13 Sep

NFL Week 1 Upsets Could Change Everything

Will upsets in week 1 change NFL betting odds moving forward?

Upsets in Week 1 Could Change NFL Betting Odds Moving ForwardFor the almighty oddsmakers, week one of any new NFL season can be the hardest to predict. It’s a time of great uncertainty. Lines are based on the previous year’s performance, combined with roster adjustments and preseason action that can be extremely difficult to judge with big-name starters on the sidelines. At the same time, it presents great opportunities for sports fans to make bank; assuming they can outsmart computer simulations with more accurate predictions.

As we saw on Thursday night and all day Sunday, there were a lot of unforeseen upsets. Tampa Bay won, as expected, but a last-minute (and 24 second) drive by Brady for the game winning field goal? That was unexpected. And none could have guessed Jameis Winston would lead the New Orleans Saints to a devastating 38-3 victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bays Packers. And that’s just the biggest ones. I think it’s safe to say…

Upsets in Week 1 will change NFL Betting Odds moving forward.

We learned a lot this week, and it’s not over yet. The Raiders are still poised to take on the Ravens this evening. Since there’s no heavy favorite in that one, barring a blowout, I doubt it will impact things too much. However, there are a few key takeaways from what we’ve seen so far this week, and they could result ina lot of shifts in the odds come week 2.

#1 Don’t Underestimate the Cowboys

QB Dak Prescott is back from a horrific injury that put him out for the season in week 5 last year. Following a long recovery, he then suffered a right latissimus strain during training camp. After all that, no one really knew how well he’d take to the field come Thursday night. Not just any Thursday night, mind you, but the season opener against the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

Not only did Dak do well, he kept up with Brady blow for blow. A few turnovers from the Bucs certainly helped, but Dak lead the Cowboy’s down the field time and again, including in the final minutes to take a 1-point lead. In doing so, he left 1:24 on the game clock. As we all know, 1:24 is more than enough time for Brady to come back and win the game – which he did, in typical, elegant fashion. But what we learned is that the Dallas Cowboys are back, and they’re ready to compete.

Their air-borne offense looked fantastic. Prescott threw for over 400 yards (403 to Brady’s 379), with Amari Cooper receiving 139 of them. Rushing against TB’s defense – okay, that didn’t go so well. But the Cowboys’ defense looked far better than last year. They had trouble stopping Brady, but who doesn’t? And they effectively shut down the Bucs run game.

Which brings us to…

Are the Cowboys Chargers Really That Hot?

Justin Herbert had a fantastic year in Los Angeles, earning him the title of 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year. He was expected to open up the new season with a similar performance. Herbert lived up to those exceptions, to an extent. But if you watched that game, you probably expected the Washington Football Team to win throughout most of it.

WAS QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was on fire until a second-quarter injury sent him to the locker room. They were still on top until a fumble on the 4 yard line gave the Chargers an easy touchdown, putting them up 20-16. Truth be told, Herbert drove the field just fine, but couldn’t seem to get anything done in the red zone. Out of 6 trips (including being handed the ball on the 4), they scored just 2 TDs and 2 field goals. The other two ended in interceptions from Herbert.

And that means, there’s a lot to look forward to next Sunday when the…

Cowboys Face the Chargers in Week 2

Yes, the Cowboys defense had a hard time stopping Brady, but they were also able to force 2 turnovers off interceptions. Herbert threw a pair of those in week 1, and Dallas will be looking to snag a few more next weekend. The real question is, can they stop the run again? If they hold up against LA’s Ekeler and Rountree, who combined for 84 yards last week against Washington – and if DAL RB Ezekiel Elliot can gain better traction in Los Angeles – Prescott should have no trouble putting up enough yardage to pile on the points.

Right now, BetRivers Sports has its moneylines at Cowboys +120, Chargers -148, giving Dallas a +2.5 point spread (-108). Could this be the sleeper pick you’ve been looking for? We’ll find out next Sunday, September 19. My money is on Dallas.

#2 New Orleans is Still a Powerhouse w/o Brees

The loss of Drew Brees to worthy retirement left New Orleans in a state of uncertainty. They brought in young-gun Jameis Winston to take his place, but who knew how that would go? He’s got a powerful arm and lots of potential, but his TD-to-INT ratio has held him back year after year. On Sunday, he came out firing like a veteran QB, throwing 5 touchdown passes. How’d he do it? By handing the ball off more often than not.

New Orleans displayed a very well balanced team. They threw the ball 21 times (once by back-up QB Taysom Hill), and rushed 39 times. They ended with 151 passing yards (148 by Winston) and 171 rushing yards (37 of those by Winston, too). Kamara rushed for 83, followed by Jones Jr. for 50. Oh, and did I mention the defense was phenomenal?

The Saints managed to hold Aaron Rodgers to just 133 passing yards, with 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and 1 sack. It finally got so bad, Rodgers was actually benched for Jordan Love, who doubled Rodger’s AVG with 7 attempts for 71.4 yards. But it was too little, too late. If you thought the Saints pass defense was good, their rush defense was even better, holding the Pack to just 43 yards on the ground.

I don’t expect the Packers will play this badly in week two, but I do anticipate a good year ahead for the Saints. Next Sunday, they’ll take on their division rival Panthers in Carolina.

Can the Saints Bowl Over the Panthers in Week 2?

The key to beating the Panthers is stopping Christian McCaffrey, which the New York Jets ultimately failed to do in week 1. Despite a very slow start on Sunday, QB Darnold finally picked things up. His 279 passing yards helped, but it was McCaffrey’s hands and legs that won the game, rushing for 98 yards, and receiving for 89 more. He didn’t score, but he put his team in position to score not once, not twice, not even three times, but four times, on 2 TDs and 2 FGs.

The Saints defense has proven effective against both the pass and the rush, but stopping McCaffrey means stopping the best the player in the NFL. The oddsmakers seem to think New Orleans has the momentum to get the job done. BetRivers is putting the Saints at -176 vs. Panthers +138, with a point spread of -3.5 Saints for +100, or +3.5 Panthers for -122.

I tend to disagree.

The Panthers put Jets QB Zach Wilson on the ground 6 times on Sunday. Granted, it’s the Jets, and Winston is better known for maneuverability. But with enough pressure, he may return to his old ways of making bad decisions, and bad passes. I feel like the Panthers can pull this one off, and with a +138, it’s an investment I’m willing to risk.

On the other hand…

The New Orleans Saints may have karma in their back pocket, again.

You can say Mother Nature has nothing to do with football, but hear me out. Hurricane Ida came ashore exactly 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005. And what happened after that devastating natural disaster tore the city apart? The New Orleans Saints rallied to win the Super Bowl against Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Could it be another repeat, with Ida tearing the city apart, and Winston restoring hope to the community in a season for the ages? Oh, what a story that would be…

#3 Rough Season Ahead for Trevor Lawrence and the Jags

Expectations for the 2021 #1 draft pick, Trevor Lawrence, have been astronomical, and understandably so. All eyes have been on the young Clemson QB as he was named the rookie starter for Jacksonville. Pre-season was less than prodigal though, and his week 1 opener was disgraceful. But if you paid attention, you know Lawrence is not to blame for all those troubles, but a weak offensive line that – if they’re not careful – could end the young QBs career before it even gets started.

Lawrence was put in a terrible position on almost every down in the first quarter. One penalty after another left him backed up deep, time and again. And when the line wasn’t committing stupid penalties, they barely held off the defense, leaving Trevor pressured play after play. All this against the Houston Texans, who were projected to be among the NFL’s worst defenses.

Somehow, despite 3 interceptions and a sack, the all-star rookie managed to throw for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns. But it was too late to mount a comeback as the Jags defense couldn’t stop Houston from outscoring them 37-21.

Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer needs to figure something out, and quick. You don’t go get a stellar arm like Trevor Lawrence, and debilitate him with an impuissant offensive line. I can only imagine how many hits he might take against a good defense, like next week’s match-up against the Denver Broncos, led by serial-sacker Von Miller. The clock is ticking Coach Meyer…..

Bookies Favor Broncos to Take Out the Jags

After the events of Sunday, BetRivers has the NFL betting odds heavily favoring Denver at -265, versus Jacksonville +195. Lawrence’s ability to evade Miller may very well determine whether the Jags can compete with a +6 spread.

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