2021 NFL Season Kickoff: Buccaneers vs. Cowboys and Prime-Time Game Picks for Week 1

  • BetOnline has the Buccaneers as 7.5-point favorites over the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football
  • The Andy Dalton era in Chicago may be short-lived with the Bears as 7.5-point underdogs to Chicago in Week 1
  • Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens play the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday Night Football

After a year of empty seats and piped-in crowd noise, NFL stadiums will be jam-packed during the 2021 season. It all starts this Thursday night with the defending champion Buccaneers raising their Super Bowl banner before clashing with the Cowboys.

With the week’s other two prime-time games, the league is giving the Rams and Raiders a chance to showcase their shiny new stadiums after they sat empty for a year during COVID. Los Angeles hosts the Bears in SoFi Stadium while Las Vegas welcomes the Ravens to Allegiant Stadium.

As we’ll do every week from here on out, let’s look at the odds for all the prime-time contests on Thursday, Sunday and Monday Night Football. Here’s where you can also find tips and advice for betting on NFL football games.

Thursday Night Football

BetOnlineSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Dallas Cowboys+7½ (-115)+275Ov 51½ (-110)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers-7½ (-105)-330Un 51½ (-110)

Buccaneers vs Cowboys

The NFL isn’t messing around this year, opening with the most glitzy, glamorous game imaginable. With Dak Prescott and their offensive line back healthy, the Cowboys should be much better than their 6-10 record last year. But the real question is if new DC Dan Quinn and rookie linebacker can fix Dallas’ porous defense.

Tampa Bay provides the ultimate early test with 44-year-old Tom Brady slinging it to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski on Thursday night. The Buccaneers also brought back every member of the Todd Bowles defense that dominated Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. Pick: Buccaneers -7.5 (-115) at BetOnline

Sunday Night Football

BetOnlineSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Chicago Bears+7 (-105)+275Ov 44½ (-105)
Los Angeles Rams-7 (-115)-330Un 44½ (-115)

Rams vs Bears

Sorry, Bears fans. No matter how good rookie Justin Fields looked in the preseason and no matter how much you complained on Twitter, Matt Nagy is rolling with Andy Dalton on Sunday night versus the Rams. The good news is if the Red Rifle is embarrassed by Jalen Ramsey and Aaron Donald in prime-time (a hallmark of his career by the way), the No. 11 overall pick could be behind center as soon as Week 2.

Expect Sean McVay to get creative with new quarterback Matthew Stafford at the controls. Los Angeles will run up the score against the Bears overrated defense as Cris Collinsworth says something like, “I just don’t understand how Fields isn’t playing in this game, Al.” Pick: Rams -7.0 (-115) at BetOnline

BuccaneersCover -7.5 points
star iconstar iconstar iconstar iconstar icon
-115
Bet now
RamsCover -7.0 points
star iconstar iconstar iconstar iconstar icon
-115
Bet now

Monday Night Football

BetOnlineSpreadMoney LineTotal Points
Baltimore Ravens-4½ (-108)--210Ov 51 (-110)
Las Vegas Raiders+4½ (-112)+180Un 51 (-110)

Raiders vs Ravens

The Raiders have steadily improved under Jon Gruden, posting 4-12, 7-9 and 8-8 records over the past three seasons, but that’s not exactly why owner Mark Davis cut a $100-million check. Las Vegas has question marks all over the offensive line after releasing a bunch of veterans and it’s difficult to see their defense improving that much under new coordinator Gus Bradley considering the talent limitations.

Baltimore was among the hardest-hit teams in the lead up to the season, losing sophomore running back J.K. Dobbins and rookie Rashod Bateman to injuries, but Lamar Jackson should be at full steam after recovering from COVID-19 for the second time. Against my better judgment, I think this game will be closer than many think. Raiders lose by a late field goal as Justin Tucker once again comes up clutch. Pick: Raiders +4.5 (-112) at BetOnline

RaidersCover +4.5 points
star iconstar iconstar iconstar iconstar icon
-112
Bet now

See below the top sportsbooks where you can wager online and choose the best one for you:

#1

Bonus

50% up to $1,000

Bet Now

#2

Bonus

100% up to $1,000

Bet Now

#3

Bonus

125% Sports Bonus – up to $2,500

Bet Now

Steve Dominey

Steve has almost 15 years of experience in marketing, PR and sports television. After acquiring a Journalism degree from Carleton University, he assembled highlight packs for Canada's most-watched sports network (TSN) before transitioning to a career in communications. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.