Football is just two days away, so it's about time you start locking in your Week 1 picks. The opening week of the NFL regular season is either one of the most fun gambling weeks of the year, or one you want to avoid -- depending on how you look at it. There are no past games to go off of, all the trends sharps examine are from last year and there are brand new players who will be experiencing their first action.
There is always at least one big surprise. Take last year for example; the Jacksonville Jaguars' lone victory came in Week 1 against Philip Rivers and the Indianapolis Colts, and Dwayne Haskins and the Washington Football Team beat the Philadelphia Eagles by double digits. There is no such thing as a "sure thing" in Week 1.
Every year, we round up those on our CBS NFL roster and ask for their best bet for Week 1 of the regular season. Those taking part in this article are NFL insider Jonathan Jones, senior writer Pete Prisco, Pick Six Podcast host Will Brinson, plus writers John Breech, Ryan Wilson, Chris Trapasso, Jordan Dajani, Jared Dubin, Josh Edwards, Tyler Sullivan, Bryan DeArdo, Cody Benjamin and Jeff Kerr.
First, we will list all 16 spreads and Over/Unders and then get into our best bets.
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.
Week 1 odds
Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.5) (Over/Under 51.5)
Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans (-3) (Over/Under 52)
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-5) (Over/Under 44.5)
Los Angeles Chargers (-1) at Washington Football Team (Over/Under 44.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) (Over/Under 48)
Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) at Indianapolis Colts (Over/Under 48.5)
Minnesota Vikings (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (Over/Under 48)
Jacksonville Jaguars (-3) at Houston Texans (Over/Under 44.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (-6.5) (Over/Under 48.5)
San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) at Detroit Lions (Over/Under 45.5)
Denver Broncos (-2.5) at New York Giants (Over/Under 42.5)
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-6) (Over/Under 53)
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-2.5) (Over/Under 44)
Green Bay Packers (-4) at New Orleans Saints (Over/Under 50)
Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams (-7.5) (Over/Under 44.5)
Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at Las Vegas Raiders (Over/Under 51)
Week 1 best bets
Cowboys at Buccaneers
Prisco: Cowboys +7.5. This line is bloated because the Bucs have all 22 starters back from the Super Bowl win. I get it. But let's not forget that team didn't even win the division. The Cowboys will stay in this game and lose by a field goal. Giving me 7.5 is an easy victory for the dog.
Brinson: Buccaneers -7.5. It would be way too big a donkey move to buy a half a point here and make it -7 (-125) so I'm not going to do that and instead will just bank on the Buccaneers steam-rolling the Cowboys in the 2021 opener. Tom Brady is going through his first full offseason with the Buccaneers, who showed their potential on offense down the stretch last year once he really developed a rapport with his wide receivers. Everyone knows about the 22 starters coming back, so I won't rehash that. What I think is a little more interesting is the cohesion on the offensive line with all those guys coming back and the full health of Vita Vea on the interior of the defensive line. Young players like Devin White (legit DPOY candidate) and Antoine Winfield Jr. have even more seasoning now. The Cowboys defense might be better this year but I don't think it comes out strong in Week 1. And the Dallas offense wasn't great last year with a healthy Dak Prescott. He's on track for Week 1 but this is a tough opening test. The Bucs roll in this one like 38-21.
Breech: Buccaneers -7.5. Dak Prescott is coming off two injuries, he hasn't taken a game snap in 11 months and his first game is against one of the best defenses in football. This one might get ugly for the Cowboys.
Cardinals at Titans
Sullivan: Cardinals +3. I don't love the way the Titans are trending heading into the regular season. Not only are they dealing with COVID-19 issues, but both Julio Jones and A.J. Brown have been dinged up throughout the summer. If they are less than 100% out of the gate, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals offense may have no problem leaving them in the dust. Tennessee has also struggled to begin the year historically. In their past five Week 1 contests, they are 1-4 ATS.
49ers at Lions
Jones: 49ers -7.5. I guess I understand that you can't make the spread too large in Week 1. But there's no evidence this Lions team will be able to keep pace with the Niners even if San Francisco isn't showing everything they have in the opener. This one seems obvious to me. (I also like Green Bay -3 against the Saints. Drew Brees isn't walking through that door.)
Kerr: 49ers -7.5. The 49ers are one of the most talented teams in the NFL when healthy -- and have their full arsenal of players heading into this matchup. Detroit is rebuilding its roster under Dan Campbell -- and I'm unsure how the Lions are going to score 17 points against the 49ers defense. San Francisco should have its way against Detroit on the ground. This has the makings of a blowout.
Dajani: 49ers -7.5. The 49ers are one of the biggest favorites in Week 1 and I'm jumping on board. With Jimmy Garoppolo motivated to keep his job against a subpar opponent in the Lions, expect the 49ers to record a double-digit victory.
Dubin: Under 45.5. I can't see the Lions scoring much and the Niners will be content to run the ball all game once they get a lead.
Vikings at Bengals
Benjamin: Vikings -3.5. Joe Burrow's return is exciting, but give me Mike Zimmer against his old flame here. The Bengals are still establishing their identity, and their secondary, while restocked, remains suspect. Minnesota can pound the ball on the ground, get after Burrow and take a nice road win to start the year.
Dolphins at Patriots
Wilson: Patriots -2.5. This New England team -- on both sides of the ball -- will look completely different from last year's 7-9 outfit. Tua Tagovailoa will be better in Year 2 but it's hard not to take Bill Belichick in that matchup.
Broncos at Giants
Trapasso: Under 42.5. The Broncos defense is ready to rock again with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb reunited on the edges and Justin Simmons patrolling the deep middle. The Giants aren't stout defensively, but James Bradberry is one of the league's best big cornerbacks who should be a formidable matchup for Courtland Sutton in his first game back from an early 2020 injury. Teddy Bridgewater is a capable starter but not one accustomed to leading shootouts on the road. This will be your father's low-scoring battle.
Packers at Saints (in Jacksonville)
Edwards: Packers -4. There are understandably going to be bigger concerns in the back of the minds of those on the Saints roster.
Ravens at Raiders (MNF)
DeArdo: Raiders +4.5. The Raiders may very well pull off the upset. Baltimore recently suffered a gut punch in losing J.K. Dobbins for the season. Las Vegas is going to be riding the momentum of playing in front of fans at Allegiant Stadium for the first time