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Week 1 of the National Football League season brought us several surprises.
Underdogs went 12-4 against the spread – their best ATS performance ever for a Week 1. That number includes nine outright wins.
Sure, it’s only one game for all 32 NFL teams. Still, we expected to see some movement in reaction to the nine outright wins by underdogs.
That’s exactly what happened, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals getting a lot of love following upset wins in Week 1.
Here’s the Morning Coffee for Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021.
NFL futures market watch
The Steelers pulled off the biggest Week 1 upset with a 23-16 win over the Buffalo Bills as a +235 underdog.
Even though the Pittsburgh offence managed just 177 total passing yards in the win, betting markets reacted favourably to the black and yellow beating the Bills in their own barn.
The Steelers went from 44-to-1 to 32-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. They also went from +440 to +340 to win the AFC North.
Meanwhile, last week the lookahead lines had the Steelers as a 5.5-point favourite at home against the Las Vegas Raiders.
That number climbed as high as 6.5 at one spot before the Raiders’ overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, then fell back to 5.5 or 6, depending on where you look.
Pittsburgh still has one of the league’s best defences and a head coach that I don’t like to bet against in Mike Tomlin, but we didn’t see anything from their offence in Week 1 that indicates a big improvement should be expected on that side of the football this season.
It will be interesting to see how the Steelers and Raiders look this week, with both teams coming off exciting upset wins.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals looked dominant on both sides of the football in a 38-13 win over the Tennessee Titans as a three-point underdog.
Kyler Murray threw 289 yards and four touchdowns, along with 20 rushing yards and a rushing score.
Murray’s MVP odds dropped from +2300 to +900. He went from the 10th choice to the fourth choice to win regular season MVP.
The Cardinals went from 48-to-1 to 34-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. Despite that move, Arizona’s odds to win the NFC West barely moved, from +600 to +500.
With all four NFC West teams winning their openers, the Cardinals remained the fourth choice to win their division.
Speaking of the NFC West, the Los Angeles Rams also dominated in a 34-14 win over the Chicago Bears.
Matthew Stafford threw for 321 yards and four touchdowns in his Rams’ debut.
Stafford went from +1700 to +800 to win MVP. He’s now the second choice on the board behind only Patrick Mahomes (+500).
NFL Rookie Of The Year futures
Mac Jones didn’t get the win in his NFL debut for the New England Patriots.
Still, he played well enough in a 17-16 loss to the Miami Dolphins to gain some separation at the top of the list in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year markets.
Jones went 29-of-39 for 281 yards and a touchdown against a good Miami defence.
His odds to win Rookie of the Year shortened from +400 to +350.
Meanwhile, Trevor Lawrence’s odds to win the award lengthened from +450 to +500 as the second choice after an inconsistent debut in a 37-21 loss to the Houston Texans.
Jones and the Patriots will visit fellow rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and the New York Jets in Week 2.
Wilson remained the fifth choice to win Rookie of the Year following a loss to the Carolina Panthers.
As of this morning, New England is a 5.5-point favourite at New York.
Rays blank Blue Jays
The Toronto Blue Jays had their five-game win streak snapped by the Tampa Bay Rays in a 2-0 loss on Tuesday night.
After scoring a combined 52 runs combined in their previous four games, the Jays managed just three hits in the loss.
Meanwhile, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox both won last night.
The Blue Jays and Yankees have identical 81-64 records, with the Red Sox at 82-65.
With 17 games left on the schedule, the importance of every game will be magnified down the stretch as Toronto fights for an American League wild-card spot.
As of this morning, the Blue Jays are a -175 favourite for tonight’s rubber match with Tampa Bay, with Robbie Ray scheduled to get the start opposite Michael Wacha.
Ray is currently the second choice to win the AL Cy Young Award at +150. Yankees’ ace Gerrit Cole remains the favourite at -130.
Alabama, Florida set for Week 3 Showdown
When No. 1 Alabama visits No. 11 Florida this Saturday, it will be the fifth AP top-15 matchup of the season, which will be tied for the most ever through three weeks of the college football season.
With so many key games early in the schedule, we have already gained a little more clarity when it comes to the national championship picture.
While Alabama, Georgia and Oklahoma’s chances to make the playoffs have improved, Clemson and Ohio State’s chances both took hits with early losses.
The Crimson Tide remain the betting favourite to win the national championship at +150. They’re now -700 to make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young remains the Heisman Trophy favourite.
Young entered Week 1 at +900 to win the Heisman, but that number is down to +300 this morning.
The Tide have played two games, but it’s already going to be difficult for anybody to catch Young if he stays healthy and continues to perform at a high level.
Alabama is a 14.5-point favourite for this week’s showdown with Florida.