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NFL Locks, Lines for Week 1 of the 2021 Season

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While there may be no such thing as a true “lock” when it comes to something as unpredictable as the NFL, there are usually a few games where you can be pretty confident about the outcome, or perhaps the spread just appears to be too high for a close matchup. Here are the locks from our writers going into week 1 of the NFL season.

Tom McNeil – New England Patriots Moneyline

Dolphins vs Patriots Betting Lines

spread
Sun 9/12, 4:25 PM VegasONLINEVegas
Patriots -3.5-110-3.5+100-3.5-110-3.5-115-3.0-105-3.5-110
Dolphins +3.5-110+3.5-120+3.5-110+3.5-105+3.0-115+3.5-110
Last odds movement: Sep 13, 3:34 am ET

The entire league is desperate for the spell to be broken in New England after a tough 7-9 season in 2020, but they also had so many issues to deal with. Losing Tom Brady was always going to be tough, while the cap was stretched after selling out for Super Bowls and Cam Newton didn’t seem like a great fit.

What that does mean is Mac Jones doesn’t need to replace the goat, he just needs to replace Cam Newton, and that’s a much simpler situation for a rookie to come into. Miami should also be strong this year but the Pats will have the home crowd behind them while tackling is always sketchy at the start of the campaign so their running game has the potential to destroy the Dolphins.

Beard Laws (@BeardLaws) Pittsburgh Steelers + 7

Steelers vs Bills Betting Lines

spread
Sun 9/12, 1:00 PM VegasONLINEVegas
Bills -3.5-110-7.0+100-7.0+105-6.0-115+0.5-123-4.0-110
Steelers +3.5-110+7.0-120+7.0-125+6.0-105-0.5+103+4.0-110
Last odds movement: Sep 13, 3:34 am ET

So it might be a stretch to suggest that the Steelers can go to Buffalo and come away with the win against one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl, but you would expect Mike Tomlin’s men to keep this one tight.

Pittsburgh have a team full of experience who shouldn’t be fazed by the occasion, while it’s also worth noting that Buffalo didn’t blow many teams away at the start of their successful 2020 campaign. If you ignore the games against a woeful New York Jets side, it took them until week 9 to win by more than 7 points, so it makes sense that odds on the 7-point-spread favor the Steelers here.

Brian Handzel – San Francisco 49ers Moneyline

49ers vs Lions Betting Lines

spread
Sun 9/12, 1:00 PM VegasONLINEVegas
Lions +4.5-120+9.0-110+9.0-110+9.0-110+3.5-104+8.0+100
49ers -4.5+100-9.0-110-9.0-110-9.0-110-3.5-116-8.0-119
Last odds movement: Sep 13, 2:34 am ET

The San Francisco 49ers travel to Detroit to take on the Lions in Week One as 7.5 point favorites. The game isn’t going to be even close, but with it being Opening Week, the spread never tends to be too big. With the 49ers offense lead by Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, and Deebo Samual, there is just too much firepower for the Lions defense, who is ranked near the bottom of the league in total defense. Look for the blowout in favor of the 49ers in Week One in Detroit.

Annie Adkins – Los Angeles Rams Moneyline

Bears vs Rams Betting Lines

spread
Sun 9/12, 8:20 PM VegasONLINEVegas
Rams -9.5-110-7.5-110-9.0-110-9.5-110-4.0-102-9.0-110
Bears +9.5-110+7.5-110+9.0-110+9.5-110+4.0-118+9.0-110
Last odds movement: Sep 13, 3:35 am ET

Matt Stafford already has a decent record against the Bears from his days as a Detroit Lions quarterback. His team won 11 of the 20 matchups with the Chicago team, with Stafford completing 63.6% of the passes for 5,440 yards and 32 TDs. This time, he’s the signal-caller for the Rams, where he has some really amazing linemen to protect him, so it’s very likely his stats are gonna get even better. Even if the Rams’ offense messes it up (they won’t!), their defense isn’t. Guys like Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, and the rest are going to bring hellfire to the Chicago offense.

Carl Taylor – Jacksonville Jaguars -3

Jaguars vs Texans Betting Lines

spread
Sun 9/12, 1:00 PM VegasONLINEVegas
Texans +3.0+100+3.0+100+3.0+100+3.5-120+5.0-110+3.5-115
Jaguars -3.0-120-3.0-120-3.0-120-3.5+100-5.0-110-3.5-105
Last odds movement: Sep 12, 11:34 pm ET

The NFL week 1 lock is the Jacksonville Jaguars giving 3 points on the road at the Houston Texans. This is the coming-out party for #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence, up against a Houston defense that no longer has J.J. Watt. This is going to be a very trendy pick which is concerning, but Lawrence is the real deal and Urban Meyer wants to get off on the right foot in his NFL coaching debut.

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