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5 Best NFL Predictions Against The Spread: Week 1

What 5 NFL games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into Week 1 of the 2021 season? Here you go. Enjoy.

Week 1 NFL Predictions, Game Previews
Week 1 NFL Predictions, Schedule, Times, Lines, Previews
CFN Fearless Predictions & Game Previews
CFN Expert Picks: NFL

5. Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams

Line: Los Angeles -7.5
ATS Pick: Los Angeles

In Week 1, always like the underdogs by more than a touchdown – like Dallas on Thursday night against Tampa Bay – and always assume that the professional coaching staff on the big underdog side has something interesting ready to go to counteract what everyone knows is true.

In this case, just assume that Matt Nagy and the Bear coaches will find some way to overcome their abysmal offensive line to prevent Aaron Donald and company from jumping on Andy Dalton’s head all game long.

And about Dalton – he’s not going to be awful. It still won’t be enough.

The Bears will be okay, and the defense will have its moments, but Khalil Mack isn’t anywhere close to 100% – the line has to get to Matthew Stafford, or uh oh – and the Chicago offensive line really is going to be an issue.

LA won last year 24-10, and this time around it’s the opener in front of a whole lot of fans in the shiny stadium on Sunday night with the world watching.

Under pressure, Dalton throws a late pick that turns into Ram points to cover.

NEXT: Green Bay at New Orleans, Part 1

4. Green Bay at New Orleans

Point Total: 49.5
ATS Pick: Under

It’s the first of two picks for this game around two theories. 1) The Jacksonville setting will make this odd – more about that in the next pick – and 2) both defenses are just going to be terrific.

As amazing as Aaron Rodgers and the Packers were on offense last season, it was the defense that helped make the run to the No. 1 seed by holding four of the last five teams on the regular season slate to fewer than 17 points each.

New Orleans was fifth in the NFL in points allowed, holding eight of the last ten teams it played before Tampa Bay in the playoffs to 20 or fewer.

Both offensive lines will be good – especially New Orleans’ – but both will bring the pass rush, and …
Whatever. People are going to bet up the over on Sunday morning because it’s more fun – wait until late and this goes up to around 51 – and they remember the 37-30 shootout and Green Bay win early last year.

Also, there’s the Jameis factor.

Do the Saints have a slew of high-end receivers? Not really. Is Sean Payton going to fully trust Winston to turn it loose against a secondary that forced a whole lot of takeaways over the second half of last season? Probably not.

Hope for a shootout, prepare for a game in the mid-20s on each side.

NEXT: Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts

3. Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts

Line: Seattle -3
ATS Pick: Seattle

Just how much do you really believe in Carson Wentz being ready to be terrific?

The Colts might be a home dog, but there are whole lot of parts to this game that just don’t fit.

Russell Wilson and the Seattle passing game are about to go off.

The Colts might have worked to fix the secondary, and they have the ground attack to control the clock and the tempo, but it’ll be bombs away for a Seattle offense that’s going to keep on pushing the big play down the field.

The Seahawk defense might still be a work in progress, but it’ll likely take its chances against Wentz rather than get bashed by Jonathan Taylor and the Colt O.

But it won’t matter if this is any sort of a shootout, and it’s actually better for Seattle if it is.

Turnovers mean everything to this Seattle team. It was 0-5 last season when giving it away two times or more, but There weren’t any giveaways in the season-opener against Atlanta last season, and offensive problems have come late over the last two seasons.

Basically, take Russell over Wentz.

Speaking of taking one quarterback over another …

NEXT: Green Bay at New Orleans, Part 2

2. Green Bay at New Orleans

Line: Green Bay -3.5
ATS Pick: Green Bay

Yeah, the crowds do seem to matter.

These are multi-bazillionaire professional athletes that don’t seem to be fazed by much, but in all sports across the board, the home fan bases seem to be a big deal.

If this game was in New Orleans it would probably be Saints -1, but it’s not, and it isn’t.

Jacksonville struggles to generate NFL energy and a buzz in Jacksonville. Even the novelty of going to see Aaron Rodgers live might not be enough considering the game comes right after the Jaguar game at Houston finishes up.

So you have two teams playing on the road.

Beyond all of the other analysis of Green Bay having more offensive pop while likely being able to hold serve defensively with a solid Saint D, do you like Aaron Rodgers -3.5 or Jameis Winston/Taysom Hill +3.5?

Of course you do.

NEXT: New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

1. New York Jets at Carolina Panthers

Line: Carolina -3.5
ATS Pick: Carolina

Take away the Sam Darnold vs. Jets factor here. It’s not like Carolina is going to win this by more than 3.5 just because the guy might be extra focused.

It’s going to win by more than 3.5 because Darnold isn’t totally miserable, he’s in a great situation, he gets Christian McCaffrey to hand off to, and the other side is starting a rookie against what should be an improved pass rush.

Carolina might have been awful down the stretch last season losing four of its last five games, but it’s not like the Jets fixed all the glitches in one offseason. This is still a team that came achingly close to getting Trevor Lawrence and still has a whole slew of issues and concerns.

You’re getting the home team -3 here, and you’re only giving up the hook.

Yeah, the Jets really will be a whole lot better, and yeah, they were competitive down the stretch last season, but this offense is trying to go from struggling to just okay.

Go ahead. Assume Darnold is going to be better than Zach Wilson … for now.

Week 1 NFL Predictions, Game Previews
Week 1 NFL Predictions, Schedule, Times, Lines, Previews
CFN Fearless Predictions & Game Previews
CFN Expert Picks: NFL

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