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Latest Super Bowl LVI odds and Week 1 betting outlook after schedule release

Josh Allen looks to pass during a game.
Quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, for now, are big favorites to win their Week 1 contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but will they be playing in the Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium in February?
(Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

Wednesday was “Schedule Day” in the NFL, with the league officially unveiling the full 17-game schedule for all 32 teams. The 2021-22 regular season will kick off Thursday, Sept. 9, when the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys (5:20 p.m. PDT).

Here is a full list of the newly released Week 1 odds at BetMGM:

Cowboys at Bucs (-6.5)

Eagles at Falcons (-3.5)

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Steelers at Bills (-6.5)

Jets at Panthers (-4)

Vikings (-3) at Bengals

49ers (-7.5) at Lions

Jags (-2.5) at Texas

Seahawks at Colts (-2.5)

Cardinals at Titans (-2.5)

Chargers (-1) at Washington

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Browns at Chiefs (-6)

Dolphins at Patriots (-2)

Broncos (-1.5) at Giants

Bears at Rams (-7)

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Ravens (-4.5) at Raiders

The last remaining Week 1 game, Packers at Saints, is off the board due to the uncertainty surrounding Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Early Week 1 moves

Jags -1.5 to -2.5 at Texans

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Chargers + 1 to -1 at Washington

Raiders + 5.5 to + 4.5 vs. Ravens

The NFL 2021 schedule has been released, and highlights many relocated quarterbacks facing their old teams.

Sportsbooks also released an early line for the most hotly anticipated regular season matchup in recent memory: Tom Brady’s return to New England. The Bucs will face the Patriots in Week 4 on “Sunday Night Football” (Oct. 3). The Bucs have opened as a 3.5-point road favorite for Brady vs Belichick Round 1.

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With all of these attractive and fresh lines in front of us, it’s hard not to bet several Week 1 games right now. But it might be a better idea to wait. First off, you would be tying up your bankroll for four months. So you would need to have both the patience and the liquidity to place a futures-style bet. Also, there are several unknowns this far out. What if a star player gets hurt in training camp? What if a team pulls off a huge trade? What if a key player retires? Also, as a contrarian bettor, a smart play would be to let these lines ruminate the next few months. Let the bets build up and allow public narratives to take shape, then go against those prevailing biases.

If you’re looking to place a Week 1 bet anyway, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Week 1 underdogs

Closeup of Joe Burrow preparing to throw the football.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow throws against Washington on Nov. 22.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

Over the last decade, Week 1 underdogs have gone 92-79 against the spread (54%). Big Week 1 dogs +6.5 or more have gone 28-18 ATS (61%). The top Week 1 system play has been divisional dogs: 43-20 ATS (68.3%). Dogs have crushed Week 1 for several reasons: The public loves favorites, so dogs are naturally undervalued, also dogs are healthy and optimistic and opening day variance can lead to upset opportunities.

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Key numbers

If you are eyeing a Week 1 game, be conscious of key numbers. Before placing your bet, ask yourself, “Am I on or off a key number?” For example, if you like the Vikings at the Bengals, shop around and try to find a -2.5 instead of a -3. That way a three-point Minnesota win covers instead of pushes. If you like the Steelers keeping it close against the Bills, look for a +7 instead of +6.5. We live in the age of sports betting legalization with many different shops to bet through. Put in the work to place your bet at the book that gives you the best number. It could end up being the difference between a win, loss or push.

Buy low opportunities

One key for betting Week 1 is buying on bad news and selling on good news. For example, the public will bet Week 1 based on what it remembers of each team from the previous season. However, we’ve seen this can lead to the overvaluing of teams. One system I love is taking teams that missed the playoffs the previous season against teams that made the playoffs: They’ve covered at a 55% clip over the past decade.

Inflated lines

Ezekiel Elliott runs with the football tucked against his body.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott carries the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 27.
(Ron Jenkins / Associated Press)

If you’re looking for a fun and easy exercise, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Write down all of the Week 1 lines as they stand today and then see how they progress over the next few months. This will provide context around where the respected money is going and also allow you to identify inflated line opportunities. For example, the Bucs are currently -6.5 against the Cowboys on opening night. If the public flocks to the Bucs over the next four months and the line reaches -7.5, that would provide a contrarian inflated line opportunity to back the Cowboys +7.5. Just by going against the grain and doing some homework, you took advantage of a full point of inflated line value.

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Latest Super Bowl odds

Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood is nine months away, but the 2021 NFL schedule release has provided a bit of clarity as to who will be playing in the annual sporting spectacle — at least in the eyes of sportsbooks. Here are the latest Super Bowl LVI odds from DraftKings.

VSiN, the Sports Betting Network, offers more expert sports betting content in a free daily email at VSiN.com/email.


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