While the NFL season officially gets underway on Thursday when the Super Bowl champion Saints host the Minnesota Vikings most of the sports betting action actually takes place on Sunday. One of the top games of the week features the New England Patriots hosting the Cincinnati Bengals.
These are two of the best teams in the AFC in not the entire league. Both are coming off division winning seasons (Pats 10-6 AFC East; Bengals 10-6 AFC North) and both are legitimate Super Bowl contenders according to NFL Gambling sites.
The Pats have the home field advantage and all the hype but the Bengals are more than capable of pulling off the upset. This is a team that has reinvented itself from a pass happy but soft team of several years ago to a run-centered offense and a top six defensive team in the league.
On offense, this team has a bruising group of blockers and just about any back plugged into the lineup will go for 100 yards on any given day. Add to that offensive mix pro bowl talent at the QB position (Carson Palmer) and the WR positions (Chad Ochocino and TO) and –at least on paper- this is a unit that can put some points on the board. But the team’s best talent might be on the other side of the ball.
Kickoff for this sports betting matchup is set for 1:05 Eastern Time and sbg sportsbook opened with the Patriots as a 4-point favorite with an over/under total at 45.
The Cincy defense gave up just 18.2 ppg and 301 total yards a game. Tom Brady and Co. returns one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL this season having averaged 26.7 ppg and 397 total yards per game in ’09. Brady, returning from a major knee injury last season put up big numbers (4,398 yards 28 TDs 13 INTs) but should be even more effective this season as he’s more comfortable on the knee and he’ll have his top receivers healthy.
The key battle in this game will be in the trenches between the Pat’s reconfigured O-line against the Bengals blitz happy front seven. If the Pats lose this battle they’ll lose the NFL betting odds battle as well.