2017 NFL Week 1 Preview

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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 Vs 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.

No Bet

Buffalo Bills Vs 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

Houston Texans Vs Jacksonville Jaguars

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)

Cleveland Browns Vs Pittsburgh Steelers

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)

Detroit Lions Vs Arizona Cardinals

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

Miami Dolphins Vs 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

Chicago Bears Vs Atlanta Falcons

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.

No Bet

Tennessee Titans Vs Oakland Raiders

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

Cincinnati Bengals Vs Baltimore Ravens

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)

Washington Redskins Vs Philadelphia Eagles

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.

No Bet

Los Angeles Rams Vs Indianapolis Colts

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 Vs Carolina Panthers

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.

No Bet

Green Bay Packers Vs Seattle Seahawks

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

Dallas Cowboys Vs 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)

Minnesota Vikings Vs 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.

No Bet

Denver Broncos Vs 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)


2016

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.

Denver Broncos Vs Carolina Panthers

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)

Jacksonville Jaguars Vs 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)

Baltimore Ravens Vs Buffalo Bills

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

Houston Texans Vs Chicago Bears

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

Philadelphia Eagles Vs Cleveland Browns

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.

No Bet

Atlanta Falcons Vs 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

Tennessee Titans Vs Minnesota Vikings

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 Vs Cincinnati Bengals

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 Vs Oakland Raiders

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 Vs 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)

Seattle Seahawks Vs Miami Dolphins

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.

No Bet

Indianapolis Colts Vs Detroit Lions

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

Dallas Cowboys Vs 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.

No Bet

Arizona Cardinals Vs 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.

No Bet

Washington Redskins Vs Pittsburgh Steelers

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 Vs 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