The NFL returns this week for its eagerly anticipated new season, with the league’s array of teams all dreaming of Super Bowl glory.

Ahead of the new campaign’s start on Thursday night as Houston Texans travel to Super Bowl holders Kansas City Chiefs, we’ve taken a look at the best bets to watch out for this season.

Super Bowl contenders

With Tom Brady now at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, this will be the first year in a long while that the New England Patriots are no longer considered automatic Super Bowl contenders. However, with Brady at the helm of the Buccaneers, Bruce Arians’ squad could be dark horses for the Vince Lombardi trophy. A stacked offence, including Brady, receiving duo Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as well as future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, will trouble any defence, while pass-rushing stud Shaquil Barrett should be poised for another monster year. The Bucs are 12/1 to win their first ring since 2002.

Patrick Mahomes signed a mammoth 10-year deal in the off-season and looks set to guide the Kansas City Chiefs to another deep play-off run. The 2018 MVP had another stellar year last season, guiding his team to a Super Bowl victory, and many of the supporting cast have also stuck around. Arrowhead could be a huge advantage in the play-offs and Mahomes can conjure up more magic on the big stage. The Chiefs are the 11/2 favourites to repeat last year’s success.

The Carolina Panthers are only a few seasons removed from going 15-1 and making the Super Bowl, ultimately previously falling short to the Denver Broncos. While Cam Newton is now in Foxboro with the New England Patriots, Teddy Bridgewater will quarterback for a solid team with one of the best weapons in the game in the shape of running back Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers aren’t Super Bowl ready just yet, but a 10-win season isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, which could see them sneak into the play-offs. The Panthers are 5/1 to make the post-season.

MVP

Patrick Mahomes enters the season as the 7/2 favourite for another MVP, but he will always be judged off his sterling 2018 campaign and it could be difficult for him to regain his crown. Lamar Jackson, who is the current incumbent, is also atop the betting at 6/1 and will undoubtedly be another stats machine for an impressive Baltimore Ravens team, but again it will be difficult for him to exceed his previous exploits.

While there is plenty of talk about the new generation of quarterbacks, who are the clear future of the league, this could be the year an old head leads the way. Drew Brees has been consistently excellent for the New Orleans Saints since joining in 2006, and it seems an MVP is the only thing missing from his honour roll. If the New Orleans outfit have another exceptional season and Brees performs to his best, there’s no reason he can’t be named MVP. And at odds of 18/1, he offers good value.

Rushing yards leaders

While the running back position continues to be lambasted and tweaked, Derrick Henry showcased the importance a downhill, bruising back can bring to a side, almost singlehandedly carrying Tennessee Titans to within a whisker of an unlikely Super Bowl appearance. The Titans workhouse is the 6/1 favourite to win this year’s rushing yards title, but there are plenty of other backs who could challenge him.

Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Mixon (12/1) will get plenty of carries with a rookie QB, while Saquon Barkley (9/1) will also carry the load for the New York Giants offense. However, Aaron Jones at Green Bay Packers continues to go from strength to strength and the 2017 fifth round pick could build off last season’s 1,000-yard, 16 touchdown venture. With team-mate Aaron Rodgers ageing, Jones could be asked to do even more in the Packers offence, which could make him an exciting bet at 25/1.

Jason Bell’s NFL treble

For the first week of the 2020 NFL season I want to give you three predictions…

The first game – Tampa Bay at New Orleans taking on the Saints. It is difficult to win in New Orleans, especially in the beginning of the season so I’m going with the Saints at home at 20/37, but I’m excited to see Tom Brady play with his new team.

Second, we’ve got Arizona at San Francisco to play the 49ers. San Francisco is looking to overcome that Super Bowl hangover – they are ready for a fast start and a win at 10/31.

And third, Dallas Cowboys at the new stadium in Los Angeles to face the Rams. I expect Dallas to win at 4/6 and I’m really excited to see this new stadium live.

Check out all the latest American football betting odds at William Hill