What are the biggest storylines, and who are the preseason favorites to hoist the Lombardi Trophy?
Grab some great food, throw on your jersey, and set your fantasy lineup. The NFL is back, and it’s still the undisputed top dog when it comes to American sports. As the boys of fall prepare to steal the spotlight through early February, anticipation for the season is as high as ever, and there is no shortage of storylines. Nearly as captivating as the on-field action is the off-the-field game of sports betting, which has only grown in popularity since it was first legalized outside of Nevada in 2018.
With more on the line for players, owners and fans alike, the season itself will look to live up to an electric offseason. Superstars moved everywhere, quarterbacks secured the bag, and a legend reversed his decision, all leading us to the doorstep of one of the most intriguing seasons in recent memory. So, what are we most looking forward to as the gridiron grind returns?
Let’s take a look at some of the year’s biggest headlines and most notable betting lines as the season gets underway!
Tom Brady Returns
First, can the 45-year-old Tom Brady keep up in his 23rd season? Brady announced his retirement mere days before Super Bowl LVI, but something just didn’t feel right. After leading the league in passing yards and touchdowns on his way to a second-place finish in the MVP race, it was obvious he still had gas in the tank.
That said, questions were on the table. Would Tom Brady wait until his production dropped to call it quits? Surely he’s the type to take the Mariano Rivera route and retire while still on top. Furthermore, it’s still unclear if Brady will ever see a decline. Though he may already be the greatest player in history, he’ll get another chance to further cement his legacy this year.
Can the Los Angeles Rams repeat?
Amidst rumors that both might leave following their magical Super Bowl run earlier this year, Aaron Donald and Sean McVay will return to the defending champs. The fact that no team has won back-to-back titles since the Patriots in 2004 and 2005 is a testament to how difficult a feat it is, but the Rams might just have the squad and strategy to do it. The interconference opener may not have swung their way against another heavyweight, but the season is still young, and playoff experience is invaluable in this league.
Which traded star will have the greatest impact?
Stars switched coasts, time zones, divisions and leagues in the offseason, and it’s safe to say that NFL fans can’t wait to get a glimpse of future Hall of Famers in new jerseys. Hype and excitement aside, the question of which traded superstar will have the highest impact remains up in the air.
Quarterbacks like Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan have proven their ability to influence games, but two of the NFL’s best receivers, Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill, will be wearing different colors this year. On the defensive side of the ball, Khalil Mack went from the Midway to the City of Angels to play for Justin Herbert’s Chargers, a team that looks poised and hungry to take the next step. Only time will tell which teams made the right moves to ascend.
Who are this season’s betting favorites?
Is this finally the year for the four-time-Super-Bowl-loser Buffalo Bills? Vegas certainly seems to think so with the Bills opening the season between +500 and +550 to hoist the trophy at State Farm Stadium in February. They’ll look to shore up some of their shortcomings after last year’s Divisional round loss to the Chiefs in what was likely the game of the year.
Oddsmakers seem to agree on the Bills, Colts, Chiefs, Packers and Buccaneers as favorites to take their divisions, but the NFC West, the NFC East and the AFC North look to be extremely competitive. Can the 49ers dethrone the reigning champs in their division? Are the Eagles poised to overthrow the Cowboys despite questions at the quarterback position? Can Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and the Bengals hang onto the AFC North as Lamar Jackson and the Ravens come for the defending AFC kings?
Whether you like betting big on the Super Bowl, dissecting point lines or coming up with the most creative weekly parlays, this season is sure to offer plenty of opportunities. Just be sure to shop multiple books for the best odds on your bet, understand your bet’s value and break-even rate, and know your stopping point or limit.