For the first time in 30 weeks, we have meaningful NFL football back in action. There will be a 17-game regular season with seven teams from each conference making the playoffs, which is new for 2021.
With no or limited fans in the stands for 2020, people are rightfully excited for the return of the 2021 season. Especially when it comes to the gambling aspect.
Week 1 is hard to predict with trends and if they will carry over from the year prior, but we’ll try to give you some notable ones from last year that will put you in a good spot to make a decision on these games.
Miami’s Impressive ATS Record
Would you believe me if I told you that the far and away best team to back in 2020 was the Miami Dolphins? Not that they were a bad team, you just figure that a squad that went 10-6 and missed the playoffs wouldn’t be the one to give you a league-leading 68.8% cover percentage.
It goes deeper than that. On the road, they were 3-1 against the spread (ATS) as a road dog and 4-2 ATS against the AFC East division.
On the flip side, the New England Patriots didn’t have nearly enough luck ATS. They went just 7-9 last season with a 3-3 record ATS in the division. These teams split straight up and against the spread last year.
Will Vegas’ over streak continue?
The Las Vegas Raiders hitting the over was one of the safest bets you could make in 2020. They were 12-3-1 for an impressive 80% on overs last year as their offense ranked 10th in the league in points.
As an underdog, which they were nine times last year, and what they are against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1, they were 7-1-1 on the over hitting 87.5% of the time. As a home dog, it was even better.
The Raiders hit at a 100% clip, 5-0-1 as a home dog. With the Vegas defense ranking 30th last year, there’s a good chance that this trend can continue into 2021, even if their defense has improved on paper with additions like Yannick Ngakoue, Casey Hayward, Solomon Thomas, and K.J. Wright.
The Giants and the Under
To put into perspective just how effective the New York Giants were at hitting the under in 2020, they did it 13 times (81.2%). The next closest teams were Arizona and New England, who did it 68.8% of the time last season.
Daniel Jones has more weapons in 2021, most notably the return of Saquan Barkley and some shiny new toys at the wide receiver position but will it be enough with the offensive line in front of him? Andrew Thomas struggled immensely at left tackle in his rookie year, and Shane Lemieux was PFF’s worst graded guard last season, who is returning to start at left guard.
The Denver Broncos do a good job of getting after the passer, and with the additions of Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller at corner, their defense should be improved in 2021. A defensive struggle seems like the most likely outcome from this one.
The Texans' Success Over Jacksonville
Yes, this isn’t the same Houston Texans team that we’ve seen with Deshaun Watson at the helm, nor is it the same Jacksonville Jaguars team with Trevor Lawrence stepping in at QB. With that being said, Jacksonville being road favorites just seems insane.
The Texans are 6-0 in the last three years over Jacksonville, and 12-2 straight up in their last 14 games played. Since 2018, the Jags are also just 4-8 as a favorite when it comes to covering the spread.
A week 1 matchup between the Jaguars and Texans isn’t the sexiest on the slate, but with the success of Houston over Jacksonville over the past few seasons, it may be a safe play for you to get the week started.