The new NFL season starts tonight, with the defending Super Bowl winners Philadelphia Eagles hosting the talented Atlanta Falcons.
The last time these two teams met was in the playoffs in January, when the Eagles’ defense shut down the high-scoring Falcons to win 15-10.
Both teams are used to starting well – the Eagles have won six of their last seven openers, while the Falcons have triumphed in three out of their last four.
Both teams have injury concerns, the most pressing being Eagles’ regular quarterback Carson Wentz. He hasn’t recovered fully from the injury that ruled him out of the second half of last season, so Nick Foles will start. Still, Foles did win the MVP at the Super Bowl.
All that said, we would rather take the low side of the points total (over/under 44.5 with Paddy Power). We think it’s easier to construct a defensive system than a complicated offensive playbook, and so think touchdowns will be limited in these early games, especially in likely tight matches.
With this in mind we think the value today lies in the first touchdown scorer rather than an anytime scorer. With doubts about the Eagles during preseason, we’ll go with the Falcons running back Devonta Freeman to score the first touchdown.
Recommendations: Freeman to score first touchdown, 1 pt, at 15/2, Paddy Power
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