Top 3 NFL Week 1 Underdogs
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Top 3 NFL Week 1 Underdogs

Ben Hossler
06-25-2020

Washington Redskins +6.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles

The Redskins are a team I think has a big chance to improve relative to what they did in 2019, but we aren’t seeing that reflected in the betting markets right now. Their season win total sits at five right now, while I’m not sure how good of a coach Ron Rivera actually is, he’s never won less than six games in a full season as Head Coach in the NFL. It seems impossible for the Eagles to be ravaged by injuries like they were a season ago, but they’ve already lost a key piece in Brandon Brooks to a torn Achilles. Brooks was a pro bowler at Guard for them in 2019 and actually came in as the highest-graded player at his position per Pro Football Focus. This loss could spell disaster in this specific matchup as the Redskins are quietly fierce on the defensive line -- coming off a season where they ranked top-five in QB Pressures and Pressure% while adding Chase Young via the draft. This sets up as a really good spot for the Redskins defense and I think their offense should be improved as well.

We aren’t sure yet if they will see legitimate home-field advantage in Washington due to COVID-19, but we did see this exact matchup last season where the Eagles won by just five points…


 

Miami Dolphins +6.5 vs New England Patriots

I’ve been vocal in my distaste for the Patriots this season on Twitter. Not that I don’t trust Bill Belichick, but because I think people are underestimating his willingness to have a rebuilding season. As I mentioned before, I’m not sure if home-field advantage will be a thing in these games with the status of fans up in the air -- and don’t forget that we just saw the Dolphins win outright in New England at the end of last season. This Pats defense is still going to be at the top of the league, but there is a legitimate case to be made that this is the worst offense Belichick has ever worked with. We have no idea what Jarret Stidham is, and he’s going to be passing to two 30+-year-old receivers and N’Keal Harry, who I like, but showed very little in his rookie season. 

Miami should be much improved this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball -- even if they don’t win the game outright, I can’t see feeling this confident in Stidham in his first career NFL start. 

 

Carolina Panthers +1 vs Las Vegas Raiders

This is one I would especially look to bet early because I could definitely see it moving to a pick ‘em before kickoff. Both teams should feature exciting offenses and bad defenses, which could make the over (currently 47) and interesting play as well. Overall, I think this Panthers offense is going to be absolutely unreal this season in Joe Brady’s system that propelled LSU to the National Championship last year. They’re loaded with speed at every position on offense, which is something the Raiders struggled with mightily in 2019. Per Sharp Football Stats, they surrendered 68 explosive pass plays which was good for second-worst in the NFL. They decided to address that weakness in the draft by adding CB Damon Arnette from Ohio State...who ran a 4.56 40 yard dash. 

The Panthers actually scored more points per game than the Raiders a season ago as well, and are getting a massive upgrade at Quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater taking over for the duo of Kyle Allen and Will Grier. Bridgewater’s game is predicated on accuracy which will serve these explosive Panthers receivers well, and he also has won ATS at an impressive 80% clip through his first 35 NFL starts.

 


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