Opening Line Report - Week 2
While bettors and bookmakers alike must be careful not to overreact to what they saw in the opening week of a football season, certainly there are lessons to be learned from finally getting to watch each team in action.
John Avello, vice president of race and sports at the Wynn Las Vegas, said while “everything pretty much played to form” on Sunday, there are a few teams’ ratings that warrant adjustments based on Week 1 performances.
“The Lions are a little better than I thought, Tampa Bay’s pretty good, too,” Avello offered as examples.
He also mentioned the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott and the Vikings’ Shaun Hill as quarterbacks who impressed him Sunday.
Here’s a look at early lines for Week 2 of the 2016 NFL season. Number are current as of 10 p.m. ET, with opening numbers and early movement noted as well.
Thursday, Sept. 15
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-3 even, 42.5)
While the opening number of Bills -3 was given the slightest of adjustments in the Jets’ direction, it’s unlikely we’ll see this line stray too far from the key number ‘3’. The last eight meetings between these AFC East foes have featured point spreads of 2.5 to 3.5. “3’s the right number. That’s where it’s got to be,” said Avello.
Sunday, Sept. 18
Tennessee Titans at Detroit Lions (-5.5/-110, 47)
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened Detroit -4 and was pushed to -5, but multiple other Las Vegas bet shops posted -5.5 as their original numbers. The Lions were listed at -3.5 on the Westgate’s advanced Week 2 lines (issued last Tuesday), so, as Avello suggested, the market seems to be pleased with the Lions’ win in Indianapolis.
Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans (-2/-115, 43.5)
The Westgate bounced between Houston -2 and -1.5 on Sunday night, as most shops were dealing -1.5. It’s hard not to like the resilience the Chiefs displayed in their come-from-behind win at home vs. the Chargers on Sunday. “They’re gonna be a tough team all year long,” Avello said of Andy Reid’s men.
Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots (-4.5/-110)
The Westgate opened New England -5 and moved to -4.5 on Sunday night, while CG Technology hung -4. Other shops waited as Jimmy Garoppolo made his debut as a starter at Arizona in primetime.
Baltimore Ravens (-6/-110, 43.5) at Cleveland Browns
Bettors faded the Browns early at The Wynn, as the Ravens were bet from -4 to -6 in one flash.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5/-110)
Big revenge spot for the Bengals, who surely haven’t gone a day without thinking about blowing last season’s playoff game against their division rival. There was an even mix of 3s and 3.5s for next week’s contest, and if the number closes at a field goal plus the hook, it will be the largest in the last seven meetings between these AFC North clubs.
Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (-3/even)
The Westgate remained at Washington -3.5 through the first few hours of betting Sunday night, while other shops dealt 3s. Despite taking the loss at home to the Giants, nothing we saw from rookie Dak Prescott will prompt bets against Dallas in this spot.
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants (-5/-105)
This line opened as high as -6 at CG, and it ranged from -4.5 and -5.5 around Vegas as of this writing.
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (-14/-110)
For the second season in a row, the schedule makers are not being kind to San Francisco. After playing the late game Monday night, they travel to the east coast for an early Sunday kickoff to face a quality team off nine days of rest. The 49ers were put in the same position last year, when they were waxed at Pittsburgh in Week 2 (43-18 as 6-point dogs) after beating Minnesota in Monday night’s second time slot.
Avello said while the unfavorable scheduling would be a bigger factor later in the season, he added of the 49ers, “The problem is they’re playing a team coming off a loss that lost just one game last year. So, no, it’s not a particularly great spot for them.”
Early bettors agree, pushing the opening line at the Westgate from Carolina -13.5 to -14.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona Cardinals (-7/-110)
Avello is not the only one who liked what he saw from Jameis Winston and Co. The Westgate listed Tampa Bay +8.5 on its advanced Week 2 lines and reopened the Bucs +7.5 after their win in Atlanta on Sunday. There was a further adjustment to +7 as the Cardinals played the Patriots on Sunday evening.
Seattle Seahawks (-3.5/-110) at Los Angeles Rams
The Seahawks squeaked out a win as 10.5-point home favorites against Miami on Sunday, and the Westgate opened them -3.5 for the Rams’ L.A. premier next week. That’s down from the -4.5 listed on the SuperBook’s advanced lines.
Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos (-6/-110, 45)
There was a significant early move from the Westgate’s opening number of -4 on this AFC clash, and based on these teams’ Week 1 showings, it’s easy to see why.
Atlanta Falcons at Oakland Raiders (-5.5/-110, 48)
The Westgate opened Oakland -6.5, moved to -7 about 15 minutes later, but shifted down to -5.5 as the night went on. The Raiders could be had for as cheap as -4.5 at the Stratosphere on Sunday night.
Jacksonville Jaguars at San Diego Chargers (-3/-105, 48)
Bettors laid the -2.5 with the Chargers on the earliest Vegas lines, with the number settling at -3 throughout town Sunday night.
Green Bay Packers (-2/-105, 45) at Minnesota Vikings
The Westgate opened Green Bay -1.5 and moved to -2; The Wynn opened -2 and went to -2.5. Interesting to note Green Bay was -1 in a 30-13 win at Minnesota (with a healthy Teddy Bridgewater) last November. According to Avello, there won’t be an adjustment to next week’s price if Vikings coach Mike Zimmer makes the move from Shaun Hill to Sam Bradford.
“Hill played well (Sunday),” Avello said. “The Vikings played a good game, so there’s no reason for Bradford to even being playing now.”
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears (-3/even, 43)
The Westgate opened Chicago -2.5, moved to -2 less than 40 minutes later, before moving back up the ladder to -3, where most shops landed Sunday night. While Carson Wentz played well in his Philly debut, oddsmakers aren’t dismissing the Bears.
“The Bears had a decent game (Sunday), Avello said. “Houston isn’t an easy place to go down and win, and they did have the lead in that game. They won’t be downgraded in their rating (because of Sunday’s loss).”
Opening Line Report - Week 3
There are three games on the NFL’s Week 3 card that could easily show up again during the AFC playoffs: Texans at Patriots, Broncos at Bengals, and Jets at Chiefs. The NFC slate, meanwhile, is dotted with several key division battles, as well as intra-conference showdowns featuring the Vikings at Panthers and Bears at Cowboys.
Here are Week 3 betting lines, with early moves and differences between Las Vegas sports books noted. Numbers are the Las Vegas consensus as of Sunday night at about 11 p.m. ET.
Thursday, Sept. 22
Houston Texans (-2.5/-120) at New England Patriots
With rookie Jacoby Brissett expected to start for Jimmy Garoppolo, the Patriots open in the unfamiliar role of home underdogs. If the spread holds, it will be the first time New England catches points in Foxboro since it hosted the Broncos in November 2014.
The change from Garoppolo to Brissett has a huge impact on the betting line.
“If Garoppolo was healthy, we’d probably be looking at (New England) -4.5,” said Ed Salmons, oddsmaker at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook.
While one school of thought says Bill Belichick’s Patriots are just fine no matter who plays quarterback, Salmons stresses Brissett’s lack of experience and the short week to prepare.
“It’s going to be difficult for him,” he said.
Salmons, meanwhile, isn’t quite sold on the Texans.
“They’re decent defensively, but Chicago led that (Week 1) game and let it get away, and Kansas City – as crappy as they played last week and got that lucky win (against the Chargers) – they made sure they didn’t win (Sunday). They really played a bad game. I mean, they turned the ball over and just played really stupid football.”
Early bettors, though, backed the Texans, grabbing opening numbers of -1.5 (CG Technology) and -2 (Westgate).
Sunday, Sept. 25
Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5/even)
The Broncos are off to a 2-0 start, but open as road underdogs against a perennial playoff team that’s extremely difficult to beat at home. Is this the spot for Trevor Siemian and Co. to come down to earth?
“That was our thought process in putting the game up at 3.5,” Salmons said. “Denver is winning with their defense right now. You keep thinking that at some point, you need some kind of offense, but they really haven’t so far. … It’s hard to go too overboard on Denver, but they keep winning.”
There was a small early move on the Broncos, who were bet from +3.5 to +3.5 (-120) on Sunday night.
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans (pick ‘em/-110)
Oakland opened -1 at the Westgate, with the game moving to a pick ‘em after about an hour of wagering. Last year’s meeting between these teams, at Tennessee in Week 12, featured a similar point spread, the Raiders winning 24-21 as 1-point chalk.
Arizona Cardinals (-5/-115) at Buffalo Bills
There was some variance around Las Vegas with this opening number, as CG Technology hung Arizona -4 and the Westgate went -5.5
Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (pick ‘em/-110)
Baltimore overcame an early 20-point deficit in Cleveland for the 25-20 win and cover (according to closing lines) to start their season 2-0. While victories over the Browns and Bills won’t convince many bettors, another beatable side awaits the Ravens – the 0-2 Jaguars, who weren’t exactly competitive in San Diego on Sunday.
This line ranged from Baltimore -1 to Jacksonville -1 on Sunday night.
Cleveland Browns at Miami Dolphins (-7/-105)
Miami hasn’t been a favorite of a touchdown or more since 2014. A home date against the Browns changes that.
Washington Redskins at New York Giants (-4/-110)
The 2-0 Giants open as solid favorites against an 0-2 team they have dominated in recent seasons. New York lost the most recent meeting (20-14 at Washington in November) but won the previous five, including going 3-0 SU and ATS at home vs. the Redskins.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-8 )
An 18-16 win as 10.5-point dogs at Green Bay in Week 10 began last season’s turnaround for Detroit, which finished the season on a 6-2 run, both SU and ATS. But just as you were thinking the Lions were back to being a factor, they come up empty as 6-point home favorites against Tennessee on Sunday.
Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers (-6.5)
The Panthers are 8-2 ATS when laying points at home since the start of last season, including Sunday’s 46-27 win as 12.5-point faves against the Niners. But the Vikes have an answer for that trend: they have covered the spread in their last eight games as road underdogs, as well as 10 of their 11 in the role.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-10/-110)
Seattle opened -11 at the Westgate on Sunday before a 1-point move during the first hour of wagering in the 49ers’ direction. Through two weeks, the Seahawks have scored a total of 15 points and scored just one touchdown. At least they get an easy one at home next week. Right, Mr. Salmons?
“I don’t think anything’s easy with Seattle with the way they play offense,” Salmons said. “Their offensive line is just dreadful. They simply can’t score.”
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Bucs (-4/-110)
Early bettors were eager to lay the points with Tampa Bay, despite a lackluster showing at Arizona on Sunday, pushing the opening number of -3.5 up a half point at multiple Las Vegas shops.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-5.5/-110) at Philadelphia Eagles
While this line was posted before oddsmakers had a chance to watch Philly play its second game of the season, there are reasons the Steelers are laying a number this large on the road. According to Salmons, those reason are the way Pitt has looked through two weeks, the Eagles playing on short rest and a rookie QB (Carson Wentz) going up against what evidently is an excellent defense.
Also, the Westgate anticipates public money on the favorite, especially since it’s a late kickoff.
“The public’s going to be betting Pittsburgh in that game, there’s no doubt about that,” Salmons said.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5/-110)
Despite Salmons’ aforementioned misgivings about the Chiefs, his shop opened Kansas City -4 vs. the Jets, before moving to -3.5 and then to -3.5 (even). At the Wynn, K.C. opened -3.5 and were bet to -3.
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts (-2.5/even)
The Colts opened -3 (even), a number snapped up by underdog bettors at multiple Vegas casinos, as it’s clear who has been the better team through two weeks of the season.
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys (-4/-110)
William Hill and Coasts both opened Dallas a tick higher, at -4.5. Dak Prescott continues to impress, and Salmons has noticed the Cowboys have dominated time of possession (they held the ball for 35 minutes against Washington and 36 minutes against the Giants).
“Their ball possession has been amazing, but their defense is spotty,” he said.
“Prescott is playing great,” Salmons added. “His running is adding a different dimension that teams have to account for, and they have to double (Dez) Bryant and it’s opening up the run. Prescott has looked great so far.”
Monday, Sept. 26
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-3/-120)
The Westgate opened New Orleans -3.5, adjusting downward during early wagering, while CG Technology stuck at 3.5 as of this writing. The Saints appear to have a fine opportunity to get their first win of the season – they are 15-5 overall and 8-2 at home against Atlanta since Drew Brees arrived in 2006, a trend that will entice favorite bettors at a field goal or less.