Last Updated: 2017-08-30
In our continuing look at early lines and their movement, here are some thoughts on the Week One NFL slate. Bear in mind, once again, that books have had these numbers out for months, so it’s quite likely that the best numbers are gone forever. Getting the best number in any sport is by far the best way to beat the books long term.
Buffalo/NY Jets: This line opened at Bills -6 back in May. It’s been sitting at -6.5, give or take, since then. Recently it’s moved to -7 at some books and that’s purely the casual bettors reading their Twitter feed and watching SportsCenter tell you how pitiful the Jets are going to be this season. I happen to agree, but 7 points in the NFL is a LOT. Most teams don’t have that killer instinct, and ask yourself how many times you’ve laid a big number only to lose it with a meaningless touchdown in the final seconds. I do think the Bills win so I will use them in at least a teaser, if not simply on the ML.
Houston/Jacksonville: The Texans at home opened as -4.5 point favorites and the early money has pushed it to -3.5 (and a weak one) at Pinnacle, perhaps the sharpest book. Clearly that’s in part due to people being higher on the Jaguars this season. Looking ahead, I think that if Deshaun Watson IS the opening day starter that that number might move back to Houston. Personally, I do think Jacksonville will be better but don’t see the ability to score in a hurry. Teams will likely stack the box and stop Fournette, making the Jags pass, and I don’t think they can. The bottom line is that if you like Houston, buying them to -3 now is better than later, and obviously the Jags bet has to either have been done at +4 or better, or wait and see.
Washington/Philadelphia: The Redskins opened at -3, which is the obligatory amount of points most teams get for having home field. So essentially they say that the teams are even on a neutral field. Since the opener most of the money has been on the Eagles and force the books to adjust to -1.5/-2 in most places. In my opinion that’s not unlike the perception move in the Bills game, since all the pundits are telling you how good the Eagles are going to be. Philadelphia has the potential, and I like the Alshon Jeffrey pickup, but doing it on paper and on the road in Week One are two entirely different things. Remember, Washington was pretty solid in spots last season, and Cousins without a contract has plenty to prove.
Miami/Tampa Bay: All kinds of things going on with this game. Some early bettors grabbed the Bucs at +3 because the Bucs are on a lot of short lists as people’s go-to/under valued teams. They’re on mine, but again this is a road game. Now of course with Tannehill out and Cutler (or Moore) playing QB for Miami there’s even more Bucs love in the market, and it’s pushed the game to a pick ’em. If every game were that easy then the masses will win taking the Bucs, but NOW at a bad number. I am certainly in wait-and-see mode with Miami’s offense, but their defense is no joke. Suh and Cameron Wake will do what they do, but adding Lawrence Timmons and a winning attitude from the Steelers could be the most overlook signing this season. Most defensive players are. I won’t endorse the Fish, but I am certainly not following the lemmings over the cliff with Tampa Bay at a bad number.
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