We’ve finally made it! Week One of the NFL season is finally here. It’s been a long time coming, but tonight we finally kick off the 2021 season. With that, we’re going to take a look at each game on the schedule this week, and pick them both against the spread, and pick the over/under. I’ll keep a running count of my picks each week, and see how we come out a the end of the year. With all of that said, let’s dive in!
Note, odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook as of 9/8.
Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors. Bet at YOUR OWN RISK.
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-8.5), o/u 51.5
We’re starting Week One off with one of my favorite matchups of the week. Defending Super Bowl Champs Tampa Bay hosting the Dallas Cowboys. I’m excited to see how Dak bounces back after his 2020 season was cut short due to injury. 8.5 is a lot of points for an NFL game, and I think Dallas’s offense is too good to fall that far behind. I’m taking Dallas and the points, as well as the over.
The pick: DAL +8.5, OVER 51.5
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Pittsburg Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-6.5), o/u 48.5
Two AFC heavyweights square off Week One in this matchup. Buffalo was a game away from appearing in the Super Bowl last season, while Pittsburg is again boasting one of, if not THE best defense in the game. Even with Pittsburg’s defense, Buffalo is led by QB Josh Allen, who will be firmly entrenched in the MVP discussion this season. 6.5 is another good-sized number, and as good as Pittsburg’s defense is, I think they keep it close enough for PIT to cover.
The pick: PIT +6.5, UNDER 48.5
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-5.5), o/u 45
This is the first ugly game of the weekend for me. Neither team is going to be good in 2021. For me, it comes down to Sam Darnold. I don’t think he’s any good at all. With that, I don’t think he builds enough of a cushion for the Panthers to cover. Give me the Jets getting points.
The pick: NYJ +5.5, UNDER 45
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Houston Texans, o/u 45.5
The AFC South gets started with the two bottom feeders of the division. Even with Jacksonville trotting out a new coaching staff and a rookie QB, Houston is probably going to be a team I fade all season. I see no reason to not take Jacksonville here.
The pick: JAX -3, UNDER 45.5
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans (-3), o/u 52.5
The Titans are one of the most hyped teams coming into 2021. They were an elite team offensively in 2020, finishing 3rd in total yards. They then proceeded to add Julio Jones this offseason. I’d expect their offensive firepower to continue, while the stagnant scheme Arizona runs won’t be able to keep pace.
The pick: TEN -3, UNDER 52.5
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Flacons (-3), o/u 48.5
This one is an easier one for me to pick. When in doubt, pick the better QB. I really like Jalen Hurts, but he is nowhere near the same level Matt Ryan is. Ryan was an MVP last time he was in a system similar to what new HC Arthur Smith runs, and I think he has a legitimate shot to return to that form. At home, give me the Falcons to cover.
The pick: ATL -3, OVER 48.5
Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Washington Football Team, o/u 44.5
This is one of the sneaky good games of the weekend. LA is one of my favorite teams to pick as a wildcard team, while the WFT made the playoffs last season. This game is essentially a pick ’em. the X-factor here is WFT QB, Ryan Fitzpatrick. I think he’s in a good situation in Washington, with that being said, I expect them to be better than they were in 2020.
The pick: WFT +1, OVER 44.5
San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) at Detroit Lions, o/u 45
I said earlier that 7.5 was a pretty large spread, and it still is. But man, Detroit is going to be bad this year. I have a hard time finding any positions where they’re above average. San Fran is one of the deeper teams in football, and I’d expect them to make a statement in Week One by blowing out DET.
The pick: SF -7.5, UNDER 45.
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Indianapolis Colts, o/u 50
I’ve been pretty adamant about what Indy has done this offseason. It’s not been great, folks! The roster as a whole has been pretty stagnant, and they downgraded at the most important position on the field. They’ll be okay against bottom-tier teams, but against better teams like Seattle, they’ll struggle. Give me Seattle to cover on the road. #LetRussCook.
The pick: SEA -2.5, OVER 50
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals, o/u 47.5
This is one of the lines of the week that is puzzling to me. Minnesota is another team that I’m just not very high on. I don’t think Kirk is a good enough QB to lift them to the next level, and because of that, their ceiling is limited. I like Cincy to take that next step this season, with Joe Burrow entering year two and more weapons than the US handed over to the Taliban last month. This is one where I’m going to take Cincinnati to win outright, let alone getting points at home.
The pick: CIN +3, OVER 47.5
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-3), o/u 43.5
This is always an interesting matchup. Generally, the home team pulls the game out, and I think the travel has a large impact on it. I expect that trend to continue here. The only thing that gives me pause is rookie QB Mac Jones for the Patriots making his first career start, but I trust the rest of what the Patriots have going for them.
The pick: NE -3, OVER 43.5
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5), o/u 54.5
This is hands down the game of the week for me. Their playoff matchup last season was one of the best games I’ve watched in recent memory. And with that being said, the 6.5 line is ridiculous to me. I don’t see any way Cleveland doesn’t cover that, as long as Baker doesn’t come out and throw the game away. I like KC to win, but CLE to cover.
The pick: CLE +6.5, OVER 54.5
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at New York Giants, o/u 41.5
This is a line that came in a little closer than I expected. While I don’t love Teddy Bridgewater starting for DEN, the rest of that roster is extremely talented. New York is getting Saquon Barkley back, which is big for them, but one running back does not an offense make. I’d expect DEN to win this one pretty handily. This is also the lowest total of the week, which tells me to hammer the over here.
The pick: DEN -2.5, OVER 41.5
Green Bay Packers (-4) at New Orleans Saints, o/u 50
This is a matchup that I’m extremely interested in. Had Taysom Hill been named the starter in New Orleans, this line would be more in the 6-8 range. With Jameis Winston winning the job, I have no idea what to think. He’s a complete wildcard in the NFC race. If Sean Payton can dial back a few of his gunslinger ways, NO can make some noise this year. Until Winston is proven to not be the same guy to enter the 30/30 club a few years ago, I have a hard time betting on them.
The pick: GB -4, OVER 50
Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5), o/u 47.5
The first Sunday night game of the year, and I really like this matchup. We get to see Matt Stafford finally freed and playing for a good franchise, and we get to see what Matt Nagy can do with a halfway competent QB. As I’ve said numerous times throughout, 7.5 is just way too much for many NFL games. The Bears defense is still a very good unit, and I think they keep is close enough to where CHI can at least sneak in a back door cover.
The pick: CHI +7.5, UNDER 47.5
Baltimore Raves (-4.5) at Las Vegas Raiders, o/u 51
The final game of the weekend is also my LOCK of the week. The Raiders did absolutely nothing to get better this offseason. I think they’re on a beeline towards a 5 win season. Baltimore is still one of the contenders in the AFC, and with that, I don’t see this as being particularly close. This line is playable all the way up to -6.5 or -7 for Baltimore.
The pick: Baltimore -4.5, UNDER 51.
Tail these or fade these, it’s your call. Come back next week and follow me on Twitter to see how we do!