Seattle Seahawks -3 @ Indinapolis Colts (-110)
The Seahawks are only favored by a field goal, but it should be more. The Seahawks have won their last two openers while the Colts have lost their last 4 openers. Part of that chaos is due to them starting a new quarterback each time. That trend continues in 2021 with Carson Wentz.
Wentz showed promise early in his career, but his decline became especially problematic last year. He was tied for the league lead in interceptions while also having the second highest interception percentage. Being reunited with Frank Reich should help his trajectory, but it will probably take a few games to settle in, especially when he’s barely practiced due to a foot injury he suffered early in training camp. His chemistry with the receivers probably won’t be refined by week one.
I trust Russell Wilson and the Seahawks to pick up where they left off last year, where Wilson was his dominant self and the Seahawks won 12 games. They upgraded their offensive line with Gabe Jackson and added a few receiving threats in Gerald Everett and D’Wayne Eskridge. The defense should continue their improvement that happened in the back half of the season.
Helping matters is that Seattle is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 September games. Indianapolis has a poor history of openers, going 1-11-1 ATS in their last 13 week 1 games.
Baltimore Ravens -4.5 @ Las Vegas Raiders (-110)
The Ravens have been one of the most well run franchises since its inception, and they have proved it in their openers, as Baltimore has won their last six season openers. With Lamar Jackson starting, they’ve won their last two openers in blowout fashion by a combined 79 points. Baltimore is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 week 1 games and 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games.
I can’t trust what the Raiders are doing on offense. Derek Carr is solid, but they lost offensive linemen Trent Brown and Gabe Jackson this year. Nelson Agholor was productive last year, so they signed John Brown to replace him. Then Brown asked for his release, leaving the top two wide receivers to be Henry Ruggs III and Hunter Renfrow.
Despite the injury issues, the Ravens have done a good job of signing proven vets to handle the backfield. Le’Veon Bell, Latavius Murray, and Devonta Freeman should equal the production that JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards would have provided. Murray should especially be consistent. He’s the downhill runner the Ravens love and has had at least 700 scrimmage yards every year since 2016.
Over 47.5 Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals (-106)
This should be a surprisingly high scoring game as both teams feature good offenses with questionable defenses. While known as a defensive team with a lagging offense, Mike Zimmer’s Vikings flipped roles last year. The Vikings ranked bottom 10 in points, yards, and just about every category that mattered. Conversely, The Bengals ranked bottom 11 in points, yards, yards per play, turnover percentage, and last in sacks.
The Minnesota offense took the reins and scored 27 points per game, 11th in the NFL. That includes 6 games of scoring more than 30 points, and 13 or their 16 games had at least 50 total points scored. The only games that didn’t were against the Bears, Buccaneers, and Colts – all teams with stout defenses, unlike the Bengals.
Bengals’ quarterback Joe Burrow is back and healthy. Despite the rumors of training camp struggles, he apparently gained his confidence back and is looking sharp. In his 9 full games last year, he averaged 23 points per game. That includes four starts with 30 or more points scored by the Bengals, and 5 of those 9 games had 50 or more total points scored.
The Over is 4-1 in the Vikings last 5 games as a favorite.
Over 49.5 Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints (-115)
Both teams have good defenses that should be overmatched by the opposing offenses. Both the Saints’ and Packers’ offenses averaged over 30 points per game in 2020 and both teams return most of the same personnel. Even when Drew Brees had to sit out 4 games in 2020, the Saints scored at least 21 points in every game and had a game where they scored 31.
Taysom Hill led the charge in those 4 games. He’s less of a refined passer than Jameis Winston, and even if Winston is prone to the dumb interception the offense should be better than the one led by Hill. He’ll allow Sean Payton to open up the playbook to attack the field deep, something that even Brees struggled with towards the end.
For the Packers it’s the same old story. They still have Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Davante Adams to slice up any defense. This is the same offense that scored 30 points in 12 of their 16 regular season games in 2020. Outside of a shallacking by Tampa Bay, the Packers put up a minimum of 22 points in the other 3 games.
The Over is 4-0 in the Packers’ last 4 overall and 7-0 in the Saints’ last 7 season openers.
Up 0.51 betting units as of publication date. One unit per bet unless noted otherwise.