Two of the one o’clock NFL opening games today provide the best opportunity for those wagering legally in Las Vegas as the Carolina Panthers visit the New Meadowlands Stadium to take on the New York Giants and as the Cincinnati Bengals travel to New England to play the Patriots.
The Giants are 6 ½ point favorites over a Carolina team that has a well balanced running game as running back Jonathan Stewart relies on power and his partner, DeAngelo Williams provides quickness and breakaway speed. Uncharacteristically for the franchise, this Giants team’s biggest question is its defense. Combined with rainy weather that will at least partially blunt the passing game, this will turn into a run based and ball control game that the Panthers will likely dominate, as they did the last time these two teams met in last season’s finale.
Look for the Panthers to not only cover the spread, but to win the game outright, and for the final score to be under the 41 over/under line.
A couple of hundred miles to the northeast, the Bengals and Patriots will kick off at the same time, with the Patriots being 4 ½ point favorites. The Patriots have major questions on defense with a lot of new faces and they are coming off an embarrassing exit from last year’s playoffs. While Tom Brady still is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, there were times last year when he looked completely frustrated with his receivers and the team’s offensive play calling.
While it is unlikely that the Patriots will have a completely dismal year this year, they are not on the same level as the Cincinnati Bengals are, who have far more offensive weapons in an underrated Carson Palmer at quarterback and the tandem of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens who figure to keep each other focused and motivated as they light up defenses across the league.
Again, here, I predict a road team upset as the Bengals will not only cover the point spread, but also win the game outright. I predict a higher scoring affair than the Giants game and I expect the total points scored to be higher than the 44 ½ over under line.
So in New York, I predict we will see the Panthers spoil the home opener of the New York Giants in a low scoring affair and the Bengals will mark the changing of the guard of sorts in New England in a shootout. Take my advice now and thank me later as the NFL kicks off the 2010 season.
Washington Post Staff, “Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots”, washingtonpost.com
Ralph Vacchiano, “The Blue Screen”, nydailynews.com