The start of a new season in the NFL is still more than two months away, but shortly after the league announced the 2015 schedule in early spring the oddmakers released the betting lines for Week 1. The odds have been slightly tweaked since then by some early action from the betting public and the following is a look at where they stand right now on BetOnline for some of the top matchups on the board.
Green Bay Packers (-5) vs. Chicago Bears
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This black and blue division battle in the NFC North could be a great way for Green Bay to kick off what many bettors believe will be a run all the way to Super Bowl 50. The Packers made it all the way to the NFC Championship last season before falling to Seattle 28-22 as 8.5-point road underdogs. Heading into this season, Green Bay's futures odds to win the NFC this time around are set at +350 as second-favorites behind the Seahawks (+250).
Last year's run to the conference title game included a pair of victories against the Bears both straight up and against the spread in the regular season. The Packers won the first meeting 38-17 as two-point road favorites, and in early November they completed the sweep with a 55-14 rout as nine-point favorites at home. Chicago's outlook for 2015 is not as nearly as bright as a +1400 third-favorite just to win the NFC North. Green Bay's projected win total for 2015 is set at 11.0, while the Bears is set at 7.0 and trending downward with a -155 moneyline on the "under".
Seattle Seahawks (-3) vs. St. Louis Rams
The Seahawks will begin their quest for a third straight trip to the Super Bowl against a familiar opponent in this NFC West clash. They are favored to go to Super Bowl 50 out of the NFC, and their betting odds to add a second world title in three seasons stands at +450, which are the best on the board. Seattle went 12-4 SU last season, and through its run to the Super Bowl it was 10-8-1 ATS following the 28-24 loss to New England in the title game as a slight one-point favorite.
One of the reasons for such a tight spread in the early betting line for this season opener can be attributed to the Seahawks' 28-26 loss to St. Louis on the road last season as 6.5-point favorites. They evened the series against their division rivals later in the year with a 20-6 victory at home as 11-point favorites. St. Louis went on to finish 6-10 SU last season after dropping its final three games, and ATS is was 7-9. While Russell Wilson is firmly entrenched as Seattle's starting quarterback heading into his fourth season in the league, another four-year vet, Nick Foles, is expected to be at the helm at quarterback for St. Louis after coming over from Philadelphia in an offseason trade.
The Seahawks projected win total for 2015 is set at 11 with the moneyline slightly favoring the over at -125. The Rams come into the new season with a projected win total of 8.0, but the moneyline favors the under at -140. The loss to the Rams was Seattle's only setback last season in the NFC West, while St. Louis went just 2-4 in division play.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos (-4)
The biggest matchup on the slate for Sunday's late games in Week 1 pits two division favorites against one another. The betting odds that Baltimore wins the AFC North this season after finishing one game back in third in 2014 are set at +160. Denver is once again the odds-on favorite to win the AFC West at -180 betting odds. The Broncos have ended up on top in this division the past four years while winning at least 12 games in each of their last three runs to the title. The Ravens' odds to win the AFC this season have been set at +1000, and Denver will open the season as a +500 third-favorite to represent the conference in Super Bowl 50 behind New England and Indianapolis at +400.
These two AFC foes opened the 2013 season against one another, with Denver rolling to a 49-27 victory as a 7.5-point favorite at home. The Ravens went 4-4 SU on the road last season, while the Broncos posted a 7-1 SU record in eight home games. Baltimore ended up losing to New England in the Divisional Playoffs 35-31 as a seven-point road underdog. Denver's run to an AFC title was derailed in a stunning 24-13 loss to Indianapolis in the divisional round as a heavy 9.5-point favorite at home.
Read more articles by Dave Schwab
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