5 betting takeaways from NFL Week 1
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Was it worth the wait? The first week of NFL action delivered plenty of drama for bettors, including six fourth-quarter comebacks and a historic mark by a pesky group of 'dogs.

Here are five NFL betting takeaways from Week 1.

Historic week of upsets

Underdogs didn't have the best overall performance in Week 1, but a trio did shock the betting community on Sunday.

The Cardinals (+7), Jaguars (+7), and Washington (+5.5) all pulled off outright upsets - a feat with roughly 40-1 implied odds entering Sunday. It was the first time three underdogs of at least 5.5 points won in Week 1 since 2005, and two of those wins came at home, marking the first time that's happened in Week 1 since Sports Database started tracking NFL data in 1989.

The biggest winner is Arizona, which entered the year as a fringe playoff contender and strengthened its case with a win over the defending NFC champions. DeAndre Hopkins (14 catches, 151 yards) played as advertised for the Cardinals' offense, but their defense stole the show, holding San Francisco to 2-of-11 on third down and below 21 points for just the fourth time in the 49ers' last 24 games.

Saints embarrass Brady, Bucs

So much for a new king in the NFC South. In the much-anticipated showdown between Tom Brady and Drew Brees, the Saints (-3.5) smacked the Buccaneers by 11 points in a contest that really wasn't that close. Brady's game to forget included two interceptions, with one being a pick-six, continuing the turnover woes in Tampa Bay.

It's not all bad, though - the Bucs' vaunted run defense held star Alvin Kamara to 16 yards on 12 carries, and their offense outgained New Orleans through the air and on the ground. If Tampa Bay can cut down on sloppy mistakes, it's still a team that can push for the NFC title.

Newton shines in Patriots debut

Maybe New England isn't cooked, after all. Cam Newton rushed for two touchdowns in the first game with his new team and was efficient through the air en route to the Patriots (-7) cashing as home chalk over the frisky Dolphins, who scored just 11 points with three interceptions against New England's elite secondary.

It was only the fourth time in the last six seasons New England had more rushing yards (217) than passing yards (140), but perhaps it's a winning formula for Bill Belichick and co. in the post-Brady era since they've covered 11 of the last 12 times in that spot. It's too early to reverse course for those who faded the Patriots this summer, but they have the ingredients for another double-digit win campaign.

Ravens, Chiefs continue dominance

The two biggest blowouts through Sunday came courtesy of the two shortest Super Bowl favorites in the market.

A year after leading the league with 14 wins, the Ravens (-7.5) blew the doors off the Browns with a 38-6 victory behind Lamar Jackson's 320 combined yards and three passing touchdowns. Baltimore looks every bit as dangerous this year - despite gaining just 107 rushing yards this week following last season's record-setting mark - and is still a solid bet for anyone who paid for its short Super Bowl odds (+650) entering the year.

Don't forget about the Chiefs (-9.5), who scored 31 unanswered points against the Texans in an impressive 14-point victory on Thursday. The defense held Houston to just seven points through the first 52:45 of the game, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire (138 rushing yards) flashed star potential as Kansas City tallied more rushes than passes for the first time in the Patrick Mahomes era. If that keeps up, even a +400 title price may not be short enough.

MVP race heats up

A big Week 1 showing from Jackson propelled his eventual MVP campaign in 2019. This year, a few players staked an early claim for their own candidacy.

Russell Wilson (+800), last year's unofficial runner-up, was nearly flawless with 351 total yards and as many touchdowns (four) as incompletions. Kyler Murray (+2500) scampered all over San Fran's elite defense for 321 yards and two TDs, while Jackson (+650) and Mahomes (+450) were their usual MVP-caliber selves.

How about Josh Allen (+6000), who was as high as 66-1 to win the award this summer? He wasn't perfect Sunday, but the Bills quarterback picked apart the Jets' defense for a career-high 312 passing yards and evaded pressure with 57more yards on the ground. Allen earned some preseason buzz in the MVP market before the season, and with more performances like this weekend's, that price could shorten in a hurry.

(Odds source: theScore Bet)

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

5 betting takeaways from NFL Week 1
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