Thursday night football: Bettors are siding with Buffalo Bills in NFL season opener

The NFL season is finally here. Things get underway on Thursday night with a marquee matchup featuring the Los Angeles Rams and the Buffalo Bills. The Rams are the defending champions returning most of their core and the Bills are a popular Super Bowl pick themselves as the betting favorites to win it all. Josh Allen is the favorite to win NFL MVP.

Sean McVay is 5-0 in season openers as head coach of the Rams. Through five seasons, the Rams have never been under .500 with McVay. However, oddsmakers and bettors are expecting those streaks to come to an end on Thursday night. The Bills are 2.5-point road favorites against the Rams, and the majority of bets are backing Buffalo.

Bills are a popular bet

Fans have been waiting nearly seven months to watch a meaningful NFL game. It's a prime-time, standalone affair between two of the league's best teams. With sports betting now legal in more and more states across the country, there will be an insane amount of action on tonight's game.

As of now at BetMGM, most of that action is betting the Bills to cover the spread as 2.5-point favorites. Currently, 62% of bets and 66% of the money is backing Buffalo. Fifty-two percent of the moneyline handle is on the Bills as well. This line originally opened with the Rams as a 1-point favorite earlier in the summer. However, love for the Bills as well as some questions about Matthew Stafford's elbow have flipped the favorite.

Bettors are expecting both offenses to have success as well. As of Thursday morning at BetMGM, 62% of bets and 68% of the money is backing the game to go over 52 points. While the first few weeks of the season do usually feature more points, both of these teams have elite defenses to go along with their strong offenses.

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 12: Dawson Knox #88 reacts after Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills score during the third quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Bettors expect the NFL season to kick off with a Buffalo Bills victory. (Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Popular prop bets

Prop betting continues to become more and more popular every season. Below are the three most popular props for Thursday's game:

  • Cooper Kupp led the NFL in receiving touchdowns last season. While almost everyone is expecting some regression this season for Kupp, he's still viewed as one of the very best receivers in the game. Kupp caught the last touchdown of last season in the Super Bowl, and bettors expect him to pick up where he left off. Cooper Kupp to score the first touchdown of the game at +550 odds is currently the most popular prop at BetMGM.

  • Margin-of-victory bets are risky but with that comes the potential for a more fruitful payout. Bettors like Buffalo to win on Thursday by a margin of 1-6 points. The odds on that happening are +310. Many are forecasting a close game with the Bills coming out on top.

  • Fresh off a contract extension, Dawson Knox is a popular pick to have a big year at the tight end position. He had nine touchdowns last season and then two more in two playoff games. Bettors like him to score the first touchdown on Thursday night at 11-to-1 odds.