Interesting opening week of the NFL season as not a single team is more than a touchdown favorite and there are a whopping eight clubs that are home dogs. Very unusual stuff. Here are the Week 1 BetOnline top NFL odds. (only two at 6 minimum).
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears (+6.5 on NFL odds)
It's the 191st meeting in the NFL's oldest rivalry and the Bears still lead 93-91-6 despite being dominated for the past several years by their neighbors to the north. Clearly oddsmakers expect much of the same as Chicago is easily the biggest home dog of Week 1. The Bears were a mess in 2014 under former head coach Marc Trestman. They should be much better coached this year with John Fox, who has a history of turning around poor defenses immediately, defensive coordinator Vic Fangio (from 49ers, who had one of NFL's best defenses past few seasons) and offensive coordinator Adam Gase (Broncos broke several offensive records under him and Fox in 2013).
But this still looks like a mismatch. For one, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers while Chicago has Jay Cutler. The Bears won't have their 2015 first-round pick, receiver Kevin White, and might not have their current No. 1 WR Alshon Jeffery. He hasn't played at all this preseason with a calf problem so even if he goes, Jeffery won't be 100 percent. One of Chicago's best defensive players, tackle Jay Ratliff, is suspended the first three games of the year. That Bears defense, maybe the NFL's worst over the past seasons, is also transitioning to a 3-4 scheme and sometimes trying to fit a square peg into a round hole in terms of players.
Including playoffs, the Packers have won five straight games at Soldier Field and six of the last seven there. The Pack have held Chicago to 20 points or fewer in seven of the last eight games at Soldier Field. You know the Bears aren't holding Green Bay anywhere near under 20.
This line has jumped to 7 on the NFL odds board at sites like Bookmaker. So grab 6.5 now and give the points as it might be 7 everywhere by kickoff. The favorite is 8-1 ATS in the past nine meetings.
NFL Pick: Packers -6.5 at bet365
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys (-6 at sportsbooks)
I believe it's an NFL bylaw that the Cowboys, supposedly America's Team, have to open on national television. And they host rival New York on the first Sunday night game of the season, which no doubt will take the most action of any Sunday game in Week 1. I expect a major drop-off for Dallas this year off last season's 12-4 mark and NFC East title. The Cowboys lost NFL rushing king DeMarco Murray and will try to replace him with a rather unimpressive trio of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle and newly-acquired Christine Michael. Good luck with that, although Dallas does have the NFL's best offensive line. Star receiver Dez Bryant will be good to go despite not playing at all this preseason.
The Giants will be minus two of their best players in No. 2 receiver Victor Cruz, who is nursing an injury, and top pass-rusher Jason Pierre-Paul, who is still recovering from a fireworks accident on July 4 that cost him a finger. JPP still hasn't signed a contract and it's possible he doesn't play this year. New York also lost left tackle Will Beatty back in the spring to a torn biceps. He might return around midseason. The Cowboys had a big loss in camp with top cornerback Orlando Scandrick suffering a season-ending injury. Dallas will also be without two projected defensive starters the first four games in end Greg Hardy and linebacker Rolando McClain, both suspended.
All eyes will be on Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year, Internet sensation and "Madden 16" cover boy. The last time the Cowboys and Giants met, on Nov. 23, 2014, at MetLife Stadium, Beckham made perhaps the greatest circus catch in NFL history, although in a 31-28 loss. Cowboys QB Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes to Dez Bryant in that one, the winner from 13 yards with 1:01 remaining.
Take the Cowboys with your NFL picks. Dallas has won four straight in the series and the Giants have lost four straight in Week 1 (two to Dallas). The Cowboys also have the best winning percentage in NFL history in Week 1. New York has covered only two of its past nine September games. The Cowboys are 6-2 ATS in their past eight in September.
NFL Pick: Cowboys -6 at BetOnline