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NFL Betting Picks for Week 1 (9/12/2021) - Spreads, Totals, and Moneylines

Tua Tagovailoa - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

“We are baaaaaack. We are getting Doug (football) baaaaack!” For all you The Hangover fans, I think you can understand the movie reference in terms of my excitement that we get a full weekend of football again. Sure, we had NFL last season, but I don’t think many fans felt it was the “real” thing. No guarantees this year will be any better, but there is certainly a different feeling over the beginning of this league year!

  • 2021 Season: 0-0
  • 2020 Season: 18-23-1 (43%, -5.63u)

As of August, this is my fourth NFL season writing for RotoBaller and I couldn’t enjoy being a part of this amazing site with amazing writers and analysts. However, I will always keep the disclaimer of **I'm not a professional** but I love researching stats and finding value. My goal is to provide you with information that can help you make informed bets, whether you agree or disagree with me. I also hope to give you a little enjoyment while reading! Just an FYI, I "bet to lose" one unit on almost every play but will definitely label it if I do differently.

I'm glad to say that I am back and ready to bring you my favorite bets for Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season. I'll be here at RotoBaller all season long and you can find me on Twitter @stevejanik6. I am always down to chat and spend most of my days and nights browsing for information or news. You can also follow me on the Action app (@sgjanik6) where I'll post every pick I have for a day and week. With that, I hope you enjoy, best of luck, and please bet responsibly!

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San Francisco (-7) at Detroit Lions

Sunday 9/12, 1PM EST | O/U: 45

There might not be a team more discussed in media circles, this off-season, than Kyle Shanahan’s 49er’s. They traded up to draft Trey Lance since Jimmy Garappolo has proved to be less than reliable as the starter. Then they drafted electric rookie running back Trey Sermon to spell Raheem Mostert. This is certainly an offense that could use some assistance, finishing 22nd and 15th in pass and run DVOA, respectively, in 2020. These middle-of-the-pack numbers naturally led to middle-of-the-pack scoring output, averaging just 23.5 points per game (ppg) last season. The talent is there, with George Kittle in his prime and Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel waiting in the wings for their chance to breakout, it’s a matter of health and effectiveness. Defensively, the Niners were a problem for opponents in 2020, posting the 6th best defense by DVOA while boasting the best run defense. However, they still allowed 24.4ppg, a number that they’ll need to reduce to compete in the NFC West. The 49ers were also very successful against tight ends in 2020, holding the 3rd best DVOA against the position, meaning T.J. Hockenson may have his hands full.

Detroit is going to be a mess this year. After trading away franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford, the reigns of the organization now lie in Jared Goff’s hands. Behind a very good offensive line, Goff will have D’Andre Swift to share the back field. If he’s smart, he’ll be hitting up TJ Hockenson frequently too, but when you go outside of those bounds, this offense is devoid of talent. Of course it’s useless judging this team based off of their past, because a new QB changes everything. One thing that is for sure, expect Swift (when healthy) to see a major increase from his 12 touches per game last year, look more along the lines of 15-20 if he stays healthy. Defensively, the worst defense in the NFL returns for another season, despite a new coaching staff.

Over the past two seasons, San Francisco has gone 11-5 ATS as a road team which bodes well against a team with a new coach and new quarterback. However, for Week 1, we can only use prior season numbers for information and not as the true decision maker. Detroit will struggle all year but I think especially in the season opener.

Pick: San Francisco -7 (-110, Draftkings) 1 Unit


New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (-5.5)

Sunday, 9/12, 1PM EST | O/U: 45.5

The seemingly never ending cycle of the Jets being terrible is at least "possibly" on the mend in 2021. There's loads of new faces, including a new coaching staff, a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson, and star wide receiver in Corey Davis. Yet another team it’s difficult to gauge off of any previous history or stats, but based off the preseason, there is some positivity surrounding Wilson and company, but only time will tell if the BYU product is ready for The Big Apple. On the defensive side, there was quite a face lift under the new regime, some planned and some not. The team released veteran defensive back Bless Austin in the preseason to open some space for the team’s youth movement while star Edge rusher Carl Lawson tore his Achilles, effectively ending his season.

Carolina is in a nice position to make some noise in 2021. A second year coach getting back the best running back in the NFL along with a slight upgrade (upside?) at quarterback is always a sign of good things to come. The return of Christian McCaffrey, from injury, immediately gives this offense a boost from their middling results without him in 2020. They finished with just 22 ppg and around 349 yards per game (ypg), but considering their backfield options were Teddy Bridgewater and Mike Davis, those are pretty solid numbers. Sam Darnold takes the reigns now, and return D.J. Moore and a freshly resigned Robby Anderson who both eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards last year. Defensively, the Panthers have made some additions in DaQuan Jones and AJ Bouye, but it will take more than two aging veterans to overly improve the 24th ranked defense by DVOA.

This is going to be a very interesting matchup in Week 1. Darnold playing against his former team and against the rookie who took his place. I sense a redemption story looming (despite Darnold’s notable struggles in the past) and while Wilson is a newcomer, he has some talent around him to be able to move the offense once he’s comfortable. Then we take into account both teams’ bad defenses and I love the over here.

Pick: Over 44.5 (-110, BetMGM) 1 Unit


Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-3)

Sunday, 9/12, 4:25PM EST | O/U: 43.5

These Miami Dolphins are not what many of us remember them being over the last decade. There is talent, organizational direction, and signs for a future. Lefty Tua Tagavailoa hasn’t exactly proven he’s “the guy” to take Miami to the next step, but after going 6-3 in nine start in 2020, he’s given a glimmer of hope. As a team, the offense averaged just 328 ypg but there were three contests where they piled up 280 yards or less, and four games where they tallied over 380 yards. With more time in the offense, Tua should get more comfortable. He returns receiver DeVante Parker and welcomes in Will Fuller (however he’s suspended Week 1) and former Alabama teammate Jaylen Waddle. His backfield-mates Myles Gaskin, Salvon Ahmed and Malcolm Brown won’t light the world on fire, but they’re a solid core group. Defensively, the Dolphins return a group that led the NFL in takeaways and they should continue to be a strong challenge for the offenses in the AFC East this season.

Probably much to the chagrin of head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots we’re talked about a lot this off-season and preseason. Cam Newton is gone and now rookie Mac Jones is set to take the keys, for what many New England fans hopes to be another 20-year reign at the top. Sony Michel got traded to the Rams, so now Damien Harris get to be the main guy in the Pats’ backfield, with James White and a slew of other backs to back him up. We don’t know what to expect from Jones, he really only has one year of college tape to evaluate but what many believe is if Belichick is willing to hand over the keys to a rookie, he has something up his sleeve. A unit I expect to improve from their 2020 performance is the Patriots defense. They were held back after several starters sat out last year due to COVID, but their strong front seven could cause problems this season. However, it’s important to note that Stephon Gilmore (PUP - Quad) is out for the first six weeks of the season.

As previously mentioned, many believe Bill Belichick has something up his sleeve. However, I look for the new offense to seem a little flustered out of the gate. While the defense is solid, they’ll be relied on heavily early in this one and I look for Tua and company to give the Patriots everything they have before New England gets their feet under them in the second half.

Pick: Miami 1H ML +133 (Barstool Sportsbook, .75 Unit to win 1 Unit)

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