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NFL Week 1 Recap – Betting on road favorites good for profits

The largest underdog to win straight up
Rams (+3.5, ML +155) vs. Seattle, 34-31 (OT)

The largest favorite to cover
Packers (-6) at Bears, 31-23

All about the road favorites

— The opening weekend of the NFL was great for betting road favorites. The Chiefs (-1) were slight road favorites, and held on in their game against the Texans. The Panthers (-3) got off to a sluggish start, but were able to pull away from the Jaguars in the second half for a comfortable 20-9 victory. The Packers were the largest favorites on the board to cover, winning 31-23 against Bears at Soldier Field. It wasn’t pretty, but the Dolphins also managed to cover as four-point favorites in the nation’s capital against the Redskins. Last, but certainly not least, the Bengals (-3) thumped the Raiders 33-13 in the Black Hole. In total, road favorites were 5-2 SU/ATS.

Total Recall

— The offenses were well ahead of the defenses in the opening weekend of the regular season, as the ‘over’ has hit in nine of the first 14 games with two games remaining.

— The two lowest totals on the board, Browns-Jets (39) and Titans-Buccaneers (40.5) each saw ‘over’ results. In fact, Tennessee took care of the over all by themselves in the 42-14 victory.

— The four highest totals from Thursday through Sunday saw the over hit in three of those games. Only the Steelers-Patriots game (51) had an under result, and that just barely hit in New England’s 28-21 win.

— In the two primetime games so far, the over and under split 1-1 with two primetime games remaining. Last season the over went 33-17 (66%) primetime games, and the over was 28-22 (56%) in 2013.

Injury Report

— There were plenty of key players to go down with injuries in Week 1, changing the face of a few of the games.

— Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas (hand) checked out of the Week 1 win against the Ravens for a couple of plays. He was able to return, but he is not done with the injury just yet. He will have an X-ray on the hand to determine if he needs to miss time.

— Broncos RB C.J. Anderson (toe) was rather ineffective due to a toe injury, and he might have suffered a sprain. Anderson will have further tests Monday to determine the extent of his injury. If he and/or Thomas are forced to miss time, it could make the Broncos offense even more anemic than it was in their opening win.

— The Broncos lost DBs David Bruton (hip) and Omar Bolden (foot) to injuries, which is bad news given a short turnaround before Thursday’s game in Kansas City.

— Browns QB Josh McCown (concussion) was knocked out of the Week 1 loss early, replaced by QB Johnny Manziel. Regardless whether Johnny Football or McCown is starting, the Browns appear to be in line for another long season after a 31-10 loss.

— Buccaneers LB Danny Lansanah (ankle) left the Week 1 loss against the Titans and was unable to return due to an ankle injury. He is a tackle machine in the middle for the Bucs, who can certainly cannot lose his services for an extended period of time.

— Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (knee) was forced out of the Week 1 win against the Saints due to a knee injury which was later determined to be to his posterior cruciate ligament. It’s uncertain if he will need to miss multiple weeks, but RBs Chris Johnson and David Johnson(no relation) will likely fill the void.

— Chargers OT D.J. Fluker (ankle) left the Week 1 win against the Lions due to an ankle injury, but the good news is that the ankle does not appear to be broken. More tests to come Monday, however.

— Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (knee) was forced out of the Week 1 loss in Buffalo due to a knee injury. There are reports Hilton suffered only a bruise, which is great news. However, owner Robert Irsay is on record saying Hilton might miss multiple weeks due to the injury. Stay tuned. RB Frank Gore (calf) also suffered cramping and was mostly a non-factor in his team debut.

— Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) suffered a broken bone in his foot against the Giants, and he was in a walking boot after the game. He will need surgery for his injury and early reports have him missing anywhere from four to six weeks.

— Jaguars WR Rashad Greene (head) left the Week 1 loss against the Panthers due to a head injury, and it’s uncertain if he suffered a concussion. OT Luke Joeckel (ankle) was on crutches and in a walking boot after the game. He is awaiting MRI results. However, an injury, short- or long-term to one of their best linemen is not good for the prospects of an already fragile offense.

— Jets CB Antonio Cromartie (knee) suffered a left knee injury and he will undergo an MRI Monday to determine the severity of his injury. With the Indianapolis Colts looming on the Week 2 schedule, the Jets can ill-afford to lose one of their best cover men.

— Panthers LB Luke Kuechly (concussion) left the Week 1 game against the Jaguars, and he has entered the concusson protocol. The Panthers D had it on lockdown in Jacksonville, but if Kuechly misses time it could mean more points allowed.

— Raiders QB Derek Carr (hand) left the game against the Bengals in the second quarter due to a hand injury, and he was unable to return. After Carr left the rout was on, and the Bengals ended up taking a 33-0 lead before backup QB Matt McGloin was finally able to engineer a couple of scoring drives. The good news for Carr is that X-rays were negative, although he could still miss time. That would make things more difficult for the Silver and Black.

— Ravens LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles’) suffered a torn Achilles’ in the Week 1 road loss against the Broncos and he will be done for the season. It’s a significant loss for the Baltimore defense, and it could mean slightly more points for the opposition, so watch those total lines in the coming weeks.

— Redskins WR DeSean Jackson (hamstring) checked out of the loss against the Dolphins due to a left hamstring injury and he was unable to return. The way he reacted on the sidelined could suggest a long-term injury.

— Titans TE Delanie Walker (hand) had a cast on his injured right hand after the Week 1 road win against the Buccaneers. The team reported he did not suffer a fracture, although a cast certainly seems to contradict that initial report.

Bad Beats

— The Cowboys kicked off the Sunday Night Football game with a 10-minute drive before settling for a field goal. After one quarter there were just six points on the board, and at halftime there were just 19. After a total of 29 points through three quarters ‘under’ bettors were likely feeling pretty comfortable. However, after the Giants went up 26-20, it was a Tony Romo clutch drive, minus the injured Bryant, to not only dash the hopes of moneyline bettors, but also push the total just ‘over’ (52) with :07 remaining in the game.

— The Packers-Bears (48.5) game was headed for an ‘under’ result until QB Jay Cutler hit TEMartellus Bennett for a 24-yard touchdown with :34 seconds remaining to push the total over.

— Bengals-Raiders (43) appeared to be headed for an ‘under’ result as well. The Bengals entered the fourth quarter up 33-0. However, Oakland picked up two garbage-time touchdowns, including one with 2:13 remaining, to make ‘over’ bettors happy and leave ‘under’ players shaking their heads.

— Last, but certainly not least, the Steelers struck with :02 left in Thursday’s opening game thanks to a TD from WR Antonio Brown to spoil the night for Patriots side bettors laying 7 1/2. A majority of others ended up with a push instead of a win. It was a meaningless TD as far as the result of the game, but it was devastating in betting circles causing a huge swing.

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