The suits at NFL headquarters released the schedule for the first week of the 2021 season and the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs host the Dallas Cowboys in the NFL Kickoff Game set for Thursday, Sept. 10. Oddsmakers already posted betting lines for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.
The LA Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, and Tampa Bay Bucs open the season as the biggest favorites in Week 1.
|2021 NFL – Week 1 Betting Lines|
|Dallas Cowboys||Tampa Bay Bucs||-6.5||52 o/u|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Buffalo Bills||-6||49.5 o/u|
|Arizona Cardinals||Tennessee Titans||-2.5||51 o/u|
|Minnesota Vikings||Cincinnati Bengals||+3||48 o/u|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Atlanta Falcons||-3.5||47 o/u|
|Denver Broncos||NY Giants||+1||42 o/u|
|Cleveland Browns||KC Chiefs||-6.5||53 o/u|
|Chicago Bears||LA Rams||-7||44.5 o/u|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Houston Texans||+3||45.5 o/u|
|NY Jets||Carolina Panthers||-4.5||43 o/u|
|LA Chargers||Washington Football Team||+1.5||44.5 o/u|
|San Francisco 49ers||Detroit Lions||+7||45.5 o/u|
|Seattle Seahawks||Indianapolis Colts||-3||52 o/u|
|Green Bay Packers||New Orleans Saints||-3||50.5 o/u|
|Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots||-2.5||44.5 o/u|
|Baltimore Ravens||Las Vegas Raiders||+3.5||51 o/u|
The Super Bowl champions typically play in the annual Kick-Off Game, which the NFL created back in 2002. The defending champions are 13-3 in the Kick-Off Game since 2004.
Big favorites and shootouts
Over his career, Brady has gone 4-1 in the Kick-Off Game. That bodes well for Brady and the Bucs, who opened as a -6.5 favorite on their home turf at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium over Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys.
The first Sunday Night Football for Week 1 features the Chicago Bears visiting Hollywood to take on the LA Rams. This marks the first game with Matthew Stafford as the new quarterback for the Rams, but he’s had plenty of experience battling the Bears as a divisional rival with the Detroit Lions. Da Bears come into this one as the biggest underdog on the board at +7.
The Kansas City Chiefs are on a mission to win Super Bowl 56 after a disappointing performance in Super Bowl 55 against the Bucs. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs come into this season as the consensus Super Bowl 56 favorite. The Cleveland Browns find themselves a big underdog by nearly a touchdown against the Chiefs in Week 1.
The pecking order has finally flipped in the AFC with the Pittsburgh Steelers chasing the Buffalo Bills instead of the other way around for the past two decades. The Steelers are +6.5 underdogs against the Bills at Orchard Park in Week 1. The Bills Mafia won’t expect anything less than a Super Bowl berth this season.
The Seattle Seahawks/Indianapolis Colts and the Arizona Cardinals/Tennessee Titans games are the other two potential high-scoring shootouts on the NFL slate for Week 1. Both games have totals above 51 points. Russell Wilson hinted that he wanted the Seahawks to trade him, but it was more wishful thinking than anything else. All signs suggest that Wilson isn’t going anywhere, at least for this season.
Low spark and home dogs
The first Monday Night Football game on the 2021 NFL schedule features the Baltimore Ravens visiting the Las Vegas Raiders in Las Vegas. The Raiders are a home dog in that one against Lamar Jackson. Other Week 1 home dogs include the Houston Texans, New York Giants, Washington Football Team, Detroit Lions, and the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Texans say they won’t trade Deshaun Watson, which means Watson will most likely sit out to start the season. The Jags and #1 pick Trevor Lawrence come into Week 1 as a -3 favorite against the Texans.
The New York Jets and Carolina Panthers meet in a game that features ex-Jets QB Sam Darnold against his old squad. He’ll try to outduel his replacement, Zach Wilson, whom the Jets selected with the second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Bookies expect this will be a low-scoring affair with the second-lowest total on the board at 43 o/u.
Other interesting Week 1 matchups
The Green Bay Packers head to the Big Easy to play the New Orleans Saints in the Superdome in Week 1. It will be their first game after Drew Brees retired; Jameis Winston is expected to start for the Saints. But who will be the QB for the Packers?
Aaron Rodgers is demanding that the Green Bay Packers trade him, so the question is, will that happen before the season begins or will he be sitting out? The Packers signed Blake Bortles to a contract today as an insurance policy.
It’s Tua time with the Miami Dolphins, but the Fish are +2.5 road dogs at Foxboro. If rookie Mac Jones isn’t ready by Week 1, Bill Belichick will have no qualms about starting Cam Newton in this AFC East matchup.