OddsChecker Staff Roundtable: Week 1 Upset Picks
We’re here, folks! The 2021 NFL season is upon us.
Much like that frog in your high school science class, dissecting and probing every aspect of Week 1 is a tradition unlike any other. However, unlike that poor frog, our betting opportunities are very much still alive.
In addition to an ever-growing abundance of top-notch content, our staff will be providing us with their favorite upset picks each week of the season.
Now, the word “upset” could mean many different things to many different people. To some, the Detroit Lions surpassing 100 passing yards would be considered an upset. To others, the Houston Texans actually finding their way to the stadium in time for kickoff would be an upset. But for the purpose of this piece, we’re focusing entirely on moneyline plays.
In other words, we’re picking surprise winners and losers. Let’s get to it!
Philadelphia Eagles Over Atlanta Falcons (+160)
Am I an unapologetic homer? Yes. Have I come to terms with it? Also yes. But, here is the thing. Atlanta was bad last season and they got worse by getting rid of Julio Jones plus others on the defensive end. The Eagles were bad, and still are, but they at least seem to have an identity and vision. At +160, I get the more dynamic QB, the better offensive and defensive lines, and the better secondary. Sign me up
-- Brian Good (@BeGood1219)
Houston Texans Over Jacksonville Jaguars (+160)
It’s a new era in Jacksonville with Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer, but this 1-15 team from last season has no business being a road favorite. Sure, the Texans will likely struggle at times this year but they’ve owned the Jaguars in recent memory. They’re 6-0 over the past three years and if you go back over the last 14, they own a 12-2 record straight up.
-- Matt O’Leary (@MattOLearyNY)
Many people have the Texans pegged for the No. 1 pick in next year's draft and are not expecting more than a one or two-win season. However, oddsmakers set their over/under at four, expecting them to be more competitive than what the general public thinks of them. If they're going to match or exceed that win total, this is a game they have to have, and it is certainly winnable given they face a rookie quarterback and first-time professional head coach.
-- Mike Spector (@MikeSpector01)
New Orleans Saints Over Green Bay Packers (+160)
I find myself higher on the Saints in general, but especially in a season opener. Sean Payton has been an offensive force for years and we know he is going to have some new tricks up his sleeve come Week 1, especially with a completely different style of QB at the helm. If the Saints defense can hang, I like this New Orleans offense to go punch for punch.
-- Derrik Klassen (@QBKlass)
Cincinnati Bengals Over Minnesota Vikings (+150)
The Bengals are a young team with loads of offensive firepower, led by quarterback Joe Burrow returning from a torn ACL. People groaned at the fact they selected wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase over offensive lineman Penei Sewell and are worried Burrow needs more protection. Notably, this preseason, the Bengals allowed zero sacks -- they ceded seven in 2020. The Vikings have not done anything to improve the roster despite having a few blue-chip players on each side of the ball. I expect a shootout game here -- because both defenses are horrid -- and for the Bengals to come out victorious in their home opener.
-- Tom Viera (@Tom_Viera)
New York Jets Over Carolina Panthers (+175)
In the Adam Gase era, betting on the Jets in any fashion was a gag-inducing task. It was like watching The Room for its character development. But these are not the Adam Gase Jets. Robert Saleh helms this team after a highly successful stint as defensive coordinator of the San Francisco 49ers. Mike LaFleur comes from the ever-growing successful coaching tree of Kyle Shanahan and will coordinate the offense. Zach Wilson, the second overall pick in this year’s draft, will take over under center for Sam Darnold. Speaking of Darnold, he’ll be taking over at quarterback for a Panthers team that went 5-11 last season – and he won’t exactly bring a wealth of winning experience with him. Sure, Carolina is at home – but they are a hideous 4-12 straight up on their home turf since 2019. At +175, the Jets have a 36.4 percent implied probability of winning this one. I’ll gladly take those odds.
-- Elisha Twerski (@ElishaTwerski)