I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to get this season started and to see fans back in the stands to start the 2021 campaign.
Every Week 1 I like to provide a little Betting 101 session for those of you who may be unaware of how a betting line works:
Spread – Points to add or subtract to the team’s final score
Win – Win without points
Total – Total combined score between the two teams (O = Over, U = Under)
In this case, if you placed a bet on the Ravens -7, they would need to win by more than 7 points for you to win. If you bet on the Bills +7, they would need to lose by less than 7 points (or win) for you to win the bet. A score difference of exactly 7 points would be a push and you would get your money back.
The number in parenthesis indicates the amount of money you will win for a particular bet. A negative number shows how much money you would have to put down to win $100. A positive number shows how much money you will win if you placed a $100 bet. For this game, if you wanted to bet on the Ravens to win, without points, you would have to put down $280 to win $100.
I will be using the spread data from the Action Network, and the other game related records and stats will be compiled from my own data combined with OddsShark.com and DraftKings. The lines will be as of Wednesday each week.
As I did in previous seasons, I’ll be picking a handful of games each week with one of those always being the Ravens.
Playoffs: 7-4-1 (63.6%)
Overall: 52-44-4 (54.2%)
BDC Lock of the Week
Overall: 13-6-1 (68.4%)
Before we get down to business, here is probably the most important line that you will read:
Disclaimer: Please do not take these picks and expect to make any real money. I enjoy picking games and the discussions they create so feel free to play along. I will provide information for each game, but please make your own decisions and BE RESPONSIBLE!
Feel free to play along, tell me where I’m wrong, post your own picks, or just enjoy the read. Onto Week 1…
San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions (+7.5, o/u 44.5)
Detroit has a new coach and a new quarterback. That quarterback, Jared Goff, is very familiar with the 49ers, but it won’t do him much good here in Week 1 with a significantly weaker team than he had in L.A.
San Francisco runs it up against the Lions and easily wins by two scores.
Detroit is 0-12 straight up in their last 12 games as a home underdog. The 49ers are 0-5 straight up and ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite.
My Pick: San Francisco -7.5
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Washington Football Team (+1, o/u 45.0)
If you’ve followed this piece over the years, you know I’m a sucker for good defense and that’s exactly what Washington should have this season. However, this game will ultimately come down to the player who has the most glorious beard in the NFL, Ryan Fitzpatrick. With the improved offense in Washington, if Fitzpatrick can limit the turnovers, Washington will be able to outduel Justin Herbert in the opener.
Washington is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games and covered 60.7% of the time last season as an underdog. Last season the Chargers went 9-7 ATS.
My Pick: Washington +1
Cleveland Browns vs. Kansas City Chiefs (-6, o/u 54.5)
This game should be one of the more entertaining games of opening weekend. The Browns have had an extremely productive offseason and are firmly on everybody’s radar as a contender to unseat the Chiefs as the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. Their revamped defense will get their first crack at the defending AFC Champs in Week 1 and I’m buying into (a little bit of) the hype.
Surprisingly, as good as the Chiefs were in 2020, they were terrible against the spread, going 1-9-1 over their last 11 games. I’m by no means confident enough to say the Browns pull off the upset, but I can very easily see them covering.
This will be a high scoring game that hits the over, but I do like the Browns to keep it close and interesting to the end so I’ll take the 6 points.
Cleveland is 0-15-1 straight up in their last 16 season openers and 5-16-1 ATS in their last 22 Week 1 games. The Chiefs finished 2020 8-10-1 ATS.
My Pick: Cleveland +6
Baltimore Ravens vs. Las Vegas Raiders (+4, o/u 50.5)
This total seems high to me. With the injuries the Ravens have on offense coupled with what should be an incredibly strong defense, I love the under play here in Vegas.
From a spread perspective, as much as I’ve tried to look for ways the Raiders cover, I just can’t find any. I like to play the “look-ahead” card with big games on the horizon, which the Ravens have next Sunday against the Chiefs, but this team is too well coached for me to truly factor that in, especially in Week 1.
The Ravens defense should be smothering and Derek Carr will help out by making a few mistakes to give the Ravens good field position. Lamar Jackson won’t be overpowering in Week 1, but he’ll do enough to guide the Ravens to an opening night victory.
Baltimore is 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games. The Raiders are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games.
My Pick: Baltimore -4
BDC Lock of the Week
Chicago Bears vs. Los Angeles Rams (-7.5, o/u 46.5)
Two words: Jake. Funk. (Okay I’m kidding)
I enjoyed watching Funk at Maryland so I’m hoping he gets some playing time here in prime time.
For my first lock of the 2021 season, I’m going to back Matthew Stafford. This Rams team is leaps and bounds better than any team he ever had in Detroit and the pressure begins for him to perform well. He will be expected to put up similar, if not better, numbers than he did in Detroit and lead this Rams team deep into the playoffs. Anything less would be viewed as a failure.
I like the Rams by double-digits.
The Rams are 8-2 straight up in their last 10 home games. Chicago is 2-4 straight up and ATS in their last 6 road games.
My Pick: Los Angeles -7.5
Week 1 is always a crapshoot. I could go 5-0 just as easily as I could go 0-5. Either way, it’ll be fun to have some football back on the big screen.
Good luck everybody!