The spotlight will be squarely fixed on rookie quarterbacks when the 2021 NFL season kicks off this weekend. Selected first overall in this year’s NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence will make his pro debut when his Jacksonville Jaguars visit the Houston Texans on Sunday afternoon as betting favourites. Following a season of transition in 2020, the post-Tom Brady era begins in earnest on Sunday, when newly anointed starting quarterback Mac Jones leads the Patriots into action against the division rival Miami Dolphins as home favourites.
The New York Jets will also have a rookie passer under center when they visit the Carolina Panthers as betting underdogs. Zach Wilson makes his debut in an intriguing matchup against the Panthers, who will be led by former Jets quarterback Sam Darnold.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the odds and trends ahead of these key NFL Week 1 matchups. Sports bettors looking to get in on NFL action for the first time can refer to our betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their football betting experience.
|NFL Week 1 Moneyline Odds|
|New York Jets||2.95||3.01||2.95|
|New England Patriots||1.64||1.63||1.62|
Jacksonville Jaguars -3 at Houston Texans
The Jacksonville Jaguars will make yet another attempt to rewrite a losing narrative that dates back almost two decades when they open their NFL schedule in Houston on Sunday as strengthening 3-point road favourites on the NFL odds at Sports Interaction. The Jaguars return to action searching for their first straight-up victory since Week 1 of last season. The squad closed out the remainder of the 2020 campaign with 15 straight losses to finish dead last in the NFL standings.
However, that dubious distinction earned them the top pick in this year’s NFL Draft, which they used to select quarterback Trevor Lawrence. The 21-year-old is coming off a sensational collegiate career at Clemson, where he led the Tigers to the 2018 national championship. He followed up by claiming ACC Player of the year honours last season while also finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting.
— Michael F. Florio (@MichaelFFlorio) September 7, 2021
It remains to be seen if Lawrence can turn around a Jags squad that has posted losing records in nine of the past 10 years. However, a season-opening date with the Texans is a good start. Pegged as massive longshots on the Super Bowl odds at BetSafe (126.00), where a $20 bet would return a payout of $2520, the Texans face issues both on and off the gridiron. Most notable of those is the ongoing investigation into sexual assault accusations against Deshaun Watson, which has emerged as a huge distraction for the team.
Texans coach David Culley announced QB Tyrod Taylor will start Sunday’s season opener against the Jaguars.
Deshaun Watson will not play but is on the roster. pic.twitter.com/k0rV5R6IpS
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 6, 2021
The upside for the Texans is their recent success when facing Jacksonville. Houston has won six straight against the Jags, including a pair of outright victories as betting underdogs. However, with so many distractions to contend with, and little improvement on a depleted lineup that closed out last season with five straight losses, look for the Texans’ win streak against Jacksonville to end this weekend.
The Pick: Jaguars -3 (1.91) at Sports Interaction
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots -3
The New England Patriots hope to rekindle their winning ways with a young star quarterback under center when they host the Miami Dolphins on Sunday as 3-point home favourites on the NFL Week 1 odds at Betway. After missing the playoffs last season for the first time since 2010, the Patriots used the 15th overall pick in the NFL Draft to select quarterback Mac Jones.
A two-time national champion with the Alabama Crimson Tide, Jones impressed so much in preseason action that New England elected to cut former MVP Cam Newton. Jones should benefit from a number of offseason upgrades made to the New England lineup. A ferocious Patriots offensive line should provide the 21-year-old with ample opportunity to exploit the competent downfield trio of Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. In addition, a team defence that ranked seventh in the NFL last season returns largely intact.
Mac Jones in just the past 344 days:
▫️ Named starter at Alabama
▫️ Most yards of any Bama QB ever
▫️ Won a National Championship
▫️ Drafted No. 15 to the Patriots
▫️ Won starting QB over Cam
▫️ First rookie QB to ever be named starter by Bill Belichick
344 days. That fast. pic.twitter.com/fnYfdFu2kn
— Jordan Moore (@iJordanMoore) September 1, 2021
Perhaps the most intriguing storyline going into Sunday afternoon’s clash at Gillette Stadium is the duel between Jones and the man he replaced under center at Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa. The fifth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Tua has plenty to prove in 2021 after failing to win the starter’s job in Miami outright from veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick last season.
Ryan Fitzpatrick opened up about getting benched for Tua in Miami 👀
— The MMQB (@theMMQB) August 12, 2021
Despite Tua’s rookie struggles, the Dolphins emerged as one of the surprises of the 2020 NFL season, compiling a 10-6 SU record including five road victories. But while Miami sits knotted with the Patriots on the odds to win the AFC East at Funbet (4.50), where a $20 bet returns $90, they have struggled to find success in New England, where they have won just once since 2008. Look for that losing trend to continue in Week 1.
The Pick: Patriots -3 (1.95) at Betway
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers -5
The New York Jets were so high on their top pick in the 2021 NFL Draft that they elected to deal quarterback Sam Darnold to Carolina during the offseason. The team will find out if their confidence was well placed this Sunday when they visit Darnold and the Panthers as 5-point underdogs on the NFL odds at Bet99.
Zach Wilson is the best passer in this draft class and it’s not close 🤩 pic.twitter.com/QoJIjOg62v
— LockedInQB (@LockedInQB) September 6, 2021
The Jets’ new pivot Zach Wilson was solid in preseason action, going 15-for-20 in two outings including a two-TD performance in a 23-14 win in Green Bay. However, it remains to be seen whether the Jets can carry that momentum over into regular-season action. New York won just two games last season and was a sports bettor’s worst nightmare early on while failing to cover in their first six games.
Sam Darnold, Week 1:
– First game not on Jets
– First post-Gase game
– First #RevengeGame
– First game reunited with former WR1 Robby Anderson
– Best pass-catching talent he’s had
– Best coaching staff he’s had
– Best QB vs. CBs matchup of the week
How can you not play him?
— Matthew Freedman (@MattFtheOracle) September 8, 2021
Darnold received much of the blame for last season’s debacle in the Big Apple. However, he is well-positioned to turn his career around in Carolina, where the Panthers have surrounded him with quality downfield targets and Christian McCaffrey anchors the backfield. With so much to prove against his old teammates, and with a more talented supporting cast, look for Darnold and the Panthers to spoil Wilson’s highly anticipated debut.
The Pick: Panthers -5 (1.90) at Bet99