NFL Best Bets: Week 1 Picks and Predictions

NFL Best Bets: Week 1 Picks and Predictions

Credit: photo by Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports


It's the greatest time of year, better than Christmas.  The anticipation is building, Thursday night was the appetizer, Sunday is the main, and if Thursday night proved anything it's that we still never know for certain what will happen week in and week out.  Our #2 NFL handicapper called the Cowboys, but the world was on the Bucs.  Let's preview what we and our top handicappers on believe are the BEST BETS for Week 1 of the NFL season.  Check the iOS and Google Play apps before kickoff as picks change as handicappers continue to put in picks. 

Bengals at Vikings

Joe Burrow returns to action after a season-ending injury.  He'll be looking to take advantage of a Vikings secondary that gave up some big plays in 2020, and the Vikings defense allowed over 30 points in their final three games of 2020.  He'll look to do that with receiving corps Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase, with Joe Mixon coming out of the backfield.

It's another year with Kirk Cousins, who has perenially underperformed as a Viking.  Can he lead this team to where they should be as a playoff contender?  He has a great WR corps, with Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and K.J. Osborn.  Expect a healthy dose of Dalvin Cook, the explosive runner out of the backfield.

There are concerns on both offensive lines, but Cousins and his explosive receivers, with Cook carrying a big load, should take this one.

PICK: Vikings -3.0
Seahawks at Colts

Can Russell Wilson and the Seahawks start hot again?  He still has DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, with Freddie Swain a good third option.  The Colts D was good last year, but can they handle the shifty Wilson who is one of the best scrambling QBs out there?  Wilson is 12-1 in the Eastern time zone in the past three years, and Russell should be able to cook again.

The Colts offensive line has been battling injuries, and there is no Eric Fisher at left tackle and Xavier Rhodes in the secondary.  Carson Wentz makes his first start for the Colts after being pulled late in the season last year and traded by the Eagles.  He was struggling last season, with 16 TD and 15 INT, albeit his offensive line was weak.  Without Eric Fisher, the Seahawks should be able to put him under pressure.  With his targets being Michael Pittman Jr., Zach Pascal and Parris Campbell, that doesn't provide much confidence in a big passing day.  He also underwent a foot bone fragment removal procedure on August 2, with a 5-12 week timetable to return, so how healthy is he realistically?

It's been 8 years since the Colts last won the Week 1 opener.  Wentz has limited options at receiver, and there are question marks over his health.  Wilson and the Seahawks should be able to win this one and hand the Colts their 9th opening day loss in a row.

PICK: Seahawks -3.0
Dolphins at Patriots

Tua Tagovailoa and first year starter Mac Jones reunite on field after sharing a locker room at Alabama.  With Cam Newton gone, Jones comes in to run Belichick's team.

Tua was electric last season, swapping starts with Fitzpatrick, and the Dolphins ended a surprising 10-6.  He'll be targeting DeVante Parker and Jayden Waddle, but Will Fuller is serving a one game suspension from PEDs last year.  The Dolphins will lean on Myles Gaskin out of the backfield and Mike Gesicki at tight end with a limited receiving corps.  Betting nugget: PFF has the Dolphins receiving corps at #10, with the Patriots at #26.  Dolphins starting left tackle Austin Jackson may not play after spending the week on the COVID list, can Matt Judon and Kyle Van Noy take advantage?

The Dolphins had the best turnover margin last year, not the team Mac Jones wants to play in his first game.  However, the Patriots have one of the best offensive lines in the league and a solid running game, giving him some comfort as he settles into the position.  Nelson Agholor is questionable for the game, so Mac will be relying on on Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne, with Damien Harris and James White carrying the ball.

The Dolphins were 10-6 last year, and when Tua played it was fun to watch.  3.5 points seems too much, and arguably the Dolphins will win this game.  It should be close in any event, take the points.

PICK: Dolphins +3.5
Packers at Saints

The Saints have to play their first home game in Jacksonville due to Hurricane Ida.

The Saints cornerbacks are marginal, at best, and Rodgers should be able to exploit them.  His favorite targets return, with Davante Adams, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard, with Robert Tonyan at tight end.  Aaron Jones leads the backfield.  The Packers' offensive line has had change, and the Saints pass rush, led by Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport, Kwon Alexander and Demario Davis, will be looking to pressure Rodgers.  He's the king of the scramble and getting the ball out early, however. 

The Brees era is over, and Jameis Winston takes over.  He's turnover prone, with 30 INT vs 33 TD in the 2019 season, so expect the Packers to get after Jameis to force some bad throws.  He still has weapons, particularly with Alvin Kamara a good catch and run option.  The Saints receiving corps is #28, according to PFF.  Michael Thomas is out, and the Saints lost Emmanuel Sanders and Jared Cook in the offseason, leaving Winston with Marquez Callaway, Lil'Jordan Humphrey and Deonte Harris.  Adam Trautman is a good tight end option with a good rookie season.

Rodgers was Rodgers last season, and the Packers averaged 32 points per game, going 13-3.  We do not see Wintson being able to keep up in any meaningful way.  Michael Thomas is out, and his receiving corps is less than stellar.  The Packers should force Winston into making mistakes and turning the ball over, and Rodgers will take advantage.  This line should be bigger. 

PICK: Packers -3.5


Find more sports picks from the top sports bettors and NFL experts all in one place using our iOS and Google Play apps, as well as our other articles at  We are the home for NFL picks, sports picks and sports betting.

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