NFL football finally returns tomorrow and as I did last season, I will be giving out a few bets that I love each week so that you can win the weekend financially even if your team is unable to win on the scoreboard.
Last year was a positive betting season for me as I finished with a winning record of 56-52-4 from the picks I wrote about here. However, my "locks" of the week performed comically bad all season and finished 6-11 on the year. We'll look to improve upon the normal record in 2021, and my locks are destined for greatness this time around.
The opening week of any season is the hardest to bet, as you haven't had a chance to actually see any of the teams perform in a real game setting. But that won't stop us here, as I've done my research on all the rosters and matchups taking place this upcoming weekend and have supreme confidence in all the picks I'm giving out (like always).
âLet's get off to a strong start this year and have an undefeated week 1.
Tennessee Titans -2.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals
âI like both of these teams to have really good seasons and make pushes for the postseason, but I just think it makes a ton of sense to take Tennessee at -2.5 here. Nashville will be rocking come Sunday and Titans fans have high expectations after some of the offseason moves their team made to improve both sides of the ball. This feels like a game where Tennessee gets up early and rolls with Derrick Henry in the fourth quarter to seal the deal. I fully expect the Titans to win, and if they do, the odds are very good that it will be by at least a field goal.
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions Under 45.0
I don't know exactly how good San Francisco's offense is going to be this year. I do know that their defense will be fierce as they will be kicking off the season with a fully loaded roster after suffering several key injuries in 2020. As far as the Lions are concerned, this will be their first regular season game with a new head coach, new quarterback, and a plethora of new receivers. I feel like they will struggle to get much of anything going on offense in this one after taking a step back, in my opinion, by swapping Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff. I expect this to be a low scoring affair where the 49ers get the win by a score of around 24-13, which would fall safely below the point total.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Over 53.0
The Chiefs and the overs weren't exactly the best of friends last season, but check out how many points they've scored in opening weeks over the last five seasons: 34, 40, 38, 42, 33. It's clear that Andy Reid is great in season openers and I expect that trend to continue into 2021 with another loaded offensive roster. Furthermore, the Browns are returning their full cast on offense from 2020, including O'Dell Beckham, Jr., who missed most of last season with a torn ACL. Cleveland's games went over more than half the time in 2020, and when they reached the over, they did so in a big way. There are going to be a lot of points scored in this one, and I can't wait for it.
Denver Broncos at New York Giants Under 42.0
Both of these teams have stellar defenses but questionable offenses. The data point that stuck out the most to me during my research of this matchup is that the Giants only played in three games last season that went over the point total. Three! That seems nearly impossible to me. And even if Saquon Barkley is ready to go for the season opener, I don't think he's going to make a gigantic impact behind New York's offensive line. Teddy Bridgewater earned the starting job in Denver but I don't see him storming out of the gates with a great offensive performance in week 1. This should be another grueling duel between two hard-nosed teams, and points should be at a premium all day long for both teams.
New England Patriots -3.0 vs. Miami Dolphins
As long as Bill Belichick is in New England, I don't know if I'll ever pick the Dolphins against the Patriots. The Pats obviously have a ton of confidence in their rookie quarterback, Mac Jones, and so I have a ton of confidence in the Pats. Not to mention that the return of Kyle Van Noy and Dont'a Hightower are sure to bolster their defense. I'm still not sure if I believe in Tua just yet, so my skepticism there has further pushed me toward siding with New England in this matchup. I like the Patriots to win by at least a touchdown.
Lock of the Week: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.0 vs. Dallas Cowboys
âIt feels like there's no way this game doesn't turn into a blowout. I would have picked the Bucs as lock of the week, month, and year, potentially, if the line had moved under 7, but I still think Tampa will easily win by double digits. They have so much talent on offense to assist Tom Brady out again and their defense looked incredible toward the end of last season. They seemingly kept everyone who mattered from their 2020 Super Bowl run on the roster and the atmosphere will be incredible as the Bucs celebrate that Super Bowl victory and hang a banner in the pregame ceremony. There's no chance the Cowboys cover on Thursday night.
Alright, 6-0 start, here we come. Comment below what your favorite bets of week 1 are and which ones you agree or disagree with me on.
Written by Nick Swatson