The NFL announced the 2021 Week 1 schedule yesterday, along with the plan for the rest of the season. As such, Week 1 NFL betting odds have been posted for this year’s opening week. Which teams should you put your money on? Here are our Week 1 picks and predictions still months away from the 2021 NFL season opener.
Week 1 NFL point spreads to target
Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5) at Houston Texans
This game is intriguing for two reasons. Firstly, we have a Jacksonville squad that will be head coached by Urban Meyer, who last stepped on a football field in January of 2019. He is paired with first overall pick Trevor Lawrence as the new face of the franchise. Secondly, is what will be occurring under center for the Houston Texans. Tyrod Taylor is the presumptive starter heading into Week 1, and his supporting cast is less than stellar.
Outside of Brandin Cooks and Laremy Tunsil, Houston’s offense is bereft of talent. Taylor himself hasn’t started a game since Week 1 of 2020. Even then, he completed just 16-of-30 passes for 208 yards and no scores against a lousy Bengals defense. Make no mistake, this Jaguars team is loaded with untapped potential. Lawrence’s offensive line is nothing more than average. Yet, it doesn’t need to be when throwing to D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones, and handing the ball off to James Robinson and Travis Etienne.
Furthermore, Meyer was worth 2.5-3 points in his time at Ohio State, making him one of the most valuable coaches for bettors. In his entire coaching career beginning at Bowling Green, Meyer is 122-90-1 against the spread (ATS). Typically, a rookie signal-caller and head coach in their first week is an instant fade. But against a Texans team that is projected to hold the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft — hammer the Jaguars. This game’s line opened with Jacksonville -1.5 so bet it before the momentum pushes to 3.
Pick: Jacksonville -2.5
Los Angeles Chargers (-1.5) at Washington Football Team
All credit to the reigning Rookie of the Year, but Justin Herbert is bound to regress after a historic campaign. Not only that, but former Rams defensive coordinator Brandon Staley is at the helm and will need time to implement his system. On the other side of the field, Washington continues to ascend after an impressive playoff run last year — albeit with a 7-9 record in the dumpster fire that was the NFC East.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will be under center, and if there is anything we know about FitzMagic, you do not bet against him. Fitzpatrick can look like an All-Pro one game and then a UDFA the next. But boy, is it consistently entertaining. He now has Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Antonio Gibson, Logan Thomas, and a stable of young playmakers to target. That is not to mention the suffocating defense that Ron Rivera has at his fingertips with Chase Young leading the pack.
The Chargers have an exceptional roster on paper, but continuity and momentum are already on Washington’s side. The opening line had Washington -1.5, which I would have bet, making this a surefire pick for me.
Pick: Washington +1.5
More NFL odds, picks, and predictions for Week 1
With a full slate of NFL odds available for Week 1, here are a few more picks and predictions for a couple more games during opening week.
Arizona Cardinals (+2.5) at Tennessee Titans
This is one of my favorite picks for Week 1 of the NFL. The Titans lost their offensive coordinator, Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, and nearly their entire cornerback room in one offseason. They are a major fade candidate for the 2021 season. Yes, they are home, but they face a Cardinals team that is hungry for success. Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray have heard all the detractors and will look to piece everything together in 2021.
Tennessee has A.J. Brown and Derrick Henry, who can not be discounted, and Arizona has a secondary no one should have confidence in. Still, I believe the Cardinals’ explosive offense will hit their stride and the defense will carry their weight. There has been no line movement from opening to today.
Pick: Arizona +2.5
Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons
The Eagles’ 2021 campaign will go one of two ways: 1) Jalen Hurts and DeVonta Smith create an unstoppable post-Alabama connection and strike fear into NFL defenses, or 2) Hurts proves to be nothing over second-string quality, their defense falls apart, and Smith gets blown away by the wind due to his slight frame. Jokes aside, no one knows how Philadelphia will finish the season.
Atlanta has similar potential outcomes, but their offense is far superior. Matt Ryan, a healthy Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Mike Davis, and Kyle Pitts on one side of the field? As their fight song lyrics read, “Fly, Eagles Fly.” Fly away that is. Arthur Smith brings his play-action-heavy scheme to Atlanta, which is just a cheat code for players of Jones, Ridley, and Pitts’ caliber. Ryan is on the wrong side of 30, but he can decimate this Eagles defense in Week 1. There has been no line movement from opening to today.
Pick: Atlanta -3.5
Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at Las Vegas Raiders
The last on this list of best NFL betting odds in Week 1 will be short and sweet. Outside of Darren Waller, Josh Jacobs, and the sometimes-inspired Derek Carr, the Raiders own nothing short of a flawed roster. We can make fun of their reaching of players in the NFL Draft, but their roster construction has been questionable at best. They blew up one of the best offensive lines in football this offseason.
On the Baltimore side, you have top-tier roster construction combined with excellent drafts. Lamar Jackson and Co. will eat Las Vegas’ defense alive while Baltimore’s defense stymies the opposition. Baltimore opened at -5.5, so take the extra point!
Pick: Baltimore -4.5