2021 Bookies Battle, Week 1 Picks Recap: Cowboys Cover Deals Early Setback To Most Of Field

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Two-thirds of the field in the 2021 Bookies Battle is off to a losing start, as the Buccaneers failed to cover the 7.5-point spread in their riveting 31-29 win over the Cowboys Thursday night. Of the 48 bookmakers competing in the contest, 32 laid the points with Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champions in the NFL’s season opener.

The books backing the Bucs must have felt good about their selections ahead of kickoff, as the line closed between -9 and -9.5 on oddsboards around the country. Closing-line value is nice and pays long-term dividends, but Dallas was clearly the right side Thursday.

Tampa Bay is tied with two other teams as the most popular picks in Week 1 of this year’s Bookies contest organized by Gaming Today. Thirty-two books are also laying short numbers with the Jaguars (-2.5) at the Texans and the Titans (-3) vs. the Cardinals.

Line Moves

Based on where lines sit Friday morning, the Jacksonville pick in Trevor Lawrence’s debut has value, as most books are dealing -3, and some already crossing the key number to -3.5. BetRivers is showing Jags -3.5 (-107).

The bookmakers, who are typically in the position of rooting for the underdog thanks to their favorite-leaning customers, are surprisingly chalky as the season kicks off. The Seahawks (-2.5) are the fourth most popular pick, followed by a three-way tie between the Packers (-4.5), 49ers (-7.5), and Washington Football Team (+1).

TeamNumber of picks (out of 48)Contest line (Tuesday)Consensus line (Friday morning)
Bucs32-7.5-9 (Thursday night close)
Jaguars
32
-2.5-3
Titans
32
-3-3 (-105)
Seahawks
29
-2.5-3
Packers28-4.5-3.5
49ers28-7.5-8.5
Football Team28+1-1.5

Our contestants are on the right side of the market moves with the seven picks listed above with the exception of Green Bay vs. New Orleans. The number is creeping back to the Saints, who were originally adjusted from +3 to +4.5 upon news the game had been moved from the Superdome to Jacksonville in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Washington, the books’ most popular underdog, has since been bet to the favorite ahead of its home game against the Chargers in Sunday’s early window.

There is an even 24-24 split among the bookmakers in three games on the NFL’s Week 1 card: Eagles at Falcons (-3.5), Jets at Panthers (-5), and Broncos at Giants (-2.5). There’s been recent market shifts toward New York (to a consensus +4) and Denver (now -3).

Follow The Bookmakers’ Selections

The Bookies Battle pits some of the most prominent names in the business – such as Las Vegas veterans Chris Andrews, Jay Rood, and Tony Miller – against folks running shops throughout the nation’s expanding legal sports betting market. We are thrilled to be hosting the contest.

Check out all the bookmakers’ Week 1 selections here, and please follow along with us throughout the season!

About the Author

Marcus DiNitto

Marcus DiNitto is Senior News Editor for Gaming Today. He has been managing editor at SportsBusiness Daily, Sporting News, The Linemakers, and USA Sports Gaming. Marcus earned his MBA from the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

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