Kneejerk reactions to week 1 point spreads, lines, odds

Thursday, 22 July 2021 11:05 EST

NFLbets has said (written?) it before, and we’ll say (write?) it again: Betting week 1 games in the NFL is a crapshoot at best, burning money at worst. The truth is that most bettors are going into opening week in a next-to-ignorant state, armed only with memories of the previous season and speculation on the league’s rookies.

Naturally, of course, no NFL bettors worth their salt eschew betting week 1 altogether, and NFLbets has to admit to great temptation from a handful of the week 1 pointspreads, already released by most sportsbooks. So go ahead, bet at will – just be careful out there…

NFL week 1 betting: All 32 teams

Early week 1 pointspreads are as follows.

Dallas Cowboys +6½ at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
NFLbets realizes that the league traditionally likes to kick off a new season with the defending champs and with “America’s Team” expected to contend in 2021, Pokes vs Bucs makes a decent enough opener – except that after Hard Knocks and umpteen commercials featuring Tom Brady, this matchup will make for an unusual week 1 Overexposure Bowl…

Pittsburgh Steelers +6½ at Buffalo Bills
The Bills may have gained quite the bandwagon following during their playoff run last season (hey, NFLbets had ’em going to the Super Bowl last year, much to our chagrin) but we’re figuring the crowd is back down to the diehard Bills mafia, meaning this line will shrink – and betting on Buffalo will just look better and better…

New York Jets +4 at Carolina Panthers
If anyone doubted that NFL schedule-makers play to manufactured narratives, check out this, the Sam Darnold Revenge Game, in week 1...

Jacksonville Jaguars -2½ at Houston Texans
That goes double for this game: Urban Meyer’s first game as an NFL head coach pits his Jaguars against a stapled-together roster led by (most likely) the league’s worst starting QB. This opener should also get both teams some good national coverage for a couple teams who will be ignored for the last 17 weeks of the season.

Arizona Cardinals +3 at Tennessee Titans
Calling this one now: By season’s end, these two teams will be counted among the NFL’s most disappointing – by those who haven’t been paying attention to Kyler Murray’s baffling inconsistency and/or the steady degeneration of the Titans offense.

“Los Angeles” Chargers -1 at Washington Redtails
By contrast, Chargers at Washington could well be retroactively recognized as a matchup of a top-3 offense vs top-3 defense.

Philadelphia Eagles +3½ at Atlanta Falcons
NFL-Fostered Narratives, part II: This one’ll be marketed with a focus on the “battle” between two rookies coveted by fantasy football owners: DeVonta Smith and Kyle Pitts.

Seattle Seahawks +2½ at Indianapolis Colts
Seattle may be playing with a time-zone disadvantage, but the Seahawks have gone 5-1 SU to start each of the previous two seasons. NFLbets already likes the possibilities of giving Russell Wilson & Co. the 2½...

Minnesota Vikings -3 at Cincinnati Bengals
NFLbets recalls the disclaimer that investment firms were required to run at the end of commercials: “Past performance is not indicative of future results.” NFLbets bets that by season’s end, we’ll be wondering how the hell the Vikings were giving a touchdown while visitors against a viable playoff contender.

San Francisco 49ers -7½ at Detroit Lions
The Lions’ unintended quest for 0-17 begins here: The fact that the Niners, who went 2-6 against teams with a winning record (and 2-7 against playoff teams) and are running with the same QB in which the head coach has been profoundly disappointed, get more than a touchdown in Detroit speaks volumes.

Cleveland Browns +6 at Kansas City Chiefs
Here’s your fodder for week 1 overreactions. A double-digit Browns loss will scare away backers in droves until about week 9 or so, while a Kansas City loss of any sort will have a majority of fandom mouth-frothing about Cleveland for the Super Bowl.

Miami Dolphins +2½ at New England Patriots
This line indicates that belief in Bill Belichick remains way high, while Tua Tagovailoa believers are minority. It’s also the single least unbettable opening-week game.

Denver Broncos -1 at New York Giants
Forget the point spread in this game, and look at that 42½-point over/under line instead.

Baltimore Ravens -4 at Las Vegas Raiders
NFLbets is already penciling in a big Raiders loss in front of their first proper Sin City home crowd and guessing that the responses to a Ravens blowout will not be overdone. This should be the beginning of the end for Derek Carr as Vegas starting QB.

Chicago Bears +7 at Los Angeles Rams
If we account for the old saw of “offenses get started faster than defenses,” the path to betting this game is clearly all about the over. If Matt Stafford is one-quarter the quarterback that hyped-up head coach Sean McVay believes he is, the Rams might top 45 by themselves against Chicago.

–written by Os Davis

Os Davis has been covering sports for longer than he’d care to admit. For personality, check his Twitter feed; for professional acumen, here’s his Linkedin profile.