NFL betting, odds: Examining the 8 Week 1 games in which the point spread has changed
When you have point spreads posted months ahead of kickoff, there will be some changes.
There are 16 games for Week 1 and half of them have seen the point spread move at BetMGM since they opened earlier this offseason. Here's a glance at the spreads that have changed, and why:
Buffalo Bills (-1) at Los Angeles Rams
The Bills opened as one-point underdogs and the favorite has flipped. Oddsmakers underestimated the love for the Bills, who are the Super Bowl favorites. It will be a hard assignment starting in Los Angeles on a Thursday night as the Rams raise a Super Bowl banner, but bettors like Buffalo's chances.
Baltimore Ravens (-5.5) at New York Jets
The line opened with the Ravens as 4.5-point favorites and has moved a point. Five is generally a dead number when it comes to NFL point spreads because so few games are decided by exactly five points. Still, it's an indication that the Ravens, who had a terribly unlucky run of injuries and close-game losses last season, were mis-priced to start the offseason.
New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Atlanta Falcons
This line move, from the Saints as four-point favorites when it opened, probably has more to do with the Falcons. The market might be catching on to how bad the Falcons could be this season. The Falcons could end up being the worst team in football, and even with a little uncertainty about Saints QB Jameis Winston coming off ACL surgery, bettors are happy to fade a run-down Falcons team.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (-2.5)
The Dolphins opened as a full field-goal favorite, and that has come down a touch. That's a significant move because three and seven are the biggest key numbers in NFL betting. Miami had a buzzy offseason, but perhaps bettors are realizing it's Bill Belichick scheming against Tua Tagovailoa.
Cleveland Browns (-1.5) at Carolina Panthers
This is the biggest move of any Week 1 line this offseason, for obvious reasons. Cleveland opened as a 4.5-point favorite and that moved three points. The Browns and Panthers made a trade that sent Baker Mayfield to Carolina. Mayfield should start Week 1 for the Panthers. We don't know who will start for the Browns but there's a very good chance it's Jacoby Brissett, with Deshaun Watson likely to face a suspension.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5) at Detroit Lions
The Eagles opened as 3.5-point favorites and that moved a point against them. The Eagles are a buzzy offseason team after acquiring receiver A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans. If you remove the Browns' line move that's based on a quarterback change, every other line change mentioned this far has the betting market investing in road teams, pushing up the point spread. Beware, because plenty of home underdogs will cover in Week 1.
Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5)
The Raiders aren't a road favorite, but they're a road team getting some love. The line opened with Las Vegas as a four-point underdog and that moved a half-point. That might not seem significant, but four can be an important number.
Green Bay Packers (-2.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Another road favorite getting bets. The line move of Packers -1.5 to -2.5 might not end up mattering much, but it's a sign of respect for the Packers even without Davante Adams, and some trepidation about the Vikings in Kevin O'Connell's first game as a head coach. Again, beware of betting too many road favorites. That often doesn't work out very well in Week 1.