by Kevin Stott | Thirteen weeks from Sunday, the NFL will have its own Opening Day (Sept. 7). So what better time than now to put in a futures bet or two and then watch the season play out?
Lets bring out the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and dance
Dallas (10½ ov, -135 at Hilton): This total jumps out. The Cowboys have to play twice each against the Super Bowl champion Giants, Eagles (2-0 vs Dallas last year) and Redskins in the NFC East. Add interleague games with the AFC North (Steelers, Browns, Bengals, Ravens) and thats 10 against quality opponents.
Heres why the number is high: Bookmakers knowing from past experience the amount bet on the Cowpokes, recent success with Romo, Barber and Owens, and that no Cowboys fan would ever bet any season win total under. Vegas could put up 19½ and Dallas backers would still bring oil money and bet the over. PICK: COWBOYS UNDER 10½,+115.
The next three unders worth consideration involve three of the NFLs worst teams in recent years RAIDERS (6 ov -160), DOLPHINS (5½ ov -120), FALCONS (4½ ov, -160), Can you name the starting QB on any of these three? Can their head coaches?
Oakland will have to give JaMarcus Russell his time 2008, Miami will let John Beck, Josh McCown and rookie Chad Henne fight it out while Atlanta paid a jillion to Matt Ryan and will feel obligated to start him on the worst team around. UNDER PICKS: RAIDERS +165, DOLPHINS EVEN, FALCONS +140. Its simple: Losers lose.
Heres two overs worth a couple of dead presidents.
GIANTS (8½ ov, -140) and the EAGLES (8½ ov, -140). Both may win these bets by half a game (9 wins).
New York is still on an historic road win streak of 11 games and, if my memory serves me correctly, upset an undefeated Patriots team in the Super Bowl. A late word of caution is the retirement of Michael Strahan along with Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress playing head games about showing up to camp.
Philadelphia closed hard last season and will be hungry for some postseason pie. But, like NY, the Eagles will face the AFC North out-of-conference with the Steelers and Browns providing tough matchups.
Remember to shop around for the best futures odds and note which sports books offer the best rate of return from your small or large wagers.
Next week: A look at the "NFL Games of the Year."