The start of the season is more than four months away, but it’s never too early to start breaking down point spreads.
Not long after the NFL released its 2020 regular-season schedule on Thursday night, BetMGM had point spreads for the Week 1 games. There are plenty of fascinating matchups in the opening week.
Here are five takeaways from those odds:
The Buccaneers are getting respect, but not too much
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, are the NFL’s buzziest team this offseason. They’ll be a popular Super Bowl pick for many. That might lead to the Buccaneers being a touch overrated. But not with oddsmakers.
The New Orleans Saints are 3.5-point favorites over the Buccaneers in a fascinating Week 1 matchup. That’s still plenty of respect for the Bucs, considering the Saints have one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL. But the Saints have one of the NFL’s best rosters and setting the line at more than a field goal says sportsbooks aren’t overreacting to the Bucs hype.
Cowboys are road favorites over Rams
The Los Angeles Rams might not have a crowd at all for their debut at new SoFi Stadium. But they’ll still be playing their first game in a new stadium, in prime time, and they weren’t a bad team last season. They were 9-7, a game better than the 8-8 Dallas Cowboys.
But oddsmakers are either not buying the Rams after they lost key players in the offseason, or they’re really high on the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are 2.5-point road favorites over the Rams in Los Angeles for the first “Sunday Night Football” game of the season. The Cowboys can’t even be entirely sure that Dak Prescott will be in the lineup, on the chance a long-term extension doesn’t get worked out and he doesn’t sign his franchise tag before Week 1. The line seems to be an indictment on the Rams by the sportsbooks.
Oddsmakers will be high on the Chiefs
The Houston Texans had a weird offseason, but are still the defending AFC South champs and generally a competitive team with Deshaun Watson at quarterback.
And on the “Thursday Night Football” opener, they’re getting 9.5 points against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The biggest spread on the board has a 10-6 team from last season as the underdog. That’s probably a little bit of a reaction to the Texans, who traded DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals, and a clear sign that the Chiefs will be laying huge numbers all season.
The Patriots are still the Patriots
For years, the Patriots have been huge favorites in most games and still managed to cover the spread more often than not. Oddsmakers aren’t going to sell the Patriots at a value until they see a drop first.
The Patriots are a 7.5-point favorite to the Miami Dolphins, even with the assumption that Jarrett Stidham will be making his first NFL start for New England. The Dolphins won at New England in Week 17 last year. While there are some truly strange theories that the Patriots are tanking for Trevor Lawrence, sportsbooks still think they’ll be pretty good.
Cardinals still aren’t getting much love
One of the bigger lines on the board is with one of the hottest teams of the offseason as an underdog.
The Arizona Cardinals stole DeAndre Hopkins from the Texans, retained running back Kenyan Drake, had a good draft and should make strides in year two with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray. And still, the Cardinals are 8.5-point underdogs against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers are a strong team and that’s also why the line is more than a touchdown, but if you believe in the Cardinals being much improved it seems you can get good value on them early in the season.
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