NFL Week 1 Preview

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Are you ready for some FOOOOOOOTTTTBBBBAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!??? It is finally here, seven long months since the Patriots won the Superbowl (again), we finally have competitive, meaningful games. The Patriots are again favourites to lift the Lombardi trophy, but there is a lot of football to be played before. Let’s have a look at some of the key match-ups that have caught our eyes for week 1.

The 100th season of the NFL kicks off Friday morning with the Chicago Bears ($1.55) hosting the Green Bay Packers ($2.30) in a rivalry match-up. What a way to start off the year with this grudge match. Last year they battled in week 1 at Lambeau and Aaron Rodgers, on one leg, somehow led the Packers on a come from behind victory. This year however, led by first year coach Matt LeFleur, they must go to Chicago and take on a defence led by the scary Khalil Mack. The Bears are my pick for the SuperBowl and I think they get the season off to a good start against a good packers team. One thing is for sure, my eyes will be glued to ESPN on Friday morning (sorry, boss). We do have a market online for there to be a missed field goal in this game and at $2.02 is a steal, with much talked about bears kicking woes, Mason Crosby isn’t exactly sharp the first few weeks of the season historically.

There are 6 early kick offs for us on Monday morning. 3am is always a tough one to get up for, and even more so now without RedZone on ESPN. There are some intriguing match ups, with the Browns ($1.36), who haven’t won in week 1 for 11 years, the most talked about team in the NFL hosting the Titans ($2.90). This is a strange time in Cleveland, with hope and expectation in 2nd year QB Baker Mayfield, the front office has clearly surrounded him with talented pieces on offence to go with a solid defence. The Titans are no slouches and have gone 9-7 the last 3 years and will also be looking to take that next step. Other games in this window see’s the Chiefs ($1.49) travel to Jacksonville ($2.44), a match-up of electric offence vs classic defence. We also see a battle of 2nd year QBs in Sam Darnold and Josh Allen as the Bills ($2.28) head to Metlife to take on the Jets ($1.56). How will Leveon Bell go after sitting out all of last season? Fitzmagic and the Dolphins ($3.25) host the Ravens ($1.30). The Rams ($1.66) will travel to Carolina ($2.09) looking to go one better than last year. The Eagles ($1.19) host Washington ($4.15), all eyes here will be to see if Wentz is healthy and how long until Washington hand over the keys to Dwayne Haskins. Lastly one sneaky game that could be the most entertaining of week 1, Matt Ryan’s Falcons ($2.52) travel to Minnesota to take on the Kirk Cousins Led Vikings ($1.46). Lots of intrigue about both teams with playmakers on both sides of the ball, it should be a good one.

There are 5 games in the Sunday afternoon session (6am for us Aussies) and a bit more of a reasonable time to catch some football. The Chargers ($1.31) host a new look Colts ($3.15). After the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck, the ball has been handed to Jacoby Brissett. Brissett did a fantastic job filling in for the injured Luck in 2017 and should not write-off Indy’s chances as their roster is stacked with playmakers. The Chargers have had the same bad luck as they always seem to get in preseason with stud safety Derwin James landing on IR, and while they refuse to pay Melvin Gordon, the Chargers will rely again on Phillip Rivers’ arm.

Dallas ($1.27) host the Giants ($3.40), having just signed Zeke to the largest contract ever for a RB, the Cowboys come into this at full strength and as short priced favourites. The Cowboys will want to make a statement against their division foe. The Giants still led by Eli Manning will be an interesting watch, Saquon Barkley is must watch every time he touches the ball, but all eyes will be on when Daniel Jones gets his chance.

Seattle ($1.21) welcomes the Bengals ($3.95) and recently adding Jadeveon Clowney, their defence looks stacked and I am sure is giving Andy Dalton nightmares at this moment in time. The first real coin flip game of the week see’s the 49ers ($1.85) head to Tampa Bay ($1.85), both teams have many more questions than answers right now. The Bucs have lots of potential, hoping Jameis Winston can live up to the hype and he is surrounded by some serious talent on offence. The 49ers will welcome back Jimmy Garoppolo who missed all last season with an ACL tear but he hasn’t looked too great in camp and preseason and it will be interesting to see how he goes.

Lastly, we get our first look at the Number 1 draft pick Kyler Murray as the Cardinals ($2.16) host the Detroit Lions ($1.62). There is no doubting Murray’s accuracy while passing, however it remains to be seen whether he can adapt his game to the NFL. He struggled in the preseason but luckily his first taste is against the Lions and not a division rival Rams’ or Seahawks’ defence.

The Sunday night game showcases probably the rivalry of the past 15 years as the SuperBowl Champions Patriots ($1.37) host the Pittsburgh Steelers ($2.86). The Patriots again kick off the year as favourites, led by Brady and Belichick. The Patriots have lost several players to big money moves in the off-season but the ‘next man up’ strategy has been working for years in New England and they also welcome back one of their favourite sons in Jamie Collins. The Steelers are also looking a bit different, as they have shipped off All-Pro WR Antonio Brown to Oakland, they believe Juju Smith-Schuster will be able to lead the receiving. The Steelers are always a well drilled competitive team and this year should be no different.

As is custom with week 1 Monday Night we are blessed with a double header. The first game is a real doozy, the Saints ($1.30) fresh of a controversial loss in the NFC championship game host a talented Texans ($3.2). The Saints are a feisty team at home, led by Brees and Payton, they will have a chip on their shoulder after the worst miss-call in history cost them a trip to the SuperBowl. The Texans have had an active week, they traded away their former first overall pick Clowney, but added some serious talent to their O-Line with LT Laremy Tunsil. The Texans realised they need to protect Deshaun Watson so he can find Deandre Hopkins. Look for this game to be a high scoring affair with both teams having potent offences. The 2nd game of the double header sees the Raider ($1.89) host the Broncos ($1.82), a battle between AFC west rivals. The Gruden-led Raiders have been the talk of the off-season while appearing on Hard Knocks, with a lot of drama off the field with Antonio Brown’s antics it will be interesting to see what they put on the field. The Broncos are hoping their defence can lead them back to the promise land, led by Von Miller. They picked up Joe Flacco in the offseason to lead their offence, can the former SuperBowl MVP regain his form?

My Week 1 tips

Bears over Packers

Rams over Panthers

Browns over Titans

Chiefs over Jags

Ravens over Dolphins

Falcons over Vikings

Jets over Bills

Eagles over Washington

Colts over Chargers

Seahawks over Bengals

Lions over Cardinals

Bucs over 49ers

Patriots over Steelers

Cowboys over Giants

Saints over Texans

Raiders over Broncos

My Week 1 bet

Ravens -6.5 $1.87

Eagles -10.5 $1.96

Colts + 6.5 $1.94

Seahawks -9.5 $1.90

Cowboys -7.5 $1.90

$20 returns $513.37 (with our 20% multi boost it returns $612.05)