Barely more than one month until the 2016 NFL betting season begins with a Thursday night epic showdown and Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos in the Mile High City. I’m not ready to make a call on that game yet because of Denver’s QB situation, but here are two games I’m comfortable with at the moment.
Analyzing the NFL Week 1 Top Expert Betting Picks
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) August 3, 2016
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-3.5 on NFL odds)
I’d be worried right now if I’m a Cowboys fan. We all know how injury-prone that star QB Tony Romo is. He has missed at least one game in three straight years and only played four in 2015. So one would expect that Dallas would have a good backup. Except they don’t it was former Boise State QB Kellen Moore.
However, Moore suffered a serious injury in training camp this week and his season could be over. He broke his ankle on Tuesday and will have surgery, missing at least 3-4 months. A defender rolled up on Moore’s leg after he threw a pass, and the injury severity was quickly confirmed by the Cowboys training staff. Moore started the final two games of the season for Dallas last year.
“Your heart hurts for him,” Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said. “He just works really hard. … He’ll continue to fight. That’s who he’s been his whole life.’
Currently, the Cowboys are left with Jameill Showers and rookie Dak Prescott as secondary options. Prescott was a fourth-round pick this year and might be good some day, but he’s not ready to play. So the Cowboys now are talking to former Eagle and Ram Nick Foles, who was waived by Los Angeles this week. Cowboys executive Vice President Stephen Jones said the team has had talks with the agent for Foles already this week. The Cowboys have other options they are pursuing as well via potential trade. Jones said the goal is to have a replacement sooner rather than later but they want to get the decision right. Foles is likely the best option for the Cowboys at this point. The team’s other top choices include executing a trade with the Browns for Josh McCown or by plucking Jimmy Clausen out of free agency.
Also of worry for Dallas: first-round pick running back Ezekiel Elliott already is hurt too, although not seriously. Jones said Wednesday the No. 4 overall pick will “miss some time” with a sore right hamstring. Elliott’s hamstring flared up Tuesday during practice and the running back was unable to finish the workout. Jones added that the team doesn’t have a timetable for Elliott’s return to the field. Elliott is projected to handle a huge load this year and is the early betting favorite for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Even if Romo and Elliott are healthy here, I like the Giants on NFL odds against a weak Dallas defense.
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-3 in NFL betting)
Could Buffalo’s signing of running back Reggie Bush be one of the best of the offseason? The former Heisman winner, who was just signed recently, has looked terrific in camp. Coach Rex Ryan isn’t ready yet to hand the No. 2 running back job to Bush — but he did fire a warning shot to defenses around the NFL.
“We’re bringing him in to do specific things with him offensively, put him in certain packages, but I want him fresh and, quite honestly, I want to put a little fear out there with those defenses,” Ryan said. “When he’s on the field, you better have your antenna up, because we know that he still has special abilities.”
Bush has never received more than 227 carries in a season, and he won’t reach that this year with LeSean McCoy as the lead back. The 31-year- old has played just 16 games in the past two seasons and has only played all 16 twice in his career. He can certainly be a valued addition to the offense and special teams, though.
Sometimes teams can strike lightning in a bottle for one year with a veteran like Bush! But I like the Ravens in NFL betting here.