Taphorn’s Twelve Pack: NFL Week One
This write-up will feature twelve weekly betting lines (The Twelve Pack). Six bets I like will be broken up into half units, full units, and double units. The additional six lines will be lines to stay away from. Each week I’ll also feature a special bonus bet from the little degenerate birdie that whispers ideas in my ear.
6 NFL Week One Bets I Like
1. San Francisco 49ers -7.5 at Detroit Lions
My first two picks in the week one lineup are centered around the two teams that are likely to be vying for the first overall pick in 2022.
Dan Campbell takes over the Lions, in need of a big culture change, but that takes time. Regardless of which quarterback starts, Kyle Shannahan will be excited to have a healthy roster and the game should reflect that. Bet amount: 1 unit.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars -3 at Houston Texans
The team most likely to finish 2021 without a win. No, not the Jaguars. Houston traded DeAndre Hopkins a year ago and JJ Watt this year, and Deshaun Watson is currently sitting out by choice and dealing with the legal fallout of offseason allegations. The team is a mess, and despite a very poor start to the preseason, Trevor Lawrence and Urban Myer looked like they may be in decent shape. Bet amount: 2 units.
3. Minnesota Vikings -3 at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals chose to draft Jamar Chase instead of Penei Sewell this past spring despite the porous offensive line in front of Joe Burrow. Burrow is coming off a torn ACL and has looked a bit rusty leading into the season.
Mike Zimmer was horrified by the defensive product on the field a season ago and will want to start the season off right. A healthy dose of Dalvin Cook offensively and the Vikings should cover with ease. Bet amount: 2 units.
4. Denver Broncos -2.5 at New York Giants
The Broncos announced they’re running with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback, hoping he can be the answer to their biggest roster hole. The defense under Vic Fangio should be fantastic with Von Miller back and the additions of guys like Kyle Fuller and Patrick Surtain II on the back end.
New York spent mightily in the offseason, but the offensive line looks like it’s going to be a problem. Expect Von Miller and Bradley Chubb to harass Daniel Jones early and often. Bet amount: ½ unit.
5. Green Bay Packers -4 vs New Orleans Saints (Jacksonville)
The Saints spent the offseason figuring out who the replacement for Drew Brees would be and Sean Payton has decided on Jameis Winston for week one. Hurricane Ida has left the Saints without a home field for the first month of the season, so this game is being played in Jacksonville.
Michael Thomas starts the season on PUP, as does Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari. Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers was the center of drama in the NFL, but all signs point to opposing defenses feeling the wrath of his rage against the front office. Bet amount: 1 unit.
6. Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams -7.5
Inexplicably Matt Nagy has decided to start Andy Dalton week one over the first-round pick Justin Fields. Maybe it’s because Nagy knows the challenges his offensive line will face against the Rams and he’s offering up Dalton as the sacrificial lamb.
The Bears’ offensive line was atrocious in the preseason which doesn’t bode well against Aaron Donald and company. Matt Stafford plays a familiar foe after relocating from Detroit and eyes will be on him to see how much of an upgrade he can be over Jared Goff. Bet amount: ½ unit.
6 Bets to Avoid
1. Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -8.5
This line has fluctuated quite a bit over the past few weeks with the injury surrounding Dak Prescott’s shoulder. Everything has gone right for Tampa Bay following their Super Bowl win as every major contributor is back for a run at a repeat.
Dallas has been fighting through injuries in the preseason and now a COVID diagnosis for starting guard Zack Martin. While everything tees up perfectly for a big Bucs win the Cowboys are a force on offense meaning this game could set up perfectly for a backdoor cover.
2. Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans -3
Much of the Tennessee success on offense the past few years was attributed to Arthur Smith, the new Falcons head coach. These two teams made some of the biggest free agency additions in the offseason with the Titans acquiring Julio Jones and the Cardinals bringing in AJ Green and JJ Watt. Both defenses struggled a bit last year so this game could be one of the higher scoring affairs of the weekend.
3. Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons -3
Two teams that were in the Super Bowl within the past five years but now find themselves looking at high draft picks a year ago and possibly in 2022. Julio Jones is out in Atlanta, but Kyle Pitts is in.
Carson Wentz is officially out of Philadelphia leaving Jalen Hurts to take the reins. Both head coaches will be making their debut and looking for their first win, but this just feels like a toss-up game between two bad teams.
4. Los Angeles Chargers -1 at Washington Football Team
Two of the most polarizing quarterbacks in the league for opposite reasons. Justin Herbert was the rookie of the year a season ago after misfortune fell on Tyrod Taylor in the form of a preseason pain injection.
Herbert took over the starting quarterback job and never looked back. Ryan Fitzpatrick has now seemingly started for half of the teams in the league and joins the reigning NFC East champions.
Fitzpatrick flashed at times a year ago but was subbed in and out as the Dolphins tried to gauge the readiness of rookie Tua Tagovailoa. Look for the defenses to star in this matchup with guys like Derwin James and Chase Young. Just too close to call from a betting standpoint.
5. Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs -6.5
Arguably one of the best games of last season, the Browns tested the Chiefs in Kansas City in the playoffs. Patrick Mahomes suffered a foot injury in the game and Chad Henne had to carry the team across the finish line.
This year the Browns feature a retooled defense while the Chiefs have a completely rebuilt offensive line. The underdog fan in me wants to take the Browns here with ground and (dawg) pound offense, but my brain won’t let me bet against Patrick Mahomes in September.
6. Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots -3
Mac Jones replaced Tua Tagovailoa when the Bama quarterback broke his hip in 2019 and went on to win the title for the Tide in 2020. Now the two former teammates start against each other in a week one matchup. Brian Flores takes on his mentor and former boss, Bill Belicheck and both teams should have defenses ready to give the young quarterbacks fits.
Too many moving pieces from the Patriots of a year ago to feel confident in this matchup, but it should shine some light on who is the biggest threat to Buffalo in the AFC East.