By Nick Shepkowski–
(CBS) The NFL kicks Thursday night, and we’ll all be thrilled to hear Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth in Foxborogh . Even though I’m sure they’ll make plenty of mentions of it during the game, it’ll be nice to move on from Deflategate and watch a game that actually matters.
As for the Bears, I have no reason to think they won’t be awful. That probably means a season-opening loss against the Packers, then let’s hope it’s not overly embarrassing (not that it really matters in the big picture).
But that’s not why you clicked on this article. Consider it an escape from your beloved Bears (well, sort of) as I give you my favorite prop bets of the 2015 NFL season. All can be found at 5dimes.eu.
Super Bowl champs: Baltimore Ravens at +2350
Are there teams I’m more confident in? Sure. But I honestly can’t look at a team like the Packers today and say they’ll overcome the loss of Jordy Nelson that easily or say their defense will be good enough. When will Kam Chancellor start playing in Seattle? Am I supposed to believe the Patriots perform at the same level despite losing their outstanding cornerbacks? Like I said, there are question marks galore, and the Ravens have been there before, tout one of the best head coaches in the league and come with an excellent payoff.
Team to score the fewest points: Tennessee Titans at +700
I said back in April that whichever general manager took Marcus Mariota in the top five would be fired within the next three years. I really think the Titans will be a disaster this year; the only thing that scares me is that they play some bad defenses in the AFC South, specifically the Jaguars and also the Colts who give up plenty of points amid some shootouts. That said, I have no faith in last year’s 30th-ranked scoring offense to improve with a rookie quarterback who screams of bust potential to me.
Coach of the Year: Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer at +1400
Unless a team is truly dominant, this almost always goes to a team that comes out of nowhere and has a surprise season. I think people look at the Vikings on the rise but don’t see them as a real threat to the NFC just yet. I’m not penciling them in for the Super Bowl or even NFC Championship, but I’m a huge fan of what the Vikings have been building through the draft. A year of experience for Teddy Bridgewater could also take the Vikings from 7-9 to 9-7 or 10-6 and possibly a postseason spot.
First coach fired: San Francisco’s Jim Tomsula at +850
I don’t dislike Tomsula as a person. In fact, I find him entertaining. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem like a head football coach to me. Like, at all. This is always a tough bet to cash in on, but couple him with the fact the 49ers are depleted from a talent standpoint and have a front office that often leaves you scratching your head, and you have my pick.
Regular-season MVP: Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck at +300
Chalk. I’m guilty as hell of that, but I don’t care. Luck is coming off of a great 2014 and has more toys to play with this year. This is set up to be the year of Luck, and with a defense that still appears to be average at best, expect monster numbers and an MVP for the young star.
There you go — five bets to place for the 2015 season. Just remember me if John Harbaugh is hoisting a second Lombardi Trophy in February.