Retired quarterback and future Hall-of-Famer Peyton Manning finished his NFL career in style by leading the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl win last season, at the expense of a very solid Carolina Panthers team. The Broncos and Panthers will be kick-starting their 2016 NFL campaign with a Week 1 meeting in Denver. Who will be emerging victorious in this highly-anticipated NFL Betting classic? Find out what our NFL handicapper predicts, along with other top free NFL Week 1 odds.
A Closer Look At The 2016 NFL Week 1 Expert Predictions
Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos
NFL Week 1 Free Pick: Carolina (+1.5)
Including last year’s Super Bowl 50 meeting, the Panthers and Broncos have met a total of five times in their history, with Denver winning 4 and Carolina Panthers winning just 1 of those games. With Denver entering 2016 with the majority of the pieces from the stifling defense that limited 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton to 18-of-41 passing for 265 passing yards, 1 interception and ZERO touchdowns in the Super Bowl 50 meeting; it comes as no surprise that the Oddsmakers expect the Broncos to ride on their defense for another win in this season-opener. The problem, however, is that Denver is likely to start Trevor Siemian or Mark Sanchez for this game, and none of these two QBS—or even rookie QB Paxton Lynch—is a match for Newton on a good day. And with the Panthers likely to have learnt their mistakes and made adjustments from their 24-10 loss in February, the edge in this game is likely to be with the extra-motivated Newton-led Carolina team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-3)
NFL Week 1 Free Pick: Atlanta (-3)
Jameis Winston and the Bucs swept the Falcons last year, so you can expect the visitors to be full of confidence when they visit Atlanta in Week 1. Even so, Tampa Bay—even with its decent offseason additions—will be facing a tougher Atlanta side in Week 1, thanks to the signing of players like stud pass-rusher Adrian Clayborn and highly-rated $45 million man Alex Mack, a center that is a sure bet to solve Atlanta’s problems at the center position. As long as QB Matt Ryan and star WR Julio Jones can lead the offense strongly as they’ve done formidably over the years, this game should almost definitely end in a win for the Falcons, who actually swept Tampa Bay in the two meetings in 2014.
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Tennessee Titans
NFL Week 1 Free Pick: Minnesota (-3)
Tennessee has won its last three straight Week 1 games and will be gunning for a fourth victory when it hosts Minnesota in Nashville for this season-opener. On paper, the Marcus Mariota-led Tennessee is likely to play better in 2016, thanks to some solid additions in the O-line and the offensive running game. Unfortunately, Tennessee still has a number of vulnerabilities in the defense, which are likely to accord star running back Adrian Peterson and dual-threat QB Teddy Bridgewater enough time and opportunities to launch attacks of their own. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s mean defense from last year should continue to cause all kinds of problems to Tennessee. All that considered, the Vikings—who are impressively 5-1 in their last six overall meetings against Tennessee dating back to 1995—should be good for the SU and ATS in this game.
New England at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5)
NFL Week 1 Free Pick: Arizona (-5.5)
Tom Brady decided to finally his quest for a legal redress of his four-game suspension, meaning his suspension for the Week 1 game against Arizona is all but a sealed fate. While this decision may not have that much of an effect in New England’s Super Bowl 51 odds, it will surely have an impact in this Week 1 clash over the Cardinals. With all due respect to Jimmy Garoppolo, New England’s supposedly improved defense or Coach Bill Belichick’s next-man-up mantra; there is simply no way the Cardinals—who beat a Brady-led Patriots team in their last meeting in 2012—will be failing to win this game. Lookout for QB Carson Palmer and his experienced supporting cast to make light work of Garoppolo and gang in a likely one-sided affair.