Baptism by Fire: Lucky Lucciano NFL Week One Bets
The NFL finally kicked off the 2021 season last night with Tampa Bay and the Dallas Cowboys. That of course, means the return of some all-day NFL gambling this Sunday. I have repeated this ad nauseam, but I feel the need to repeat it with NFL Week One on deck. I am historically a 25% winner on Week One bets. I broke the curse with College Football Week One (sort of) but will only be giving out 3 picks to limit my potential of ending up in the gutter.
To quote American singer Andy Williams, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”
Update: I went 0-3 on the opening Thursday Night NFL game, so tail my picks at your own risk this week
But first, if you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-522-4700; help is available 24/7 and 100% confidential.
*all odds via Parx Sportsbook as of 9/10/21*
Steelers +6.5 at Buffalo Bills
1:00 PM EST, CBS
This spread is too many points for a Mike Tomlin team to catch in a high-intensity game. On the flip side, Mike Tomlin is 4-4-1 on road opening games, but this feels like more than just “a Week One game”.
The Bills bring in the 14th ranked offensive line (according to PFF) against the #1 ranked defensive line. A dominant unit that inked one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL, TJ Watt, to a 4-year, $112 million deal. Those factors seem like a trench mismatch to me.
Josh Allen constantly threatens to shatter a spread early. However, PFF ranks Pittsburgh as their 12th best secondary while the corner opposite Joe Haden, Courtland Sutton, remains questionable. Game-changing defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick seems like he’s on a mission to prove he’s massively underrated in the league, which is true. The former 11th overall pick will lock down this Steelers’ defense in 2021. In a close game, give me Mike Tomlin and the points.
Vikings -3 at Cincinnati Bengals
1:00 PM EST, FOX
This game seems like a complete trap line, but I can’t figure out why? Maybe those are the best traps that Vegas sets, and I’m fully prepared to stumble into one.
On one side, you have an experienced football team with a head coach entering his 8th season with the Vikings in Mike Zimmer. On the other, you have a very young group of talent with a third-year head coach and second-year quarterback coming off an ACL tear.
I think Minnesota has more explosive weapons in Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen over Joe Mixon, Tee Higgins, and Ja’Marr Chase, who is struggling mightily. Also, Cincinnati ranks as PFF’s 25th worst offensive line while the Vikings (14th ranked defensive line) still have sack artist Danielle Hunter and brought in Dalvin Tomlinson from the Giants.
If the line can hold for Joe Burrow, the Vikings secondary has an entirely new look with some stud players. Currently, veteran Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, and Xavier Woods hold down the corner spots. It should be a tough test for a recovering Joe Burrow with a leaky offensive line and not a lot of defensive help. Give me the Vikings big.
Saints +4 vs. Green Bay Packers
4:25 PM EST, FOX
The thing that made this game stand out is the Packers’ declining offensive line against an ever-improving Saints front-seven. Green Bay lost their dominant center Corey Linsley to free agency, and evergreen tackle David Bakhtiari starts the season on the PUP list. Two potential rookies could be starting on this line come Sunday.
The Packers struggling o-line goes up against PFF’s 8th ranked defensive line, including the always-reliable Cameron Jordan and an improving Marcus Davenport. Their 10th ranked linebacking unit contains one of the most underrated players in the league in LB DeMario Davis. In the end, I think this will be a high-scoring affair, and I am putting my bet on the new 20/20 vision Jameis Winston’s magic that is sure to appear late game.