Week 1 NFL Odds: Taking a Closer Look at the Biggest Underdogs on Betting Board
by George Monroy - 8/26/2014
The NFL can see some huge spreads on a weekly basis. Last year the Jacksonville Jaguars were a 27-point underdog against the Denver Broncos and a 19-point dog against the Seattle Seahawks (they went 1-1 ATS). Lines of that magnitude, however, are rare, and big underdogs tend to stay in the 10- to 14-point range. Heading into the opening week of the 2014 season there is only one double-digit favorite, and most of the lines were set in the 2.5- to 3.5-point range, which should make handicapping Week 1 especially difficult for bettors.
There were a few other lines that may not be considered huge but could provide bettors with enough value to make a well-timed wager on an underdog plus the points. Let's spend a few minutes and take a closer look at the biggest underdogs on the board for Week 1 and figure out which, if any, have the most value to wager on. All lines come from Sportsbook.ag.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+11) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Jaguars are the biggest dog of the week , but they should be better than last year's horrendous four-win squad. The team drafted an excellent quarterback in Blake Bortles and surrounded him with a couple of very good wide receivers they picked up in the second and third rounds of the draft. The trouble for Jacksonville is they do not plan to play Bortles unless there is an emergency or Chad Henne falters, and it could take a season or two for its talent to begin paying dividends.
The Eagles, on the other hand, are always stocked with offensive talent and have the high-paced system under coach Chip Kelly to score points in a hurry. Last year Philadelphia ended the season with an 8-8 ATS record, but it also took Jacksonville 15 weeks to lose by less than 10 points.
Worth a Bet? : This matchup is not a great spot to wager on the underdog.
Indianapolis Colts (+7.5) at Denver Broncos
At first glance, betting on Andrew Luck and the Colts at +7.5 points feels like a great spread. In 2013 the team produced a 10-6 ATS record and was never out of a game as Luck continually lead his team to multiple fourth-quarter comebacks. The trouble with the line is that Denver is a machine built on accuracy and precision that is also being led by the greatest regular-season quarterback of all time. Denver ended the 2013 season with an 11-5 ATS record and had 10 double-digit victories last season.
Indianapolis did beat Denver, however, during a Week 7 home matchup and has the offensive firepower to at least keep up with the Broncos. It is never wise to underestimate Peyton Manning, but the Colts could very well win this game.
Worth a Bet?: This matchup feels like a great spot to wager on a live underdog getting more than a touchdown's worth of points.
Buffalo Bills (+7) at Chicago Bears
In 2013 the Bills were one of the worst road ATS squads in the league. The team produced a 1-6 record as a road underdog and failed to cover those spreads by a whopping seven points. Buffalo will have more experience on offense with their second-year quarterback EJ Manuel behind center, but it will probably struggling to score points yet again.
Buffalo will also have the rumors of the team being sold hanging over its head, and even though the team will certainly cover spreads, wagering on them during the 2014 NFL season might not be the best idea.
Worth a Bet? : The Bears will be a team with playoff potential, while the Bills are looking at another 7-9 or 8-8 season at best. This is not a great situation to wager on the underdog.
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