The bulk of the week one matches in the brand new NFL campaign takes place on Sunday with 12 matches taking place in the usual two kick off times as the 100th year of the National Football League goes off with a bang.
We have to wait for the Sunday Night Football for the champions to begin their title defence but a number of pretenders to the throne display their early credentials for us. Two matches are live on TV in the UK and there are a number of other ways and means to keep up with the other games.
1pm Kick Offs (6pm UK time)
We get to see whether the hype around the Cleveland Browns is justified in the first Sunday televised game of the new season over this side of the pond. They host the Tennessee Titans in a match they’ll be looking to win if they are going to be competitive in their division. The Titans aren’t likely to roll over however. We have a couple of divisional matches first up too. New York Jets will host the Buffalo Bills while over the NFC East the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Washington Redskins.
Kansas City Chiefs are the idea of the Super Bowl winners this year for a lot of teams. They will show off their credentials when they travel to Jacksonville Jaguars while the beaten Super Bowl LIII team Los Angeles Rams are also on the road. They face the Carolina Panthers. The other games in this kick off slot sees the Miami Dolphins hosting the Baltimore Ravens and the Minnesota Vikings facing the Atlanta Falcons in a good looking match up.
4.05/4.25pm Kick Offs (9.05/9.25pm UK time)
We head to the NFC East for the televised match in this bunch of kick off games too where the Dallas Cowboys play host to their arch rivals New York Giants in a matchup which will centre around the two running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley. This is sure to be a competitive match given the hostility of the rivalry between these two.
Four other matches take place in this slot with the most interesting of them being the one between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Indianapolis Colts with all eyes on the visitors to see how they go without Andrew Luck. Seattle Seahawks are at home on Sunday afternoon when they welcome the Cincinnati Bengals to CenturyLink Field while the Airzona Cardinals kick their season off against the Detroit Lions. The other match sees Bruce Arians and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers side taking on the San Francisco 49ers.
I’ll go with a couple of bets over the course of these matches and they both come in the later kick off slot where I like a couple of road teams. I’m not expecting the Arizona Cardinals to get a huge amount of joy out of the Detroit Lions who look to match up to them well in all areas of the field. The Lions have a strong defensive line so the rookie Kyler Murray is going to have to get the job done himself but he’s going to be made to scramble a fair bit you would think. This is a much better balanced Detroit Lions side these days. They can offer up a ground game as well as a solid passing game through Matt Stafford and I think they’ll have more than a field goal in hand here.
I worry for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defence. I’m not sure it is going to be able to stop anything this season let alone an underrated San Francisco 49ers offense which should click nicely with Jimmy Garropolo back and fully fit. He has enough weapons at his disposal to do some damage which is important and the niners defence is never one to be torn apart. Jameis Winston and Mike Evans are good enough to keep Tampa Bay in this but I don’t see how their defence is going to keep the score down enough for the home side to win. I’m happy to be on the 9ers here.
Back Detroit Lions (-2.5) to beat Arizona Cardinals for a 4/10 stake at 1.85 with 888sport
WON – Back San Francisco 49ers to beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Boylesports
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