We’re back in a big way to kick off the NFL Week 1 betting season by touching on three games whose numbers should be on the move come Sunday (or before). As football fans we can only hope the entire 2021 campaign provides the level of drama provided by the season opener.
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Arizona +3 (-110) at Tennessee
We saw the spread for this non-conference matchup open with Tennessee installed as modest 2.5 point home favorite. The number remained static until Julio Jones arrived in Nashville. With his addition the market reacted accordingly; pushing Tennessee out to a field goal favorite where the price settled all summer for NFL Week 1 betting. It wasn’t until the last 72 hours where we started to see Arizona money trickle into the market and I expect that to continue until game-day.
Win Total Over
The Arizona Cardinals win total took OVER money during the past week; rather odd for a team projected to finish last in its own division. The price reached as high as 8.5 (-130) when limits were raised. The addition of J.J. Watt and A.J. Green were initially labeled as “stretches” for a team trying to get over the hump and into the playoffs. However a young QB on a rookie contract gave them flexibility to chase a number of impact veterans. Green has looked strong during training camp and rookie standout Rondale Moore has the potential to “eat” from the slot in Kingsbury’s offense.
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Fresh Faces New Places for NFL Week 1 Betting
The offensive line improved with the addition of former Raider center Rodney Hudson. Facing a Titans defense to open the season that hasn’t put fear into an opponent since HC Mike Vrabel arrived, it’s not hard to see why both the Cardinals and the OVER are taking money in this spot. This will be the Titans first game without former OC Arthur Smith. It also happens to be the first week all camp that QB Ryan Tannehill and WR Julio Jones have practiced together in a team setting due to Tannehill’s reserve designation and Julio’s lingering knee issues. Expect this number to dip below the “3” before kickoff meaning the Cardinals could make an excellent teaser leg come Sunday. The OVER money for NFL Week 1 betting is also very real.
San Francisco at Detroit 1H Under 23.5 (-115):
San Francisco is one of the biggest favorites on the board for Week 1 as they head to Detroit. The Lions are led by a coach in Dan Campbell not shy about sharing the desired strategy he hopes to implement during his time in the Motor City. We’ve seen the UNDER move from 46 to 45 for the full game with juice attached to the key number in faraway places. Campbell has reiterated his stance at every chance on the importance of being a physical team that plays ground and pound football.
Skill Position Questions for NFL Week 1 betting
Fortunately Campbell has an above average OL led by C Frank Ragnow and LT Taylor Decker to implement his style. Jamaal Williams and De’Andre Swift are both full steam ahead and I imagine the Lions stay committed to their old school approach unless they’re chasing. The real worry for the Lions offense is the absence of talent in the receiving core. Tyrell Williams, Quentez Cephus, Kalif Raymond and Amon-Ra St. Brown are possibly the worst group of WR options in football. Tight end TJ Hockenson is on the injury report with a shoulder issue stemming from the 3rd preseason game.
Run First Run Often
I’d be shocked to see a real “pop” from this offense early, especially against a very good front 7. The 49ers defensive front is known for making Goffs life miserable during his time in LA. On the other side of the ball, Shanahan’s zone run-scheme offense goes up against the relative strength of the Lions defense. DE’s Michael Brockers and Trey Flowers are paired with interior defensive lineman Alim McNeil and Nick Williams in the trenches. This group in particular won battles in practice against the offensive line so we expect a strong effort early from them. The 1H Under is starting to trickle down to 22.5 at some of the sharper shops. Grabbing the 23.5/23 is key here as I expect this to continue to dip.
New York Giants Team Total Under 20.5/20 (-110):
This one is short and sweet. I expect this number could close around 19/18.5 come kickoff. Denver trots out what is arguably one of the best defenses in all of football. Vic Fangio’s fingerprints all over an extremely talented defense entering the 3rd year in his system. The secondary has the potential to be the best in the NFL. Nothing is more illustrative of their depth than how quickly some of the secondary members were scooped up by other teams after being released. The CB room of Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, Patrick Surtain II and Bryce Callahan looks outstanding. When Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson man the safety positions, opposing QB’s will have their hands full.
Despite all the shiny toys the Giants have acquired over the past few years at the skill positions, they’re handicapped by a poor offensive line, QB Daniel Jones, and Jason Garrett calling plays. Evan Engram is expected to be down for the season opener. Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay, and Kadarius Toney are still on limited practice duties but I’d expect to see all three on Sunday. Garrett has never inspired any sort of confidence through his 1st down run heavy play-calls and you begin to understand why under is taking money for NFL Week 1 betting.
We could see the Giants entering a world of hurt if their offense lacks creativity. One bonus for the total is Denver’s decision to play Teddy Bridgwater at QB. Bridgewater limits the Broncos potential offensive upside but also isn’t a risk to create points for the opposition like Lock who was notorious for careless turnovers. With both Denver and the UNDER taking professional money, the Giants team total at 20 or better is worth a look.
Week 2 Look-Ahead Lines via FanDuel Sportsbook:
NY Giants at Washington -3
Las Vegas at Pittsburgh -6
Cincinnati at Chicago -4.5
Houston at Cleveland -13
LA Rams -2.5 at Indianapolis
Buffalo -3 at Miami
New England -4.5 at NY Jets
San Francisco -4.5 at Philadelphia
New Orleans -3 at Carolina
Denver -2.5 at Jacksonville
Minnesota at Arizona -1.5
Atlanta at Tampa Bay -8
Dallas at LA Chargers -1
Tennessee at Seattle -4.5
Kansas City -1 at Baltimore
Detroit at Green Bay -10