Dallas and Tampa Bay had one heck of a season opener on Thursday night, with the Cowboys coming this close to sinking the defending Super Bowl champions. And they did it as an underdog. Even with a seven-point teaser, the Buccaneers would have still lost per Las Vegas’ NFL odds but that unexpectedly close game is why we need to tease some of the chalk.
We start off with three NFC favorites, all with stalwart defenses, who should get the job done.
NFL Week 1: Three-Way 3-Point Teaser
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers
When: Sunday (1 p.m. ET)
Point Spread: Carolina -4
This game is interesting beyond the narrative. On one hand, the Panthers are a popular Survivor pick while the Jets are receiving most of the support on the NFL picks against the spread. However, Carolina has several edges here that makes it a solid pick as a favorite.
Brush aside the fact that new quarterback Sam Darnold will be shaky along with the offensive line. The Panthers have the best player in the game in running back Christian McCaffrey, who is matchup-proof even against the Jets’ sturdy defensive line.
Then we have the Panthers’ defense, which is being underrated here. The unit ranked 18th last season against one of the toughest schedules. With more continuity, the Panthers can finish as a top-10 unit and make life hard for Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson.
With a three-point teaser, the Panthers are almost a straight-up pick as it is unlikely they win by just a point.
Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals
When: Sunday (1 p.m. ET)
Point Spread: Minnesota Vikings -3
The Vikings’ defensive line should have a field day against the Bengals’ patchwork offensive line. Minnesota’s defense struggled last season but defensive end Danielle Hunter and defensive tackle Michael Pierce return. This team should resemble more of the 2019 version, which allowed the fifth-fewest points in the NFL and went 10-6.
But even with the defense struggling last season, the team managed to win seven games. Say what you will about Kirk Cousins, but the Vikings have a plethora of offensive difference-makers like running back Dalvin Cook and can survive a subpar performance from their quarterback.
NFL rushing leaders since 2019:
1.) Derrick Henry – 3,566
2.) Derrick Henry AFTER contact – 2,758
3.) Dalvin Cook – 2,692 pic.twitter.com/qJ8gQXMrR5
— PFF (@PFF) September 4, 2021
The sportsbook has Minnesota as a three-point favorite so teasing the Vikings will make them a straight pick, which they should be able to deliver as. They went 2-0 as a favorite and beat all the non-playoff teams and Chicago as a road team last season.
Bengals QB Joe Burrow is slowly returning from a major knee injury and it’s unclear if the O-line can protect him at all. The running game should also be stifled by Minnesota, which allowed the third-fewest rushing touchdowns in 2019.
Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams
When: Sunday (8:20 p.m. ET)
Point Spread: Los Angeles Rams -9
The week’s second-biggest favorites, the Rams are in a featured showdown against the Andy Dalton-led Chicago Bears. The spread at nine points is dicey but teasing it down to six makes it more manageable for this defense-driven squad with Super Bowl aspirations
The Bears would have had more support if they went with rookie quarterback Justin Fields, but that wouldn’t have changed their fortunes. Their offensive line has degenerated into a bottom-five unit in the NFL and that’s trouble against the Los Angeles defense, which shredded the league last season.
On offense, Matthew Stafford gives the Rams the “big gun” they’ve needed when they get caught in an unexpected fire fight. When push comes to shove, Stafford should be able to outgun Dalton as the Rams anchor this teaser. Bet online on Los Angeles to bring this baby home.