NFL Week 1 betting lines are up and we have isolated three underdogs that we feel have an excellent chance of pulling outright upsets. It might be best to jump on these now while they still have value so you can beat the line moves.
UPSET PICK #1: Dallas Cowboys (+3½) +160 over New York Giants – This is a revenge spot for the Cowboys, who lost a pseudo playoff game to these Giants in this stadium in the regular season finale last year, a win that the Giants ultimately parlayed into a Super Bowl Championship. Dallas was fine offensively last season but the Cowboys’ defense often allowed points just as quickly as the offense scored them. However, Dallas improved its secondary by drafting safety Morris Claiborne out of LSU with the sixth overall pick and by signing possibly the best free agent cornerback available in Brandon Carr. The pass rush should also improve with the drafting of Tyrone Coleman and with Sean Lissemore reportedly playing a bigger role this year.
Besides, the Giants got hot at the right time last year after finishing 9-7, so some regression this year seems likely. The loss of Brandon Jacobs means that Ahmad Bradshaw must now carry the rushing load, and he has been injury prone.
UPSET PICK #2: Buffalo Bills (+4) +170 over New York Jets – The Bills have all the pieces in place to make a possible wild card run this year provided they can stay healthy, which they were unable to do over the second half of last season when running back Fred Jackson was lost for the season, wide receiver Steve Johnson and several members of the offensive line also missed playing time and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick played with a painful rib injury with little success. Buffalo was averaging over 30 points before the injuries hit though and the defense should be improved this year with the addition of pass rushers Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.
The Jets meanwhile had a disharmonious clubhouse last season and the locker room could potentially be a bigger circus this year with Tim Tebow being brought in and the sensitive Mark Sanchez looking over his shoulder. Also the retirement of LaDainian Tomlinson leaves Shonn Greene as the go-to guy in the backfield and he was a huge disappointment a year ago.
UPSET PICK #3: Jacksonville Jaguars (+4½) +190 over Minnesota Vikings – No, we are not saying that the Jaguars are juggernauts or anything, but the Vikings should be one of the worst teams in the NFL this season and they do not deserve to be favored by this much over anyone. The Adrian Peterson situation looks to be a no-win situation for Minnesota, as the Vikes have very little chance of winning games if he cannot come back, but by the same token, he will not be his usual self and would be risking greater injury if he comes back too soon.
Yes, Jacksonville also has a chance to finish with the league’s worst record and Maurice Jones-Drew is still holding out as of this writing, but at worst that makes this game a toss up, giving the Jags value at this price. That value becomes even greater if MJD ends his holdout.