PlayUSA NFL Bets Navigator: Week 1

Posted By Nicholaus Garcia on September 10, 2021 - Last Updated on September 15, 2021

Welcome to the PlayUSA NFL Bets Navigator.

For those new to legal sports betting, each week, PlayUSA will gather a handful of bets we are watching over the course of the NFL betting season.

You should know, we are not professional betting experts or seasoned oddsmakers in any way, shape, or form. Although we do follow the legal US betting market and NFL odds, this content is strictly from an analysis perspective. In short, we want to have a little fun with it.

With that said, the information found here is based on our own personal interests. We will, however, provide some insight on some interesting sports bets for each week leading up to the Super Bowl on Feb. 13, 2022. We will also keep track of our record throughout the 2021-22 season.

Bets we are watching: Week 1

The picks and odds displayed below were taken from Illinois sportsbooks.

Baltimore Ravens @ Las Vegas Raiders

  • Point spread: -4.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)

Baltimore struts into Week 1 as the favorite to win the first NFL regular-season game in Las Vegas. However, the loss of star running back JK Dobbins and the loss of 3rd string back Justice Hill, both for the season, has Baltimore scrambling for depth at the running back position.

The Raiders are a sub .500 team at best. Derek Carr is back for his 7th season with the Raiders and could provide a bit of a spark. But the impact players are certainly Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller. Let’s not forget; Las Vegas has big questions at offensive line and on the defensive side of the ball.

Yes, it is Week 1, so both teams will have mistakes and things to iron out.

With that said, the amount of reserve firepower the Ravens are working with (Larmar Jackson, Gus Edwards, Mark Andrews) and a top-10 defense is enough to win by 7 points.

Remember, with a point spread bet, so the Ravens need to win by 5 points or more for the bet to win.

Expect this game to start slow, but the Ravens pull away in the second half.

Bengals over Vikings

  • Moneyline: +170 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

There is something about a good upset to start the year off – what better place to start than Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The new-look Cinncinati Bengals are trying to bounce back from a 4-11 campaign, which included the loss of star quarterback Joe Burrow due to a torn ACL. In the 10-games Burrow started, he passed for 2688 yards and 13 touchdowns. 

Experts anticipate the pass-heavy Bengals to come back stronger, but the team can only go as far as their shaky defense can take them, which is why the Minnesota Vikings are an excellent week 1 opponent.

Minnesota finished 2020 with a 7-9 record. They, too, were plagued by the injury bug and, like Cincinnati, are hoping for bounce-back seasons from key players. The Vikings have the talent to beat any team they play by 14 points, but they are too inconsistent and trip over their own feet.

The Bengals bring back a wealth of talent, an electric young quarterback not afraid to throw the ball, and they have nothing to lose.

Since this is a moneyline bet, all the Bengals need to do is win.

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RB Najee Harris (Pittsburgh), TE Kyle Pitts (Atlanta), WR Ja’Marr Chase (Cincinnati) — all to score a TD

  • 3 Leg parlay: +1620 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

If these names sound familiar, it’s because these players are all rookies drafted in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL draft.

For those that need a quick refresher, a parlay bet is a bet where you combine any number of individual bets into one large bet. If one of the bets (legs) fails, you lose the entire bet.

So for the above action:

  • Najee Harris +120
  • Kyle Pitts +130
  • Ja’Marr Chase +240

All need to score at least 1 TD at any point in the game for the bet to win.

Each player is expected to be a game-changer for their respected franchise. Therefore, they should each get ample playing time and have a chance to contribute from the start.

The downside is, they are rookies. Although their ceiling is incredibly high, a combination of first-game jitters, the speed of the game, and mental errors may doom them.

If you enjoyed the above selections, be sure and follow the PlayUSA Picks Navigator each week for more exciting content. Be sure to also check out how I’m tracking futures odds for the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

For even more NFL coverage, be sure and follow @VisitPlayUSA | @reporternickg | @brantjames for all the latest insights.

Photo by Nick Wass / Associated Press
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick has had stints in Chicago and Washington, D.C., writing about politics, financial markets, and sports betting. He graduated from Texas Tech University and completed his master's degree in journalism at Columbia College Chicago.

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