While there are still several question marks over the NFL’s return to the United Kingdom, the American league is strengthening its partnership with the European country with the aim of increasing its stake in the international market. The current pandemic has forced the parties into waiting but fans will be able to enjoy coverage following a recent deal struck with UK broadcasters Sky Sports.
The network agreed on a new five-year contract that will see the NFL team up with an international broadcaster to create a channel strictly for American football. Sky Sports NFL will launch this Thursday, September 3, with the deal also marking the 25th anniversary of Sky Sports’ live coverage of the NFL. The new channel will air a minimum of five live games every week.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were meant to play back-to-back fixtures in London during the season as part of four regular-season games set to take place in the UK but they have all been canceled because of COVID-19.
The league will resume on September 10 with a matchup throwing Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs against the Houston Texans. Kansas is the obvious favorite at 2/9 while the Texans are 7/2. There are also a number of specials to be had for the upcoming season while new sportsbook signups will be able to take advantage of several free bets. Fans should note that free bets always come with specific T&Cs, however.
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Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the 4/1 favorite to be named Regular Season MVP while the New England Patriots’ Bill Belichick is 14/1 to be named Coach of the Year. There’s also an interesting special on the Comeback Players of the year, with Cam Newton and Ben Roethlisberger both favored at 5/1.
As it pertains to the UK, NFL Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Chris Halpin has said that the league remains fully committed to returning.
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“We’ve got a long-term deal there and we’re continuing in partnership with the Jaguars to talk with Wembley FA, we’re huge believers in the UK market, support all the way top down and in London and our fan base just keeps responding and growing,” he told Sky Sports earlier this month.
“We’re very excited for the future and we are ready and raring to go to get back to the UK for games.”
Meanwhile, an AFC team is favored to win the Super Bowl over the NFC, with the former 4/5 with bookmakers and the latter 21/20. The Chiefs are 6/1 favorites to win the accolade again but the Baltimore Ravens are right up there with sportsbooks offering the same odds.
Kansas and Baltimore are the obvious favorites to make it out of the conference, both at 3/1. The Patriots are 10/1, as are the Indianapolis Colts and the Buffalo Bills, with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans in behind at 12/1.
The San Francisco 49ers are tipped to win the NFC at 4/1 while the New Orleans Saints are 5/1 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been attached to odds of 13/2.