It’s the first big Sunday of the NFL season and my goodness, are we excited or what! Week 1 always brings some unexpected results and this week should be no different. Game on.
With fans back in the stands across all NFL stadiums this season, there are those spirited souls who will tell anyone who will listen that home-field advantage is no longer worth three points when trying to determine the betting odds. While we generally agree, that does not apply to all teams. Some are three points for certain and others are at two points.
When it comes to betting football, generalizations are seldom true, and you have to fit the teams and points spread to each contest. Remember, these are the same people that say you should always pass on 4th and 1 and run on 4th and 2. Great when it works, not so great when it doesn’t.
For the NFL picks, let’s see if we can apply our knowledge and come up with some upsets against the spread or win outright. We also promise not to harp on how right we think we are.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Buffalo Bills
Sunday, September 12, 2021 – 01:00 PM EDT at Highmark Stadium
There are more than a few people who believe Buffalo can prevent Kansas City from returning to the Super Bowl for a third straight year. The Bills have the quarterback, defense and depth, along with weekly creative game planning.
No team in recent NFL history has been written off after a 12-4 season like Pittsburgh has. The Steelers started 11-0 and if you include losing playoff contest, they closed 1-5.
Truth be told, Pittsburgh was not a perfect team nor a bumbling outfit like they finished. Is Ben Roethlisberger a Super Bowl quarterback anymore? No. Quarterbacks his age lose arm strength (Tom Brady exception rule applies here) as the season wears on. However, that’s November/December, not the first week of a new season.
The Steelers' defense is still very good and the offense, if anything is underrated. Not saying Buffalo doesn’t win, but Pitt is 36-22 ATS as an underdog.
Some will point to Pitt being a terrible September road team, we agree, but their average margin of defeat is 1.8 PPG. Also, wait and see if the spread at the top sportsbooks climbs to +7, that would only help.
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots
Sunday, September 12, 2021 - 04:25 PM EDT at Gillette Stadium
There’s been much discussion on New England as we enter the season. The Patriots signed several free agents and players returning who opted out last year, which has led to a rosy outlook for New England. The ascension of rookie Mac Jones to take over as a starting quarterback says as much about him as it does whom he was competing against.
Miami won 10 games last year thanks to one of the healthiest rosters and the No. 1 defense in forced turnovers. Neither of the last two things is likely to happen in consecutive years and Tua Tagovailoa remains an unknown quantity.
But Brian Flores has his Dolphins squad playing hard and opportunistic football. Though the New England offensive line is very good, they are better run blockers than pass blockers and Miami will look to pressure Jones.
If Tagovailoa maintains his poise, the Fins can keep this a tight low-scoring affair into the final five minutes, at which point this AFC East encounter could go either way for NFL picks.
Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints
Sunday, September 12, 2021 - 04:25 PM EDT at TIAA Bank Field
Just the fact the QB matchup is Aaron Rodgers against Jameis Winston is enough to justify the point spread. But like Bill Belichick, New Orleans head coach Sean Peyton has something to prove after losing a Hall of Fame signal-caller.
The Saints' run as a Super Bowl contender is over for now and they have depth issues at various positions. Yet, this is still a roster with an above-average offensive line and playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Green Bay has been the second-best club in the NFC the last two years. Do they move forward or start to retract even a little bit in 2021? Though, the preseason is not supposed to mean anything, the Packers were 0-3 and looked poor in doing so.
With the Saints 3-11 ATS the first two weeks of the season the past seven years, maybe we will be proven wrong. However, New Orleans is no longer the hunted and gives a stellar effort in a three-point outcome either way.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.