The 2018 NFL season begins this weekend with 32 teams seeking to steal the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl crown next February in Atlanta. The combatants in the greatest sporting show on Earth will have to go some to better the Eagles win over New England Patriots earlier this year.
We look ahead to the upcoming season and pick those teams whose prospects of reaching the post-season look brightest. This is the Novibet NFL 2018 Season betting preview for both the AFC and NFC.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: AFC East
Look no further than the New England Patriots for the divisional champions and at 41/20 for the AFC Conference, they are clearly the team to beat. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will ensure the weaknesses in the roster are just wrinkles during the regular season.
Brady, 41, is improving as he ages but is this the time that the wine matures and begins to cork? We’ve been saying that for a number of seasons now, so the question is who wins the battle: Father Time or Tom Brady?
Changes throughout the roster make little difference to the fluidity of the Patriots, with Adrian Claybourn a solid addition to their pass rushing game.
Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are tipped as outsiders with the latter considered by some to have a genuine chance of making the playoffs. The Bills reached the playoffs for the first time in 18 years last season after beating Miami twice as last season drew to a close.
AJ McCarron’s shoulder injury is an obstacle the Bills must overcome although Josh Allen is a highly-talented rookie to take over at Quarterback while McCarron recovers. The Dolphins welcome back prodigal son Ryan Tannehill at QB but losing Jarvis Landry left a gap they didn’t fill. Quinn and Wake are impressive as a rushing duo but it feels like Lady Luck may be the Floridians best weapon.
Which leaves the New York Jets. Hope is their middle name with plenty of potential glimpsed in Robby Anderson, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, and Josh McCown. Youth rules the roost in the Big Apple but the future isn’t now.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: AFC East – New England Patriots to win at 1/10 @ Novibet
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: AFC North
On the back of successive divisional titles, Pittsburgh Steelers are favourites to lift the AFC North. They come into the season with 11 wins in their last 12 games and kept last season’s team more or less intact. 13 – 3 was impressive in 2017 and built on their 11 – 5 record in 2016. Can they maintain the level they reached? It’s hard to see them doing anything otherwise.
Baltimore Ravens are the likeliest of the remaining group to push for a play-off place but they are in a rut. 8 – 8 in 2016 improved slightly to 9 – 7 last time around but nothing in their summer business suggested any improvement beyond that.
Completing the division, Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns offer little prospect of changing the natural order. The Browns have won one of their last 32 NFL games and come into this campaign on the back of a 0 – 16 season; it’s going to be a long way back for them to the upper echelons of the game
The Bengals at 7 – 9 will be watching over their shoulders for any sign of a Cleveland resurgence, but there is little point in them looking higher than third.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers to win at 1/2 @ Novibet
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: AFC South
As painful as last season finished, Jacksonville Jaguars gained valuable experience. And a determination to never repeat throwing away a 10-point lead over New England Patriots in an AFC Championship Match.
With the best defensive roster in the NFL, they are the team to beat in the AFC South and strong contenders for the AFC itself, currently 8/1 with Novibet, particularly with their running offence which was the best in the league.
However, it isn’t quite as straightforward as other divisions. Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans both post strong cases for coming top or at worst claiming a wildcard spot.
The Texans bring DeShaun Watson and JJ Watt back into the fold following injuries which is the crucial difference between themselves and the Titans. Bringing up the rear will be the Indianapolis Colts whose summer business doesn’t feel like it improved a 4 – 12 roster particularly. Frank Reich has a tough debut season as head coach in wait.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: AFC South – Jacksonville Jaguars to win at 17/10 @ Novibet
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: AFC West
The closest of the AFC divisions sees the Los Angeles Chargers leading the pack. A major concern is their run defence which is heavily weighted in the favour of rookies. However, with a passing game which is the envy of many teams, as well as the best pass-rushing pairings.
Oakland Raiders welcome John Gruden to the fold following a decade on Monday Night Football, and seventeen years after he last coached the Raiders. Gruden wasted no time in bringing his own staff in, including Brian Callahan as QB coach. He is the son of former Raiders head coach Bill Callahan.
But this division has been dominated in the last decade by Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos. Last season, the Chiefs finished 10 – 6 while the Broncos slipped to 5 – 11. It’s unlikely the Broncos will massively improve after their summer business, but the Chiefs are an intriguing team this year with Patrick Mahomes at QB one of rising stars, replacing the Bears Tyler Bray and Alex Smith who moved to the Redskins.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: AFC West – LA Chargers to win at 13/10 @ Novibet
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: NFC East
Last year’s Super Bowl winners Philadelphia Eagles are head-and-shoulders clear of their rivals in the division, as well as being favourites for the NFC Championship at 9/2 with Novibet.
As the Patriots found in Minneapolis, the ruthless streak the Eagles possess is set to see them lord it over the remaining three teams in the division. That’s not to diminish any of the trio; New York Giants have Odell Beckham who is among the best receivers currently playing NFL while Saquon Barkley gives them a broader attacking spectrum than most teams.
Washington Redskins are looking at another wooden spoon after failing to strengthen their roster significantly in the summer. Derrius Guice is a big loss although adding Alex Smith gives them a leader in the locker room.
Meanwhile, Dallas Cowboys look to have one of the best defences in recent years but QB Dak Prescott finds himself under the microscope as the Texans look to improve on their 9 – 7 record from last season. Contract talks will prove the best motivation for Prescott; a good season may bring big rewards. Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick won’t feature much after being ruled out until 2019.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: NFC East – Philadelphia Eagles to win at 4/7 with Novibet
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: NFC North
The matchweek 2 meeting between Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers will answer a lot of questions about this division. On paper, it’s certainly one of the most evenly-balanced in the NFL with the Vikings shading it. They were best last season and became stronger with the addition of Kirk Cousins at QB while Dalvin Cook returns at Running Back.
Mike McCarthy overhauled his Green Bay backroom staff but kept faith in key personnel on the roster, not least of which is Aaron Rodgers. The veteran QB, twice NFL MVP, is closing on 350 career TDs; a run to the playoffs ought to see that mark passed comfortably.
Both Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions appointed new head coaches; Matt Nagy moved from the Chiefs to the Bears while Matt Patricia’s experience as Patriots defensive coordinator will serve him well with a Lions team which stumbled regularly during 2017, finishing 9 – 7. Patricia may be able to lift them into a wildcard place but it’s quite an ask from last year.
The Bears are, well, the Bears. Big by name but in all honesty, there’s little reason to believe Nagy will be able to bring about a big improvement this season in a team which has lost seven of the last 10 NFL matches.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: NFC North – Minnesota Vikings to win at 6/5 with Novibet
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: NFC South
The South is rising! New Orleans Saints are kingpins in the South but can expect to be pushed by Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers. All three teams made it to the playoffs last season and nobody will be surprised if they repeat that feat.
Alvin Kamara will be key for the Saints while Mark Ingram serves his suspension. Last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Kamara and Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore underline the depth of talent at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this season. Drew Brees is a couple of years younger than Tom Brady but this season he doesn’t have to win games by himself.
The Falcons lost 18 – 12 to the Eagles in the opening game but against lesser teams, Ryan and Jones are a formidable duo who will wreak havoc.
The Panthers are reliant upon Cam Newton getting back to his MVP form to succeed but have Luke Kuechly commanding the defence so are a good bet for a wild card spot. Which leaves Tampa Bay Buccaneers propping up the division again.
Starting QB James Winston’s suspension as they face one of the toughest opening run of fixtures sums up the Bucs fortunes. That’s before the questions start about his shoulder; Ryan Fitzpatrick is heading for a busy season as back-up.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: NFC South – New Orleans Saints to win at 27/20 with Novibet
NFL 2018 Season Betting Preview: NFC West
Way out west, it’s the LA Rams who are getting everybody excited outside of Philly and Boston. Todd Gurley, last season’s Offensive Player of the Year, is joined by Brandin Cooks in giving Jared Goff great options from QB.
However, with Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald renewing his contract, the Rams deals for Marcus Peters, Aqib Talib, and Ndamukong Suh look terrific business. At 21/4 to win the NFC with Novibet, the Rams are probably the Eagles biggest threat.
Seattle Seahawks legendary Legion of Boom defence is no more which puts them at a distinct disadvantage compared to the rest of the teams trailing in the Rams wake. Russell Wilson is their ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ card but how many times can they play that in one season?
The San Francisco 49ers are hard to ignore, try as we might. Jimmy Garoppolo has an unbeaten record to defend but it’s unlikely that his five-game win streak will last beyond seven or eigh
if it gets that far. However, there is still a lot of work to be done before this 6 – 10 roster becomes genuine contenders for the playoffs.
Which leaves Arizona Cardinals trailing in everyone’s wake. A lot of new faces arrived over the summer and moulding them into a cohesive unit may take some time. Sam Bradford is key to their success because they only have a rookie QB as back-up. It’s a lot of pressure on Josh Rosen if he’s needed for a sustained run of games.
Running back David Johnson and wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald are reasons for Cardinals fans to be cheerful but this season could be a bit of a slog.
NFL 2018 Season Betting Tip: NFC West – LA Rams to win at 3/5 with Novibet