NFL Week 1: Over and Under Best Bets
This NFL season, with sports betting expected to be a more common and accepted practice, we're making a point to look beyond point spreads and analyze often-neglected totals. As part of that approach, we'll offer up our favorite bet over and favorite under each week.
Over of the week: Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos
Neither defense is what it used to be, and I think this total has yet to account for that -- especially with Seattle. The Legion of Boom is no more, Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril are gone and star safety Earl Thomas is nowhere to be seen. Von Miller is still Von Miller on the other side of the ball, but the Broncos and Seahawks will be relying on a lot of unproven players, especially in the secondary. And it's not as though either unit fared great last season anyway.
Meanwhile, the Broncos offense should be much better with new quarterback/running back duo Case Keenum and Royce Freeman. The former was the league's seventh-rated passer last season, the latter looks like an offensive rookie of the year candidate. And while Seattle has fewer weapons on that side of the ball, that offense looks to be more balanced with Chris Carson crushing it in the backfield this summer.
I'm expecting Keenum, Freeman, Carson and Russell Wilson to put on an offensive exhibition in Colorado.
Predicted score: Broncos 27, Seahawks 24
Under of the week: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
With Ryan Fitzpatrick as their primary passer, the Bucs scored just 10 points on their last trip to New Orleans. The Saints defense has since gotten better on paper, and Fitzpatrick will once again start for the suspended Jameis Winston in this tilt.
Watch for the Bucs defense to show some improvement too. New Orleans can light up the scoreboard, especially at home, but Tampa Bay has a newly-stacked defensive front that resembles Philadelphia's famous line. That unit could put together a respectable performance against a New Orleans offense that actually started rather slow last season (they scored more than 20 points just once in the first four weeks).
Throw in that the Saints won't be at full power without suspended running back Mark Ingram and 49.5 feels far too high.
Predicted score: Saints 24, Buccaneers 14
Good luck, we're all counting on you.