We are now a month into the 2021 regular season and, boy, were we treated to a doozy of a first four weeks. Every which way we turned there seemed to be plenty of drama unfolding either on the field or off. As we look back at the opening month of the season from out gambling corner of the world, it was a strong start, rolling to a 32-30-2 ATS record overall and we were especially strong with our five locks of the week over that stretch (13-5-2). Of course, we'll look to keep those strong marks rolling as we turn our attention to the rest of the season, beginning with Week 5.
Below, you'll find my picks for the upcoming slate, featuring a deeper breakdown of my five locks of the weeks.
Locks of the Week ATS: 13-5-2
Both of these teams are 1-3 on the season, but our eyes show us two very different clubs. The Patriots feature rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who at one point completed 19 straight passes against the Buccaneers last week. Meanwhile, Houston will roll out fellow rookie Davis Mills, who completed just 11 passes on the day in the Texans' 40-0 loss to the BIlls. Laying 8.5 points is a lofty number for this New England team that has struggled to get off the field in critical moments this season, but the Texans are simply no threat offensively and this should be a double-digit win for Bill Belichick and company. After all, the head coach is 22-6 against rookie quarterbacks. Belichick-led defenses have also allowed just 9.5 points per game in their last six games against first-year signal callers (Zach Wilson, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Herbert, Daniel Jones, Sam Darnold, and Josh Allen were the six QBs).
Projected score: Patriots 24, Texans 10
The pick: Patriots -8.5
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Despite their win over the 49ers last week, I'm still not a huge believer in this Seahawks offense. With this line sitting below a field goal, I feel comfortable that the Rams will at least keep things above that number. Los Angeles will also be looking to bounce back from a Week 4 loss to the red-hot Arizona Cardinals, making this a solid get-right opportunity. Yes, Seattle has a fantastic record on Thursday games (8-1-2 ATS in their last 11), but the Rams are simply the better team in 2021 and I expect that to factor in much more than what previous iterations of the Seahawks did.
Projected score: Rams 30, Seahawks 24
The pick: Rams -2.5
The Bengals have been a fun story to begin the season as they sit atop the AFC North at 3-1. While they are certainly a team on the rise, I see the Packers as a more complete 3-1 club that is looking to compete for a Super Bowl this season. Green Bay's offense ranks inside the top 10 in the league in offensive DVOA while the Bengals are 20th and are currently looking at Joe Mixon possibly either missing or being limited in this game due to an ankle injury. Defensively, it will be interesting to see how Aaron Rodgers attacks this Bengals unit that is allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete nearly 69% of their passes. If that holds true on Sunday, the reining NFL MVP should be able to move up and down the field quite easily.
Projected score: Packers 28, Bengals 24
The pick: Packers -3
49es at Cardinals
It doesn't look like anyone can stop Kyler Murray and the Cardinals at the moment. Arizona is the lone undefeated team after the first month of the season and are outscoring their opponents by nearly two touchdowns (13.8 points) per game. They'll now host a 49ers team that will be without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and will be starting rookie Trey Lance. The No. 3 overall pick has shown flashes of his potential throughout the early portions of the season, but it remains to be seen when he's given a full workload. It's hard to anticipate the youngster being able to go toe-to-toe with a quarterback as hot as Murray is at this point. San Francisco is also 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
Projected score: Cardinals 28, 49ers 20
The pick: Cardinals -5.5
While the Cowboys are 3-1 on the season, they are the NFL's only 4-0 ATS team through the first month. Offensively, they rank third in total yards of offense and fourth in points per game. While Dallas boasting an impressive offense -- when healthy -- has been apparent, what's notable about this 2021 team is that they are making plays on defense. Trevon Diggs has a league-leading five interceptions on the season and is blossoming into a legit No. 1 corner. As for the Giants, they earned their first win of the season against the Saints in overtime. While Daniel Jones has looked strong this season, I don't believe New York has the horses to keep up with Dallas. For what it's worth, the Giants are also 2-6 ATS in their last eight meetings with the Cowboys.
Projected score: Cowboys 33, Giants 23
The pick: Cowboys -7
Rest of the bunch
Dolphins at Buccaneers
Projected score: Buccaneers 30, Dolphins 17
The pick: Buccaneers -10
Saints at Washington
Projected score: Saints 24, Washington 21
The pick: Saints -2
Bills at Chiefs
Projected score: Bills 30, Chiefs 28
The pick: Bills +2.5