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The NFL season is here, and it is time for us to put our money where our mouth is. BeerLife Sports offers up a variety of handicappers, analysts, and predictive modelers at the top of their game offering betting advice. Take them ALL into account if possible. It’s gambling. Nobody knows anything for certain, but the more information and advice you have from people who spend their days scouring over numbers and algorithms and game film and matchup analysis, the more likely you will be to win.
It’s like buying a car. Read three, four, five, trusted sources and reviews before jumping in and you’re far less likely to drive away in a lemon.
Here are my picks for the first week of the NFL Season. Take them for what they are, my educated NFL handicapping picks. See if they mesh with your own thinking. It’s time to place your bets, people. The NFL betting season is officially open.
DALLAS COWBOYS at TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-8) (O/U 52)
We open the season with a barnburner. The defending Super Bowl champs host Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys. The injury to Zack Martin makes a Cowboys offense even more one-dimensional. The Buccaneers defense is the difference-maker in this one.
PREDICTION: Bucs 30 Cowboys 20
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-1) at WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (O/U 44.5)
This game is a fascinating match-up and will be an early-season test for the Chargers revamped offensive line. The Washington front seven is as good as any in the NFL, so the Chargers must provide enough time to keep quarterback Justin Herbert upright. A healthy Chargers defense comes up with timely turnovers against Fitz-magic and seals the victory.
PREDICTION: Chargers 27 Football Team 20
PITTSBURGH STEELERS at BUFFALO BILLS (-6.5) (O/U 48.5)
This game is my ‘Upset of the Week.’ This game should be a fantastic game between two legitimate Super Bowl contenders. The Steelers defense has had all off-season to prepare for this one. I like what I have seen out of their offense so far. I will take the Steelers in a shocker.
PREDICTION: Steelers 31 Bills 28
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-2.5) at INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (O/U 49.5)
The off-season has not gone according to plan for the Indianapolis Colts. Injuries to key players, a lack of cohesiveness can be expected early on. Seattle has no defense to speak of, so I would anticipate a back and forth, high-scoring game. I’ll take Russell Wilson to get it done in the clutch.
PREDICTION: Seahawks 31 Colts 27
ARIZONA CARDINALS at TENNESSEE TITANS (-3) (O/U 52.5)
Vegas expects this one to be a shootout, and I would concur. With Arthur Smith now in Atlanta, one school of thought, the Titans could become a bit more pass-heavy. We know that Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray will run an up-tempo offense, so get your popcorn ready for this one. I will take the Titans at home by the skin of their teeth.
PREDICTION: Titans 31 Cardinals 27
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-7.5) at DETROIT LIONS (O/U 45)
With the lack of weapons around Jared Goff, I don’t expect the Detroit Lions to put up much of a fight in this one. The 49ers on both sides of the ball overwhelm the Lions.
PREDICTION: 49ers 27 Lions 13
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-3.5) at CINCINNATI BENGALS (O/U 47.5)
When you look at this game, you see one team that seems to have it all together and one that cannot get out of its own way. The Minnesota Vikings find balance on offense with the running of Dalvin Cook, the talented duo at receiver in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, under the steady hand of Kirk Cousins. We are not sure what we’re getting from Joe Burrow in his first start since his horrific knee injury. Ja’Marr Chase has been slow to get up to speed at the NFL level. All signs point to a Vikings victory here.
PREDICTION: Vikings 30 Bengals 24
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES at ATLANTA FALCONS (-3) (O/U 48)
The Atlanta Falcons were one of the worst teams in the league against the pass last season and don’t appear to be much better heading into 2021. The question in this game is–will Jalen Hurts be able to take advantage? Hurts and the rushing attack get just enough done. The Eagles pull off the shocker and win this game outright.
PREDICTION: Eagles 24 Falcons 21
NEW YORK JETS at CAROLINA PANTHERS (-5) (O/U 45)
The game has some sneaky, fun appeal to it. The Sam Darnold revenge game narrative is at play. Two questionable defenses with improving offenses, so don’t sleep on this one. I think the Jets can win this game outright. I will take the five points.
PREDICTION: Panthers 27 Jets 24
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (-3) at HOUSTON TEXANS (O/U 44.5)
The Houston Texans do not solicit much confidence heading into the opener. On the other side of the field, the Jacksonville Jaguars seem perfectly content to use a run-heavy approach as they break in their franchise quarterback Trevor Lawrence. I like the Jaguars and the ‘under’ in a battle of two of the worst teams in the league.
PREDICTION: Jaguars 23 Texans 13
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-4) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (O/U 50)
The Green Bay Packers had themselves a tumultuous off-season of whether Aaron Rodgers was returning to Green Bay or not. Rodgers and Davante Adams return for their ‘Last Dance.’ The Saints, on the other hand, are breaking in a new quarterback as Jameis Winston won the starting job. Oddly enough, the Packers feel on more stable ground. I’ll take the Pack here in a game where points could come at a premium.
PREDICTION: Packers 27 Saints 17
DENVER BRONCOS (-3) at NEW YORK GIANTS (O/U 42)
The New York Giants feel like they are limping into the 2021 season. Both teams have top-notch defenses that should lead to a low-scoring game. I’ll take the Broncos in a close one.
PREDICTION: Broncos 20 Giants 16
CLEVELAND BROWNS at KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (-6.5) (O/U 54.5)
Vegas has this as the highest total for the weekend. Not a surprise considering that the Chiefs find themselves in a familiar position, the team with the best offense in the league. I expect the Browns offense to put more on the shoulders of quarterback Baker Mayfield, an old-fashioned shootout it is. I will take the Browns to cover, and I’ll roll with the over. PRO TIP: It might be worth it to buy that extra point and get this line to 7.5.
PREDICTION: Chiefs 31 Browns 27
MIAMI DOLPHINS at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-3) (O/U 43.5)
Can Tua Tagovailoa put a subpar 2020 in his rearview mirror? Can Mac Jones perform beyond his years as a rookie? This AFC East battle may come down to which defense makes the critical plays. I trust the Patriot’s defense at home in this one.
PREDICTION: Patriots 23 Dolphins 17
CHICAGO BEARS AT LOS ANGELES RAMS (-7.5) (O/U 46)
On the surface, this feels like a slamdunk for the Los Angeles Rams. Andy Dalton is just keeping the quarterback seat warm for Justin Fields. I like the Rams to win in Matthew Stafford’s debut, but I like the Bears running game and tough defense to keep it closer enough to cover.
PREDICTION: Rams 24 Bears 20
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-4.5) at LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (O/U 51)
Traditionally, the Las Vegas Raiders have been a tough out on Monday Night Football, especially to kick off the season. I am just not buying that this time around. The Ravens are soundly a better team on both sides of the ball. I don’t anticipate the Raiders doing very much on the offensive side of the ball, so take the ‘under.’