The kick-off to the 2018 football season has begun! Our Race & Sports experts Chuck Esposito and Jason McCormick discuss preseason buzz, Week 1 of college and pro football, prop bet info and Great Giveaways that you don’t want to miss.
CHUCK: Hey everybody. It’s Chuck Esposito, Race and Sports Book Director at Sunset Station. I’m here with Jason McCormick, Race and Sports Book Director at Red Rock Casino & Resort, and we’re here at the Race and Sports Book as we’re getting ready for the football season. It’s a super exciting time for us. Jason, what do you think are some of the big story lines heading in to the season?
JASON: Well, I think, without a doubt, it’s the quarterback position. Obviously, you can’t win the NFL without having good quarterbacks, and we had a lot of movement this off-season; Alex Smith to Washington, Case Keenum to Denver, Kirk Cousins to Minnesota, Tyrod Taylor to the Browns, AJ McCarron to Buffalo.
I mean, these guys are moving all over the place. We’ve got key quarterbacks coming from injuries, with Andrew Luck coming back, Watson coming back, Kurt Wentz coming back. I also think that we’ve got some key rookies that may find their way to start. Maybe you want to talk about the rookies.
CHUCK: Talking about all the rookie quarterbacks that are in the league: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Josh Allen. What kind of impact are these guys going to have? It looks like three of those guys may start, but the one that won’t is the Heisman Trophy winner and the first overall pick, and that’s Baker Mayfield. He’s probably not going to start the season. Then, I think if you look at some second-year guys, too, is, what will the impact be with Mitchell Trubisky with Matt Nagy now as Head Coach?
And, you look at Deshaun Watson, coming back from the injury, and Patrick Mahomes, who was basically handed that job when they traded Alex Smith to Washington. So, you’re looking at about a dozen teams that have a quarterback, either a new quarterback or a second-year guy, who’s really getting the reins to start the season; it’s going to be interesting to see how this all unfolds. But, I think with you talking about the quarterbacks is a good way to lead into Week 1. What are some of the big games we look at for Week 1?
JASON: Well, I think if you stay with the quarterbacks, talking about Week 1, is Jimmy G with that ‘9ers, a guy that took over that ‘9er team and won five games to end the season. They, in Week 1, head to Minnesota to face the new Kurt Cousins, on Minnesota Vikings. These are two teams that are really going to be at the stop of the NFC. Two teams that are going to be talked about this off-season, right of the bat, Minnesota and San Francisco. I look for that to be a key game in Week 1.
CHUCK: I think those are two big games and I look at the two prime time games. Think about the Monday night game. It’s the Rams, the LA Rams, who may be the best team in the NFC, who are they going against? They’re going against Chucky and Jon Gruden, with the Raiders. I mean, can you get that offense with Carr going and Cooper, and now Jordy Nelson? He wants to make a staple big time and put a stamp on it, and they play in the last game of Week 1, the late game on that Monday night double header; it’s Jon Gruden back on the sideline in the Oakland Coliseum.
And, then I look at the big Sunday night game between the Bears and the Packers. What a big rivalry, those two teams. With Matt Nagy now, the Bears have looked good in the preseason. A lot of changes against Aaron Rodgers. The Bears have not had success. One of the biggest favorites on the board is the Green Bay Packers on that Sunday night, so that should be a big game, as well.
And then with football season, we always love to capitalize on props. We put some props up to start the season. We’ll be adding a bunch throughout the regular season. Let’s talk about some of those cool props we put up.
JASON: Well, I love the rushing yard prop. I think we had Kareem Hunt win the rushing title as a rookie running back out of Kansas City. We had a key rookie running back to the mix with Saquon Barkley, top pick playing with the Giants. I think that that’s kind of wide open. Obviously, you talked about Elliot, you talk about Bell, you talk about those guys…
CHUCK: Johnson, Kamara, those are just a bunch.
JASON: I think it’s wide open and there’s a great betting option if you’re looking to make some money off props as that rushing prop.
CHUCK: I think that the props we put up before the season are super exciting, and then when we get into the season, we’ll be looking at props for, especially, all the prime time games. The Sunday and Monday night games, they’re a vital and integral part of what we put up for those big games, so props are popular. But, with football season here and talking about all this stuff, there’s nothing better than the contest, and we’ve got some phenomenal contests to talk about.
Our Great Giveaway is back, the two million dollar Great Giveaway contest is bigger and better than ever. Houses, cars, cash, Fiddle in the Middle, that’s a great contest. Come on in and get signed up. But, outside of that, we’ve got our serious handicapping contest, Last Man Standing, which is great.
JASON: Last Man Standing, not only in pro but in college; $40,000 guaranteed in college, $75,000 guaranteed in the pro. If you win them both, you could take home $250,000. Everything is set up, and get ready for a great football season. So, we’ve got about two weeks until kickoff and time to get yourself ready with the contests signups, the props, and start handicapping those Week 1 games.
CHUCK: As you can tell, we’re not excited, guys, about football season. There’s no enthusiasm in our voices, but come on in and get signed up for one of the contests. Enjoy everything we have to offer in football season. We do all of our properties. It should be exciting. So, come on in and have some fun. Good luck!
JASON: I’ll throw out one more thing. It’s not only the pro game, but one of the other props that I think is huge, and could have a lot of fun this year, is the Heisman Trophy. There’s a lot of players in college football, a lot of different guys with the chance to potentially win that award; a lot of new quarterbacks, some quarterback controversies maybe in Alabama. So, the Heisman Trophy is going to be a lot of fun this year.
CHUCK: It’s not only pro quarterback, there’s some questions of college quarterbacks, which is, we know how important that position is, so it should be interesting.
Again, we’re looking forward to seeing you guys during football season. Thanks! Good luck this season, and we hope to see you soon!