NFL Betting: Top Games for the Upcoming Season
As the great Hank Williams Jr. once empathically sang - "Are you ready for some football?"
Yes, we are, Hank. Yes, we are.
The 2019-20 NFL season kicks off in just over a week with the annual Hall of Fame Game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons . A week later the NFL Preseason officially gets underway, and it couldn't have come at a better time. I was starting to get tired of watching teams crush home runs and allow their bullpens to blow leads in the later innings. The NFL season is the most highly-anticipated season of the year, and we have a slew of storylines to follow heading into the regular season.
For starters, there were a handful of legitimate stars switch teams, including Odell Beckham Jr. who went from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns, Le'Veon Bell, who ended his season-long hold out with the Pittsburgh Steelers to sign with the lowly New York Jets, and Antonio Brown, who forced his way out of Pittsburgh with a trade to the Oakland Raiders.
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski retired after collecting his third Super Bowl ring last season. It'll be interesting to see how the 42-year-old Tom Brady-led offense adapts to the loss of one of the most dominating TEs in NFL history.
Kyler Murray went No. 1 overall in the NFL Draft, so all eyes will be on him and Kliff Kingsbury's air-raid attack in the Arizona desert. And lastly, what can we expect as an encore from Patrick Mahomes and Saquon Barkley? The storylines are endless, but I'm here to give you the lowdown on the some of the must-watch games of the 2019-20 regular season.
Must Watch NFL Games for the 2019-20 Season
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals - Sunday, September 8 - 4:25 p.m.
Normally a Week 1 matchup between non-divisional opponents would not be worth watching for the casual fan. But as I'm sure you've heard, the Cardinals drafted an explosive quarterback by the name of Murray first overall in the offseason. They paired him with a coach in Kingsbury who loves to throw the ball with his air-raid attack which makes the Cardinals must-see TV until they start 0-5 and are just playing out the string.
There is, however, optimism to be had in the desert as Murray seems like the real deal despite critics knocking his sub-six-foot stature. If he plays like he did at Oklahoma, the elusive and diminutive quarterback could wreak havoc for defensive coordinators through the air and on the field with his running ability. Like I said - I'll be watching for Kyler Murray and nothing else (except a likely wager on Arizona -2.5).
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams - Sunday, September 15 - 4:25 p.m.
The rematch of last year's NFC Championship Game happens early this season, and it'll give viewers a chance to see two of the top offenses go head-to-head once again. It'll be interesting to see how the Rams handle the Todd Gurley III situation with him not being given the 100 percent bill of health. We know Gurley suffered from a knee injury last season, and it kept him on the sidelines for much of the Super Bowl, only playing a cameo role on a few drives. For the Saints, the big three offensive cogs are back with Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas ready to reverse their fortunes from last season's crushing ending. Both defensives have gotten better in the offseason, and both teams will be eager to make a statement early on in the season.
Oh, and don't be alarmed if you see 1,000 replays of a flagrant pass interference call that wasn't called on the Rams last season late in the NFC Championship Game. Your TV isn't broken. The media just likes to beat the dead horse time and time again. It's over let it go.
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens - Sunday, September 29 - 1 p.m.
This is the first divisional clash in the AFC North, and I truly believe that no division in football is as wide open as this one. The Browns are still the Browns, and with that comes a series of mishaps and unfortunate ways to lose ball games. However, there's simply no mistaking that the Browns offense could potentially be a force this year, with the addition of Beckham Jr. and the maturity and experience of a second-year Baker Mayfield. We know how good the defense can be when healthy, and the Browns are likely to be one of the most watched and talked about teams this season. The Ravens, on the other hand, are looking squarely down the barrel of the Lamar Jackson era. And while he impressed at times last season, the jury is still out on whether he can move the chains through the air. This game will go a long way in determining the AFC North championship, and in Baker I Trust. (Cleveland is +120 to win the Division on Bovada)
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots - Sunday, December 8 - 4:25 p.m.
I don't believe this matchup needs any sort of hyperbole to explain how fascinating this game is going to be. This is a rematch of last year's AFC title game, and if memory serves correctly, that game was an instant classic. This year's edition will be played without Gronkowski in a Patriots uniform, and that will be to the Chiefs advantage. We already know what to expect from both these teams, so let's talk about something that's never happened before. This game will mark the first time that a QB over the age of 40 has started a game against a reigning QB MVP who is 18 years younger than him.
Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Jets - Sunday, December 22 - 1 p.m.
And lastly, we take you to the MetLife Stadium to witness two dumpster fire teams squaring off. In one corner have the Steelers, who simply don't know how to get out of their own damn way. The way they botched the Bell and Brown situation is mind-boggling as they got a third and a fifth-round draft pick for two elite-level superstars. And in the other corner, you have a Jets organization that is the epitome of doom. They have some good pieces on both sides of the ball, but the Jets are never one to make life easy for themselves. This game could mean nothing as it happens too late in the season, or it could mean everything to these teams as they fight for a wild-card spot. What I'm watching for is how Bell performs against the very franchise that drafted him, only to leave him sitting on the sidelines in a bitter contract dispute. Get your popcorn ready.
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