Against The Line W1

2021 Betting Blind: Week 1 Plays

2021 Betting Blind: Week 1 Plays

Each week of the 2021 NFL season, Dominick Petrillo (@EnvisionFF) will provide his best plays of the week. These may be a line, a spread, or a variety of other plays. The only guarantee is they will not be a parlay. Please stay tuned for the Betting Blind picks each and every Friday of the NFL season.

All lines current as of the writing of the article. Make sure to check your sportsbook for any movement.

All Lines from FanDual Sportsbook.

Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders (Monday night) – Over 51

The Baltimore Ravens are the better team. John Harbaugh is the better coach. Lamar Jackson is the better quarterback. So why not just take the Ravens with the points? Simple. The Las Vegas Raiders are strange.

Whether it be as their former selves in Oakland or their new identity in Las Vegas, the Raiders tend to do weird things when playing at home. It was just last season when they beat the New Orleans Saints in Week 2 on Monday night to open their stadium. In other instances, the Raiders have won games on the first Monday which they were not supposed to. And do not forget them beating the Chiefs last season in Kansas City. The only team to do so when Kansas City was at full strength. Instead of picking a side than, I am going to make a play on the total. And I love the over.

We know Baltimore wants to run the ball. We also know they can score a lot of points by doing so. On top of this, the Las Vegas Raiders are not good enough to stop the Ravens from scoring. With J.K. Dobbins out for the year, the Ravens might have to throw the ball more. This will mean one of two things. Either, faster scoring drives or interceptions which lead to scoring drives in the other direction. Either way, it helps the over to be a likely scenario.

Last season, the over hit in Las Vegas Raiders games 12 of 16 times. 75% is a good number when choosing a side to bet on. I am going to ride with the trend and hope Derek Carr, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs can score enough to keep up with Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. I suspect they can. And I am willing to put my money where my mouth is to find out.

 

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams – Under 44

Unlike the above matchup, both of the teams in this game have solid defenses. In the case of the Los Angeles Rams, you can argue, the best defense in the NFL. On the opposing sides of the ball, the offenses are less stellar. Especially in the case of the Chicago Bears and Andy Dalton. It is only a matter of time until Justin Fields takes over the Bears offense. But until he does, this Bears team will be an under-machine.

In the past three games these two teams have played, the total has never gone over 35 points. This game is at 44. A little too high for my liking as defenses here should be slightly ahead of offenses with a full off-season of practice finally achieved after a 2020 season of turmoil.

Although college and not NFL, we have seen in early games that the defenses are strong this season. Many games thought to be easy overs have gone under. I am wagering that the same is said for early NFL games. It starts with this one. The Bears offense is not good, and the Rams will start slowly after not playing at all in the preseason. Taking all of these factors into play, give me the under as my play.

 

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals – Vikings -3

Am I high on the Minnesota Vikings this season? No. I was, but certain things surrounding the team and some players have me worried. These concerns should not matter this week though against the Cincinnati Bengals. Not only is Joe Burrow coming off a severe injury, their 1st-round wide receiver has had the drops this preseason and it may take him a bit longer to get comfortable in the offense.

Justin Jefferson could have won the OROY award in 2020. Dalvin Cook was one of only two running backs in 2020 to run for more than 1,200 yards. The other being Derrick Henry. With both players returning along with Adam Thielen, the offense for Minnesota will be able to overmatch the Bengals defense in Ohio.

On defense, the Vikings will be better. They have to be. But more importantly, the Cincinnati Bengals did not improve their situation on offense. Especially the offensive line which is still a weak point of the team. This means newly re-signed Everson Griffen and company will make life hectic for the returning Burrow. Burrow will be under pressure early and often and this will lead to a lot of short drives and shorter fields for Minnesota.

The Minnesota Vikings may not do much damage in the NFC North, but these are the Cincinnati Bengals not the Green Bay Packers. And they are good enough to beat the Bengals. This line is at three points, and I like it. If it goes higher, I will stay away. Just to avoid the dreaded hook. But I am very comfortable with minus-3 being a good bet.