First Football Sunday of the Season

MetLife Stadium - Jets
via Alan Kotok / CC-BY-2.0

It is ALMOST here, the first football Sunday of the season! Fourteen FRESH game weeks of high-intensity football to look forward to. Today, we’re going to be taking a look at some of the odds for the first fixtures of the season and who we feel will be the favorites in each of these games going into the first big weekend of the season. But we’re going to be making a big focus on breaking down the Chicago Bears, so let’s start with that shall we?

Right then! Who do the Bears take on in their first game of this fresh new NFL season? They kick off the season with a home game first and foremost, they host the San Francisco 49ers which isn’t great just based off last season alone. In this fixture last season, the 49ers came out on top taking the game 33-22. Not only that but in terms of their season, while neither team made the playoffs, the 49ers finished much better going 10-7 while the bears ended up 6-11. Not particularly great for the Bears is it?

But, how does that matchup look this season? It’s safe to say the 49ers are always a relatively solid team, whereas the Bears are pretty up and down; usually for them to make the playoffs they need other teams around them to struggle and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, because there are plenty of other teams in that position, but have they done enough work in the off-season to take it to the next level?

Well, the back end of August saw many players brought in and many players released. Here is a snippet from ESPN’s “Team Transactions” page for the bears, this is just TWO days worth.

August 25th 2022

Released WRs Isaiah Coulter and Nsimba Webster, OL Dieter Eiselen, DEs Sam Kamara and Charles Snowden, CB Thomas Graham, RBs Darrynton Evans and De’Montre Tuggle, WR Chris Finke, G Lachavious Simmons, TE Chase Allen, DT Micah Dew-Treadway, LB DeMarquis Gates and James O’Shaughnessy (non-football illness), S A.J. Thomas, QB Nathan Peterman, G Michael Schofield, OT Shon Coleman, DT Trevon Coley, DE Marion Edwards Jr., CB Greg Stroman Jr. and S Davontae Harris.

August 26th 2022

Signed TE Chase Allen, OT Kellen Diesch, DT Trevon Coley and WRs Isaiah Coulter and Nsimba Webster, DLs Micah Dew-Treadway and Sam Kamara, OLs Dieter Eiselen and Lachavious Simmons, RB Darrynton Evans, LB DeMarquis Gates, DBs Thomas Graham Jr., Davontae Harris and A.J. Thomas and QB Nathan Peterman to the practice squad. Claimed OL Alex Leatherwood off waivers from Las Vegas. Claimed DT Armon Watts off waivers from Minnesota, DB Josh Blackwell off waivers from Philadelphia, DE Kingsley Johnathan off waivers from Buffalo, LB Sterling Weatherford off waivers from Indianapolis and TE Trevonb Wesco off waivers from New York Jets. Re-signed QB Nathan Peterman to the practice squad. Placed WR Tajae Sharp on injured reserve. Waived LB Caleb Johnson, DB Duke Shelley, OL Zachary Thomas and DL Khyiris Tonga. Released LB Joe Thomas. Claimed TE Trevon Wesco off waivers from the N.Y. Jets.

That is a LOT of work, since then they’ve released Micah Drew-Treadway from the practice squad and they’ve signed Zach Thomas as well as a couple other bits and pieces. But, will it be enough to put them in good stead for this season? Well, in pre-pre-season they played 3 games, getting 3 wins over the Chiefs, the Seahawks and the Browns. Of course pre-season isn’t a true indicator of how things will go, but it’s looking good so far. Back to the opening game against the 49ers, let’s take a look at what the experts are thinking.

Straight up, the odds aren’t particularly great for this game. Still, looking at BetMGM Louisiana sportsbook odds for the Bears this season, the money line you would be looking at 1/3 for the 49ers meaning $5 returns $6.67, but if you want to put that $5 on the Bears instead, you’re looking at 12/5, which returns $17, a bit better. The 49ers didn’t quite have the same 3-0 pre-season, they beat the packers, the Vikings but got SMASHED 17-0 off the Texans at the end of August. Given the home field advantage, you might actually be better off putting that $5 on the Bears here.

What about some of the other games at the start of the season? There are some big games to be sure. First we’ll take a look at the next game with the biggest return odds, just in case you’re feeling spicy. Baltimore Ravens at the New York Jets! The Jets beat the Falcons, Giants AND the Eagles to go 3-0 in pre season, while the Ravens went 3-0 against the Titans, Cardinals and the Commanders, still can’t get used to that name.

But the Jets go into this with the same odds as the Bears do, 12/5 meaning a $17 return from $5. The Ravens are the same as the 49ers too, 1/3 meaning $6.67 again from $5! If you’re feeling extra spicy a Bears/Jets 2 leg parlay could net you $57.80 from $5. I do believe in the home field advantage personally. Other side of that coin being a 49ers/Ravens parlay getting you $8.89 from $5. The sportsbooks seem to think that’s guaranteed.

What about something a bit closer? Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders! The Jaguars tried to prepare for this season with a bit of a longer pre-season, playing 4 games instead of most teams 3. Pretty poor showing going 0-4 losing to the Raiders, Browns, Steelers and Falcons. The Commanders also lost all their pre-season games going 0-3 to the Panthers, Chiefs and Ravens. So, for this game you can imagine the odds are quite short! 23/20 for Jaguars ($10.75 from $5) and 8/11 for the Commanders ($8.64 from $5).

Gillette Stadium - Patriots
via Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism / CC-BY-ND 2.0

So, football fans, who do your team play in game week one? How do we feel it’s going to go? Are you happy with your team’s business in the off season or do you feel like they could’ve made one or two more, or even different trades? What about outside of your team, is there any business a team did that you wish YOUR team did? So many possibilities in the off season. There’s a LOT to talk about going into the new season and we’re just getting started!

What about those of you who play fantasy football, are we all locked in for game week one? I personally always forget about my fantasy premier league team after MAYBE game week 10 at the latest, but I know some people play it religiously! Then for the gamblers, I wish you the best of luck moving into the new season, here’s to bringing home some big wins! Let’s raise a glass. The football season is here.