NFL expert Tom Selwyn (@Tom_Selwyn) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Monday night's double-header from Week 1.
I don’t know about you, but given what’s going on in the US right now I’m pretty relieved to be getting an NFL season this year.
This year’s Hard Knocks following the two LA teams gave a really good insight into what teams are going to have to do to ensure we have a season.
Anywho, let’s get to the traditional two-game MNF slate to open the 2020 season.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants | Tuesday 15th September 2020, 00:15 | Sky Sports
First up we have the Steelers facing the Giants. After Ben Roethlisberger went down early last season, Pittsburgh were a mess offensively from there on. He’s back for this year and, according to reports at least, his arm looks as strong as ever. Looking good in camp is one thing, but live-action is something completely different and it’s difficult to trust the Steelers offense without seeing them and specifically Roethlisberger, play first.
What you can trust is their defence. They were one of the best units in the league last year and the only reason that Pittsburgh was in with a shot at the playoffs. Having lost no-one during the offseason, they should be just as good once again.
They’ll be up against Daniel Jones, who is coming into his second year after replacing Eli Manning early in the season. It was a promising start, but he turned the ball over far too often and whilst it’s reasonable to suggest he’ll have worked on ball security over the summer, facing the Steelers in Week 1 is not a good match-up – Pittsburgh finished second in both forced fumbles and interceptions last year. He’ll also be learning an entirely new offense, which could take some time to develop the chemistry you’d expect from an offense that’s been in place a long time.
Given the advantage I think this will give the Steelers, along with a very poor looking Giants defence for Roethlisberger to ease back into, I’ll be backing Pittsburgh -5 at 5/6 (Bet365)to start.
Tennessee Titans @ Denver Broncos | Tuesday 15th September 2020, 03:20 | Sky Sports
The second game has last year’s surprise package in the Titans travelling to Denver to face the Broncos. Before they became the team that rolled into the playoffs last year, they were shut out by these same Broncos. It what was the game where they made the switch from Marcus Mariota to Ryan Tannehill and didn’t look back.
Now, the points line for this game is set at 41 and in all but one of his 13 starts (playoffs included) Tannehill and the Titans offense exceeded that total. With Chris Harris now with the Chargers, Von Miller on IR and Bradley Chubb likely not to be at 100% after recovering from a serious injury for the Broncos, I see no reason why the Titans won’t pick up where they left off – scoring a shade under 29 points a game with Tannehill under centre.
Denver will certainly be hoping that they’ll be contributing a fair amount of points themselves, after loading up around their young QB, Drew Lock. They brought RB Melvin Gordon from the Chargers and spent both their first and second round picks in this year’s draft on WRs – Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler.
Lock wasn’t bad in his five games last year, scoring just over 21 points a game, and it’s easy to think he’ll be improved in his second year with upgrades at the skill positions.
The altitude in Denver could bring some tiredness to players still building up their fitness, but this will affect both sides of the ball and I think we should see some points put up in the final game of week one – Over 41 Points at 19/20 (William Hill).
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Giants – Pittsburgh Steelers -5 points (5/6 Bet365)
Tennessee Titans @ Denver Broncos – Over 41 Points (19/20 William Hill)