When the underdogs have their day, it’s NFL mayhem

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Not every dog had his day in a typically wild Week 1 of the NFL season, but for much of a supremely entertaining early Sunday afternoon, it kind of felt like it.

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And if you were looking to build a bankroll on that shiny new legal sports wagering account of yours, you probably have more respect for those teams  doing the barking.

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The underdogs weren’t just a big factor, covering in six off the first nine early starts on Sunday, but executed a couple of notable outright upsets.

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Leading the way were the Steelers in that dramatic 23-20 OT win at Cincy and doing it against a reigning AFC champion Bengals team that was a touchdown fave.

Almost as impressive were the Bears, who were 6.5 home dogs and thumped the much-touted 49ers, 19-10.

The lessons? Underdogs are almost always worth a look in the NFL but no more so than in the early weeks when so much of the handicapping opinions, is based either on last season or a meaningless pre-season.

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Favourites aren’t to be ignored, but until more reasonable form is established, proceed with caution.

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Some other Week 1 observations:

  • We’re used to the Super Bowl hangover extending to the new season, but this year it hit both the Rams and Bengals, as the two combatants from February went down hard. How hard? The champion Rams – who were 2.5-point home dogs to the Bills – were throttled 31-10 while the Bengals fell to the Steelers. With the spread factored in, the two finalists were destroyed by a combined 28.5 points.
  • It’s impossible not to feel like the Monday Night Football line is tied to now Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson, facing his former team. The visiting Broncs are a touchdown favourite, in yet another intriguing Week 1 wagering entree … Speaking of which, we like the Bodog props on QBs from this one — the over/under passing yards on Wilson is 255.5 and for the Seahawks Geno Smith it’s 205.5.
  • Is this the year the NFC North isn’t automatic for the Packers? Bookmakers weren’t convinced, making the visitors a slim one-point favourite in Minny. The Vikings, who were a trendy sharp pick during the week, responded with a defence driven 23-7 throttling of Aaron Rodgers and the Pack. The line adjustments involving these two will be intriguing.
  • The book on the books for Week 2 — remember the big winners are rarely as good as they looked while big losers are rarely as poor. With that in mind, aren’t the Patriots a little attractive as one-point dogs against Pittsburgh in the early line released Sunday night?

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