The Pittsburgh Steelers and the New England Patriots kicked off a new season of football in the NFL on Thursday night in a game that ended as a "push" with New England holding on for the seven-point win.
Now it is time for bettors to turn their attention to a full slate of games this Sunday. Along with the betting lines for each matchup, Bet 365 has released a full array of game props to add even more action to opening day. The following are a few of my top game props in terms of the value in these betting odds.
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Green Bay at Chicago - Odds to Score in Every Quarter
The betting odds that Green Bay scores in every quarter of this Sunday's road game against NFC North rival Chicago have been set at 7/4. The odds that the Packers do not accomplish this feat are set at 2/5.
Green Bay ended the 2014 regular season as the highest-scoring team in the NFL with an average of 30.4 points a game and, with the exception of the loss of wide receiver Jordy Nelson due to injury, this high-powered offense remains basically intact. You would have to believe that All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers is just chomping at the bit to get his team back on the field this Sunday after last year's heart-breaking loss to Seattle in overtime of the NFC title game.
Also adding value to the Packers' odds that they will score in all four quarters of this game is a Bears' defense that was ranked 31st in the NFL in points allowed last season in giving up an average of 27.6 points a game. This combination sets the stage for a big day for Green Bay, so I am going with the 7/4 odds that this offense lights up the scoreboard each and every quarter this Sunday afternoon.
Carolina at Jacksonville - Team Touchdowns Scored
The betting odds that Jacksonville scores fewer than two touchdowns in Sunday's game against Carolina have been set at 11/8.
I think there is some tremendous value in these odds given the fact that the Jaguars were the lowest-scoring team in the NFL last season with an average of 15.6 points a game. If you go over their results on a game-by-game basis, they failed to score at least two touchdowns in six games last year while Carolina held teams to less than two touchdowns five times in the 2014 regular season.
Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles enters his second season in the NFL after throwing for 11 touchdowns over the course of 14 games as a rookie. The Jaguars added another nine touchdowns on the ground over the course of 16 games. When you add it all up, it's hard to see this offense scoring two or more touchdowns in Sunday's season opener.
Baltimore at Denver - Total Touchdowns Scored
The "over/under" odds on the total number of touchdowns scored in this AFC matchup have been set at 6/4 for over 6.5 touchdowns and at 1/2 for the under. If you lower the total to 5.5 touchdowns the odds change to 4/5 for the over and 10/11 for the under. The lowest total on the board is 4.5 combined touchdowns, and the odds for the over are set at 4/11 with the odds on the under set at 2/1.
Both of these teams did a good job at putting points on the board last year. The Ravens averaged 25.6 points a game in 2014, and the Broncos ended the regular season ranked second in the league in scoring with an average of 30.1 points a game. The total line for this Sunday's matchup has been set at 48.5 so the oddsmakers are expecting a higher-scoring game than average between these two teams, and I would tend to agree.
The firepower alone in Denver's offense could easily account for four or five touchdowns, especially on its home field with Peyton Manning trying to get his team off to a fast start. You would have to think that Joe Flacco and Co. should be able to get the Ravens' offense into the end zone a couple of times to set the stage for a play on the over 6.5 touchdowns in this game prop.
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