It’s been a long wait and a strange offseason, but the NFL is finally back in our lives. Sunday will be filled with exciting matchups. There will also be several narratives to follow, including Tom Brady’s debut with the Buccaneers and Cam Newton kicking off his career with the Patriots.
The return of football also means the return of the underdogs betting column. For those of you who are new to it this season, I’m only allowed to pick underdogs. Last season, my record finished at 23-18-1. Let’s try to start off 2020 on the right foot with the following wagers to consider.
All odds were obtained from the DraftKings Sportsbook.
The Panthers have undergone their own change at quarterback, signing Teddy Bridgewater to a long-term contact during the offseason. He was expected to serve as Drew Brees’ backup for the Saints last year, but he was thrust into a starting role when Brees went down with an injury. While he didn’t have eye-popping stats, he did his job by leading the Saints to a 5-0 record in the five games that he started. He’s now a part of Panthers team that has far more holes than the Saints did, but he does have some excellent weapons in Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore to help his cause.
The Raiders also thought that they were adding more talent to their offense when they drafted Henry Ruggs in the first round this offseason. He was expected to serve as their No. 2 wide receiver behind Tyrell Williams, but he will now be forced into a leading role with Williams out for the season because of a shoulder injury. The Raiders were a respectable 5-3 at home last year, but they were awful with a 2-6 mark on the road. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Panthers won this game outright, so I’ll take the points.
This will be a battle between two teams that both made the playoffs last season. The Packers bring back most of their offensive core, which might not be as great as it sounds. They needed to add depth at wide receiver behind Davante Adams, but they didn’t bring in any notable free agents and used early draft picks on quarterback Jordan Love and running back A.J. Dillon.
The Vikings, on the other hand, suffered a major loss at wide receiver by trading Stefon Diggs to the Bills. They used the pick that they received in the trade to select wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who will now team up with Adam Thielen to be Kirk Cousins’ top pass-catching options. With no preseason games, it might take Jefferson some time to adjust. Another significant loss for the Vikings is that of defensive lineman Danielle Hunter, who will start the season on IR. The Packers won both games against the Vikings last season, so don’t be surprised if they start off this year with a win here, as well.
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The theme of this game is changes at starting quarterback. The Chargers have moved on from Philip Rivers, who had been their starting quarterback in every season starting in 2006. In to replace him is Tyrod Taylor, who is known more for his running prowess than his passing abilities. His task to get a win here could be made more difficult if wide receiver Mike Williams (shoulder) is unable to play.
After a terrible 2019 campaign, the Bengals were able to use the first pick in the draft on quarter Joe Burrow, who will immediately step into a starting role. The Bengals should have an improved offensive line with tackle Jonah Williams healthy and Burrow does have plenty of weapons around him in Joe Mixon, A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd. The concern here is that the Chargers have a dangerous defense, but they have already suffered a tough blow with Derwin James (knee) out again. There is a path to the Bengals winning this game at home, so give me the points.
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.
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