Week 1 NFL Odds: Underdogs That Will Pull off Upsets in 2013 Season Openers
Week 1 of the NFL regular season is finally here, and just like any week, you can expect at least a few upsets across the league.
The favored Denver Broncos crushed the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, but not all underdogs will be as unfortunate as John Harbaugh and Co. The NFL is riddled with parity, and the cliche "on any given Sunday" is as true as it is annoying.
Betting on the underdog can be risky at times, but look for the following three teams to pull off upsets this Sunday.
All odds courtesy of www.footballlocks.com
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (+4) over Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions boast one of the most explosive offenses in the league, but their defense isn't prepared to stop the one-man wrecking crew that is Adrian Peterson.
Peterson dominated the Lions last season, rushing for 273 yards on 48 carries in Minnesota's two victories over its division rival. He scored only one touchdown, but he continually shredded the Lions defense, putting his team in position for short field goals and keeping the Lions' potent offensive attack on the sidelines.
The Lions did add promising defensive end Ezekial Ansah with the fifth overall pick of the 2013 draft, and the rookie made his presence felt in the preseason. However, the BYU product could be in for a rude awakening against the NFL's best running back and the Vikings' solid offensive line.
It should be a close game, as Calvin Johnson and the Lions offense will prevent this one from getting out of hand. But when its all over, AP and the Vikings will pick up another road win over their NFC North foes.
Prediction: Vikings 27 - Lions 24
ATLANTA FALCONS (+3) over New Orleans Saints
It's tough to bet against Drew Brees at home, particularly with Sean Payton back on the sidelines. Still, I'm expecting the Atlanta Falcons to upset the Saints in a shootout.
Matt Ryan has blossomed into one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and he should be determined to live up to that monster five-year, $103.75 million contract he signed over the summer. Look for him to come out firing, and with the weapons around him, he should put up some massive numbers in New Orleans.
Ryan has at his disposal perhaps the best arsenal of pass-catchers in the league: Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez are all capable of causing nightmares for defenses. Gonzalez proved to be the biggest problem to the Saints last season, combining for 180 receiving yards and three touchdowns in their two meetings.
Even if the Saints cover Gonzalez more effectively on Sunday, White, Jones and running back Steven Jackson will be there to pick up the slack. As long as the Falcons' offensive line doesn't crumble, Atlanta will start the season off with an important W.
Prediction: Falcons 37 - Saints 31
MIAMI DOLPHINS (+1.5) over Cleveland Browns
Simply put, the Cleveland Browns should not be favored over anybody. Second-year quarterback Brandon Weeden looks greatly improved from last season, and Trent Richardson is a beast, but the Browns shouldn't be trusted until they prove themselves during the regular season.
The Dolphins are far from a juggernaut, but Ryan Tannehill had a strong rookie season, and the addition of Mike Wallace will help speed up the young quarterback's development. Wallace has produced at least 60 catches and eight touchdowns in each of the last three seasons, and his big-play ability will stretch the field.
This should be a close one, but look for Miami to pick up the win on the road.
Prediction - Dolphins 20 - Browns 13
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