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NFL football is officially back. The 2021 season will get underway Thursday night, and there’s also plenty of MLB and college football action to pore over. There are a lot of big contests coming up, which always attract some big public sides. Let’s take a look at where the public money is going as bettors once again try to beat the books, with the Buccaneers leading the way on Thursday.

Don’t forget to check out our free picks on the side and total for all of college football’s biggest games this weekend!

NFL: Buccaneers -9.5 vs Cowboys

The NFL is where the public money can truly have its say. Volume can get so off the charts that oddsmakers will sometimes have to shift lines just based on recreational bettors’ leanings. So it seems fitting that there’s a big public side in the very first NFL game of the year. A total of 76 percent of the bets and 79 percent of the public money are on the Bucs as multi-score favorites here, per DraftKings’ internal numbers shared with us.

The money has been significant enough for oddsmakers to move this up a point or two just in the past day. Going from 8.5 to 9 or 9.5 is likely for the books to shield themselves from 6-point teasers getting down below the key number of 3. Despite the return of Dak Prescott, there isn’t much enthusiasm for the Cowboys. We’re fading the public on this one and taking the points with Dallas; check out our full game preview to find out why.

NFL: 49ers -7.5 @ Lions

Elsewhere on the Week 1 slate, the 49ers are also getting hammered. Get used to seeing people fading the Lions, because teams that play Detroit are likely going to be a staple of this column all season. Just as much as the public likes to lock on to a few favorite teams, they also like to lock on to a few disfavored teams to fade. A total 85 percent of the bets and a whopping 90 percent of the public money are on San Francisco laying more than a touchdown here.

There aren’t going to be too many weeks where the public is willing to side with Jared Goff and the Lions. On the flip side, there’s a lot of buzz about this 49ers team as they come off their injury-plagued campaign. We agree that this Detroit roster is just too devoid of talent to want any part of. We’re on the 49ers as well.

NFL: Ravens -4 @ Raiders

The public money often gravitates toward one side in the big nationally televised games, and that’s certainly the case here for Monday Night Football. Baltimore is getting steamed as they open their 2021 season; 91 percent of the bets and 88 percent of the money are fading Derek Carr and the Raiders here for this Week 1 finale.

These bets came in before the latest devastating Ravens injuries, to Gus Edwards and Marcus Peters this time, so it’ll be interesting to see whether these splits even out a bit over the next few days. We like the Ravens as well in this spot given the offensive line issues for Las Vegas, but we also have a three-star play on the total.

CFB: Notre Dame -17 vs Toledo

Taking a look at the college football Saturday slate, Notre Dame really jumps out. This one is interesting, since more often than not the public wants to chase momentum and back teams coming off great performances. The Fighting Irish looked pretty shaky in their Week 1 win over Florida State, but clearly bettors haven’t been scared off. They are throwing 89 percent of the bets and 90 percent of the money on Notre Dame to cover three scores over Toledo.

Jack Coan looked pretty good taking over for Ian Book under center, but Notre Dame’s defense looked vulnerable. They got gashed on the ground by Florida State, and a leaky run defense isn’t exactly conducive to racking up blowout wins. We’re fading the public again here and taking the points with Toledo. 

MLB: Mets -180 @ Marlins

We’re wrapping things up with some baseball now. It’s funny to see the public hop back on the Mets train after they spent many weeks getting raked over the coals by fans and the media. That’s what stringing together a few wins will do for you. A total 72 percent of the bets and 94 percent of the public money are on the Mets over the Marlins on Thursday.

The big gap in those two percentages indicates that most of the larger bets have been on New York, as well, meaning they could be the sharp side here. With the struggling Jesus Luzardo on the mound for Miami, we’ve got to back the Mets too.

Pickswise is the home of free MLB predictions, NBA predictions , NHL predictions, and college basketball predictions.

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