IT feels like just yesterday that New England pulled off a miraculous comeback to steal Super Bowl LI from the clutches of the Atlanta Falcons.
But the new season kicks off in just a few days and Brady and Belichick’s Patriots once again enter the season as the team to beat. But there is a host of capable challengers waiting in the wings.
Our NFL expert reveals his three best season bets.
1. Regular Season MVP – Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) @ $5.75
The NFC North is a very weak division in which the Packers are the standout ($1.36 most wins). Of their rivals, the Bears are in transition period, the Vikings struggle to move ball, and the Lions are unreliable. This all means that Rodgers should lead the Packers through a dominant campaign. He has has played three consecutive seasons without missing a game and ticks the longevity box while some of his rival quarterbacks struggle to stay on the field. Already a two time MVP winner, Rodgers is entering his prime in a league that is very shallow on top end QB talent.
2. NFC West winner – Arizona Cardinals @ $3.40
The Cardinals fell off the face of the earth last year with quarterback Carson Palmer playing under an injury cloud for the majority of the season. If he can recapture form of 2015/16 there is enough talent on both sides of the ball for them to contend again. Both Rams and 49ers lack the talent to contend and the Cardinals have a terrific head to head record against division favourites the Seahawks ($1.30) in recent years.
3. Oakland Raiders Over 9.5 season wins @ $2.02
The Raiders have a relatively cosy schedule, which includes home games against the Patriots, Broncos, Giants and Chiefs. Importantly, their high-powered offence should only get better with another year of Carr under centre. Oakland won 12 games last year and with a young nucleus can repeat the dose this season.