Week 1 NFL odds beckon, with an amazing statistic regarding the importance of starting fast. There were 17 teams that did not win their opening game last year, including two that played a tie.
From that group, just one — the Houston Texans — made the playoffs.
How’s that for pressure? Week 1 sets tones and establishes direction.
There were no preseason games this year due to COVID-19. This means that Week 1 of the NFL may act like the preseason, with players just warming up and finding their footing.
Still, now is the time to check out NFL Week 1 odds at New Jersey online sportsbooks.
Updated NFL Week 1 odds
The New York Jets have a lot riding on their season-opening foray into Buffalo against the Bills.
The same goes for the New York Giants, who have not only the Monday Night Football home stage against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but also a chance to show that this will not be the 4-12 campaign from last year.
The Philadelphia Eagles, the beasts of the NFC East and its defending champion, open away against the Washington Football Team, formerly the Redskins.
The Jets and Giants are underdogs, and the Eagles are favored.
Here’s a closer look at NFL Week 1 odds heading into Thursday’s matchup between the defending Super Bowl champs Kansas City Chiefs and the Texans. Last updated Sept. 10 at 3:30 p.m. Line movement in bold.
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Pittsburgh Steelers @ NY Giants (Monday Night)
Order in the court. The Giants welcome new head coach Joe Judge. He comes from the New England Patriots organization and participated in three Super Bowl championship teams under coach Bill Belichick.
The new-look Giants have several weapons when they face the Steelers on Monday.
Daniel Jones is a talented quarterback if he can avoid game-changing turnovers. Saquon Barkley is an explosive back, whom the Giants may utilize more as a receiver than in past years.
Barkley is the goods. Remember that 68-yard touchdown run against the Eagles in the season finale?
The Giants need to get him more involved in the offense: more passes out in the flat; let him find room.
Meanwhile, Darius Slayton is a deep-threat wide receiver.
If all three perform well, the Giants can play with anybody. Their record from last year looks deceiving.
One more twist: Jason Garrett, who was coaching the Dallas Cowboys at this time last year, is the new offensive coordinator for Big Blue.
Last year’s opener: The Giants lost to the Cowboys 35-17 and were never above .500.
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills
This is where the 7-9 Jets season ended last year: on a good note in a win. Buffalo had nothing to play for and rested their regulars, so this game is different.
Containing Josh Allen is critical for the Jets defense. Allen blossomed into an excellent running quarterback last year and is the key to the Bills offense. Allen threw for only 20 touchdowns, but he rushed for nine more and collected 510 yards. He kept many drives alive on third down by scrambling for a first down.
The Jets showcase quarterback Sam Darnold, who improved steadily throughout the 2019 season, and running back Le’Veon Bell.
A premier back with the Steelers before the Jets acquired him in 2019, Bell had a steady but unspectacular season.
His 1,250 all-purpose yards were serviceable but far less than the 1,946 he’d compiled two years earlier for the Steelers.
But the holes weren’t there. Bell likes to wait for blockers and explode through the hole at the last possible second.
Why this game matters: The Jets never recovered from their week-one home collapse against the Bills last year. They had just acquired Bell. He scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion in the third quarter. They led 16-0 and had left at least four points on the board because of a missed extra point and a field goal. The crowd was delirious.
Yet the Jets lost 17-16. And they sagged.
The Jets would slide to 1-7 before authoring the AFC East’s best second-half record of 6-2.
Well, here it is. The Bills are right in front of them again. Can the Jets get over the hump?
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington
Oh, those tight division games. The Eagles went all out to beat this 3-13 team twice last year. One win came in Week 1 when they overcame a 20-7 halftime deficit and boos from their fans. The Eagles went on to a 32-27 win.
The second came in December. They trailed until scoring a touchdown with 32 seconds to go.
These teams competed hard last year, and both entertaining games hit the over. Philadelphia needed both to win the division.
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has two great tight ends — Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert — and hopes for other players to blossom. Ertz is battling injuries, by the way. Keep an eye on that.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins is on the rise, a possible franchise player for Washington.
NFL Week 1 betting considerations
How will the lack of a preseason impact offenses?
A look at Thursday’s season opener between the defending champion Chiefs and Texans should provide a clue.
The teams combined for 82 points in their epic postseason tilt last year. How many will it be this time?
Place your bets, folks. NFL Week 1 is about to kick off.
Odds boosts, free bets and more for NFL Week 1
With the NFL kickoff just days away, NJ sportsbooks launched several offers that are worth a look when you place your bets this week. Here’s a short roundup of a few odds boosts and free bet offers:
- DraftKings Sportsbook: Bet the Kansas City Chiefs at +101 points before game time on Sept. 10. It’s a massive no-brainer bet. Limited to one qualifying bet per user. Offer is available to new and existing customers. Read more here.
- BetMGM Sportsbook: Now through game time on Sept. 10, bet $1 and win $100 if Patrick Mahomes scores a touchdown against the Texans on Thursday. All winnings paid in free bets.
- FanDuel Sportsbook: Keeping Super Bowl 55 in its sights, FanDuel has a seasonlong bonus available. Bet $50 or more on a futures wager for any NFL team to win the Big Game and get a $5 bonus for each regular-season game your pick wins. Straight bets only. Opt-in required.
- PointsBet: There are two offers on tap at this NJ sportsbook app.
- For the Chiefs-Texans season opener, earn $6 for every touchdown your team scores. Must bet a minimum of $25 on the spread to qualify. Only the first bet is eligible.
- The second offer is for all the Barkley and Bell fans out there: Get $6 for every touchdown either Saquon Barkley or Le’Veon Bell scores during the 2020 season. All you have to do is bet $25+ on select NFL futures props. All winnings paid in free bets.