or so games.
For Indianapolis to win this one, they’ll need to exploit Cincinnati’s new 4-3 defensive scheme early.
That involves handing running back Marlon Mack the ball as much as possible, but also targeting the likes of T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle in the red zone.
Cincinnati, well they need to keep the ball in the hands of their playmakers.
A.J. Green finished with a great season last year, but running back Joe Mixon needs to crack 1,000+ yards if the Bengals are to be taken seriously.
Since both of these sides are a little unknown, it’s a bit of a dart throw this week. The Bengals are 6-2 in their last nine games at the line though, and with Luck far from 100%, Cincy get the nod.
Back the Bengals To Win @ $2.40
Monday 10 September, 3:00am, FirstEnergy Stadium
Cleveland 21 – Pittsburgh 21
Is this the moment Browns fans have been waiting for?
For what’s been a long six month offseason filled with hype, the Browns are out to accomplish something they failed to do last season: win.
The preseason has been up and down for Cleveland.
Wide receiver Jarvis Landry looks great, but the defence has appeared sluggish at times, calling coach Hue Jackson into question.
As for the Steelers, it’s anyone’s guess if star running back Le’Veon Bell intends to show up.
Bell has missed an offseason’s worth of practices and preseason games in his contract dispute, and if he sits out Week 1, you have to consider Cleveland a pretty big chance.
It goes without saying, but the Steelers have had the upper-hand over the Browns for quite some time.
The last time Cleveland defeated Pittsburgh was back in 2014, but this is by far the best roster the Browns have sported in recent years.
For the Steelers, the key to winning this will be pressure.
Make Cleveland’s offensive line work, and most importantly shut down the Browns’ potent run game from the very beginning.
The last time these two met last year the Steelers squeaked out a close one, beating the Browns 28-24.
Expect it to be another nail-biter, but Pittsburgh’s defence should win them this game if they can keep the receivers in check.
Over 44.5 Points @ $1.91
Los Angeles Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs
Monday 10 September, 6:05am, StubHub Center
LA Chargers 28 – Kansas City 38
Every game counts, but divisional games like this one are of the utmost importance.
Don’t look now, but the Chiefs own a surprising eight game winning streak over the Chargers.
Kansas City’s roster received a revamp during the offseason, and now we see if second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes can keep that streak alive.
The Chargers won’t undergo the same growing pains that are in-store for the Chiefs offensively, but they will have to rely on quarterback Phillip Rivers more than ever this season.
Tight end Hunter Henry is done for the year, leaving Rivers and newly signed, long-time veteran Antonio Gates to fill the void.
Of course, Rivers is surrounded by a strong supporting cast featuring Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen, two players that should torment the Chiefs defence.
Speaking of D, the Chargers could very well turn out to be the best in the league this season.
Led by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, Los Angeles’ pass rush is among the fiercest in the competition, which doesn’t spell a win for an opposing quarterback who’s made just one career start.
Back the Chargers 7-12 @ $4.50
Monday 10 September, 6:25am, Mile High Stadium
Denver 27 – Seattle 24
Case Keenum and defence.
Denver’s season boils down to both, and the same could be said for Monday’s game against the Seahawks.
A lot has been made of Seattle’s shoddy offensive line, as well as the fact the Legion of Boom is no more.
There’s some big names missing, one of which includes cornerback Richard Sherman, but is that enough to discount the Seahawks this year?
We should find out right away this week.
The Broncos defence is sneaky underrated, led by cornerback Chris Harris and outside linebacker Von Miller.
Those two alone aren’t enough to win Denver this game, but if Keenum is the Keenum we knew and loved last year, look out.
Denver are a big wildcard, but don’t forget, they have the depth on offense to win games. \
Running back C.J. Anderson is gone, but third round pick Royce Freeman figures as a sleeper to watch, and to be frank, a large improvement.
At home, the Broncos are tough to beat, and it helps knowing Seattle hasn’t visited Denver since 2014.
This game will be won by the defence, and on paper, the Broncos have already won that battle.
Back the Broncos 1-6 @ $3.50
Monday 10 September, 6:25am, Bank of America Stadium
Carolina 16 – Dallas 8
One question surrounds both of these teams: what will we make of the passing game?
Cam Newton is capable of greatness, but after shoulder surgery this time last year, he’s hardly played like the 2015 MVP we once knew.
Dak Prescott has proven he can lead an offense, but he has lost his leading receiver Dez Bryant and safety-blanket Jason Witten, while the Cowboys star-studded offensive line is missing a couple of key cogs.
For the Cowboys, there’s plenty of question marks on offense, many of which we should find an answer to this week.
The absence of Bryant and leaves Allen Hurns as the No.1 go-to option this season.
It’s safe to say depth isn’t on Dallas’ side when it comes to receiver, but the same could also be said for the Panthers. Selecting D.J. Moore in the first round was clever, but other than Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen, there’s plenty of unproven’s on this roster.
What Carolina do have going for them is a strong pass rush, led by a healthy Luke Kuechly. He’s the kind of player that can make life difficult for Prescott in the pocket, but also silence running back Ezekiel Elliott in the back field.
It’s worth noting that the Cowboys defence should be much improved from a season ago, but while we still work out the nuances of Dallas’ passing game, take the Panthers at home.
Tip: Back the Panthers 1-6 @ $3.50
Monday 10 September, 6:25am, State Farm Stadium
Arizona 6 – Washington 24
The Redskins haven’t began their season on the road since 2014, and although the Cardinals are in the midst of what looks to be a firm rebuild, a trip to the desert is no easy task.
New quarterback Alex Smith has debuted nicely for the team during the preseason, and Washington’s run game has also received a boost with the signing of Adrian Peterson.
The Cardinals also welcome in some fresh faces themselves, including quarterback Sam Bradford.
Despite the lull in expectations surrounding Arizona this year, the Cardinals offense still figures to be a threat this season, featuring returning veteran Larry Fitzgerald, as well as running back David Johnson from a season-ending wrist injury last year.
In particular, Johnson adds another layer to Arizona’s offense, one that was sorely missed last season.
The defence has lost a few pieces, but overall, both of these sides look evenly matched, which is reflected heavily in the odds.
With two quarterbacks adjusting to new schemes, expect some mistakes and time management errors.Still, the Cardinals have the pieces to make Bradford’s transition smooth and help take the pressure off at home.
Back the Cardinals To Win @ $1.91
Green Bay Packers
Monday 10 September, 10:20am, Lambeau Field
Green Bay 24 – Chicago 23
Aaron Rodgers returning to Lambeau Field is a beautiful thing, but the Bears stand to spoil the party after signing star defensive end Khalil Mack last week.
It’s safe to say Rodgers won’t be dancing around outside the pocket quite so much on Monday morning, but that isn’t to say the Packers won’t win this game.
Green Bay and Chicago have played out some classics over the last decade, including Week 17’s last-second Randall Cobb stunner in 2015, but this is perhaps the most evenly matched the two teams have looked in recent years.
Okay, so there’s plenty we need to find out about the Bears, including quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Chicago’s receiving corps look strong thanks to the signing of Allen Robinson and Trey Burton though, and if new coach Matt Nagy can breathe some creativity into the schemes, the Bears could go as far as a Wild Card berth.
The same goes for the Packers.
Green Bay could easily win the division, even the Super Bowl, but how will the defence fare with new coordinator Mike Pettine at the helm?
How will Rodgers and Jimmy Graham co-exist and who steps up as the lead running back?
If one thing is for sure, we won’t have all the answers after one game, but as far as Week 1 goes, the Packers look like the more complete side.
Green Bay are 8-4 in their last 12 games at Lambeau head-to-head, while the Bears are 2-14 in their last 16 games on the road.
Nagy has played it conservative throughout the preseason, so expect plenty of option-reads, play action passes and end-arounds this week.
Still, you can’t look past the Packers at home.
Back the Packers 7-12 @ $4.33
New York Jets
Tuesday 11 September, 9:00am, Ford Field
Detroit 48 – NY Jets 17
Detroit, home games, and prime-time football don’t always mix, but this is a chance for the Lions to prove themselves a realistic playoff threat on the national stage.
It’s only Week 1, but a fast start to the season would mean the world to Matt Patricia’s side.
The Jets have won two of the last three meetings between these teams, and in such a competitive division, every game counts if Detroit wish to capture their first NFC North title.
On the same token, a win to start the season would mean the world to the Jets.
The AFC East is just as tough, and with rookie quarterback Sam Darnold becoming the youngest quarterback to start in an NFL game at just 21-years old, opening the season with a victory would be a huge morale boost.
So how does either side pull this off?
The Lions have the talent offensively to go very far, just not the offensve line.
It’s an area Detroit addressed heavily in the draft, but after Stafford was sacked 47 times last year, keeping their franchise guy off the turf is priority number one.
And of course, for the Jets, the game plan has to be blitz, blitz, blitz.
Unfortunately for New York, it’s an area the Jets struggled with last year, racking up the sixth fewest sacks in 2017, while the pass defence also ranked Top 10 in points allowed-per-game.
This is a game the Lions should win, but sometimes these are the ones that give Detroit real problems.
The running game looks far from set, and tight end Eric Ebron is gone, but if Stafford can stay clean and rely on guys like Golden Tate and Kenny Golladay in the red zone, this should be a well-earned win.
Under 45 Points @ $1.87
Los Angeles Rams
Tuesday 11 September, 12:20pm, Oakland Coliseum
Oakland 13 – LA Rams 33
It’s crunch time for the Raiders, and after such a drama-filled offseason, all eyes are on new head coach Jon Gruden as he returns to his old firm.
The Rams are a popular Super Bowl pick this year, and for good reason.
The offense grew even stronger with the addition of Brandin Cooks, while the defence received three big inclusions in the likes of Ndamukong Suh, Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib.
As long as we’re talking about player signings, the Raiders oddly decided to part ways with one of the best defensive ends in the NFL, Khalil Mack.
Oakland’s defence was questionable as it was, but the loss of a sack-monster like Mack makes life even more difficult for coordinator Paul Guenther.
But wait, there’s more.
The Raiders have also said goodbye to wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Martavis Bryant, two big losses for Derek Carr in the passing game.
That now leaves Amari Cooper and Marshawn Lynch to carry most of the workload, a combination that didn’t turn out so well last year.
On one side, you have Gruden and his old school ways, and on the other, you have Rams head coach Sean McVay and his new-school approach to play calls and schemes.
This game should highlight the gap, or perhaps the gorge that sits between the two franchises in terms of talent and development, and most importantly, should be a fairly easy win for Los Angeles.
Back the Rams 13-18 @ $6.00
The 2017 NFL season is finally here!
It feels like an eternity ago that the New England Patriots recorded that memorable come-from-behind win over the Atlanta Falcons at Super Bowl 51 and we could not be more excited to get stuck into a new NFL season.
Our NFL best bets were incredibly profitable during the 2016 NFL season, so don’t miss out on our complete 2017 NFL Week 1 tips that can be found below.
New England Patriots
Kansas City Chiefs
Friday 8 September, 10:30am, Gillette Stadium
New England Patriots 27 - Kansas City Chiefs 42
The New England Patriots dynasty shows no signs of slowing down and they go into the new NFL season as clear favourites to win the Super Bowl.
New England knocked the Kansas City Chiefs out of the NFL Playoffs the last time that these two teams met in 2016 and it is the Patriots that will start this clash as dominant favourites.
The Patriots won eight of their ten games as home favourites last season and even more impressive was the fact that they finished with the exact same record against the line.
Kansas City clearly have one eye on the future – moving up in the NFL Draft to claim Patrick Mahomes was clear evidence of that – but they are still expected to be a Playoffs contender with Alex Smith under centre this season.
The Chiefs were one of the best betting teams in the NFL last season and they won three of their four games as away underdogs for a very big profit.
Kansas City did beat New England by 41-14 when they met in 2014 at Arrowhead Stadium, but it really is incredibly tough to back against the Patriots when they are at home.
This is a game that the market looks to have got just about right and I am happy to stay out of this clash from a betting perspective.
New York Jets
Monday September 11, 3:00am, Ralph Wilson Stadium
Buffalo Bills 21 - New York Jets 12
2016 was a struggle for both the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets and neither look like being any better in 2017.
The New York Jets have completely stripped their roster and are clearly tanking, while the Buffalo Bills have made a number of questionable calls during the off-season and really are a franchise with no direction.
It is the Bills that will start this clash as clear favourites, but it was the Jets that won the two games played between these sides last season.
Buffalo won only three of their five games as home favourites last season for a clear loss and they were a poor 2-3 against the line in this scenario.
New York may have beaten Buffalo twice last season, but they were still only able to win two of their seven games as away underdogs and their record against the line was no better.
The only value in this clash lies in the Total Points betting market.
The Over saluted in all eight of the Bills home games last season and the two games played between these sides last season were surprisingly high-scoring affairs.
Back Over 42 Points
Monday September 11, 3:00am, NRG Stadium
Houston Texans 7 - Jacksonville Jaguars 29
These AFC South rivals both have issues at quarterback, but it is the Houston Texans that will start this clash as clear favourites.
Houston took DeShaun Watson in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, but they will go into this season with the limited Tom Savage as their quarterback – it will be interesting to see how long he is able to hold on to the job.
The Texans preseason has obviously been effected by Tropical Depression Harvey and this will be an emotional occasion for the team as well as the city of Houston as a whole.
Houston have won their past seven games against Jacksonville and they did not lose a single game as home favourites last season.
Jacksonville were one of the biggest disappointments in the entire NFL last season and the career of quarterback Blake Bortles has stalled in a big way.
Bortles has now been replaced as one of the Jaguars five team captains and there is plenty of speculation that he could be replaced by veteran Chad Henne.
Jacksonville won only one of their eight games at away underdogs last season, but they were 5-3 against the line in this scenario for a profit.
This is a big occasion for Houston and they should be able to get the job done, while covering the line in the process.
Back Houston To Beat The Line (-5.5 Points)
Monday September 11, 3:00am, FirstEnergy Stadium
Cleveland Browns 18 - Pittsburgh Steelers 21
This is one of the most one-sided rivalries in the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers have won eight of their past nine games against the Cleveland Browns.
Pittsburgh are considered one of the main dangers to the New England Patriots in the battle for the Super Bowl and with one of the most star-studded offences in the NFL it is easy to see why.
The Steelers won five of their eight games as away favourites last season and in each of these wins they were able to cover the line in the progress.
Cleveland won only a single game last season and while they are unlikely to be that bad in 2016, they are still a team that is in the middle of rebuilding.
The Browns have taken a punt on rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer and he really has been thrown into the deep-end in this season opener against the Steelers.
Cleveland won only one game as home underdogs last season and they failed to cover the line in seven of their eight games in this scenario.
This is a soft way to start the season for the Pittsburgh Steelers and they really should be able to cover the line of 7.5 points very comfortably.
Back Pittsburgh To Beat The Line (-7.5 Points)
Monday September 11, 3:00am, Ford Field
Detroit Lions 35 - Arizona Cardinals 23
The Arizona Cardinals were extremely disappointing last season, but they will still go into this clash with the Detroit Lions as clear favourites.
Arizona went into the 2016 NFL season as genuine Super Bowl contenders, but they struggled from the outset and finished a disappointing 7-8-1.
Carson Palmer is not getting any younger, but they do have one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the NFL in the form of David Johnson and it would not surprise if they are one of the big improvers in 207.
The Cardinals were mediocre away from home last season and finished the season with a 2-2 record as home favourites.
Detroit once again missed out on the NFC North Title last season, but they still qualified for the NFL Playoffs and they should be in the mix for a wildcard once again.
Winning at home was a big strength for Detroit last season and they won six of their eight games at Ford Field for a big profit.
Somewhat bizarrely, the Lions have lost their past seven games against Arizona and they have not beaten them since 2005, but that can change this weekend and Detroit are a nice price to score an upset win.
Back Detroit To Win @ $2.05
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monday September 11, 3:00am, Hard Rock Stadium
This is a very interesting game between two sides that are expected to be in the NFL Playoffs mix in 2017.
The Miami Dolphins made a very slow start to the 2016 NFL season and they won only one of their first five games, but they finished the season with nine victories from their past 11 games to secure a wildcard berth in the AFC.
Miami go into this season without Ryan Tannehill after he blew-out his knee in the preseason and it will be very interesting to see how Jay Cutler fits into the system of Adam Gase.
The Dolphins may have the home field advantage, but they will still start this clash as underdogs and this is a position in which they thrived last season – they won three of their four games as home underdogs for a big profit.
Tampa Bay only narrowly missed out on a Playoffs berth last season and they are expected to take another big stride this season under the leadership of Jameis Winston.
The Buccaneers did not start a single game on the road as favourites last season, but they were only a middling 2-2 as the punter’s elect – although they did win five of their eight games on the road.
There isn’t as much between these two teams as the current betting market suggests and Miami do represent a touch of value at their current price.
Back Miami To Win @ $2.20
Update: This game is set to be postponed due to Irma
Monday September 11, 3:00am, Soldier Field
Chicago Bears 17 - Atlanta Falcons 23
It has been a very tough off-season for the Atlanta Falcons and it will be interesting to see how they bounce back from their Super Bowl meltdown.
Their Super Bowl choke overshadowed what was an excellent season for the Falcons and they have very similar pieces in place heading into 2017.
They are no guarantee to make another deep run, but they will still fancy their chances of making a winning start to the season.
The Falcons won all three of their games as home favourites last season and more impressively they were 7-1 against the line on the road.
2016 was another season to forget for the Chicago Bears and it is expected to be another tricky season for the struggling franchise.
Mike Glennon has been named starting quarterback – despite being challenged by rookie Mitch Trubisky in the preseason – and Glennon has shown some promising signs during his time as a starter in the NFL.
Chicago were able to win three of their six games as home underdogs last season and they were an impressive 5-1 against the line in this scenario.
This is another game that the market looks to have got just about right from a betting standpoint and I am happy to stay out.
Monday September 11, 3:00am, LP Field
Tennessee Titans 16 - Oakland Raiders 26
Big things are expected of both the Tennessee Titans and the Oakland Raiders this season and this is an interesting way for them to start the season.
Tennessee were one of the biggest surprise packages in the NFL and they finished the season with a 9-7 record that almost saw them return to the Playoffs.
Anything less than a Playoffs berth would be seen as a disappointment for Tennessee and they will go into this clash with Oakland as clear favourites.
The Titans won four of their five games as home favourites last season and if they are going to be a genuine contender in 2017, they must turn LP Field into a fortress.
Oakland looked as though they would be serious Super Bowl contenders in the second half of last season, but a season-ending injury to Derek Carr devastated their chances and they went out in the first round of the NFL Playoffs.
Carr is back and the AFC West Title really is there for the taking for this Raiders outfit.
The Raiders were able to win four of their seven games as away underdogs last season for a big profit and they have beaten the Titans in the past two seasons.
The one betting market that really does appeal in this clash is the Over in Total Points betting markets.
Backing the Over was a profitable betting play in games involving either of these sides last season and it would not surprise to see Carr and Marcus Mariota put on a show.
Back Over 51 Points
Monday September 11, 3:00am, Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati Bengals 0 - Baltimore Ravens 20
Both the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens will be keen to improve on what were fairly mediocre seasons in 2016.
Cincinnati took a step backwards for the first time in the Andy Dalton/A.J. Green era last year, but they have added a fair bit of talent in the off-season and will go into this clash with their divisional rivals as favourites.
The Bengals won only three of their six games as home favourites last season and they were a tough side to trust in this scenario.
It is tough to know what to make off the Ravens heading into 2017.
They still have one of the best defences in the NFL and if Joe Flacco stays fits the offence is capable of moving the football, but they do not have any explosive playmakers.
Baltimore really struggled away from home last season and they lost all five of their games as away underdogs, while they were a very poor 1-4 against the line in this scenario.
It has been a long time since Baltimore were able to beat Cincinnati in Cincinnati and that home-ground advantage does give the edge to the Bengals.
Back Cincinnati To Beat The Line (-3 Points)
Monday September 11, 3:00am, FedEx Field
Washington Redskins 17 - Philadelphia Eagles 30
The Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles finished in the second half of the NFC East last season, but the gap between them and the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants is not as great as last years standings indicate.
The controversy surrounding the contract of quarterback Kirk Cousins dominated the off-season in Washington and it overshadowed the fact that the Redskins have made a couple of shrewd moves during the off-season.
Washington will still go into this clash with the Philadelphia Eagles as underdogs and they weren’t particularly impressive at home last season – they won four of their eight games and had an identical record against the line.
Philadelphia and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz both made very promising starts to 2016, but fell away somewhat in the second half of the year.
The Eagles have doubled down on Wentz and have spent the off-season accumulating a host of different weapons for their young quarterback – despite having a number of key needs on defence.
Philadelphia were very poor away from home last season and they won just one of their eight games on the road and they failed to cover the line in their two games as away favourites.
These are two teams that are tough to trust from a betting perspective and this is a game that I am happy to stay out of.
Los Angeles Rams
Monday September 11, 6:05am, LA Memorial Coliseum
Los Angeles Rams 46 - Indianapolis Colts 9
The betting market for this clash completely flipped after it was revealed that Andrew Luck would not play in the season opener for the Indianapolis Colts.
The move from St Louis to Los Angeles was not a successful one for the Rams on the field last season and they finished with just four wins, while they lost their last seven games of the year.
Number 1 draft pick Jared Goff struggled from the outset and he will likely only have this season to prove that he is capable of being at least an average starting quarterback in the NFL.
The Rams lost both their games as home favourites last season and they won only one of their eight games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
There are few franchises in the NFL that are more reliant on one player than the Colts are on Andrew Luck and they will go into this clash with the very unreliable Scott Tolzien under centre.
The Colts were able to win four of their eight games as away underdogs last season for a big profit and the fact of the matter is that there is no real evidence to suggest that Goff is any better than Tolzien.
I am keen to take on the Rams and gamble on the Colts at their current price.
Back Indianapolis Colts To Win @ $2.60
San Francisco 49ers
Monday September 11, 6:25am, Levi's Stadium
San Francisco 49ers 3 - Carolina Panthers 23
The Carolina Panthers took a huge step backwards last season, but they will still go into this clash with the San Francisco 49ers as clear favourites.
Last season, Carolina were a shadow of the team that made it all the way to the Super Bowl the year prior and they finished at the bottom of the NFC South.
Whether they are able to bounce back this season could depend on the fitness of Cam Newton after he had his shoulder surgically repaired in the off-season, while their defence will definitely need to improve if they are going to be a contender.
The Panthers won only one of their three games as away favourites last season and their record away from home was poor.
San Francisco were one of the biggest winners of the NFL Draft and their head-office has made a number of very shrewd plays, but there is no doubt that they are a team that is still in the middle of a rebuild.
The 49ers still don’t have their quarterback of the future and it would likely be in the best interests of the future of the franchise if they went into the 2018 NFL Draft with a top five pick.
San Francisco won only one game at home last season and their record against the line was only marginally better.
Carolina go into this clash as deserving favourites, but it is tough to get them as short as their current quote and I am happy to take them on from a betting perspective.
Green Bay Packers
Monday September 11, 6:25am, Lambeau Field
Green Bay Packers 17 - Seattle Seahawks 9
The Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks have developed a heated rivalry in recent seasons and this will be another interesting clash between these two sides.
Green Bay made an incredibly slow start to the 2016 NFL season, but Aaron Rodgers was able to get hot at the right time and they ended up only a game away from the Super Bowl.
No team in the NFL relies more on one player than the Packers do on Rodgers and their chances this season really do live or die on his arm.
It is the Packers that will go into this clash as clear favourites and they are always a tough team to beat in front of their home fans at Lambeau Field – they won six of their eight games as home favourites last season and were 5-1-2 against the line in this scenario.
The Seattle Seahawks finished on top of the NFC West last season, but they never really looked like genuine Super Bowl contenders and they were eliminated by Atlanta in the second week of the NFL Playoffs.
The offensive line was a big problem for Seattle last season and they really haven’t done a great deal to fix this issue, which has plagued this otherwise strong side for a couple of seasons.
Seattle won only one of their four games as away underdogs last season and they were a middling 2-2 on the road.
The Lambeau Field factor does give the Packers the edge in this one and a strong performance from Rodgers can help them cover the line.
Back Green Bay Packers To Win @ $1.57
New York Giants
Monday September 11, 10:30am, AT&T Stadium
Dallas Cowboys 19 - New York Giants 3
The rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants is one of the fiercest in the NFL.
Dallas were the number one seeds in the NFC last season and they lost only three games in the regular season, but two of those losses did come at the hands of the Giants.
The controversy surrounding Ezekiel Elliot has overshadowed everything involving the Cowboys this offseason, but they will have their star running-back for this clash.
Dak Prescott was arguably the biggest revelation in the NFL last season and he was truly exceptional, but statistically it will be tough for him to repeat what he achieved last season – especially if Elliot does end up missing six games.
Dallas won six of their seven games as home favourites last season and they were 4-3 against the line in this scenario.
The New York Giants were overshadowed by the Cowboys last season, but they still had a strong campaign and comfortably qualified for the NFL Playoffs with a wildcard.
Odell Beckham can be a tough unreliable, but he remains one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the entire NFL on his day and he will now be supported by veteran wide out Brandon Marshall.
The Giants took very big strides last season and this will be an excellent early-season test for a unit that is expected to improve again in 2017.
New York won when they were expected to last season, but didn’t cause that many upsets and they won only one of their six games as away underdogs, while their record against the line was not much better.
Dallas will be keen to win when they have access to Elliot and the line of 3.5 points will not be enough.
Back Dallas Cowboys To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
New Orleans Saints
Tuesday September 12, 9:10am, U.S. Bank Stadium
Minnesota Vikings 29 - New Orleans Saints 19
Mediocrity is the only way to describes the 2017 campaigns of both the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints.
The fact that the Vikings were able to win eight games last season with an offensive line as bad as they had was nothing short of a miracle and their line can’t possibly be as bad as it was in 2016.
That will take the pressure off Sam Bradford a little bit as will rookie running back Dalvin Cook.
Minnesota will start this clash as clear favourites and they were able to win four of their six games as home favourites with an identical record against the line last season.
The Saints’ defence was one of the worst in the entire NFL last season and they faded to a 7-9 record for the third season in a row.
Drew Brees is not getting any younger, but he continues to carry the hopes of the Saints on his shoulders and he is able to pick-up big yards with what receiving group he has at his disposal.
The acquisition of Adrian Peterson is an intriguing one for the Saints – there is no doubt he is in the final stages of his career, but if he is anywhere near his best he could help the Saints become the most dangerous offence in the competition.
Winning away from home was an issue for the Saints and they won only two of their seven games as away underdogs, but they were 5-1-1 against the line in this scenario.
This is another game that the market looks to have got just about right and I will be letting this one slide through to the keeper.
Los Angeles Chargers
Tuesday September 12, 12:20am, Mile High
Los Angeles Chargers 21 - Denver Broncos 24
The AFC West is one of the most open divisions in the NFL and wins in intra-divisional games will be absolutely vital.
Denver’s Super Bowl defence was something of a disappointment, but they still finished with a 9-7 record and their defence remains one of the best in the NFL.
Trevor Siemian will once again be under centre for the Broncos and his role will be simply to protect the ball as much as possible.
Denver won four of their six games as home favourites last season for a clear profit and their record against the line in that scenario was identical.
The Chargers have made the controversial move to Los Angeles and they will be hopeful that their first season in their new city will be more successful than that of the Rams.
Injuries have been a massive problem for San Diego in recent seasons and that has been one of the main reasons they have won only nine games over the past two years.
The offence has received a big boost in the off-season and if key players like Keenan Allen are able to remain healthy will be a strong unit, while Joey Bosa will be the leader of an improving defence.
Winning away from home was an issue for San Diego last start and they won only one of their five games as away underdogs.
This will be a hard-fought affair, but Denver should still have too much defensive quality for the Chargers and they can cover the line of 3.5 points.
Back Denver To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
The 2016 NFL season is finally here!
The action gets underway with a Super Bowl rematch between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers at Mile High, with Cam Newton getting a chance to atone for his poor performance in Super Bowl 50.
The majority of the other action is on in the early hours of Monday morning and there are plenty of exciting matches.
Dallas vs New York in the NFC East is one of the highlights and there will be plenty of interest when the Los Angeles Rams face the San Francisco 49ers in their first game since their relocation.
Friday 9 September, 10:30am, Mile High
Denver Broncos 21 - Carolina Panthers 20
What a way to start the 2016 NFL season.
The Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers to win Super Bowl 50 earlier this year, but this is a very different Broncos offense.
Peyton Manning has retired and surprisingly Trevor Siemian has beaten out both Mark Sanchez and Paxton Lynch to be named starting quarterback.
The Broncos will not be asking Siemian to be anything too difficult and their game will be focused around running back CJ Anderson as well as there extremely talented defence.
Denver will start this clash as clear underdogs, but they were a profitable betting play as away underdogs last season – although they were only 5-5 against the line in this scenario.
Carolina may have lost the Super Bowl, but they were still extremely impressive in 2015.
Cam Newton had a career year and he should only improve with Kelvin Benjamin back from injury to give him his strongest wide receiving group ever.
The Panthers were one of the best betting teams in the NFL last year and they were a profitable play as away favourites both head-to-head and against the line.
I think that it might take the Broncos a while to get firing this season and I am happy to back the Panthers to beat the line of two points.
Back Carolina To Beat The Line (-2 Points)
Green Bay Packers
Monday September 12, 3:00am, EverBank Field
Jacksonville Jaguars 23 - Green Bay Packers 27
The Jacksonville Jaguars took big strides last season with Blake Bortles under centre, but they still face a tough assignment in their opening clash against the Green Bay Packers.
It has been an up and down off-season for the Jaguars, but they now have a number of playmakers on both sides of the football and will fancy their chances of upsetting the Packers.
The Jaguars will start this game as underdogs, but this is a position in which they were profitable last season although they were only 4-4 against the line on front of their home fans.
Green Bay made it to the NFL Playoffs last season, but it is fair to say that the offence never really clicked and Aaron Rodgers had a slightly off year.
I expect them to bounce back emphatically in 2016.
The return of Jordy Nelson is massive for this offence and running back Eddie Lacy has looked outstanding during off-season.
Green Bay were a narrow winning proposition as away favourites last season and they were 7-3 against the line when playing away from home.
I have respect for the Jaguars, but the Packers are simply put a more talented outfit and I am confident that Green Bay will make a positive start to the season.
Back Green Bay To Beat The Line (-3.5 Points)
Monday September 12, 3:00am, MT&T Stadium
Baltimore Ravens 13 - Buffalo Bills 7
The Baltimore Ravens had their worst season in many years in 2015 and an opening day loss to the Buffalo Bills would heap the pressure on this franchise.
The Ravens haven’t done a great deal in the off-season to improve their outfit and quarterback Joe Flacco comes into this season of the back of an ACL injury.
It is fair to say that I am not particularly high on Baltimore this season, but they will still start this clash as clear favourites.
The Ravens were a losing betting proposition as home favourites last season and their record against the line at home was a truly putrid 1-1-6.
Buffalo finished 2015 with a credible 8-8 and there are some promising signs for the Bills ahead of this season.
Tyrod Taylor and Sammy Watkins should only improve with another year in the NFL under their belts and the Bills defence is inconsistent, but very talented on its day.
Buffalo were a narrow winning proposition as away underdogs last season and I am more than happy to throw my support behind them at their current quote of $2.35.
Back Buffalo To Win @ $2.35
Monday September 12, 3:00am, NRG Stadium
Houston Texans 23 - Chicago Bears 14
The Houston Texans are the defending AFC South winners and they will go into this clash with the Chicago Bears as clear favourites.
Houston have one of the best defences in the NFL and they have none added more firepower to their offence in the form of quarterback Brock Osweiler and running back Lamar Miller.
The Texans were a safe bet as home favourites last season and they were 5-4 against the line in front of their home fans.
Chicago finished the 2016 NFL season with a record of just 6-10 and the majority of NFL experts are not expecting them to do much better this season.
The Bears can be brilliant on their day, but consistency is a massive issue and there aging defence has got backwards in recent seasons.
Chicago were a surprisingly strong betting play in the NFL last season and they finished the year with a huge profit as away underdogs, while they were 6-2 against the line in this situation.
It would not surprise me if the Texans made a slow start to the season and I am happy to gamble on a Chicago win at their big price of $2.90.
Back Chicago To Win @ $2.90
Monday September 12, 3:00am, Lincoln Financial Field
Philadelphia Eagles 29 - Cleveland Browns 10
It has been an interesting off-season for both these sides.
Philadelphia sacked head coach Chip Kelly and traded up to secure quarterback Carson Wentz, but it will be Sam Bradford that starts the season at quarterback.
The Johnny Manziel era at Cleveland is over and they have instead taken a punt on Robert Griffin III, which based on his pre-season performances could prove to be a masterstroke.
Philadelphia will start this game as very short-priced favourite and this was a position in which they struggled last season, while they were 3-5 against the line as home favourites.
Cleveland finished the 2015 NFL season with just three victories and surely they can only improve this season.
The signs have been positive for the offence during the pre-season, with RG3 looking particularly effective – and it is their defence that could prove to be the big issue this season.
Cleveland were a losing betting proposition across just about every metric this season and I couldn’t possibly back them, but the Eagles are also very short at their current price.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monday September 12, 3:00am, Georgia Dome
Atlanta Falcons 24 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31
This will be a very interesting clash between these NFC South rivals.
Atlanta were slightly disappointing last season – particularly Matt Ryan – and there are a number of concerns over this side heading into the 2016 season.
The pressure will be on Devonta Freeman to perform again following his breakout season and the Falcons defence will really need to improve of they are to become genuine playoff contenders.
Atlanta will start this game as favourites and they were a truly horrible betting play as home favourites last season, while they were 3-5 against the line in front of their home fans.
Tampa Bay were 6-10 last year, but there were a number of promising signs and both quarterback Jameis Winston and the defence should continue to improve this season.
The Buccaneers have been particularly impressive during the pre-season and they really do have a roster that is absolutely loaded with talent.
Backing Tampa Bay as away underdogs last season was a very profitable play and they were 4-4 against the line.
I expect Tampa Bay to be big improvers in 2016 and they are a good bet to start the season with an upset win over their divisional rivals.
Back Tampa Bay To Win @ $2.30
Monday September 12, 3:00am, Nissan Stadium
Tennessee Titans 16 - Minnesota Vikings 25
The Tennessee Titans finished 2015 with the worst record in football, but after trading away the number one pick they have been able to add plenty of quality to their roster on both sides of the football.
New York Jets
Monday September 12, 3:00am, MetLife Stadium
New York Jets 22 - Cincinnati Bengals 23
This is one of the most interesting games of the opening weekend of the season and could prove crucial for both sides.
The New York Jets only narrowly missed out on a playoffs berth last season and it is fair to say that they have improved their team by adding the multi-dimensional Matt Forte at running-back.
Despite having the home field advantage, New York will go into this clash as underdogs and this is a position in which they thrived last season, while 5-3 against the line in front of their home fans.
Cincinnati lost in the first round of the NFL Playoffs for the fourth year in a row and they are truly desperate to finally win a Playoff game this season.
The Bengals roster has remained very steady in the off-season and that is a good thing for a side that won their division with a 12-4 record last year.
Cincinnati were a strong betting side right across the board last season and incredibly they were 8-0 against the line when playing away from home.
I respect the Jets, but the Bengals recent record can’t be ignored and I am confident that they can make a winning start to the season.
Back Cincinnati To Beat The Line (-1.5 Points)
New Orleans Saints
Monday September 12, 3:00am, Mercedes-Benz Superdome
New Orleans Saints 34 - Oakland Raiders 35
This is another game in which the market suggests that there will not be a great deal between the two sides.
It was another tough year for New Orleans last season and their defence was once again one of the worst in the NFL, but any team with Drew Brees under centre cannot be ruled out entirely.
New Orleans will start this game in front of their home fans as narrow favourites and they were a losing betting proposition in this situation last year, while they were 4-3 against the line in front of their home fans.
Oakland were one of the big improvers in the NFL this season and a similar level of improvement would put them right into Playoffs contention.
Derek Carr and Amari Cooper are one of the best young quarterback/wide-receiver combinations in the NFL and their defence has continued to improve.
Oakland were a winning betting proposition as away underdogs last season and they were 6-2 against the line in this scenario.
I would not be surprised if this game turned into a shootout and I’m keen to throw my support behind Derek Carr and the Raiders.
Back Oakland To Win @ $1.95
Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers
Monday September 12, 3:00am, Arrowhead Stadium
Kansas City Chiefs 33 - San Diego Chargers 27
Kansas City Chiefs will be looking to build on their Playoffs appearance from last year and they face a San Diego Chargers side that really struggled in 2015.
The Chiefs were the model of consistency last season and they head into this season with a very stable roster.
Kansas City will start this clash as one of the shortest-priced favourites of the weekend and they recorded a narrow profit in this position last season, but they were only 3-5 against the line in this scenario.
There is no doubt that San Diego are in the middle of something of a rebuilding stage and they are a tough team to assess heading into this season.
The Chargers still have plenty of talented players on the offensive side of the ball, but there are plenty of durability concerns.
San Diego were a losing betting proposition across every metric last season, but they were 6-2 against the line away home.
This really is Kansas City’s game to win, but it could be closer than the betting suggests and I am more than happy to back San Diego with a touchdown start.
Back San Diego To Beat The Line (+7 Points)
Monday September 12, 6:05am, CenturyLink Field
Seattle Seahawks 12 - Miami Dolphins 10
The Seattle Seahawks regressed somewhat in 2015, but they still have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL.
Marshawn Lynch has retired and he will be replaced by Thomas Rawls, while their defence remains as tough as every.
Seattle will go into this clash as very short-priced favourites, but they were actually a losing betting proposition in this scenario last season and they were 4-4 against the line in front of their home fans.
Miami are a franchise with plenty of issues and they really have not shown many positives signs in the off-season.
The talent is there at the Dolphins, but putting it altogether out on the field has proven to be a big issue and it would surprise if they had a strong season.
While they struggled from a football standpoint, Miami were actually a winning betting proposition as away underdogs last season but they were 3-5 against the line in this situation.
Seattle should win, but I can’t get them as short as their current price and this is a game that I am happy to stay out of from a betting perspective.
Monday September 12, 6:25am, Lucas Oil Stadium
Indianapolis Colts 35 - Detroit Lions 39
The Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions are both looking to bounce back after disappointing seasons in 2015.
There is no doubt that Andrew Luck regressed somewhat last season, but their defence was the big problem and they put plenty of pressure on Luck and the rest of the defence.
Indianapolis will start this clash as clear favourites and they struggled in this scenario last season, while they were just 4-4 at the line in front of their home fans.
Detroit have lost a key part of their offence in the form of Calvin Johnson and this really is a new era for the Lions.
They are always a side with a high ceiling but a very low floor and I really have no idea what to expect from them this season.
The Lions were actually a profitable betting play as away underdogs last season and they finished the year with a 4-4 record against the line in this situation.
There is definitely value in the $2.60 on offer for a Detroit victory and this is another match in which I am keen to back the favourite.
Back Detroit To Win @ $2.60
New York Giants
Monday September 12, 6:25am, AT&T Stadium
Dallas Cowboys 20 - New York Giants 19
There is never any love lost between these divisional rivals and this will be an extremely hard-fought clash.
The pre-season was going extremely well for Dallas until Tony Romo broke a bone in his back and they will now go into this clash with rookie Dak Prescott as starting quarterback.
Prescott could hardly have looked more impressive during the pre-season, but the NFL represents a different level of competition and he will be up against it against the Giants.
Dallas will start this clash as favourites, but they were a losing betting proposition in this situation last year and they have won just one of their past 15 games without Romo under centre.
New York struggled somewhat in 2015 and they are a team that could go either way this season.
Eli Manning was not the issue last year and they have a very talented receiving group – led by Odell Beckham – and their problems will likely be on defence once again.
The Giants were also a poor betting team last season and they were only a middling play against the line, so this is another clash that I am more than happy to stay out of from a betting standpoint.
New England Patriots
Monday September 12, 10:30am, University Of Phoenix Stadium
Arizona Cardinals 21 - New England Patriots 23
The Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots were both Playoffs teams last year and they are expected to be in the mix again in 2016.
The key factor in this clash is the fact that Tom Brady will not be in action as he serves his suspension for his part in the deflategate saga, with Jimmy Garoppolo set to start as quarterback.
The loss of Brady is clearly a telling factor and the Patriots will miss him, but Garoppolo does have talent and Bill Belichick will have a game plan in place to hide any deficiencies in his new quarterback’s game.
New England will start this game as clear underdogs and that is not a position that they are used to, but they were a winning play in this scenario last season.
Arizona have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL and they were only a couple of games away from the Super Bowl last season.
If Carson Palmer remains fit, there is no reason that they can’t go that far in 2016 and they will start this game as clear favourites.
Arizona were a profitable betting play as home favourites last year, but they did finish the season with a record of 3-6 against the line in front of their home fans.
It is tough to know what to make of New England without Brady in the side and this is another game that I am happy to stay out of from a betting perspective.
Tuesday September 13, 9:10am, Fedex Field
Washington Redskins 16 - Pittsburgh Steelers 38
The Washington Redskins and Pittsburgh Steelers both qualified for the NFL Playoffs last season, but it is Pittsburgh that will start this game as clear favourites.
A number of NFL experts are quick to write off Pittsburgh before the start of each season, but they never have a bad season and I don’t expect them to regress this season.
Big Ben can still throw the football with the best of them and with Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell they have two of the most talented playmakers in the NFL.
Pittsburgh were a narrow winning proposition as home favourites last season, while they were a more than credible 4-3 against the line in this situation.
Washington were one of the surprise packets in the NFL last season and they will fancy their chances of qualifying for the NFL Playoffs for the second year in a row.
The Redskins were one of the best betting teams in the competition and they were a highly profitable outfit as home favourites, while they were 5-4 against the line in front of their home fans.
Pittsburgh are far too short at their current quote of $1.56 and the $2.45 available for a Washington victory is too good to refuse.
Back Washington To Win @ $2.45
San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams
Tuesday September 13, 12:20am, Levi's Stadium
San Francisco 49ers 28 - Los Angeles Rams 0
This will be the first official NFL game for the Rams since they made the decision to return to Los Angeles.
It is fair to say that both San Francisco and the Rams were poor last season, but have had extremely interesting pre-seasons.
Jarryd Hayne is not on the 49ers roster this season, but Chip Kelly is the head coach and it will be extremely interesting to see what he is able to do with this San Francisco outfit.
San Francisco will start this game as underdogs, but they generally outperformed market expectations in front of their home fans last season and they were 5-3 against the line in this situation.
The Rams have been the definition of mediocre in recent seasons and that might no longer be tolerated now that they have made the return to Los Angeles.
A full season of Todd Gurley can only help Los Angeles and that will help take the pressure of rookie quarterback Jared Goff, who has looked somewhat shaky in the pre-season.
The Rams will start this game as away favourites and that is the only metric in which they were a losing betting proposition last season.
It would not surprise to see San Francisco produce something first-up at a good price.
Back San Francisco To Win @ $2.15