All eyes set on September 9th!
The countdown to the 2021 NFL season is now underway with all eyes set on September 9th for the first showdown between defending Superbowl champs Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. This will be the first test for the new regular season expansion taking the total games from 16 to 17. The teams are in the midst of preparations as August’s pre-season games come thick and fast.
NFL fans across the country and around the world, along with experts and bookmakers are asking the big question about whether or not Tom Brady can repeat his successes of last season in what we’re expecting to be his final in the NFL.
From old faces to new ones, fans are also excited to see the outcomes of some of the NFL’s latest recruits picked up at the NFL Draft. The likes of Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Ja’Marr Chase, and Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith are some of the names that everybody is expecting to shine from the off in the upcoming season. Here’s a recap of those promising talents selected in the first round;
Who’re the favorites?
The favorite — Kansas City Chiefs (+500)
When it comes to NFL betting odds, everyone is putting Patrick Mahomes’ Kansas City as the outright favorites. There’s no question that this Chiefs team has an incredible roster of talent after reaching back-to-back Super Bowl games in the last two years, winning it 2 years ago, so it’s no surprise that they are being put forward once again.
Chiefs fans may have been a little frustrated about their activity in the off-season particularly in relation to their offensive line. They managed to secure a deal with guard Joe Thuney who is a fantastic capture, but they failed in their attempts to land top offensive tackle target Trent Williams. He eventually re-signed with the 49ers much to the disappointment of the Chiefs. A similar situation occurred as they were also interested in picking up another wide receiver and had targets Josh Reynolds and JuJu Smith-Schuster in mind but they also missed out. Despite these frustrations, the Chiefs have been the favorites consistently since mid-February and this team has proven their worth over and over again in recent years.
2nd Favorite — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+650)
Any team with Tom Brady leading the line is always going to be a contender and he proved exactly that last year. He took a Buccs team who have failed to qualify for a playoff game since 2007 to winning the Super Bowl. Although they are the second favorite, they’re still considered to be a good value bet. This is because of the continuity that the team has managed to keep in the off-season by retaining their offensive and defensive starters as well as their top coordinators. Tom Brady could therefore be heading into the season with the best team alongside him that he has ever had, even comparing it to the teams from his Patriots days. The only cause for concern is surrounding the knee of Brady who had surgery at the end of the 2020 season. In what is being predicted to be his last season in the NFL, could his legs get the better of him or will he power through like we’ve seen time and time again? Perhaps the opening game against the Dallas Cowboys will give us some insight into what the season will hold in store.
The outsider — Cleveland Browns (+1600)
If you’re looking for a dark hose and outside contender to lift the Lombardi Trophy, then Cleveland may well be an interesting pick. They’re being lined up with a predicted win total of 10 sending them into the playoffs with DraftKings listing them as 7th favorite at the time of writing. Their odds currently sit at +1600 but they have actually seen their chances increase coming down from +2000 originally.
This bump in odds came after the NFL Draft, with bookies seeing their new recruits as potential instant impact players. The Browns drafted cornerback Greg Newsome II, linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, and receiver Anthony Schwartz. This coupled with a big off-season securing Safety John Johnson III, cornerback Troy Hill, and pass-rusher Jadeveon Clowney. To add the cherry on the top is the return of Odell Beckham Jr. which offers Baker Mayfield a great line-up to work with. This is what makes them a possible high-value option when picking the outright favorite for the upcoming season.
Could this be Brady’s final season?
While it’s pretty clear that the favorites for the 2021 season are the two that battled it out on the gridiron last season. Kansas City and Tampa Bay are leading the way clearly, but it may be worth looking past these two is where the difference in odds begins to shorten. The Bills are currently third after their decent run in the playoffs last season with +1200 followed by the emergence of the LA Rams in 4th at +1300. They only managed to make it to the divisional playoffs last year, but it appears further progress is expected this time around. After that, you’ll find the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers at +1400 and then the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers at +1600.
This upcoming season is set to be a thriller with fans excited to see the performances of the latest Draft picks but also to see the NFL G.O.A.T. Tom Brady hit the field for potentially his final show. It could be a season where the expected happens but also one full of surprises. Let’s wait and see what the NFL 2021 season has planned for us.