NFL betting kicks off with the Falcons vs. Eagles on Thursday Night Football


Here are three angles to remember before making your wagers

NFL betting kicks off with the Falcons vs. Eagles on Thursday Night Football | News Article by

The NFL season opens with a bang when the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons in a battle of the past two NFC title winners on Thursday Night Football.

The Eagles opened around -3.5 at most sports betting sites back in the spring, and early action pushed these NFL odds as high as -5.5. However, with the recent news that No. 1 quarterback Carson Wentz will likely not start this Week 1 tilt - while still recovering from a knee injury - and the faulty play of superstar backup Nick Foles during the preseason, this spread has shrunk to as low as Philadelphia -1.5 with most books dealing -2.5.

If you’re betting this NFL season opener, here are three angles to remember before making your wagers:

Super start
Winning a Super Bowl will not only put a big target on your back, but it will also puff up the pointspread for your first game since claiming the Lombardi Trophy. But that hasn’t stopped reigning Super Bowl champs from cashing in during Week 1 of the following season.

Since 2000, defending champs are 11-6-1 ATS in their Week 1 openers – covering almost 65 percent of the time. Now, this trend took a turn for the worse last September when the New England Patriots were squashed by the Kansas City Chiefs in their 2017 debut, getting outscored 21-0 in the fourth quarter to lose 42-27 as 8-point home chalk.

The Eagles are one of the hottest bets in football going back to last season, covering the spread in all three playoff games – including Super Bowl LII – and finishing the 2017 campaign with an overall mark of 13-6 against the spread.

Faulty Falcons
Atlanta’s 2017 was a frustrating one, especially when it comes to the Falcons’ offensive production. With coordinator Kyle Shanahan leaving for San Francisco, Atlanta’s once-mighty attack looked lost under Steve Sarkisian. This is Year 2 in this new system and the Falcons are hoping to start hot against a very potent and deep Philly defense.

Sarkisian has dedicated a good chunk of his offseason to improving the team’s efficiency in the red zone after settling for more field goals than it would have liked in 2017. That inability to find paydirt made Atlanta one of the best Under bets in football, with the Falcons finishing Under the total in seven straight games to end the year and closing 2017 with a 5-13 Over/Under mark.

The total for Thursday’s opener originally posted at 47 points but has since dropped to 45. These teams went well below the number in their playoff meeting, with Philadelphia taking a 15-10 victory that went Under the 40-point total in the NFC Divisional Round.

Tale of two preseasons
The Eagles didn’t shy away from playing their star players in the preseason – save for the still-recovering Carson Wentz. However, that preparation may have cost Philadelphia some bodies early into the season – or at least has some key players limping into Week 1.

Running back Jay Ajayi is expected to play Thursday despite a foot injury, as is Foles who tweaked his shoulder in a revenge hit against the Patriots in preseason play. Also dinged up for the defending champs are WR Nelson Agholor and RB Corey Clement – both expected to play – but WR Alshon Jeffery is out while recovering from shoulder surgery.

The Falcons, on the other hand, didn’t risk much during the exhibition slate and have the bulk of their first teamers ready to roll. Receiver Julio Jones didn’t see any action during preseason play, nor did running back DeVonta Freeman. Quarterback Matt Ryan played sparingly in August, throwing just 20 total passes.

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