There is always a lot to consider when preparing for NFL betting. That’s especially the case in the first week of the season, when we really don’t know yet how new faces, roles or injuries will impact teams. Contenders and pretenders can quickly switch roles and to be frank, we often don’t know a team’s true worth for several weeks – if not longer.

While that can be problematic for pro football betting, it also can be the perfect time to take advantage of spreads and totals and win some major cash. It’s often the little things we overlook that can separate the winners from the losers, and noting that fine line can be very key in picking the right upset or gauging which teams may thrive or struggle.

Nothing is ever guaranteed in sports betting, but if we consider all of the possibilities before finalizing our bets, we’re at least putting ourselves in a solid position to succeed. That’s what we aim to do ahead of week one, where we consider some interesting aspects for a variety of teams that could end up swaying how you place NFL bets:

First Timers & Rookie Impact

Trevor Siemian is being thrust into a huge role for the first time ever. Carolina actually enters their week one Thursday night tilt with Denver as the -3 favorites, and Siemian is a big reason why. We know nothing about this guy, but what we do know hasn’t been overly promising.

That can go two ways as far as NFL betting is concerned. If we know little about Siemian, that could be the case for the Panthers. Siemian still has a nice supporting cast on offense, good coaching and an elite defense backing him. He’s also at home. If he can simply play within himself, he could easily play a fine game and lead Denver to a 1-0 start.

On the other hand, Siemian could very well implode in his first career game. He tends to telegraph some of his throws and against a top notch Panthers defense, that could go very badly. Carolina will probably press the Broncos receivers and look to take away the run. If they do one/both of those things, it could be a long night for the inexperienced Siemian.

Siemian is one huge example and probably the biggest we need to pay attention to, but keep that in mind for any other guys being thrust into big roles.

That latter part is probably mostly going to refer to rookies. There are a lot of big name guys that could dramatically change outcomes of games this week, and that could be the case on either side of the ball. We’re mostly thinking offensively, where Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Carson Wentz, Corey Coleman, Will Fuller and Sterling Shepard all have an opportunity to make a huge impact in their NFL debuts.

Just like Siemian, their first games could go either way. Zeke and Dak could blow the hinges off in a big home win over the Giants, or they can get shutdown by a revamped NYG defense. Coleman and Fuller are two guys who could blow their games open with deep balls down the field, too, or they could get shutdown due to shaky hands and unproven route-running ability. Time will tell, but you’ll want to consider the roles and potential impact with these guys, among others.

Home Field Advantage

Just how big of a deal is playing at home? The impact tends to change on a weekly basis, but even the worst team has a mild edge when they get to play in front of their home crowd. Keeping up on how teams fare at home, how their opponent is on the road and tying that into the matchup and betting spreads can go a long way in helping you decide which way to lean.

The Jets (6-2), Chiefs (6-2), Broncos (6-2), Redskins (6-2) and Cardinals (6-2) are all at home to kick off the new year, and were all clearly very strong on their home field a year ago. That doesn’t guarantee them a win – especially with the Jets, Broncos, Redskins and Cardinals all specifically getting tough matchups in week one. Still, these teams fare well at home and on top of that have the talent to get the job done in week one. The Seattle Seahawks weren’t quite as good as usual at home last season (5-3), but are usually a tough out in front of the 12th Man. They’ll also be a strong bet at home this week against a seemingly inferior Miami Dolphins team.

There are also a few road teams we need to keep our eye on, with the Packers (5-3), Vikings (5-3), Panthers (7-1), Patriots (5-3) and Bengals (6-2) all sporting good to great road records in 2015. That obviously doesn’t necessarily carry over into week one or even the 2016 season, but it’s worth noting. It’s especially worth noting considering all five of these teams were in the playoffs a year ago and figure to be in the mix for a playoff spot again this season. Of course, if they’re to drop out, a road loss to start 2016 may be headed their way.

In this group, the Vikings and Patriots are the most vulnerable, with both teams not having their usual starting quarterback on hand.

Revenge & Rivalries

Bad blood can go a long way in deciding games, as it can take a matchup you think you have figured out and throw it completely out the window. This is the case with any kind of rivalry, playoff rematches and especially divisional showdowns.

We have quite a slate for rivalry consideration to get week one going, too, with a rematch of Super Bowl 50 between the Panthers and Broncos on Thursday night, as well as a slew of hate-filled showdowns. To be a little more specific, four divisional games sound off in week one, while we also have Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor taking on their former team (Baltimore), while Chandler Jones leads his Cardinals against his former team (New England).

Narrative can be very key in the NFL, as teams hone in on one team all week and ultimately leave it all on the field with just one game per week in a rather brief 16-game regular season. Every game means something, but when you add any kind of rivalry aspect, the heat gets turned up even more. For those games, you need to consider the possibility for an upset more than usual and often they may be better off left alone when it comes to NFL betting.

Shootout Potential

With NFL betting, you’re obviously always considering precisely how a game will unfold, whether it be to attack a spread, the Total or some prop bet. One of the biggest things you’ll want to do is consider which games could offer up the most offense, however, as this can do two things at once for you: help you pick the Over on Totals and also pick the right underdogs to beat the spread.

The main focus should be the latter, as the more points that go up on the board, the more likely either an upset could go down, or the underdog could at least keep the game close and possibly beat the spread.

One great example in week one is the Jaguars, who are at home against a good Packers team. Green Bay is solid on the road and in general a tough out, but Jax has a rising defense, a capable offense, they’re at home and they have a friendly +6. spread at Bovada. The odds remain pretty good that the Packers still win this game, but Jacksonville could shock with a huge week one home win and providing a tight shootout is very possibly, if not likely. In the event of a Jax win, your bet wins, and if they can just keep it close (say, 34-30), you’d win there, as well. Jacksonville isn’t an easy team to trust, but a lot of factors point to them at least being in this one, if not having a realistic shot at staging a massive upset.

Other games with shootout and upset potential are the Lions/Colts, Saints/Raiders and Browns/Eagles. Any of these games can probably go either way, so rolling with the underdog could make some sense, both in terms of a straight up pick, and against the spread.

Break Vegas

One other thing is to consider which insane upsets are actually plausible. The Bears, Dolphins (+10.5!), Patriots, Jaguars and Chargers all have a +6 spread or better (worse?) going into week one. The Money Lines aren’t out yet at Bovada, but clearly there could be some serious cash to be had if you picked the right upset(s) this week.

The main focus would be Miami, who are now under a new regime and head into Seattle to take on the Seahawks in week one. They’re probably not going to win, but +10.5 points is a pretty massive spread and it’s not completely insane to think Miami can at least lose by 10. Depending on the Money Line, picking them for the upset could be worth the risk, as well.

If we’re going with pure logic, all five of these teams are probably losing in week one. However, San Diego’s game is a divisional contest that could easily go either way, the Jags could stay close in a shootout with the Packers and the Patriots could rally behind Jimmy Garoppolo in a big week one road win. The point is to consider everything we’ve already touched on, with an eye toward picking one or two upsets via the spread or Money Line.

Ultimately, you’ll want to go with picks you trust and use bets that are more in your favor. If you use all of this information and apply it to week one, however, you should have a decent chance of starting the 2016 NFL betting season in the green.

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