We are less than two months away from the start of NFL training camps (hallelujah!), which means that several NFL props are starting to be released at the books. I also will be taking a look at some of the top teams’ NFL schedules and do an analysis of their likely win totals in a few weeks here at Doc’s. But today let’s take a look at the NFL Week 1 odds that have been posted on BetUS. Here’s just a quick comment on each game if you simply can’t wait to get those bets down.
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Minnesota (+4.5) at New Orleans: This NFC Championship Game rematch is the Thursday night nationally televised opener this season. This line would have jumped more toward the Super Bowl champs if Vikings defensive linemen Pat and Kevin Williams had been suspended for the first four games like the NFL wanted. But barring some unexpected legal twist, they should be good to play in every game this year. Obviously this line will still take a huge jump toward the Saints if Brett Favre somehow doesn’t return, but who really believes that? Early pick: Saints.
Carolina (+7) at New York Giants: Remember that the Panthers closed strong last year under QB Matt Moore, including beating the Giants, 41-9, in New York in Week 16. However, these Panthers won’t have Julius Peppers and the Giants no doubt will want to christen their new stadium with a good effort. Early pick: This smells like a push but take the G-Men.
Miami (-2) at Buffalo: If the Bills win an AFC East game it will be a minor upset this season. Do you really think Trent Edwards can lead Buffalo over a much-improved Dolphins team? Obviously pay close attention to the injury rehabs of Ronnie Brown and Brandon Marshall, but this seems easy. Early pick: Miami.
Atlanta (‘pick’em’) at Pittsburgh: Obviously this line would be vastly different if Ben Roethlisberger was playing, but he’ll be sitting out at least the first four games. Still, the Steelers as a home ‘pick’em’ against a team that didn’t make the playoffs the year before? Byron Leftwich should be able to do enough to lead Pittsburgh to a win. Early pick: Pittsburgh.
Detroit (+7) at Chicago: Julius Peppers and Chester Taylor should be making their debuts, and Brian Urlacher plays his first game since suffering a season-ending injury in Game 1 last year. I have no doubt Detroit will be better, but the Bears had no trouble with Detroit in either game last year. Early pick: Chicago.
Cincinnati (+6) at New England: Will Wes Welker be on the field in Week 1 for the Pats? I tend to think the Bengals were a bit of a mirage last year and were uncovered in losing four of their final five games (including playoffs). Early pick: Love the Pats here in a big way with or without Welker.
Cleveland (+1) at Tampa Bay: At this point, wouldn’t you rather have Josh Freeman than Jake Delhomme as your quarterback? Not sure why the Browns bothered with Delhomme. Maybe Seneca Wallace beats him out. The Browns will be terrible on offense again, while Bucs seemed to figure some things out at end of last season. Early pick: Tampa Bay.
Denver (+1.5) at Jacksonville: Bodog originally had a Tim Tebow prop on whether he gets on the field or scores in Week 1, and I say he definitely gets a snap or two because this game is in his hometown. Both these teams were a mess in the final quarter of last season. I think Denver isn’t going to be very good this year and will miss Brandon Marshall in a big way. Early pick: Jacksonville.
Indianapolis (-3) at Houston: Both games between these two could have gone either way last year but the Colts swept Houston yet again. Indy is 15-1 all-time against Houston. That’s enough for me. Early pick: Indy but I might wait to see if this drops to 2.5.
Oakland (+7) at Tennessee: The Raiders should definitely be better with Jason Campbell. And it’s hard to imagine that Chris Johnson has a year like he did in 2010, especially if he gets a fat contract that he wants. Early pick: Smells like a push but Titans.
Green Bay (‘pick’em’) at Philadelphia: The Kevin Kolb era begins in Philly. If Donovan McNabb was still the QB I would guess the Eagles would be about three-point favorites. This could very well be a playoff preview, but I’m a Kolb believer against the Packer defense that Kurt Warner destroyed in the playoffs. Early pick: Philly.
San Francisco (+1) at Seattle: I think the Niners are NFC contenders while the Seahawks are going to need a few years under Pete Carroll. Seattle’s offense just doesn’t impress you. Early pick: San Francisco.
Arizona (-3.5) at St. Louis: Presumably this will be a matchup of Heisman winning QBs in Arizona’s Matt Leinart and St. Louis’ Sam Bradford. Don’t expect either team to be very good this year, but the Rams are still awful and didn’t win a home game last year. Early pick: Arizona.
Dallas (-3.5) at Washington: Donovan McNabb just can’t seem to shake the Cowboys, as they beat he and the Eagles twice at the end of last season – and McNabb looked pretty bad with a lot better offense than the Redskins have. Early pick: Dallas.
Baltimore (+3) at N.Y. Jets: This could certainly be an AFC title preview, as the Jets got there last year and the Ravens were a win away and have added Anquan Boldin. I think Jets miss Thomas Jones against a very good Baltimore defense. Early pick: Baltimore.
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San Diego (-5.5) at Kansas City: Mark it down – Ryan Mathews will be the Rookie of the Year. Only way I think Chiefs can cover is if Vincent Jackson and Marcus McNeill do go through with their threatened holdouts into the season. Early pick: San Diego.