Nov 9, 2014; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws a 40-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jordy Nelson (not pictured) in the second quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
The first week of the NFL season has many unknowns for fans. We really don’t know what the teams have to offer yet and what they will look like after retooling their rosters and lineups over the off-season. The same is true for bettors, who would ideally like to see the team they are betting on before putting their hard earned money on the line.
With that in mind, it is always wise to look at trends that teams have shown in the past. One such trend is the Green Bay Packers dominance of the Chicago Bears since 2011. Except for 2013, when quarterback Aaron Rodgers was hurt in the first match-up and came back from injury in the last game of the season for the second match-up, the Packers have thoroughly dominated the Bears.
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In 2014, the Packers won by 21 points in Chicago and 41 in Green Bay. I would expect that dominance to continue with the Bears in rebuilding mode again this year. Chicago could have their worst team in many years and should not be able to keep up with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers.
The spread is currently Packers -7 but I would expect that to climb when it gets close to game time even though the game is in Chicago. Normally, I would never suggest giving up so many points on the road against a division rival but for an opening weekend, it is hard to find a trend greater than the Packers over the Bears.
Best Trend of the Week
Green Bay -7 over Chicago
Even though the Packers trend over the Bears is obvious for an opening week, they are not my best bet of the week. The Arizona Cardinals are 2.5 point favorites over the New Orleans Saints. I like Arizona to control the game with their defense and beat the Saints at home.
Arizona is a better team than the Saints but over-looked by many fans and bettors. They did lose their defensive coordinator Todd Bowles to the Jets during the off-season, but they are still led by one of the top coaches in the NFL, Bruce Arians. with the spread currently under 3 points, it is easily my Best Bet of the Week.
The Cardinals are 13-2…undefeated in 2014 with Palmer at quarterback
The Saints have never been a good road team although they did win their final four road games in 2014. The Cardinals on the other hand have not lost at home to a team outside of their own division since 2012. The Cardinals did lose to the Saints in New Orleans in 2013, 31-7.
Arizona has played particularly well over the past two years when Carson Palmer is healthy. The Cardinals are 13-2 over the last 15 games and undefeated in 2014 with Palmer at quarterback. They floundered over the final seven weeks of the 2014 season, going 3-4 without Palmer.
Best Bet of the Week
Arizona -2.5 over New Orleans
There are a few other teams that I like this week but they are a notch below the Cardinals and the Packers. Since both of those teams play early games on Sunday, I looked to find the best late game to pick. The only game that I see that I like enough to roll winnings from the morning into is the Bengals -3 over the Raiders.
When I win the early games, I always try to find the best game of the late games to target to increase winning. If one of the games is a worthy bet, I take a portion of the winnings and roll them over to the late game. Other teams I like to lesser degrees are the Texans -0, Jets -3.5, Rams+4, and Titans+3 but they are all early games.
Late Game Bet
Cincinnati -3 over Oakland
Be sure to follow me on twitter @westcoast_skins, if you would like to follow any last minute picks that I have.