Reigning Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers will usher in a new NFL season when they host the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday. The Cowboys will welcome back star QB Dak Prescott from injury, and it will be exciting to see him go head-to-head with the evergreen Tom Brady.
NFL stadiums will be at full capacity this season after the governing bodies lifted all remaining coronavirus restrictions. One major change will see the regular season extended to 17 games, providing football fans with even more wagering opportunities.
The regular season will run until January 8, and the playoffs will begin the following week. Super Bowl LVI is scheduled for February 13 at SoFi Stadium, in Inglewood, California, the home stadium of the LA Rams. The Bucs won the Lombardi Trophy at their stadium last season, and the Rams will be hell-bent on following in their footsteps this time around after bringing in Matthew Stafford to revitalize their offense.
Yet the Rams will face stern competition from several elite teams, including a star-studded Buccaneers group that boasts arguably the best receiving corps in the league. There are lots of exciting futures betting markets on the NFL, so read on to learn more about the best NFL odds, the manifold wagering options for you to enjoy, and some expert NFL betting predictions.
Season at a Glance
- Number of teams: 32
- Number of games: 272 regular season + 13 playoff
- Stars on: September 10, 2021
- Playoffs start on: January 15, 2022
- Super Bowl played on: February 13, 2022
- Super Bowl Location: Inglewood, California
- Pro Bowl Played on: February 6, 2022
- Pro Bowl Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
How many games will there be in the 2021 NFL season?
Each team will play 17 regular season games in the 2021 NFL season after franchise owners agreed to an extended season. That means there will be 272 games in total, followed by the playoffs.
Who has the easiest schedule in the NFL 2021?
The Philadelphia Eagles have been handed the statistically easiest ride with a .430 strength of schedule, based on the final standings from 2020. However, the Eagles are among just five teams that will have to play both the Buccaneers and the Chiefs, the teams that played in Super Bowl LV.
Which team has the hardest schedule in the NFL 2021?
The Steelers have a .574 strength of schedule based on the final standings from last season, giving them the toughest calendar this time around. Pittsburgh will come up against 10 teams that reached the playoffs last year, including three of the four teams that reached the conference championship games.
Who is the best NFL team in 2021?
Most power rankings have either the Buccaneers or the Chiefs in first place. The Bucs prevailed when those teams met in the Super Bowl last season, but many expect the Chiefs to improve this year after improving their offensive line.
NFL 2021 Season Outright Odds
The Kansas City Chiefs are the outright favorites to win Super Bowl LVI. Superstar QB Patrick Mahomes powered the Chiefs to a thrilling victory over the 49ers at Super Bowl LIV. Kansas City was the clear favorite to beat the Buccaneers at Super Bowl LV in February, but Mahomes was overshadowed by Tom Brady.
However, the Chiefs have worked hard to provide Mahomes with greater protection in the offseason, and the online sports betting sites believe they have what it takes to lift the Lombardi Trophy once again on February 5, 2022. The Chiefs remain the strongest team in the AFC, but they face stern competition from the Bills, the Ravens, the Browns and several other ambitious challengers.
The NFC is also stacked with talented teams. The 49ers, Packers and Rams are the leading contenders to seize Tampa Bay’s crown, while intriguing dark horses abound.
We have visited the best NFL betting sites and compiled the best NFL odds on each team to save you from having to conduct your own odds comparison NFL exercise. Football fans can bet on a team to win the Super Bowl, or a particular conference or division. There are lots of exciting NFL specials and team totals wagers to help you dial the excitement during the 2021 NFL season too. We will delve into the futures betting options available on each NFL team throughout this in-depth NFL betting guide.
|Team||Odds to win Super Bowl||Odds to Win Conference||Odds to Win Division|
|Kansas City Chiefs||5/1||5/2||1/3|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||13/2||3/1||1/2|
|Green Bay Packers||14/1||6/1||5/7|
|San Francisco 49ers||14/1||13/2||2/1|
|New England Patriots||33/1||16/1||7/2|
|New Orleans Saints||33/1||16/1||18/5|
|Washington Football Team||50/1||25/1||13/5|
|New York Giants||80/1||40/1||9/2|
|Las Vegas Raiders||90/1||40/1||20/1|
|New York Jets||150/1||75/1||25/1|
These odds were compiled from Bet365, William Hill and Unibet, three of the world’s largest online sports betting sites. We offer competitive bonuses on each of these sites at ThePlayer.com.
NFL 2021 TV & Streaming Guide
This will be the eighth year of the current broadcast contracts with NBC, ESPN, CBS and Fox. Games on Sunday afternoons are shared between CBS and Fox, while NBC airs Sunday Night Football, plus the Kickoff Game and the games taking place on Thanksgiving. ESPN hosts Monday Night Football, including a new doubleheader on the final week of the regular season. Canadians can watch pro football on CTV, TSN and RDS. If you are in the UK or Ireland, you can watch the action via a Sky Sports NFL pass, while ESPN covers Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. There are various different broadcasters in Europe and Asia.
NFL AFC Conference 2020 Season Preview
Bills Poised to Repeat in AFC East
The Buffalo Bills earned the best regular season record in the AFC last season after winning 13 games. They carried a six-game winning streak into the playoffs before sweeping aside the Colts and the Ravens to secure a place in the AFC Championship game. Buffalo ultimately lost out to the Chiefs, but hopes are high among Bills fans for an even better season this time around.
QB Josh Allen excelled in all phases of the game last season, and he was rewarded with an enormous $258 million extension this summer. He is gearing up to lead a pass heavy attack blessed with an improved receiving unit, and he should also benefit from better protection after some tweaks to the offensive line. Allen will be under pressure to lead this team to the Super Bowl this season.
The Bills are widely viewed as the greatest threat to Kansas City’s chances of seizing a third consecutive AFC championship. There are no concerns about the offense, but Buffalo’s defense was unconvincing at times last year. They have shored up a few spots in the offseason, and if the pass rush discovers greater consistency, Buffalo could go all the way this season.
It is hard to see any of Buffalo’s divisional rivals stopping them from repeating as divisional champions. The Dolphins went 10-6 last year, while the Patriots and Jets both endured losing seasons. They have made some interesting offseason moves, but they lack the quality to dethrone the Bills.
As such, the Bills are priced at 4/6 to win the division, which looks like a safe bet. The Dolphins and Pats are both out at 7/2, while the Jets are 25/1 outsiders. Miami will be reliant on second-year QB Tua Yagovailoa staying healthy and maintaining an upward curve, but they may struggle for consistency. Bill Belichick went on a summer spending spree, and the Pats look perfectly capable of making the playoffs again this season. They are priced at 6/5 in the NFL odds to reach the postseason, which looks tempting.
Chiefs Set to Dominate AFC West
The Kansas City Chiefs should win this division on cruise control. They are the most exciting team in the league, led by an outrageously talented QB in Mahomes. He could enjoy his best season yet after the Chiefs rebuilt their offensive line in the offseason. Expect Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce to put up huge numbers this year too.
The real intrigue in the AFC West lies in predicting whether any of the remaining teams can earn a wildcard berth. The Raiders, Chargers and Broncos all missed out on the playoffs last season after delivering a string of underwhelming performances.
The Raiders went 8-8 last year, but they look in worse shape this time around. The defense is a mess, and the offense lacks talent beyond Derek Carr, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs. William Hill is offering even money on under 7 wins for the Raiders this season, which looks interesting. They could finish bottom of this division.
Brandon Staley’s arrival in Los Angeles should improve the Chargers’ fortunes. He is perfectly capable of unlocking the potential of the defense, while Justin Herbert is a reliable QB. The Chargers are 5/4 to reach the playoffs, which looks really appealing. A free agent splurge has inspired many bettors to back the Broncos, and it certainly has a strong defense, but it lacks offensive juice.
Ravens Battle Browns for Supremacy in AFC North
The Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns look set to battle for supremacy in the AFC North this season. The Steelers won the division with a 12-4 record last year, but their season fizzled out with some disappointing defeats, and they look poised to regress this time around. Ben Roethlisberger appears to be on his last legs, and a lack of mobility could hamper Pittsburgh’s chances of reaching the postseason.
There are no such issues for the Ravens, who are led by the most elusive QB in the business. Lamar Jackson was named NFL MVP in 2019. He did not quite scale those heights last season, but he continues to carry Baltimore’s offense. Losing J.K. Dobbins for the season was a blow, and the Ravens have a few key players out injured, but they should be dangerous when Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin return to the fold.
Jackson is a star, but the Browns boast the best roster in the division. The arrivals of Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Newsome and Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah should significantly strengthen the defense. Baker Mayfield needed more weapons, so the addition of Kevin Stefanski should help the Browns enjoy a strong season.
The Browns could challenge the Chiefs and the Bills for the AFC championship if they play to their full potential. They look more balanced than the Ravens, so odds of 6/4 on them winning the division look great. The Bengals should improve this year, but they are still likely to finish bottom of the pile.
The Tennessee Titans have a great opportunity to clinch the AFC South this year. Tennessee’s offense ranked No. 3 last year, and it could be even stronger this time around.
Derrick Henry is a whirlwind of destruction, and Mike Vrabel will give him plenty of opportunities to wreak havoc. Ryan Tannehill is playing at a high level, and Julio Jones is a great addition to the mix.
Their main rivals are the Colts, who could make a slow start to the season after injuries to Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson caused them to miss most of the summer. Indy has a well-coached defense and an explosive running back in Jonathan Taylor, but the Titans look capable of finishing narrowly ahead of the Colts in the AFC South. The Texans and the Jags both look woeful.
NFL NFC Conference 2020 Season Preview
Prescott Holds the Key to the NFC East
This looks like the weakest division in the league by a comfortable margin. All four teams were dreadful last year, and Washington eventually clinched the NFC East with a 7-9 record.
There is just one elite QB in the division: Dak Prescott. The Dallas Cowboys signal caller missed vast swathes of last season with an injury, but he is now fighting fit. If he stays healthy, the Cowboys should win the NFC East.
You could make a compelling case for Washington to prevail. It has the best defense in the division, if not the league, with Chase Young leading the charge. The offensive line also looks strong, but much depends on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s ability to hit the ground running. He has been known to kill teams with brutal turnovers in the past, and he may not represent a significant upgrade over Alex Smith.
Dallas just has a lot more star power. If Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb avoid the injury list, it is the favorite for the NFC East. The Eagles have the easiest strength of schedule in the league, but one of the worst rosters, while the Giants’ offensive line struggles to protect an unconvincing Daniel Jones, so Dallas or Washington should clinch the division, and the Cowboys look a little more dangerous.
Four Talented Teams in the NFC West
This is easily the strongest division in the league. All four teams have a shot at the postseason. The Rams and the 49ers are both priced at 14/1 to win the Super Bowl; only the Bucs, Chiefs and Bills have shorter odds.
Yet they both finished below the Seahawks last year. Pete Carroll is often ridiculed for his run-heavy offense, but he has not suffered a losing season since 2011, and he did actually give Russell Wilson a little more time on the ball last year. There are legitimate concerns about the pass rush and the secondary, but the Seahawks could easily win this division.
The Rams should enjoy a strong upturn in results after trading Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff. The arrival of DeSean Jackson provides juice on the outside, and Robert Wood and Cooper Kupp will be dangerous.
The Niners boast a balanced and explosive offense, and it will be intriguing to see if Trey Lance can take Jimmy Garoppolo’s place as starting quarterback. A defense led by Nick Bosa and Fred Warner is still devastating, and if they stay healthy, the 49ers are a playoff team. The Cardinals are supposedly the weakest team, but there is a lot to like about a team led by Kyler Murray. Could we see all four teams from the NFC West in the playoffs?
Rodgers to Dominate the NFC North
The Packers should ease to victory in the NFC North after retaining the services of reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers for another year. Rodgers savaged the franchise in a candid press conference at the start of training camp, but both sides have now entered a period of détente, and the return of Randall Cobb should cheer Rodgers up somewhat.
Green Bay should prove far too strong for its divisional rivals. The Lions are hopeless, while Andy Walton does not exactly set pulses racing as starting QB for the Bears. Their fortunes could improve if rookie first-rounder Justin Fields takes the reins, but Chicago is unlikely to make the playoffs.
The Vikings are the unknown quantity in this division. QB Kirk Cousins has rarely enjoyed much protection during his time in Minnesota, but the arrival of Christian Darrisaw could change all that. Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter should return to bolster the defense, and even money on over 9 wins for the Vikings at William Hill looks tempting.
Fallen Saints in NFC South
It is easy to see why the Bucs are priced at just 1/2 to win the AFC South this season. They finished second to the Saints in 2020, but they clinched a wild card after securing the fourth best record in the conference.
The Saints are likely to go backwards after talismanic QB Drew Brees retired, whereas the Bucs are surging with confidence as they head into the new season. They blazed a trail of destruction throughout the playoffs last year, as Tom Brady ended the season with a seventh Super Bowl ring and a fifth Super Bowl MVP award.
The 43-year-old is not particularly mobile these days, and his arm strength is waning, but his football IQ remains peerless, and he has a great offense around him. A triumvirate of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown is utterly devastating. If odds of 1/2 sound too low, you might consider a double of the Bucs and Bills to both win their divisions, which offers a 150% profit if successful.
The Saints will lean more heavily on the running game in the post-Brees era. Jameis Winston, the top overall draft pick in 2015, has big shoes to fill, and it might take him a whole to grow accustomed to life in New Orleans. Michael Thomas is out injured, while the Saints cannot play at the Superdome right now due to Hurricane Ida, so it will be hard for the Saints to match last season’s win tally. The Panthers and the Falcons are highly unlikely to make the playoffs.
NFC Specials Betting
We wrap up this NFL betting guide with a quick overview of the specials betting markets on offer at the best NFL betting sites. Patrick Mahomes is the 4/1 favorite to be named regular season MVP, which makes sense.
He has already achieved so much in a short space of time, but he will still be determined to make amends for his uncharacteristically ineffective performance at Super Bowl LV. Mahomes will enjoy better protection this year, and he could deliver a season for the ages. His main rivals are Aaron Rodgers, Josh Allen and Dak Prescott, but intriguing dark horses include Lamar Jackson at 25/1 and Jameis Winston at 50/1.
Dak Prescott is the 9/5 favorite with Bet365 to be named Comeback Player of the Year, which also looks appealing, but Nick Bosa at 8/1 and Julio Jones at 14/1 are also in contention. NFL fans can also bet on futures markets such as Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive Player of the Year, Most Passing Yards, Most Rushing Yards, Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Offensive Rookie of the Year, with lots of exciting draft picks in contention.
Previous Super Bowl winners
There have been 55 Super Bowls since 1967. Here are the previous champions:
|I||Jan. 15, 1967||Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10|
|II||Jan. 14, 1968||Green Bay 33, Oakland 14|
|III||Jan. 12, 1969||New York Jets 16, Baltimore 7|
|IV||Jan. 11, 1970||Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7|
|V||Jan. 17, 1971||Baltimore 16, Dallas 13|
|VI||Jan. 16, 1972||Dallas 24, Miami 3|
|VII||Jan. 14, 1973||Miami 14, Washington 7|
|VIII||Jan. 13, 1974||Miami 24, Minnesota 7|
|IX||Jan. 12, 1975||Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6|
|X||Jan. 18, 1976||Pittsburgh 21, Dallas 17|
|XI||Jan. 9, 1977||Oakland 32, Minnesota 14|
|XII||Jan. 15, 1978||Dallas 27, Denver 10|
|XIII||Jan. 21, 1979||Pittsburgh 35, Dallas 31|
|XIV||Jan. 20, 1980||Pittsburgh 31, Los Angeles Rams 19|
|XV||Jan. 25, 1981||Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10|
|XVI||Jan. 24, 1982||San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21|
|XVII||Jan. 30, 1983||Washington 27, Miami 17|
|XVIII||Jan. 22, 1984||Los Angeles Raiders 38, Washington 9|
|XIX||Jan. 20, 1985||San Francisco 38, Miami 16|
|XX||Jan. 26, 1986||Chicago 46, New England 10|
|XXI||Jan. 25, 1987||New York Giants 39, Denver 20|
|XXII||Jan. 31, 1988||Washington 42, Denver 10|
|XXIII||Jan. 22, 1989||San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16|
|XXIV||Jan. 28, 1990||San Francisco 55, Denver 10|
|XXV||Jan. 27, 1991||New York Giants 20, Buffalo 19|
|XXVI||Jan. 26, 1992||Washington 37, Buffalo 24|
|XXVII||Jan. 31, 1993||Dallas 52, Buffalo 17|
|XXVIII||Jan. 30, 1994||Dallas 30, Buffalo 13|
|XXIX||Jan. 29, 1995||San Francisco 49, San Diego 26|
|XXX||Jan. 28, 1996||Dallas 27, Pittsburgh 17|
|XXXI||Jan. 26, 1997||Green Bay 35, New England 21|
|XXXII||Jan. 25, 1998||Denver 31, Green Bay 24|
|XXXIII||Jan. 31, 1999||Denver 34, Atlanta 19|
|XXXIV||Jan. 30, 2000||St. Louis 23, Tennessee 16|
|XXXV||Jan. 28, 2001||Baltimore 34, New York Giants 7|
|XXXVI||Feb. 3, 2002||New England 20, St. Louis 17|
|XXXVII||Jan. 26, 2003||Tampa Bay 48, Oakland 21|
|XXXVIII||Feb. 1, 2004||New England 32, Carolina 29|
|XXXIX||Feb. 6, 2005||New England 24, Philadelphia 21|
|XL||Feb. 5, 2006||Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10|
|XLI||Feb. 4, 2007||Indianapolis 29, Chicago 17|
|XLII||Feb. 3, 2008||New York Giants 17, New England 14|
|XLIII||Feb. 1, 2009||Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23|
|XLIV||Feb. 7, 2010||New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17|
|XLV||Feb. 6, 2011||Green Bay 31, Pittsburgh 25|
|XLVI||Feb. 5, 2012||New York Giants 21, New England 17|
|XLVII||Feb. 3, 2013||Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31|
|XLVIII||Feb. 2, 2014||Seattle 43, Denver 8|
|XLIX||Feb. 1, 2015||New England 28, Seattle 24|
|50||Feb. 7, 2016||Denver 24, Carolina 10|
|LI||Feb. 5, 2017||New England 34, Atlanta 28|
|LII||Feb. 4, 2018||Philadelphia 41, New England 33|
|LIII||Feb. 3, 2019||New England 13, Los Angeles Rams 3|
|LIV||Feb. 2, 2020||Kansas City 31, San Francisco 20|
|LV||Feb. 7, 2021||Tampa Bay, 31, Kansas City 9|