Week 1 of the NFL season has arrived, and it’s time to bet. Even though teams have not played a meaningful game yet, you still need to study to place a winning bet. Let’s look at the matchups for the opening slate.
All odds and lines are courtesy of Action247 Sportsbook.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The NFL slate opens on Thursday with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers hosting the Dallas Cowboys. This is one of the biggest openers we have seen in years because all 22 starters for the Buccaneers will be returning. This has not happened in the NFL since 1977, so there are big expectations for Tampa Bay this year.
58% of bettors believe Tampa Bay will cover the spread at -7.5. 47% of people think the game will stay under 51.5 compared to 53% who believe Brady and Dak Prescott will light up the scoreboard.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Washington Football Team
The Chargers will travel across the country to compete with one of the most ruthless front seven units in the NFL for the Washington Football Team. Justin Herbert will not be easy to defend, but he will not have an easy time with a ruthless pass rush in his face.
Washington has a lackluster offense with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, but if the defense can keep the game close, the team could prevail. This is a pick’em matchup with Los Angeles at -1.
68% of bettors are leaning towards Washington covering with 54% of people believing the game will stay under 44.5.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Jacksonville and Houston could put on a horrendous display in the season opener. Houston does not have a quarterback because of the Deshaun Watson situation. Watson, the former franchise quarterback, is no longer with the team.
Tyrod Taylor will start for Houston, who was dethroned in Los Angeles last season by Herbert. The Jaguars will not be in great shape either with an average offensive line. Trevor Lawrence will be very good in the future, but he has little protection.
Nevertheless, 78% of bettors believe Jacksonville will cover -3. Additionally, the under is a prominent bet on Action247.
San Francisco 49ers vs Detroit Lions
The 49ers are in much better shape than the Lions heading into this matchup. The Lions will have Jared Goff under center in 2021, which will be a change of pace from Matt Stafford. Detroit gave Stafford away to begin an epic rebuild.
This will show on Sunday when the team hosts the 49ers. The club is not solid in any phase of the game, and this is why 80% of bettors think San Francisco will cover -7.5. The total of 45.5 is more of a difficult decision.
A safe bet is taking the 49ers to cover, who are superior to Detroit in every phase of the game.
New York Jets vs. Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold will begin his career as a Panther competing against his former team in the New York Jets. Darnold was unsuccessful with the Jets because the team never gave him a chance to win.
The quarterback had one of the worst offensive lines in football during his time in the Big Apple. The same narrative could occur for New York’s new signal-caller, Zach Wilson. The Jets have a terrible reputation, and the Panthers have Christian McCaffery.
The Panthers are heavy favorites on the money line, so the most value is taking them at -5.
Seattle Seahawks vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts will likely have Carson Wentz under center in the opener, despite him battling an injury throughout camp. If Wentz is playing, Indianapolis will have a better chance of winning this game. The next options would be Jacob Eason or Sam Ehlinger. Neither of these quarterbacks can compete against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks.
The Seahawks are favored by 2.5 points, and they will likely cover this on the road. Do not let Wentz sway your decision because he has been a disappointment during his time in the NFL.
74% of bettors think Seattle will cover. If you are not in this group, the Seahawks are -125 to win the game, so this is also a safe bet.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The biggest question headlining into the Vikings and Bengals matchup is if Cincinnati’s offensive line can play well enough to keep Joe Burrow upright. Burrow proved he is one of the best quarterbacks in the game last season because he was successful under pressure.
Nevertheless, he was on his toes a lot because his protectors did not let him get comfortable in the pocket. Minnesota on the money line and spread have value. I would stay away from betting on the Bengals until we see an improved offensive line.
70% of bettors think Minnesota will win by over a field goal, but this game is in Cincinnati.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills
The Pittsburgh Steelers could pull off a road upset in this matchup, but it’s very unlikely, according to bettors. Buffalo is a 6.5-point favorite, and 75% of bettors think they will cover this number.
The total is split amongst the betting population at 48.5. Josh Allen is the reason you should bet the Bills to cover because the quarterback has been fantastic in his time in Buffalo. Allen is turning into one of the best players in the game, and this is why the Bills are a favorite to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans
It’s always difficult to pick totals during the first week of the NFL season. Additionally, there were only three preseason games in 2021, so we do not know a team’s identity at this point. However, with the Cardinals and Titans, points are going to be scored.
These are two top ten offenses from a year ago, and the total is set at 52. I believe these units will smash the over and 51% of bettors also agree. 69% of people are picking Tennessee to win and cover by a field goal.
There is a lot of value in both these bets, but you will earn more taking them on the spread.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons
The Eagles and Falcons are two average teams, which will make this game competitive. However, you must do your research on this game because there is no clear favorite to win. The Falcons are favored by 3.5 points because they are the home team in the game.
If the game were in Philadelphia, the spread would likely be flipped. Jalen Hurts will be under center for the Eagles, but the team was atrocious throughout the preseason. The Falcons do not have many weapons, but Kyle Pitts should shine in his regular-season debut.
The Falcons at -3.5 is favored by 53% of bettors, so I would lock in this wager.
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
The Patriots and Dolphins opener is going to be a very intriguing contest. New England cut bait with Cam Newton, who was supposed to be the starting quarterback for the team throughout the offseason.
Mac Jones will be the man in New England this year, and he has received rave reviews from teammates and coaches. Jones’ accuracy was on full display throughout the preseason, and this will continue in the openers.
The Patriots are 2.5-point favorites in the opener, but 54% of bettors are leaning towards the Dolphins to cover. If you like Miami, take them on the money line with positive odds.
Denver Broncos vs. New York Giants
The Giants have a protection problem, and this will be on full display in the season opener. In the preseason, the team has struggled to protect any quarterback. Daniel Jones is talented, but he will have trouble escaping the rush if he does not have time.
The Broncos have a legit front seven and defense as a whole. Additionally, New York’s secondary has been improved in the offseason. Most people believe Denver will cover -2.5 on the road, but the under is an excellent bet in this contest.
The total of 42.5 is low, but these two defenses will likely shine in the opener.
Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs
The Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs have one of the best offenses in the NFL, so I expect points to be scored in this game. Baker Mayfield and the Browns will head to Kansas City looking for revenge from the AFC Divisional round playoff game last year.
The Browns are six-point underdogs to the Chiefs, and the line is continuing to shift. 68% of bettors think Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs will cover by six.
Nevertheless, the over is an appealing bet in this game. Kansas City has a strong defense, but the total of 53 is low because this game has shootout potential.
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints
This game could be the biggest lock of the week because there is so much uncertainty with the Saints. What is Sean Payton going to do with his quarterbacks?
New Orleans is officially removed from the Drew Brees era, so they will likely be drafting a quarterback in the coming seasons. Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston will be starting at quarterback for the team.
It appears like Payton will implement a platoon role for his quarterbacks. This has not given bettors confidence in the team. Green Bay on the money line is -140, and 81% of bettors think the Packers will cover -4.5.
Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Bears are young, and this should show when the team faces the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The team is a massive underdog, and the Rams should be improved from last season. The team went all-in on 2021 by trading Jared Goff for Matt Stafford.
Stafford should help the club, and that’s why 79% of bettors are picking the team to cover -7.5. There is no value on the money line in a straight, but the under could also be a promising wager.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders
The Ravens are going to travel across the country and win this football game because of Lamar Jackson. The Raiders do not have the team to stop the Ravens in any facet of the game. Derek Carr will be able to score, but Jackson should have a field day with the Las Vegas defense.
The one thing going for Las Vegas is that they are playing at home with fans for the first time in a regular-season game. Also, the contest will be played in primetime on Monday night.
I still like Baltimore at -4.5 because of Las Vegas’ weak defense.
There is a lot of value in the opening week of the NFL season. Do your research, and good things will happen. Best of luck!