Maybe the biggest mismatch on paper in Week 1 takes place in Motor City as the Niners, one of the favourites to make the playoffs this year, take on the Lions, one of the favourites to have a top 3 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Can the Lions pull off a shock win to start the Dan Campbell era off the right way?
Detroit has a new HC/QB duo to start the 2021 NFL season. Dan Campbell used to play for the Lions and now takes the reigns as Head Coach of a Football team who’ve moved on from their longtime signal-caller. Matt Stafford got traded to the LA Rams in return for multiple first-round draft picks and Jared Goff, who is now the starter for the Lions. This QB downgrade is matched at WR with the loss of Kenny Golladay, the pass-catching unit leaves a lot to be desired. I expect a lot of the burden will fall on the shoulders of TE T.J. Hockenson and Sophomore RB D’Andre Swift. Expect another losing season in Detroit.
The Niners shocked everyone when they jumped up in the NFL Draft, trading for the 3rd overall pick and then shocked everyone again when they selected QB Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. Lance is an exciting prospect with all the tools but, he’s raw and will rightly sit behind Jimmy Garoppolo for the time being. Kyle Shanahan will always bring a strong running game party, but I’m most excited about this trio of pass-catchers the Niners have at their disposal George Kittle, Deebo Samuel & Brandon Aiyuk are all big-play threats and, my eye is on the latter of the three to have himself a day. Aiyuk finished last season strong, posting 5 or more receptions for 50 or more yards in 6 of his final 7 games to end the 2021 season. Today, he finds himself up against a Lions secondary that ranked dead last in the NFL last year, according to PFF, and they’ve arguably got worse, making Aiyuk’s O/U 4.5 receptions & O/U 49.5 receiving yards my favourite plays in this one.
Spread: Lions +9.0
Total Match Points line: O/U 45.0
Game Prediction: Niners 27 – 21 Lions
Best Bet: Brandon Aiyuk 50+ Receiving Yards & 5+ Receptions @ 15/8 Bet 365 Bet Builder (0.5)