2021 Week 1: NFL Best Bets

We went 3-2 with our bets last week, but because we placed twice as many units on the Chargers-Eagles game, we came away with +2 units last Sunday.

Can't complain about making money. Hopefully, you are following our advice, as we are now 12-8 over the last four weeks.

Week 9 was a wild ride full of crazy upsets. The Bills lost to the Jaguars 9-6, the Dallas Cowboys were dominated by the Denver Broncos, Cleveland defeated their AFC North rivals in the Cincinnati Bengals, the New York Giants escaped with a victory over the Las Vegas Raiders, the Saints lost on a last-second field goal to the Atlanta Falcons, and the Rams were outplayed by the Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football despite the absence of Derrick Henry.

If you thought we would get a return to normalcy in Week 10, you were very much wrong as the Baltimore Ravens got spanked by the Miami Dolphins in primetime on Thursday Night Football. As the postseason picture begins to become more clear, it's time to gear up for this week's edition of NFL best bets. It takes a lot of energy and research to have success over the course of a season when it comes to sports betting. Here at FantasySP, we are committed to helping you cash. Remember, if you win 55% of your bets, you are a really good gambler. We are looking at some eye opening odds this week and will help you decipher the best games to place your money on, whether it's moneylines, over-unders, or prop bets. With that, let's dive in.

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WEEK 10 NFL BEST BETS

Kansas City Chiefs at Las Vegas Raiders (+2.5)

What in the world is going on in Kansas City? The Chiefs barely escaped against the Giants in Week 8, and almost lost to a Green Bay Packers team that was missing MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers in Week 9. Although Kansas City is coming off back-to-back victories, the team is not performing at a high level. The offense is what is most concerning as Patrick Mahomes has been somewhat careless with the football, and Tyreek Hill has had to really struggle for every single yard. Kansas City only posted 13 points against a Packers secondary missing their two best corners in Jaire Alexander and Eric Stokes. That said, I think this is a get-right game for Mahomes and the offense. The defense has actually played pretty well as of late, allowing just 16 points per game over their last four contests, in which the team has a 3-1 record.

As of the publication of this article, 64% of bets on the spread have been in favor of the Chiefs. But more importantly, 76% of the money is on the Chiefs. That means that professional gamblers are placing large sums on Mahomes to get it together in Vegas this Sunday. With an over/under of 52 points, we are likely looking at a high-scoring affair. Look for Mahomes to eclipse 300 yards and find both Hill and Travis Kelce for touchdowns.

The Pick: Chiefs (-2.5)

Prediction: 31-23 Chiefs

Bonus Bet: Over 52 points

Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (-2.5)

Cleveland will be without the services of Nick Chubb, who is coming off a huge 137-yard performance with two trips to the end zone. Kareem Hunt is still on Injured Reserve and Odell Beckham Jr. has been waived and claimed by the Los Angeles Rams. While the Beckham news might actually be good for Baker Mayfield and the Browns, Cleveland is a run-first offense and will have to rely on D'Ernest Johnson. Even Demetric Felton and John Kelly have been ruled out with COVID-19, so Johnson's backup running back is still unclear up to this point. Johnson could be the only healthy running back ready to suit up.

Meanwhile, New England has dominated the Browns in Foxborough over the last 30 years. The last time that the Browns defeated the Patriots in Foxborough was back in 1992. Although only 47% of bets are on the Patriots against the spread, a whopping 67% of the money is backing New England even as 2.5-point favorites. The high-stakes professionals clearly believe in rookie Mac Jones and Bill Belichick. New England may have running back concerns of their own as Damien Harris and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson are still in the concussion protocol and are unlikely to suit up on Sunday. However, Brandon Bolden and J.J. Taylor have proven to be fairly efficient. New England's defense has been playing great defense and I think this is the game where Mac Jones proves he is here to stay in the NFL. This one will come down to the wire, but I'm expecting New England to barely cover.

Pick: Patriots (-2.5)

Prediction: 27-24 Patriots

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (-9)

The Cowboys were essentially blanked by the Denver Broncos last week before scoring two late garbage-time touchdowns to make the score somewhat respectable. After losing money on the Cowboys last week, I'm going back to the well. I think this is the perfect opportunity for Dak Prescott to air it out against an Atlanta Falcons secondary that has struggled all season long. CeeDee Lamb is going to have his best game of the season against the team that passed on him in the NFL Draft.

While the Falcons are coming off a huge victory over the Saints, I don't think Matt Ryan will be able to keep up with Dallas' potent offense. Without Calvin Ridley, his only real weapons are rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, and perhaps the best story of the year in Cordarrelle Patterson. Did you know that Patterson has more scrimmage yards than Dalvin Cook, more receptions than DeAndre Hopkins, more touchdowns than Travis Kelce, and more yards per catch than Tyreek Hill? Yeah, I didn't think so. Still, it will take the Falcons playing at their very best to keep up with Prescott, Zeke, Lamb, and Amari Cooper, plus an offensive line that is anchored by Tyron Smith. Dallas is 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games dating back to last season. Look for them to increase that number to 9-2.

Pick: Cowboys (-9)

Prediction: 34-21 Cowboys

Bonus: Lamb OVER yards and receptions

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team (+9.5)

The only team that came somewhat close to ending Tom Brady's quest for a Super Bowl in his debut season with the Bucs was Washington. Taylor Heinicke did a remarkable job in the Wild Card game last season, and he'll get another chance in Week 10. It looks like the Bucs could be without the services of Chris Godwin. If so, I think it's very hard to pass on taking Washington and the points. Even if Godwin plays, Heinicke has played well in Ryan Fitzpatrick's absence, and tight end Logan Thomas is expected to make his long-awaited return. Call it a gut feeling, but I think Chase Young forces a sack-fumble that Washington takes back to the house. Still, Tampa should win this game, but I am very comfortable betting on Washington against the spread. Consider a parlay with the over as well. After all, Washington has been allowing the most points per game to opposing teams and Tom Brady will look to get back on track after losing to the Saints in Week 8 before Tampa's bye week.

Pick: Football Team (+9.5)

Prediction: 31-27 Buccaneers

Bonus: Over 51 points

Minnesota Vikings at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)

Has any team played in as many one-possession contests as the Vikings? No. The question is whether the Vikings will be able to win this game outright on the road or at least cover the spread. Minnesota is 7-3 in their last 10 games as road underdogs. Considering Dalvin Cook will still be suiting up despite the domestic abuse rumors swirling around that locker room, I expect Minnesota to try to slow the game down and keep the ball out of Justin Herbert's hands as much as possible by giving Cook the rock. Minnesota has said they are going to throw the ball more, and they should with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen catching passes from Kirk Cousins, but it's hard not to give one of the best running backs in the league the ball 25 times per game. The Chargers' defense has been very generous to opposing running backs so Cook should steamroll Joey Bosa and the Los Angeles defensive line. While I think the Chargers still escape with a victory, Los Angeles will need a game-winning field goal to get the victory.

Pick: Vikings (+3.5)

Prediction: 27-24 Chargers

Dak Prescott

Week 13 of the NFL season kicks off tomorrow night with the New Orleans Saints hosting the Dallas Cowboys at Caesars Superdome. The Cowboys opened as 5-point favorites, but after much of the early money was bet on the struggling New Orleans Saints, the spread has dropped to 4.5 points.

Both of these teams have recently fallen on hard times and are trending in the completely wrong direction. Despite winning a game with Dak Prescott injured, Dallas has lost three of their last four games since Prescott returned to the lineup. They are coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss on Thanksgiving to the Las Vegas Raiders. Meanwhile, after starting the season 5-2, the Saints have dropped four consecutive games with Trevor Siemian under center. It will be interesting to see how the Saints fare as their postseason chances are dwindling.

Betting on the NFL makes games even more exciting among fans. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on each and every week. Whether you want to tail or fade the public, knowing the public betting trends (bet percentages and money percentages) is pivotal when determining which teams to back. So without further ado, let’s take a look at who the public likes in Week 13’s Thursday Night Football matchup, and where you should place your wagers.

Note: The lines and public betting trends are always changing so be sure to check out FantasySP for the latest odds and trends.

Dallas Cowboys at New Orleans Saints (+4.5)

The Saints and Cowboys tend to play very competitive games against one another. In their last three meetings, each game has been decided by one possession. The Saints defeated the Cowboys the last time these two franchises met in 2019 (12-10). However, the Cowboys are clearly the superior team this season and are 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 games while the Saints are 4-6 against the spread over that same timeframe. So will Dallas snap their five-game losing streak on Thursday Night Football?

Although there were reports about Ezekiel Elliott being rested this week, Jerry Jones said he expects Zeke to be fed a sizable workload. It appears that although Tony Pollard will continue to get touches in this backfield, Elliott will serve as the lead-back in Week 13. The Cowboys’ offense has been very up and down over the last month. However, Dallas’ Thanksgiving day loss cannot be blamed on Prescott and the offense as they produced more than 400 yards and put 33 points up on the scoreboard. Plus, the Cowboys should get starting wide receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb back from injury this week. Although the Saints have a solid defense, they did just allow Josh Allen and the Bills to post 36 points on Thanksgiving.

The Saints’ offense really struggled on Thanksgiving against the Bills. This was largely due to the absence of running backs, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram. Both backs are expected to return this week, and Taysom Hill is clearly an upgrade at the quarterback position over Siemian. However, New Orleans still lacks playmakers at the wide receiver and tight end position. With tight end Adam Trautman injured, the Saints will have to rely on Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harris to get open against the Cowboys’ 26th-ranked defense.

Dallas’ defense has some elite talents such as youngsters Micah Parson and Trevon Diggs, but they are still allowing opponents to gain close to 370 total yards of offense per game. But the Saints’ 27th-ranked offense will be a welcomed opponent for a defensive unit that just allowed Derek Carr to lead the Raiders to 36 points without the services of tight end Darren Waller.

Overall, both of these teams are looking to get back on track. The Cowboys have more wiggle room due to their 7-4 record and weak division, however, a loss could throw this team into complete chaos.

The public thinks that Dallas will cover the spread as 68% of the bets placed on the spread are backing Dallas and a whopping 75% of the money wagered has the Cowboys covering the 4.5-point spread. However, professional gamblers like the odds on the Saints upsetting the Cowboys outright. Despite 70% of moneyline bets being on the Cowboys, 53% of the money is on the Saints. I’m following the smart money here and tailing the sharps. While I’m not quite comfortable taking the Saints outright, I think they have enough talent on both sides of the ball to keep this game close. I’m also going with the “smart money” on the over/under. While only 56% of bets are on the over, an eye-popping 78% of the money expects this game to exceed the 47.5-point total.

Picks: Saints (+4.5) and Over 47.5 points

Prediction: 27-24 Cowboys

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2020 Fantasy Running Back Primer
Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports

While many Americans will be preparing for Black Friday, perhaps just as many will be betting on the three NFL games on Thanksgiving. The Chicago Bears will be facing the winless Detroit Lions, the Raiders travel to Jerry World to take on the Dallas Cowboys, and the Buffalo Bills face the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome.

Some of you may be sick of the Lions playing on Thanksgiving, and it's understandable considering they have yet to win a game this season. And if you aren't a huge fan of your family at the dinner table, saying that you need to go watch the Lions game to avoid a conversation about what you're grateful for or politics isn't a great excuse. However, if you place a wager on the game, that's the only excuse you need.

Last week, by looking at the public betting trends, we nailed all three of our recommended bets, including a bonus bet. Monitoring public betting trends is one of the most pivotal tools used by professional handicappers to find the top wagers in the sports betting marketplace. Public betting trends allow you to track which teams the public is chasing and which teams professional gamblers are high on each and every week.

Whether you want to tail or fade the public, knowing the public betting trends (bet percentages and money percentages) is pivotal when determining which teams to back. So without further ado, let's take a look at the public betting trends for the three games on Thanksgiving.

Note: The lines and public betting trends are always changing so be sure to check out FantasySP for the latest odds and trends.

Thanksgiving Day Public Betting Trends

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (+3)

Although the Bears are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games, they have won a whopping eight of their last nine games as the favorite. Meanwhile, Detroit is 0-13-1 straight up in their last 14 games as underdogs with an average defeat of 13.07 points.

The spread was originally 3.5 points but it dropped to 3 points with Justin Fields looking doubtful for the first game on Thanksgiving day. Andy Dalton will take over as the starter and he actually looked fairly good in Chicago's close loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 11. But the Bears aren't the only team that may be missing their starting quarterback. After missing Week 11 with an oblique injury, Tim Boyle will reportedly start for the Lions. Detroit is dealing with several other injuries outside of Goff on the offensive side of the ball. The Lions are now missing three starting offensive linemen and they don't have any noteworthy receivers. D'Andre Swift and T.J. Hockenson should see a ton of touches on Thursday. However, Chicago is dealing with many injuries of their own in addition to Fields. Allen Robinson is highly questionable with a hamstring injury, meaning Darnell Mooney will continue to be peppered with targets. Marquise Goodwin could also see more snaps if A-Rob is unable to suit up. Plus, a defense that looked pretty scary at the beginning of the season will be missing All-Pro pass rusher Khalil Mack, who is out for the season, and Akiem Nicks and Eddie Jackson may not be active on a short week after missing Week 11.

Both teams have underperformed this season but the Lions have been atrocious on Thanksgiving in recent years. Favorites playing on the road at Ford Field are 10-2 against the spread on Thanksgiving. Plus, the Bears have won six of their last seven games against Detroit, including two games on Thanksgiving.

A common strategy in sports betting is fading the public, which is exactly what I'd recommend in this clash between two terrible teams. Although 92% of the money line bets are on the Lions, I expect the Bears to win this game fairly comfortably now that David Montgomery is at full strength. And I actually think Chicago might be better with Dalton under center. And even though 72% of the money on the spread favors Detroit, I just can't imagine Tim Boyle keeping this game within a field goal. This is the ideal spot to make a contrarian wager.

Pick(s): Bears ML and Bears (-3)

Prediction: 23-14 Bears

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Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys (-7)

Dallas is coming off their worst performance of the season after getting absolutely shut down by the Kansas City Chiefs. However, Dallas is 8-2 against the spread this season, 6-1 against the spread in it's last seven home games, and the Raiders have lost all three games this season against teams with winning records by an average deficit of 17.67 points. After starting the season 5-2, the Raiders have lost three consecutive games and have not looked good at all during that span. They were upset by a 3-7 Giants team, were manhandled to the tune of 41-14 against the Chiefs, and most recently lost 32-13 against the Cincinnati Bengals. Vegas has only scored 43 points over that three-game span. The Raiders offense just doesn't look very good and Derek Carr has really struggled to get tight end Darren Waller involved.

Although the Cowboys will be without Amari Cooper for the second consecutive week, CeeDee Lamb is on track to play after exiting the Cowboys' Week 11 loss to the Chiefs with a concussion.

https://twitter.com/jonmachota/status/1463543514025844744

This looks like a bounce-back game for Dak Prescott and the Cowboys' offense. The Raiders are tied with the Jaguars with the seventh-most points allowed per game this season (26.2 points). Although the Bears-Lions game will most likely be a low-scoring affair, I'm expecting tons of points in this matchup. Despite just 52% of bets being placed on the over, 63% of the money wagered is on this game eclipsing the 51.5-point total. The "smart money" is on the over in this game. Not only are Prescott and Lamb going to dominate the Raiders' secondary, but Ezekiel Elliott is going to have a massive game against a Raiders front seven that allows over 100 rushing yards and 1.2 touchdowns per game to opposing running backs, equaling the seventh-most fantasy points allowed per game to running backs.

Some bettors might be a bit reluctant to lay the seven points with the Cowboys, but I'm expecting a high-scoring blowout on Thanksgiving.

Pick(s): Over 51.5 points and Cowboys (-7)

Prediction: 34-20 Cowboys

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Buffalo Bills at New Orleans Saints (+6)

Recent trends suggest that the Saints are going to cover the spread in this game. The Bills are just 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five contests while New Orleans is 9-1-1 against the spread in their last 11 games as the underdog. Not to mention, the Saints have won five consecutive games against Buffalo by an average of 21 points and they have covered the spread in each of those matchups.

Although 68% of bets on the spread are backing the Bills, 52% of the money is backing New Orleans. While I expect the Bills to narrowly escape with a victory, I think the Saints will play this game down to the wire, especially with Alvin Kamara expected to be back in the lineup.

Buffalo has been incredibly unpredictable this season. They have terrible losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, but they have also put up some huge point totals in other contests. Buffalo has lost three of their last five games and Josh Allen has thrown six interceptions during that span. It's hard to know which Bills team will show up on Thanksgiving. I don't think that Allen and the Bills will struggle as they did last week, but this won't be an easy task against one of the elite defenses in the NFL. The Saints allow the 10th-fewest points and 10th-fewest yards per game this season. Meanwhile, the Bills allow the fewest yards per game and the second-fewest points per game. This game has the under written all over it, especially since despite only 34% of bets being placed on the under, 54% of the money is anticipating this game to not exceed the 45.5-point total. Don't forget that Thanksgiving night games have gone under in 10-of-14 seasons, including six straight. I expect this to be a defensive battle, with the Bills winning on a last-second field goal, failing to cover the spread.

Pick(s): Under 45.5 points and Saints (+6)

Prediction: 20-17 Bills

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