Pickswise NFL experts give their Week 1 predictions and best bets

Sep 9, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) runs the ball against Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Joe Tryon-Shoyinka (9) during the first half at Raymond James Stadium.
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Andrew Wilsher


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Managing Editor of Pickswise. Born and raised in jolly old London, England, with an undying love for the NFL, NBA, soccer and horse racing. A big-time sports bettor who loves futures markets and backing underdogs. Long-suffering New York Jets fan.

NFL Week 1 got started earlier this week with the Buffalo Bills proving their Super Bowl credentials by absolutely decimating the reigning champion Los Angeles Rams. Now, however, we turn our attention to the rest of the slate, with 15 mouthwatering games to get excited for across Sunday and Monday as football is officially back! And here at Pickswise, we’ve got the opinions of our sharpest NFL experts and brought you their top picks for Week 1. So that’s four NFL Week 1 best bets, all in one place! Let’s take a look and break down each of the picks from our analysts.

Don’t forget to read our NFL picks for EVERY Week 1 matchup

Jared Smith: Buccaneers vs Cowboys under 51 (-110)

This is the most landed on total in the NFL over the last five seasons so I would use that as a dividing line for where to buy in, as I would not go under 50.5 or 50. I don’t see either offensive line creating a ton of movement, especially Tampa, who is very banged up at center and right tackle. Tom Brady’s absence from training camp will also likely play an impact, and I can see this game starting slow. If you can’t find 51 in the market, another alternative is to bet under 24.5 in the 1st half or under 10 in the 1st quarter.

Be sure to check out our full Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Dallas Cowboys predictions

Howard Bender: Giants vs Titans under 43.5 (-105)

With a Giants team in transition and a Titans team that loves to lean on the run and chew up the clock on every down, a game total of 43.5 screams to take the under. The Giants offense will do its best to speed up the pace of play, but given the potential struggles of the offensive line and the typical growing pains you see in a team learning a new system, we could see a lot of early three-and-outs.

Meanwhile, the Titans will continue to work a slower, much more methodical game plan. Derrick Henry will receive his usual workload as the Titans look to move downfield, but as the Giants work to stuff the run, the onus will be on Tannehill to keep the momentum alive with the passing attack. Timing is likely to be an issue early on as he hasn’t spent much time with this receiving corps, so we could see them stall out when the Giants find ways to stuff the run.

Expect a hard-fought battle on both sides of the ball from each team, but don’t expect to see either team put up a world of points.

Be sure to check out our full New York Giants vs Tennessee Titans predictions

Clevta: Seattle Seahawks +6.5 over Denver Broncos (-110)

I understand this is a revenge spot for Russell Wilson as he now leads the Broncos, but I think this number has gotten far ahead of itself. It is challenging to assume that a team will be clicking on all cylinders immediately with a new QB coming into a new system after 10 years in Seattle with a brand-new head coach, OC and offensive weapons. There is inevitably going to be some rust, and considering that Wilson didn’t take a single snap in the preseason, I’m not expecting the smoothest start to the game. Add in the fact that the Seattle coaching staff knows his every weakness and I think the Seahawks have a shot to keep this competitive.

I also believe the market is undervaluing Seattle QB, Geno Smith. He came into a tough situation last year halfway through a Thursday night game against the Rams and played well in his 3.5-game stint. In 2021, Geno ended up with the same PFF grade as Russell Wilson. More impressively, he did it against a tough slate of defenses, having to face three top 8 DVOA pass defenses in the Rams, Steelers and Saints. With two stellar wide receivers in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, along with a good run game behind Rashad Penny, I believe this Seattle offense can compete.

Be sure to check out our full Seattle Seahawks vs Denver Broncos predictions

Andrew Ortenberg: Atlanta Falcons +5.5 over New Orleans Saints (-110)

This game will pit the top two picks from the 2015 NFL Draft against each other as the Atlanta Falcons host the New Orleans Saints. Jameis Winston will make his return from an ACL tear for New Orleans, while Marcus Mariota will make his first start as a Falcon. Both teams underwent significant changes this offseason, and the Falcons find themselves as 5.5-point underdogs for the opener. That line feels pretty steep to me. Laying nearly a touchdown with Winston on the road as he returns from a significant injury in the first game of the post-Sean Payton era in New Orleans? I’ll pass, thanks.

The Falcons aren’t nearly as bad as people seem to think. Kyle Pitts put up eye-popping numbers for a rookie tight end last year and has the potential to be a generational talent. Rookie first-round pick Drake London looks ready to contribute as a number one receiver right out of the gate. And Mariota has plenty of familiarity with Arthur Smith’s system from their time in Tennessee together, so this isn’t exactly starting over for the former second overall pick. The weapons are underrated, and Atlanta has arguably the best cornerback duo in the entire league with AJ Terrell and Casey Hayward manning the sidelines. Grab the points with the home ‘dog here.

Be sure to check out our full New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons predictions

Pickswise is the home of free NFL Predictions  and NFL Odds. Check out the latest NFL Prop Bets and NFL Parlays as well as expert NFL Underdog Picks and NFL Computer Picks.

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