Four easy starts NFL bettors should keep an eye on

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Momentum can mean everything in sports, even in a week-to-week schedule like the NFL. Getting off on the right foot can boost player confidence and propel a team to a successful season. And stumbling out of the gate can magnify issues and break a team before they have a chance to gel.

Here’s a look at the four easiest starting schedules (first four games) for the 2015 NFL season, and the odds for those games.


New York Giants

Week 1: at Dallas (+6)
Week 2: vs. Atlanta (-3.5)
Week 3: vs. Washington (-5.5)
Week 4: at Buffalo (+3)

Outside of the opening Sunday night game in Dallas, the Giants have a pretty easy path in the early going. They host the Falcons and Redskins before making the short trip to Buffalo to face a Bills team which could be much-improved or undergoing growing pains with a new coaching staff. The NFC East is a great unknown this year, so a quick start could put the G-Men back in the playoff hunt.

Carolina Panthers

Week 1: at Jacksonville (-4)
Week 2: vs. Houston (-2.5)
Week 3: vs. New Orleans (-2)
Week 4: at Tampa Bay (-2.5)

The Panthers are a playoff team – whether you like it or not – and could have the inside track in the NFC South with this cake walk through the first four weeks. The defense faces a second-year QB in Jacksonville in Week 1, God knows who is under center for Houston in Week 2, Drew Brees sans Jimmy Graham in Week 3, and rookie passer Jameis Winston in Week 4. Fantasy footballer and sports bettors should be alert.

Indianapolis Colts

Week 1: at Buffalo (-2)
Week 2: vs. N.Y. Jets (-7.5)
Week 3: at Tennessee (-5)
Week 4: vs. Jacksonville (-10.5)

The Colts’ first four opponents had a combined record of 18-46 SU last season. Indianapolis’ opening slate is a joke, with the team pegged as an average favorite of 6.25 points. The toughest test is Week 1’s trip to Buffalo to play the revamp Bills but Andrew Luck and & Co. can pretty much put it on cruise control until Week 5 when they go to Houston to play the Texans on Thursday night. Overall, the Colts have the second-weakest schedule in the league with a 0.417 SOS rating.

Tennessee Titans

Week 1: at Tampa Bay (+3)
Week 2: at Cleveland (+4.5)
Week 3: vs. Indianapolis (+10.5)
Week 5: vs. Buffalo (+3)

The NFL schedule makers take it easy on rookie Marcus Mariota and the Titans in 2015. Tennessee has a No. 1-versus-No. 2 draft pick showdown in Tampa in Week 1, then goes to Cleveland in a possible shootout with Johnny Manziel. Reality comes crashing down versus the Colts in Week 3 – but at least the Titans are at home – then they close the quarter mark with a home game against Buffalo in Week 5 following a bye. While Tennessee is an underdog in each of those first four contests, there could be value with the Titans depending on how quick Mariota matures under center.


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