The NFL IS FINALLY BACK!
And it's back to normality with the Cowboys officially the worst team in the league as the only team with a loss on their record as we come into the Sunday slate of games.
I have written far FAR too much on my own site over at Touchdowntips.com if you want to read more in-depth previews, but I'll try to stick to a formula here and give a Spread, Total, TD and prop for the weekend.
Best spread bet
There's a few spreads I like this week, the 49ers should cover against the Lions in Detroit but it's a high line and I don't like taking over 7 points on any game. The Packers look good against New Orleans with the game being moved to Jacksonville which will have disrupted the Saints more than GB who were travelling anyway, but I'll avoid that one with the unknown over Jameis and whether he can do well in Nola. I think the Titans will beat the Cardinals at home, but the one I'll go with for this column is a team I never thought I'd be considering my favourite spread of the weekend.
I like the Denver Broncos to cover 3 points on the road in New York against the Giants. They have one of the best defenses in the league on paper and while Bradley Chubb may miss out with an ankle injury they will be able to get pressure on Daniel Jones and he doesn't deal well with pressure. Add to that a very talented secondary and I can see a few turnovers on that side of the ball.
That may be all the Broncos need as they installed Teddy Bridgewater as their starter for the season. It was the safe pick and head coach Vic Fangio clearly went that way assuming his defense will do enough to mean that just keeping the ball safe will be enough for the offensive side of the ball. They have talent there with Jerry Juedy, and Courtland Sutton back from injury and I like their tight ends as well, Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam.
It turns out my most drafted player in fantasy leagues this year was Javonte Williams who I think will quickly become the main man in the running game for the Broncos. It might not be this week although I am high on him to start out strong and out-snap Melvin Gordon quick enough.
The Giants will have Saquon back but he's had no training camp, they paid big money for Kenny Golladay but he's been injured as well. Evan Engram is out as well.
This is mainly a fade on Daniel Jones in all honesty.
Denver Broncos -3 @ NY Giants
Best Totals bet
I know a lot of people who were looking at the under in the Dolphins v Patriots game, and while both teams have very good defense and the Patriots start a rookie QB, I can't be taking the under on such a low total.
I do however know more than most people about the Bengals and how they look coming into the season. So for that reason I'm going to take the UNDER on their match against the Vikings.
The preseaosn hasn't been great for the Bengals offense, it's been poor in camp and the drops of first round pick Ja'Marr Chase have been highlighted by everyone looking to get a dig in on the franchise. I don't think it will be an issue going forward but there's a lot of pressure on him tonight to make some catches. The more worrying issue for me is the lack of work for Joe Burrow coming off a season ending knee injury last year. He played all of 3 snaps in preseason and will be rusty coming into this one.
The defensive side of the ball for the Bengals has looked really good though and the return of DJ Reader in the middle of the line should help slow oppposing rushers for the first time in years for the Bengals. They should be able to get some pressure up front too finally.
The Vikings defense will improve after last year and they have a few talented players on offense, with Dalvin Cook probably going over 120 combined yards in this one, and Thielen and Jefferson providing the spark in the passing game. They did lose Irv Smith to injury who I think would have been an important part of the offense though.
As with the spread bet this is a fade of one main area, and that's the Bengals offense which I think will be good as the year progresses but will be very rusty in this one. I could see this either being a close 17-13 or a big 30-10 type win for the Vikings.
As such I like the UNDER 47 points
Best TD Scorer
I've got a few choices here, the late game between the Packers and Saints should be high scoring and getting over evens on Aaron Jones seems generous, as does the 4/5 on Alvin Kamara as the only established talent on the Saints side of the ball. I think Evens a good price on Antonio Gibson scoring for Washington, I think he could explode this year.
But I have to take Raheem Mostert at 10/11 to score against the Lions. The 49ers are expected to score 29 points and I think he'll get the start at running back for them with rookie Trey Sermon coming in later on should/when things get out of hand and they have the ability to swap things up.
Shanahan likes Mostert and as one of the quickest ball carriers in the league, it doesn't take many chances for him to get into the endzone from anywhere on the field. I'll be honest I thought he'd done considerably better than his numbers show last year, but that was with other established players around him and on and off the injury report. He's fully fit coming into this against a poor team. I think he'll score.
Raheem Mostert anytime TD – 10/11 (Skybet)
Best player prop
Annoyingly there's a few I liked early in the week which have bumped up by now, so a note to self, and others, if William Hill are going to keep on releasing props on Thursday nights then get on quickly and watch the CLV improve through the week. The likes of Javonte Williams rushing yards, Marquez Callaway rec. yards were all lower than I expected at that time. My favourite that I've placed already was getting over evens on Antonio Gibson receptions, but that line is long gone and I don't want to recommend it at 8/15, the alternative is o19.5 at 5/6 on Skybet now.
So it makes things a little tougher to take a pick on Sunday afternoon.
I think I'm going back to the 49ers vs. Lions game.
The Lions are likely to be trailing for much of this game and they don't have a whole lot of options on offense. Tyrell Williams looks like he'll be the WR1 for them and while he's had a 1,000 yard season in his past, he's not really someone I would want to rely on. Behind him you're looking at the almighty Quintez Cephus and rookie Amon-Ra St. Brown (great name). So the passing game will be relying on catches from players coming out of the backfield, D'Andre Swift (should be on for a big year) and Jamaal Williams are both good at doing.
But I think the most targeted player for them will be TJ Hockenson. The talented tight end may well take the leap up to a top 5 player in the position with the workload I am expecting him to get from Jared Goff this season, so I'll take the over 4.5 receptions at 5/6 on Skybet this week. I just don't see where else the ball is going to go.
TJ Hockenson o4.5 receptions – 5/6 (Skybet)