Super Bowl LIII odds (As of Sept. 6):
New England Patriots: 7.00
Philadelphia Eagles: 10.00
Pittsburgh Steelers: 11.00
Los Angeles Rams: 11.00
Minnesota Vikings: 12.00
Green Bay Packers: 13.00
Got any plans Sunday?
After weeks of training camp stories and hype, preseason games that take so much willpower to sit through in their entirety, and the emotional roller coaster of your fantasy draft(s), we can finally get down to business here.
Week One. It has finally arrived. And we won't drag this out any further. Below is a breakdown of some of the key markets heading into the new season.
NFL Betting Breakdown:
Super Bowl LIII odds: 10.00
Not since 2005 has a team won back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The New England Patriots - surprise, surprise - were the last team to accomplish the feat, so the Philadelphia Eagles have their work cut out for them this year.
Franchise quarterback Carson Wentz is still coming back from his knee injury that ended his 2017 season, including the playoffs and Super Bowl, and was ruled out for the opener against the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday.
Despite the injury to Wentz, Nick Foles stepped into the starter's job and while he experienced some ups and downs early on, he ultimately outdueled Tom Brady in the championship game, even scoring a touchdown on the 'Philly Special' trick play.
Wentz isn't the only Eagles player out with an injury to begin the season.
The Eagles also don't have receiver Alshon Jeffery (shoulder) for Week One, although he was activated from the PUP list at the end of last month.
The road through the NFC will not be an easy one.
The Minnesota Vikings should be a contender. Ditto for the Green Bay Packers, with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. The L.A. Rams, with an offence stacked with talent, should take another step in their ascent.
This is what happens when you go from underdog to top dog in the NFL.
Most Rushing Yards
Ezekiel Elliott odds: 3.50
Dallas Cowboys third-year running back Ezekiel Elliott is the favourite to lead the league in rushing, with betting odds at PlayNow.com of 3.50 as of Friday, followed by Todd Gurley of the L.A. Rams.
Elliott missed six games last season due to his suspension, but he still put up 983 yards rushing, which was good enough to put him into the top 10 in the league in that category.
No pun intended, but the Cowboys offence runs through Elliott. And, based on recent comments in the media, it seems like he's bracing himself for the possibility of a truckload of touches, which isn't surprising given the lack of a game-breaking receiver in Dallas right now.
Le'Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers currently has the third-best odds to be the NFL's lead rusher this year, at 6.75 at PlayNow.com. Of course, there is the little matter of his contract dispute with the team. His holdout continued this week, the drama reaching new, and certainly more hostile, levels, as well.
Russell Wilson Passing Touchdowns
The total for Russell Wilson Passing Touchdowns has been set at 26.5 for the season, with the odds for both the Over and Under currently at 1.83 at PlayNow.com. That bet is part of 12 Seahawks Specials - maybe that number is purely coincidental, but probably not - currently offered prior to kickoff of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos.
Last season, despite so many struggles with the offensive line, Wilson threw 34 touchdown passes. Yeah. No kidding.
However, one of his red zone targets, Jimmy Graham, is no longer in Seattle. Instead, Graham will be catching passes from Aaron Rodgers. Wilson still has Doug Baldwin as a reliable target, though Baldwin likely will not be at full health during the season because of a knee ailment.
Maybe the outlook for Wilson isn't too optimistic this year. But he's made it a habit of turning absolutely nothing into something, when no one thought it was possible.
Team Lead in Rushing
Chris Carson sits atop the Seahawks depth chart for running backs, followed by rookie Rashaad Penny.
It's the same at PlayNow.com, where Carson is the current favourite to lead the Seahawks in rushing this season with odds of 1.70. Penny's odds for the same bet are 2.00.
Carson, entering his second year after his rookie campaign ended prematurely due to injury, earned the starting role out of training camp, but the Seahawks also invested a first-round pick in Penny, so the backfield battle is one to watch all season long in Seattle.
The big question, though, isn't so much with the running backs as it is with the offensive line. Can they do a much better job of opening up the running lanes in 2018? Can this team get back to the Beast Mode days of effectively running the ball, even when the opposition knew it was coming?
It would not bode well for Seattle if Russell Wilson is leading the Seahawks in rushing again. His odds to do so are 4.00.
Browns Win Total
We blame Jarvis Landry for forcing us to bring this up again.
But after the Browns receiver, acquired from the Miami Dolphins, mentioned his new team in the same sentence as the Super Bowl, it's kind of difficult to dismiss it.
The Browns' odds of winning the Super Bowl outright stand at 80.00. (The Jets have odds of 150.00 and the Bills are 300.00 to win.) So, Cleveland is a long shot. Let's tap the brakes on that and discuss the Browns' win total set at 5.5.
Available until Sunday before kickoff, the Over is actually the favourite for this bet, with odds of 1.56 compared to odds of 2.25 for the Under.
Given the upgrades on offence - Tyrod Taylor, Landry, a healthy Josh Gordon, Carlos Hyde, Baker Mayfield - it's a good bet that the Browns will be much improved from last season, with promise for perhaps even brighter times ahead. (Whaaat?) Does "much improved" mean going over the 5.5 win total? Maybe, maybe not. Time will tell.
The Browns have also won only four games total over the last three seasons, including a huge goose egg in 2017.
One step at a time here.
Their season starts Sunday against the Steelers. The Browns were, as of Friday, four-point home underdogs and with odds of 2.70 on the Money Line.