Gamblers are a pessimistic lot by nature. We’ve all had that 2% shot come in against us at one time or another and always seem to be waiting for that next bad beat. The fact that Week 1 NFL lines have come out as a result of the schedule release could be light at the end of the depressing tunnel. Of course, we also may not get Week 1 beginning September 10 as scheduled.
Whether we get it or not, the race has been on for a while to get prepared for the 2020 NFL season. A lot of bets have already come in on the futures market and the list of win totals. We’ve also seen some Games of the Year numbers get whacked around a little bit. Suffice it to say that bettors are desperately looking for something to bet on that isn’t an overseas market or a video game.
A lot happened on Thursday night with the schedule release for the NFL. Fans projected out their favorite team’s record based on the order of opponents and sportsbooks hustled to put up Week 1 lines and make any necessary adjustments to the win totals. One major question was answered in that it appears that, at least for right now, most, if not all, of the home field advantage values have been added to the line. Maybe they’ve been a little on the bottom side of that number and perhaps shaded a half-point or so, but these are interesting times for bookmakers.
We may find out how much of the HFA calculation is related to the hometown crowd and how much is just related to travel and situation as this pandemic continues to concern government officials and medical personnel.
Anyway, if we get Week 1, we’ve got some pretty decent games on the slate, including some division openers, which may be by design in case the league has to be adaptable with the schedule.
There was a race from sites that cover the industry to get these lines out to everybody last night, but we purposely waited until the morning to let the markets settle a little bit. Lines that are more accessible for everybody are far more important to cite when it comes to something like this.
Here are the Week 1 lines and a survey of the odds from different books at time of writing.
|Texans||Chiefs||-10.5||-10.5 / 56.5||-10.5 / 56.5||-10.5 / 56.5|
|Dolphins||Patriots||-6||-6 / 43.5||-6 / 43.5||-6 / 43.5|
|Browns||Ravens||-8.5||-8.5 / 48.5||-8 / 48.5||-8.5 / 48.5|
|Jets||Bills||-5.5||-5.5 / 40||-5.5 / 40||-5.5 / 40.5|
|Raiders||Panthers||PK||-1 / 46.5||-1 / 46||-1 / 46.5|
|Seahawks||Falcons||+1||+1 / 48.5||+1.5 / 48.5||+1.5 / 48.5|
|Eagles||Redskins||+6||+6 / 45||+6 / 44||+6 / 45|
|Bears||Lions||-1||-1 / 44.5||-1 / 44||-1 / 44.5|
|Colts||Jaguars||+7.5||+8 / 46.5||+7.5 / 46.5||+7.5 / 46.5|
|Packers||Vikings||-3||-3.5 / 47||-3 / 46.5||-3 / 47|
|Chargers||Bengals||+3.5||+3.5 / 46.5||+4 / 46.5||+3.5 / 46.5|
|Cardinals||49ers||-7.5||-7.5 / 45||-7.5 / 44.5||-7.5 / 45|
|Buccaneers||Saints||-4.5||-4.5 / 50||-5 / 49||-4.5 / 50|
|Cowboys||Rams||+3||+2.5 / 50.5||+2.5 / 50||+2.5 / 50.5|
|Steelers||Giants||+3.5||+3.5 / 48||+3 / 48||+3 / 48|
|Titans||Broncos||-3||-3 / 42||-2.5 / 41.5||-2.5 / 42|
Some games got more attention than others on Thursday night upon release. Much was made of the Saints opening -6.5 against the Buccaneers. After an offseason full of love for Tampa Bay across the futures markets and the media, bettors flocked to once again get a piece of Tom Brady’s number team. A line move from 6.5 to 4.5 isn’t overly significant, though 6 and 5 have been more prevalent key numbers in the era of the missed extra point.
It was another example of how infatuated bettors are with this Buccaneers team, so much so that they have ignored how strong of a team the Saints were last season. For now, the market has settled in at 4.5, but it wouldn’t be a total stunner to see the line close even lower than that.
Another game that drew a lot of attention was the Bears vs. Lions matchup. Most shops actually opened the Bears as road favorites against the Lions, who had an underwhelming offseason and picked in the top five of the 2020 NFL Draft. The Bears picked up Nick Foles to have an open quarterback competition with Mitchell Trubisky and maybe the hope that Foles is better than Trubisky dictated that opening number. The Lions are now a one-point favorite based on early betting action.
The Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots were also a popular talking point in social media and betting circles on Thursday night. That line came down through a touchdown, with the Dolphins taking the early betting action. The Dolphins did look much improved at the end of last season and had a really positive offseason. The Patriots still look to be going into the 2020 campaign with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. As great as that defense is, bettors didn’t feel like the Patriots could cover a really large number and bet it down accordingly.
The Colts appear, at first glance anyway, to be a favorite that could come down. Divisional dogs are always popular, particularly in what projects to be a low-scoring game. Hopes are really high for Philip Rivers, who has a good complement of skill position players and a far better offensive line than he had in Los Angeles. The Jaguars are thought to be in Tank for Trevor mode this season for Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence, but the players won’t be in that mode in Week 1. At least they shouldn’t be. That is a line that could come down gradually over the summer.
No matter which sides or totals you played, no matter which lines you may have missed, no matter how you feel about the line moves or about betting these games so far in advance, at least we can all be on the same page in hoping and wishing that these games go off in Week 1 as scheduled.