NFL Week 1 odds: Panthers on TNF among favorites on opening slate

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Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers have ruled the NFC South for three seasons, but covering as a road favorite has not been their forte. Heading into Thursday night’s NFL season opener between last year’s Super Bowl teams, the Panthers are listed as three-point favorites against the host Denver Broncos at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Over the last three seasons, Carolina is 9-3 straight-up but just 5-7 against the spread as a road favorite, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. However, overall they’re also 8-0 both SU and ATS in their last eight games as a favorite of three or fewer points.

Denver, which won both home games last season where it was an underdog, is 25-4 SU in its last 29 home games. The total has gone under in both the Panthers’ last four season openers and in the Broncos’ last five games following consecutive wins.

In a Sunday Night Football tilt between the 2015 AFC and NFC finalists, the Arizona Cardinals are listed as six-point favorites against the temporarily Jimmy Garoppolo-led New England Patriots. The Cardinals are 10-2 SU and 7-5 ATS in their last dozen games when favored by 6.5 or fewer points.

The Patriots are 5-1 ATS in their last six games against Arizona. The total has gone over six of the last seven times that New England was the underdog.

The New York Giants-Dallas Cowboys tilt is listed as a pick’em. The Cowboys, now counting on rookie QB Dak Prescott, are 5-1 SU in their last six September games. The Giants aren’t known for being fast starters: try an 0-5 SU and 1-4 ATS trend in their last five season openers. The NFC East rivals’ last seven games have all gone over the posted total.

The Cincinnati Bengals are 2.5-point favorites on the road against the New York Jets; the Bengals have lost nine road games in a row against the Jets, but they are 6-2 SU and 8-0 ATS in their last eight away games. Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts are four-point favorites at home against Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions.

With backup QB Shaun Hill starting, the Minnesota Vikings are two-point road favorites against the Tennessee Titans. According to website PredictionMachine.com, the Vikings’ projected points per game average with Hill at quarterback instead of the injured Teddy Bridgewater drops from 24.5 to 21.8. With Sam Bradford at quarterback that number is 22.1.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are favored by three points against the Washington Redskins on Monday night, with the total at 50 points. The total has gone under for bettors eight of the last 11 times the Redskins were an underdog of three or fewer points. In the other Monday night game, the Los Angeles Rams are 2.5-point favorites against the host San Francisco 49ers.

In other games of note, the Seattle Seahawks are 10.5-point favorites against the Miami Dolphins, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints are a slim one-point favorite at home against the Oakland Raiders, and the Green Bay Packers are 4.5-point favorites on the road against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Broncos double-digit favorites on Sunday night vs. winless, depleted Giants

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The Denver Broncos head into Sunday night with the largest spread they have had at home after a bye week in at least 25 years. The Broncos are 11.5-point favorites against the winless New York Giants with a 38.5-point total for the Week 6 Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Denver is 6-1 straight-up and against the spread in post-bye week games dating back to 2010. There’s a similar long-running trend of Denver being 7-2 SU and ATS in home games following a bye week since 2003. However, this is the first time since 1996 that Denver has been a double-digit favorite in that scenario.

The Giants, which are 0-5 SU and 2-3 ATS, had three wide receivers, including Odell Beckham Jr., sustain season-ending injuries last week. That has left QB Eli Manning with WR Roger Lewis (15 career catches) and WR Tavarres King as his main outside targets. Slot WR Sterling Shephard (sprained ankle) could be inactive.

While team performances tend to gravitate toward the mean with time, the Giants will need to show something new – with replacement-level personnel – in order to move the ball against a Denver pass defense which allows only 6.2 yards per pass, fifth-best in the NFL.

The Broncos’ top-ranked defense, led by OLB Von Miller, is also first in run defense and has every starter healthy. While NFC teams are a combined 1-10 SU on the road against Denver since 2012, the Giants are a solid 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against the AFC.

Denver, 3-1 SU and 2-1-1 ATS, has been quietly efficient on offense. The Broncos, with QB Trevor Siemian, are in the middle of the NFL pack in yards per pass, but they are facing a Giants secondary that is minus CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (suspension) and has also had inconsistent play from CB Eli Apple.

Denver, 7-2 ATS over its last nine home games in October, has been good at opening holes for the tandem of C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles, who are each capable of making things happen in the open field if the tackling gets sloppy. New York also won’t have DT Olivier Vernon drawing double teams up front and keeping blockers off MLB Damon Harrison.

Unless the Broncos stop themselves, they should be able to grind out a workmanlike win.

The total has gone over in three of the Giants’ last four games against the Broncos, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. The total has gone over in six of the Broncos’ last seven games as a favorite of 11.0 points or more.

For more info, picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the new OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes, or check it out at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Watch Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks live on NBC

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The Seattle Seahawks host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football as both teams look to get back to .500.

Russell Wilson will be the focal point of the Seahawks offense after throwing for a career-high 373 yards and four touchdowns in a losing effort vs. the Titans in Week 3. Wilson’s ability to avoid the rush and use his legs will be on full display as Seattle’s offensive line continues to struggle.

On the defensive side, the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” will look to get back on track at home in a raucous environment against Colts QB Jacoby Brissett who is filling in for an injured Andrew Luck.

If the Colts have any chance to pull off the upset on the road, Brissett will have to use his legs and connect on some deep throws to T.Y. Hilton.

Football Night in America

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app

Colts vs. Seahawks

Start time: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV channel: NBC

Live stream: NBCSports.com, NBC Sports app