Looking Into Week 1 Betting Odds & How The Market Is Taking Shape

Nikki Adams

Thursday, September 8, 2016 12:12 AM UTC

Thursday, Sep. 8, 2016 12:12 AM UTC

Since odds makers went to press with week 1 NFL odds, how the lines move and what are the implications of those moves is the main focus of this NFL betting odds report and analysis.

NFL Betting Week 1 Moves That Matter
If you watch football games, then chances are you’ll have tried betting on NFL too with varying degrees of success. For the novice bettor, it can be an overwhelming exercise: how to read NFL odds, sort through the different betting options and understand what NFL line moves matter. In this space, we attempt to give all bettors – the novice and advanced – a betting guide for each and every week’s round of the NFL. Then, at the conclusion of each week, we recap the betting action in our corresponding column and determine who were the real winners and losers.

The first thing that is important to understand is you can’t take NFL odds at face value. Odds makers set the lines but not with a view to predicting winners and losers. Rather their job is to balance the action coming down the wire and make money off of the vig (or juice). Therefore, for example, just because a side is the bookies’ odds-on favorite doesn’t mean they’re a sure-fire winner on your NFL betting picks. This becomes truer in close matchups between two solid teams.

After going to press with the weekly serving of NFL lines, movement occurs in either direction on the NFL odds board and in accordance with the action (public betting) coming down the wire (be it the volume of spread bets or money). What that means, the public has a significant impact on how NFL lines move, which, in turn, to put it simply, means a bettor is not only working to beat the bookies but also the smorgasbord of public betting (encompassed by novice, advanced and sharp bettors), whose betting directly impacts how lines move.

Bookies don’t necessarily care if you win so long as they’re using public money to pay bettors out. Fielding the various movements on the NFL odds board couldn’t be more paramount to successful betting. So let’s look at week 1 and how the markets are taking shape.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos
Opening Line: Broncos -1, Over/Under Total 43
Midweek Line: Panthers -3, Over/Under Total 41.5
Early Consensus Betting: Panthers 66.7% ATS, Under 66.1 %
Perhaps, the most fascinating of all week 1 games is the Super Bowl rematch between the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos at Mile High. Bookies installed the Broncos as the -1 faves in their early serving for week 1 – clearly, the departure of Peyton Manning didn’t take the shine off of the league’s best defense, which, let’s face it, won the Super Bowl almost singlehandedly. The public, however, is so obviously of a different mind. All in on the Panthers since open doors, so much so that they bet the NFL line up. Now, the Panthers are the whopping field goal favorites on the road. 

Revenge and an unheralded quarterback in Trevor Siemian are probably the two main motivations behind this public betting outlook. What is important to note, however, is that despite this apparent move towards the Panthers on the NFL odds board, which is represented by 66.7% of spread bets, the money is all over the Broncos. In fact, the Broncos have a whopping 70.92% of the money risked in this game. Meaning this is more of a reverse line movement to balance the money on this game (an indication of sharp betting) and not so much to counter the volume of spread bets. That’s telling. If there’s a sign Denver Broncos’ defense is still feared –and, in turn, worth consideration for either the SU or ATS win – it’s found in total betting where the UNDER represents 66.1% of the total bets coming down the wire and which has caused the total to whittle down from 43 to 41 points.

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Opening Line: Packers -4, Over/Under Total 47
Midweek Line: Packers -5, Over/Under Total 48
Early Consensus Betting: Packers 68.9% ATS, OVER 64.2%
Preview: This matchup looks to be a straightforward one according to the NFL betting trends. Bookies for good reason opened with the Packers as considerable road favorites but, at the same time, showed some respect to the developing Jaguars. The public however pounded both the Packers and the OVER in early NFL betting markets forcing both lines higher. The money corresponds to the volume of spread bets with the Packers representing 67% of the total dollars risked. It’ll be interesting to see whether any late sharp betting comes down the wire and goes towards the packers. Certainly, if the NFL line moves to make the Packers touchdown favorites by closing doors there’s bound to be those NFL bettors that’ll feel the value will lie with the home dogs at that point.

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Buffalo Bills vs. Baltimore Ravens
Opening Line: Ravens -2.5, Over/Under Total 43
Midweek Line: Ravens -3, Over/Under Total 44.5
Early Consensus Betting: Ravens 58.2% ATS, OVER 88.5%
The Ravens emerge as the consensus bet in this game and, surprisingly, the OVER appears to be the overwhelming consensus bet. In response to these NFL betting trends, the NFL line moves towards the home faves. That said, NFL betting is still rather close to a 55-45 split between the pair. What’s more, this game hasn’t received as much attention as other first week matchups it would seem. Prompting a sense that many are waiting for this game to perhaps bet later, closer to kickoff.

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Chicago Bears vs. Houston Texans
Opening Line: Texans -5.5, Over/Under Total 44
Midweek Line:  Texans -7, Over/Under Total 43.5
Early Consensus Betting: Texans 58.9% ATS, UNDER 51.2%
In proportion to the volume of spread bets and money coming down the wire, the NFL Line moves towards the Texans dramatically, jumping up from -5.5 to -7. Not unlike the Bills and Ravens there’s a sense that there are those NFL bettors waiting on this matchup before weighing in with their NFL picks. As it is, it hasn’t attracted a whole lot of betting yet. Whether that’s because nobody is high on the Bears and wary of betting it at the current line (if at all) or they’re waiting to see how high it goes is difficult to tell.

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Cleveland Browns vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Opening Line: Eagles -7, Over/Under 45
Midweek Line: Eagles -4, Over/Under Total 41
Early Consensus Betting: Browns 52.9% ATS, UNDER 67.4%
Shockingly, the public appears to fancy the Browns in their first matchup of the regular season. Cleveland emerges with 52.9% of spread bets but just 44.57% of the money risked on this game. Nevertheless, the NFL line moves towards the Browns as the Eagles shorten on the NFL odds board from a staggering -7 to -4. Some of the movement though must be down to the quarterback dilemma – whether Carson Wentz or Chase Daniel starts.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
Opening Line: Falcons -3, Over/Under Total 47.5
Midweek Line:  Falcons -3, Over/Under Total 47.5
Early Consensus Betting: Bucs 55.8% ATS, UNDER 54.1%
The Bucs have the bulk of the betting at early doors and they have it seems the overwhelming money at 68.32%. In spite of these considerable NFL betting trends the NFL lines have barely moved, which is rather remarkable. What is moving and shaking (bookies balancing the action in other words) though is the vig (juice) and quite considerably with the Falcons and Bucs alternating anywhere from +105 to -120 to cover their respective spreads at any given moment.

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Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans
Opening Line: Vikings PK, Over/Under Total 41
Midweek Line: Vikings -2.5, Over/Under Total 41
Early Consensus Betting: Vikings 50.1% ATS
Acquiring Sam Bradford appears to have done wonders for the Vikings and their value as the choice NFL pick in this game. Immediately following news of Bridgewater’s injury, it was all doom and gloom for the Vikings. Now, all of a sudden, things are looking up and so too are the NFL betting lines which have the Vikings moving from PK to -2.5 on the NFL odds board. Well, not so fast. In fact, there is something quite intriguing going on in this game. While the spread bets are almost 50-50, the money is overwhelmingly with the Titans – they represent a whopping 96.97% of the money risked on this game. So, NFL bettors can infer, the NFL line movement isn’t a move towards the Vikings as much as it’s a reverse line movement against massive sharp money that poured in on the Titans. This game is going to be one of the more fascinating games as a result. It remains to be seen whether the public or the bookies win when all is said and done.

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Cincinnati Bengals vs. NY Jets
Opening Line: Bengals PK, Over/Under Total 42.5
Midweek Line: Bengals -2.5, Over/Under Total 41.5
Early Consensus Betting: Bengals 63.8% ATS, UNDER 92.1%
The clash between the Bengals appears to be cornered with the Bengals with 63.8% of spread bets coming down the wire, but the money is with the Jets at the time of writing. As it is, the 36.34% of spread bets on the Jets represents 56.26% of the money. Sharp betting is with the Jets but the rest of the public is with the Bengals.

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Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints
Opening Line: Saints -1, Over/Under 50
Midweek Line: Saints -1, Over/Under Total 51
Early Consensus Betting: Raiders 50.4% ATS, OVER 67.3%
Spread betting is almost split down the middle in this game: 50-50 between the Raiders and Saints. So too is the money with the Raiders only just edging the Saints at 55.09% of the money. All in all, it’s quite close and barely enough to cause significant moves on the NFL odds board to spot.

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San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Opening Line: Chiefs -7, Over/Under Total 43
Midweek Line: Chiefs -7.5, Over/Under Total 44.5
Early Consensus Betting: Chargers 55.3% ATS, OVER 71.7%
AFC West clash serves up some intriguing NFL betting trends. The Chargers have 55.3% of the spread bets and a whopping 87.54% of the money risked. At some books the NFL line has whittled down to -6.5, therefore moving towards the Chargers in accordance to the overwhelming betting. At other books the line remains relatively the same of moves up to 7.5 but the juice becomes more attractive with the Chiefs. What opened with a -110 juice for each team now serves up the Chargers at -7 (-120) and the Chiefs at -7 (+100) or the like. The idea is the attractive juice might attract NFL bettors looking to back the Chiefs to cover. 

Best juice leaders 5Dimes and Heritage, amongst several others, take it a step further. With 5 Dimes the game hangs on a 7.5-point line with the Chargers trading at -140 (hardly worth it anymore at such prices) while the Chiefs strike an attractive pose with a +120 juice. Heritage hangs the game on a 6.5-point spread with the Chargers and Chiefs trading at -105 to cover.

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Miami Dolphins vs. Seattle Seahawks
Opening Line: Seahawks -7.5, Over/Under 49
Midweek Line: Seahawks -11.5, Over/Under Total 44
Early Consensus Betting: Dolphins 53.4% ATS, OVER 90.9%
Of all the games on the NFL odds board, this NFL line jumps spectacularly from -7.5 to -11.5 for the Seahawks, despite the Dolphins seemingly taking the edge in spread bets coming down the wire. Why does the NFL line move so dramatically against the Dolphins? It’s not readily apparent as the money recorded in this game appears to be low and not substantial enough yet (according to SBR consensus betting polls) to be determining. That leaves us with one thought: bookmakers are looking to attract more betting on this game. Is it a bit of a red flag to have such a huge spread in week 1?

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Detroit Lions vs. Indianapolis Colts
Opening Line: Colts -5.5, Over/Under Total 50.5
Midweek Line: Colts -3.5, Over/Under Total 51
Early Consensus Betting: Colts 55.2% ATS, OVER 54.7%
Despite the Colts taking the bulk of the spread bets and, even, the money in this game (57-43% split in favour of the Colts), it appears the amounts wagered on both sides of the coin (average per spread bet) is close. That’s responsible for a reverse line movement against the Colts, whittling down the hosts from 5.5 to -3.5. The indication is sharp betting is on the Lions here.

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NY Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys
Opening Line: Cowboys -3.5, Over/Under Total 49
Midweek Line: Cowboys -1, Over/Under Total 46
Early Consensus Betting: Giants 57% ATS, OVER 53.7%
The Giants have 57% of the spread bets but the NFL betting line continues to move against them, a reverse line movement inspired by the large money coming down on the Giants with 86.50% of the money risked resting on the Giants to cover. With most sportsbooks, however, this game rests  on a PK line, which is practically a straight-up NFL pick.

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New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals
Opening Line: Cardinals -5.5, Over/Under Total 47.5
Midweek Line: Cardinals -6, Over/Under Total 47
Early Consensus Betting: Cardinals 58% ATS, OVER 68.4%
Preview: The Cardinals emerge with 58% of the spread bets in midweek but they have just 42.11% of the money. Patriots, meanwhile, represent 42.03% of spread bets and 57.89% of the money. It’s midweek and ways to go to kick off and there’s bound to be significant late betting on this game, which could make any early conclusions misleading. As it is, the movement on the NFL odds board is slight with the Cards improving by half a point as well as the total.

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins
Opening Line: Steelers -3, Over/Under Total 50
Midweek Line: Steelers-3, Over/Under Total 50
Early Consensus Betting: Steelers 63.3% ATS, UNDER 98.8%
*Check back later in the week for an updated report.

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St. Louis Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers
Opening Line: Rams -2.5, Over/Under Total 44
Midweek Line: Rams -2.5, Over/Under Total 43.5
Early Consensus Betting: Rams 59.9% ATS, OVER 53.7%
*Check back later in the week for an updated report.

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