Without overthinking, here are Sportzstew’s initial set of ATS calls for an exciting opening slate:
Game of the Week: Browns at Chiefs -6.5
The Chiefs and Browns last met at the 2020 AFC divisional playoffs. By half time, Kansas City was leading 19-3 and managed to get a close 22-19 victory despite losing Patrick Mahomes to a concussion. Cleveland now has an explosive offense led by Baker Mayfield, but the Chiefs still take this win. Learn how to bet on sports.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Chiefs win, but they might fail to cover the spread.
Game of Midweek: Cowboys at Buccaneers -7.5
Dak Prescott is carrying a mystery shoulder injury. And this factor definitely puts a big question mark on his possible performance. They are also visiting the current Super Bowl 55 champions. Tom Brady is healthy and ready, and Tampa managed to keep all of its key players from last season. NFL Point Spreads explained.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Buccaneers get the win and also cover the spread.
Lock of the Week: 49ers at Lions
Jimmy Garoppolo won the starting QB position over rookie Trey Lance for the 49ers. But it really doesn’t matter who’s under center as San Francisco’s dangerous passing game and dynamic running game can be just too much for Detroit’s rebuilding defense. Plus, the Niners have proven to be true road warriors under Kyle Shanahan. Get your own bet tracker spreadsheet here.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: 49ers get the victory and cover the spread.
Upset of the Week: Bengals at Vikings
The Vikings are definitely an overrated team this season, and the Bengals are certainly underrated.
Quarterback Joe Burrow and former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase will be leading a more solid Cincinnati offensive lineup. With that said, both defenses are good, but they both also have a few weaknesses they must work on. The Vikes will try to focus on the running game by Dalvin Cook, but Burrow and the rest of the Bengals can be just a lot to handle right now for Kirk Cousins and the rest of the Minnesota franchise.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Bengals get the win.
Jaguars at Texans
Clash of former Clemson quarterbacks in Trevor Lawrence and Deshaun Watson. Lawrence gets the edge here. Houston’s defense is weak, and Jacksonville does count with the right passing game, allowing them to steal one while they can.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Jaguars get the victory and covers.
Chargers at Washington
The Chargers are showing a new defensive lineup, and second-year quarterback Justin Herbert is more than comfortable with his new offensive weapons. With that said, Ryan Fitzpatrick also counts on great, dynamic receiving weapons. So, it’s fair to say that this is the classic toss-up situation, although the Chargers have just a little bit more energy and juice.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Chargers get the win.
Seahawks at Colts
The West Coast features another strong road team, and those are the Seahawks, led by a more than trustworthy quarterback in Russell Wilson in a new-look offense under Shane Waldron. For the Colts, Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson are healthy and ready to display their talent. But, Seattle’s running game is definitely superior.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Seahawks wins and covers.
Jets at Panthers
Zack Wilson is definitely an upgrade at the QB position over Sam Darnold. But a road debut, working with offensive weapons he’s still getting used to can be and will be challenging for the rookie. On the other side of the fence, Darnold is expected to have an easier time facing his former team. And that’s much in part to the presence of Christian McCaffrey, who’s ready to complement Carolina’s offense.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Panthers defeat New York and covers.
Cardinals at Titans
These two teams struggled defensively last season, and some of those problems remain. That means a high-scoring game, with Derrick Henry and Kyler Murray as the centerpieces. With that said, The Cardinals feature more impact defensive players to contain Ryan Tannehill’s performance. And we can also mention J.J. Watt, who doesn’t want his new franchise to lose versus a familiar AFC South rival.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Cardinals get the win.
Steelers at Bills
The Bills defeated the Steelers last season 26-15. This time, Josh Allen won’t have it easy versus T.J. Watt and Minkah Fitzpatrick. But Big Ben will have an even tougher time versus a renewed, strong Bills’ defense. Buffalo will manage to contain rookie Najee Harris, and Allen will find just enough matchups to exploit.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Bills beat the Steelers and cover.
Eagles at Falcons
While the Eagles’ new coach Nick Sirianni is offensive-minded, Atlanta’s new coach Arthur Smith is offensive-minded. The Falcons, with Matt Ryan at QB, are featuring an improved running game, with WR Calvin Ridley, rookie TE Kyle Pitts, and Mike Davis. Philly with Jalen Hurts has a more volatile passing and running game.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Falcons win but fails to cover the spread.
Packers at Saints
The Packers count on Aaron Rodgers for an extra season. Drew Brees is gone for the Saints. That means that the offense for Green Bay is definitely more reliable. At this point, it’s safe to say that NOLA is a wild card, being too Alvin Kamara-dependent. Brees turned the dome reliable, automatically. But Rodgers and a road win is a better wager here.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Packers win and covers.
Broncos at Giants
Denver will be trusting the talents of Teddy Bridgewater at QB, while the Giants are risking it all with third-year Daniel Jones. With Vic Fangio, the Broncos rely more on a defensive game, with Javonte Williams in the backfield. On the other hand, a healthy Saquon Barkley and big-play Kenny Golladay is just the offensive power Jones requires.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Giants get the win.
Dolphins at Patriots
Miami is featuring a rebooted offense in the first full season of Tua Tagovailoa as the starting quarterback for the Dolphins. The Pats, featuring Mac Jones, will be focusing on the passing game, and a strong and deep running game, while still relying on their good defense. This is likely to turn into a messy-low-scoring game, with small offensive mistakes as the responsible ones for the final outcome. All in all, New England wins the battle.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: The Patriots win and covers the spread.
Bears at Rams
The Bears are going with Andy Dalton over rookie Justin Fields. That said, this game won’t be easy for Dalton, whose offensive weapons, including Allen Robinson, will be blocked by Aaron Donald. When it comes to the Rams, Matthew Stafford, energized by the savvy-play calling from Sean McVay will be making his QB debut versus a familiar NFC North rival.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Rams beat the Bears and covers the spread.
Ravens at Raiders
With Gus Edwards and a revamped receiving corps, Lamar Jackson will do whatever he wants. Derek Carr will be stopped constantly.
2021 NFL Week 1 Prediction: Ravens get the win and covers.
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