Jimmy McGinty starts his NFL weekly column and he has bets on Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and some touchdown scorer bets.
Every week is tricky in NFL betting, but I suppose week 1 is extra tough. So many unknowns to consider; who was taking pre-season seriously? Who’s fully fit or who may needs a few games? Which rookie is the real deal?
For me it’s all about trying to spot the overrated, usually through unjustified hype (somebody say Texans?) and the potentially underrated, or just downright unsexy, team (hello you Bears).
It’s also key to try and work out who addressed their key weaknesses (Giants D) and who didn’t (Colts O-Line). Who is missing key players with injury (that’ll be the Texans) and who appears to but probably aren’t (hello Vikings).
Here are my best bets for week 1:
Lions at Colts
Vontae Davis is a huge loss for an already weak Colts secondary. I expect the Lions to have plenty of success in the air. They have to move on from the Megatron days but in Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and former first round pick Eric Ebron they have plenty of talent for QB Stafford to target.
The second issue for the Colts is their offensive line. It was miserable last year and could be even worse now. Jack Mewhort (potentially the best of them) misses week 1 through injury and starting centre Ryan Kelly is a rookie. Facing top pass rusher Ziggy Ansah, this is a bad matchup for the Colts.
I struggle to see how the Colts will stop the Lions and also how the Colts will get Luck enough time to link up with his key men. All the while giving the Lions a 3pt head-start.
Ebron had 5 TDs in just 8 starts last year. Combine this with the Colts being poor against Tight-Ends last season along with Detroit having only two top wide-receivers and I see a bet to be had.
3pts win Lions +3 at 1/1 with William Hill
1pt Ebron first TD at 14/1 with 888Sport
2pts Ebron anytime TD scorer 7/4 with 888Sport
Bears at Texans
Chicago are possibly an underrated team. They went 6-10 last year but that was with Alshon Jeffery playing just 9 games and Kevin White not playing at all. Keep them fit and add in Eddie Royal and Zach Miller and you’ve got a very strong aerial attack. Running back Jeremy Langford is not a major downgrade on the aging Matt Forte either.
Week 1 is a great matchup for Chicago as the Texans are possibly an overrated team. They’re starting the season with big expectations. This weekend they start a new QB and a new running back whilst missing two key offensive linemen – not an ideal recipe. Remember they only won 3 games more than the Bears last year. 6pts is a decent head-start for Chicago.
3pts Bears +6pts 10/11 with Stan James, and William Hill
Vikings at Titans
The Vikings were a very good team last year (11 wins) despite just some average quarterback play (31st in passing yards total). Ok, Teddy Bridgewater is a loss but this team is based around an immense defense and strong running game (4th in rushing yards). That won’t change this season and losing Teddy will probably just give the rest of the team an added incentive to prove they are still the real deal and can go far this season.
The Vikings face a Titan’s team who will need big things from rookies in 2016. Tajae Sharp may be the Titan’s no.1 receiver but on his first NFL start this is quite the baptism of fire. Jack Conklin will start at right-tackle and also experience a tough NFL debut. The Titan’s won just 3 games last year (yes that’s 8 less than the Vikings) yet the point spread here is just 2.5pts.
I can’t believe either Teddy Bridgewater or Tennessee home advantage is worth that much.
4pts Vikings -2.5pts at 10/11 with Stan James and William Hill
Bengals at NY Jets
Four reasons why the Bengals will run often and run well. TE and redzone go to guy Tyler Eifert is injured. No.1 receiver AJ Green will be picked up by top cornerback Derrelle Revis. No.2 & 3 receivers from 2015 (Sanu & Jones) have departed Cinncinati. Jets top run stopper from last year Damon Harrison, is now a Giant.
Best way to profit from this – follow the Bengals running backs.
1 pt win First Touchdown Scorer - Jeremy Hill at 15/2 with 888Sport
0.5pt win First Touchdown Scorer Gio Bernard at 12/1 with 888Sport
3pts win Anytime Touchdown Scorer - Jeremy Hill at 11/10 with 888Sport
1pt win Anytime Touchdown Scorer - Gio Bernard at 2/1 with 888Sport
Others to consider:
I’m very eager to be against the Eagles this season and as 4pt favourites with a rookie QB starting in week 1 this could be a gift. But the Browns are potentially ‘that bad’.
I like the Falcons this season and at home to the Bucs shouldn’t be too tricky but with many new faces, they may just need a game or two to get going.
Another team I like this season are the NY Giants. They should show big strides on defense and have an exciting rookie receiver. Up against a Cowboys team missing starters on defense and with a rookie QB and rookie RB lining up for their first NFL snaps. Hard not to like the Giants in a pick’em game this week.
The Seahawks have a poor offensive line protecting Russell Wilson. Here they face Ndamukong Suh, Cameron Wake and Mario Williams. At their best the Dolphins have a tremendous front to their D. I’d be surprised if Seahawks can give Wilson enough time in the pocket to cover a 10pt spread.
1pt fivefold - Lions +3, Bears +6, Vikings -2.5, Giants win, Dolphins +10.5
William Hill & Sportingbet the best generally works out 26/1