By this point, we should have a pretty good idea of what we have to work with in the NFL. This is already Week 8, which means that this marks the midway point for some of the league’s teams. Other teams will reach that point next week if they’ve already had a bye.
Two games this week stick out like sore thumbs. The Chiefs are favored by 20 against the Jets and the Buccaneers are favored by double digits against the Giants. Most of the other games are hovering between 2 and 8. There are a lot of games that should be competitive this week. It looks like a good week for betting on football, but also a great week for watching the market develop.
Here is the NFL Opening Line Report for Week 8:
Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-2.5, 49.5)
The short week turnaround brings us the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons lost in devastating fashion to the Lions last week. The Panthers had a 65-yard field goal come up a few yards short to lose to the Saints. Both teams would probably like an extra day to erase the memory of the last game, but instead they have to go right back to work. It is a little bit surprising that Carolina is not the full 3 here, especially with Christian McCaffrey questionable to return. We may get there. We aren’t there yet, but we probably will, at least for a little bit. Sharp money did hit the under while working on the article to go from 50 to 49.5.
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5, 51) at Detroit Lions
The Colts find themselves road favorite against a Lions bunch that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against the Falcons this past weekend. The Colts, meanwhile, were on the bye week in hopes of getting their beleaguered defense back on track after a rash of injuries. Consumer confidence is low in Philip Rivers, but the Colts are still getting the benefit of the doubt here against the Lions. We’ll see if that holds. For now, all of the 2.5s have extra juice on the favorite side, so a move to 3 across the market is possible.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-6.5, 55.5)
The momentary lapse from the Packers against the Buccaneers did not stop Aaron Rodgers & Company from bouncing back against the Houston Texans with a lopsided win. The Packers now take on a Vikings team with even more defensive injuries than the last time we saw them. Minnesota traded Yannick Ngakoue and put George Iloka on IR. This line isn’t the full 7 most places, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see it get to that point.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills (-3.5, 44)
The Bills were a bit disappointing last week in failing to cover against the Jets, but you have to think most of the team had an eye on this game. The Bills tight end room also had to be mostly quarantined because of COVID-19 the day before the game. This is Buffalo’s best crack at beating the Patriots in a long time and New England really didn’t look the part last week getting blown out at home by San Francisco. We’ll see if Bill Belichick can pull some magic out of that hoodie and get a win here. The number is either 3.5 or 4 depending on where you look and points are not expected to be plentiful.
Tennessee Titans (-6, 54.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals lost a heartbreaker to the Browns and the Titans did the same with Stephen Gostkowski’s missed field goal attempt to send the game into overtime. Now the Titans hit the road for what is projected to be a high-scoring affair with the Bengals. Tennessee has earned back a lot of favor in the betting markets after a slow start to the season. The Bengals, who covered again last week, have been really kind to bettors. This may end up being a sharp vs. public split type of game, depending on whether or not the influential money wants to back Cincinnati. We saw public players on the Browns last week and maybe a little bit of late sharper money as well, but mostly, the sharp money stayed off the game or just played the numbers game with the half-point.
Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns (-2.5, 54.5)
Let’s see what happens here with the Raiders and Browns line. A move to 3 seems almost inevitable, right? Cleveland gets this big win. The Raiders, shrouded in COVID clouds, got trucked by the Buccaneers and then go east to Cleveland. The Browns did lose Odell Beckham Jr. and will probably be without Austin Hooper again, as he underwent an appendectomy. We’ll see if the line hits 3 and stays 3. Some places in the global market are already there and some in the U.S. market have settled there as well, but the consensus seems to be 2.5 as we wait and see how the news unfolds. Remember, the Browns won, but their defense was horrible.
NY Jets at Kansas City Chiefs (-20, 48.5)
Alright, well, let’s start with the obvious. We haven’t had a 20-point favorite since…last year’s Week 3. Dallas was -22.5 against Miami. They won 31-6. Since 2001, there have been seven favorites of 20 or more points. Dallas is the only one that has covered and they barely did so. The Patriots were favored by 20 five times from 2007 to 2011 and didn’t cover any of them. We’ll see if the Chiefs fare better here. This line may come down, just because it’s such an historical outlier, but the Chiefs just covered a big number last week on the road, which may inspire some more confidence. For what it’s worth, in those seven games with a favorite of 20 or more, the over is 4-3.
LA Rams at Miami Dolphins
This will be one of the most fascinating lines of the week to watch. Miami will roll out the red carpet for new starting QB Tua Tagovailoa. The Rams will be on a short week traveling west to east for the third time already this season and they’ll be on the road for the fifth time in seven weeks. Situationally, everything about this spot points to Miami, but Tua is a great unknown. Look-ahead lines said Rams -3.5 and a total of 49. We’ll see how they do on Monday Night Football. The Dolphins are off of a bye.
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears
The Bears are the other Monday Night Football participant, so we don’t have a line here. The look-ahead line read 2.5 and 47. The Saints failed to cover against the Panthers, but did well against the run, as the defense had a decent day. That’s really about all there is to say about this one. The Bears will be on a shortened week with the long trip back from Los Angeles, so we’ll see how that impacts the wagering on that game.
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (-3, 54)
Look-ahead lines were a good bit higher on this one, as we saw the Seahawks in the -6 range. The 49ers rolled over the Patriots for a second straight impressive win and now they’ll head up to take on Russell Wilson in a big division matchup. The Seahawks defense was again the team’s Achilles heel in the loss to Arizona on a thrilling Sunday Night Football broadcast. This total of 54 is the highest between these two teams since at least 1991. The previous high total was 47.5 in Week 10 of last season.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
This line is slow to arrive on the board because we are still waiting to see if they can reattach Andy Dalton’s head in time for him to play after the disturbing cheap shot from Jon Bostic. If Dalton cannot go, Ben DiNucci would get the call. The Eagles would probably be a double-digit favorite in that scenario.
LA Chargers (-3, 45) at Denver Broncos
My, how the tables have turned with this line and with these two teams. This will be the sixth time since 2009 that the Chargers have been a road favorite in Denver. The Broncos won 23-20 last year after losing the first four games in that role over that span. Justin Herbert has been great and he’s starting to get some national run. It really wouldn’t be a surprise if this line moves up to 3.5 because there isn’t a whole lot to love about the Broncos right now.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (-4, 47.5)
The Steelers are undefeated. Home field advantage is watered down. The Ravens are still -4. In the AFC North, a lot of games would get -3 slapped on them and everything would happen from there. Here we see this line with Ravens -4. Some places even had this line higher before Pittsburgh money came in. The honest truth is that the Ravens haven’t looked consistently elite this season. The Steelers have looked pretty good when challenged. This will be a fun line to watch. It will be interesting to see what the sharp side is, if there is one. My guess here is that 4 is a pretty good number, at least for a while. The total could come down, given that there is a ton of familiarity between these two teams.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10.5, 47) at NY Giants
What a thrilling Monday Night Football game we have. The Giants lost in devastating fashion last Thursday night, but do have some extra prep time before taking on the surging Buccaneers. The Bucs went to Las Vegas and rolled over the Raiders. They’ll be back on the road again here, but with an extra prep day and with all the momentum in the world. Some books have popped 11 on this game. The Giants defense is decent, so maybe 11 or 11.5 will be enough to entice some Giants money.