Christmas in September is finally here! It’s Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season, and our long seven-month hiatus from meaningful pro football, and pro football betting, is over.
Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Washington Football Team
We know that the defense of the Washington Football Team will be great, and we know that Ryan Fitzpatrick will be serviceable as their quarterback. The greater unknowns are with the Los Angeles Chargers, who start a quarterback coming off a stellar rookie season.
Justin Herbert’s record-setting campaign was no fluke. He’s the real deal. And even facing a great defense like WFT’s, he’ll move the ball better than Fitzpatrick, who is also facing a good defense. And more importantly for LA, a healthy defense.
Give the one point and take the Chargers.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+6.5) at Buffalo Bills
As we saw last season, a healthy and rested Ben Roethlisberger is still a good quarterback. It’s when he becomes bruised and battered and tired that the Pittsburgh Steelers become a pedestrian team barely limping into the playoffs.
The Buffalo Bills are great, but in Week 1, they aren’t a touchdown better than Pittsburgh. If this was a December game, maybe we take Buffalo as 6.5-point favorites. But in Week 1, trust head coach Mike Tomlin and Roethlisberger to keep this game competitive.
Take the points.
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at New York Giants
Even if he does play, Saquon Barkley will be limited. And even though the New York Giants have added Kenny Golladay and rookie Kadarius Toney to their wide receiver’s room, the Denver Broncos counter with one of the best secondaries in the NFL.
This Denver defense will suffocate the New York offense, holding them to fewer than 20 points. Meanwhile, new quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will also find the going tough, but he won’t make any mistakes, and that puts the Broncos in the win column by at least three points.
With more weapons than New York and a better defense, lay the points and take the Broncos.
Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders (+4.5)
A couple of weeks ago, you would have taken the Baltimore Ravens in an offensive rout. But with mounting injuries, the Baltimore offense will not be nearly as good as first thought.
This is a run-first team, now without two of its top-three running backs, including star in the making J.K. Dobbins. But with the need to move to a more passing offense because of those injuries, they are also missing wide receivers Miles Boykin and first-round draft pick Rashod Bateman.
It’s the first game with fans in Vegas, and the Las Vegas Raiders get a snake-bitten Ravens team. Take the points.
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