The 2020 NFL season hopes to begin at Kansas City on September 10 as the Chiefs host the Houston Texans. Opening night usually brings the fanfare of celebrating a new season by toasting the returning Super Bowl champs. But with the assurance that coronavirus will still be around in September, football fans have to wonder if the game will even occur.
Even with the threat, the NFL plans to play, and Colorado sportsbooks responded recently by announcing the Week One lines.
Usually, the rule of thumb is that the home team gains three points of advantage by playing at their stadium. But if the teams play without fans in the stands, does the rule still apply? Honestly, no one knows at this point, but the spreads lean toward the home team in close contests.
Another problem for road teams is whether they travel the day before their game or even travel on game day. Recent reports suggest that NFL teams are considering traveling on game day to the location of their contest. That plan would undoubtedly add more stress to players on road teams.
For the Denver Broncos, Empower Field at Mile High Stadium has long been a place teams feared to visit. For teams to travel to Denver and have to acclimate to the elevation on game day could provide an advantage to the Broncos.
Let’s take a look at Week One lines and dive into the most appealing matchups of the first week of the NFL season.
|Thursday, Sept. 10th||KC Chiefs vs Houston Texans||KC -10||KC -9.5||KC -10||KC -10||KC -10||KC -10.5|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||NY Jets vs Buffalo Bills||BUF -6.5||BUF -6.5||BUF -6||BUF -6||BUF -6.5||BUF -6|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Chicago Bears vs Detroit Lions||DET -1.5||DET -2.5||DET -2.5||DET -1.5||DET -1.5||DET -1.5|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||GB Packers vs Minnesota Vikings||MIN -3.5||MIN -3.5||MIN -3.5||MIN -3.5||MIN -3.5||MIN -3.5|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons||SEA -1||SEA -1||SEA -1.5||SEA -1||SEA -1||SEA -1|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Cleveland Browns vs Baltimore Ravens||BAL -8||BAL -8.5||BAL -8||BAL -9||BAL -8||BAL -8.5|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Philadelphia Eagles vs Washington Redskins||PHI -6.5||PHI -6.5||PHI -6||PHI -6.5||PHI -6.5||PHI -6|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Miami Dolphins vs NE Patriots||NE -6.5||NE -7||NE -6.5||N/A||NE -6.5||NE -6.5|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Indianapolis Colts vs Jacksonville Jaguars||IND -7||IND -7||IND -7||IND -7||IND -7||IND -7|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Las Vegas Raiders vs Carolina Panthers||LV -1||LV -1||LV -1.5||LV -1.5||LV -1||PK|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||LA Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals||LAC -3.5||LAC -3.5||LAC -3.5||LAC -3||LAC -3.5||LAC -3.5|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Arizona Cardinals vs SF 49ers||SF -8||SF -8.5||SF -7||SF -7.5||SF -8||SF -8|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||TB Buccaneers vs NO Saints||NO -4||NO -4.5||NO -4||NO -4||NO -4||NO -4|
|Sunday, Sept. 13th||Dallas Cowboys vs LA Rams||DAL -2.5||DAL -2.5||DAL -2.5||DAL -2.5||DAL -2.5||DAL -3|
|Monday, Sept. 14th||Pittsburgh Steelers vs NY Giants||PITT - 4||PITT -4||PITT -3.5||PITT -3.5||PITT -4||PITT -3.5|
|Monday, Sept. 14th||Tennessee Titans vs Denver Broncos||DEN -1.5||DEN -1.5||DEN -2||DEN -2||DEN -1.5||DEN -2.5|
Why Opening Night Could Bring Some Fireworks
Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs
What do you get when you combine the team coming off the worst offseason in the league (Houston) and the team coming off their first Super Bowl win in over fifty years? The possibility of a massacre. Just one of the six sportsbooks on our list (FanDuel) has the Chiefs with a spread of fewer than 10 points. Other books such as DraftKings, FoxBet, BetMGM, and BetRivers all hold Kansas City as a 10-point favorite. BetMonarch is giving the Chiefs the largest advantage on our list at 10.5 points.
Sunday’s Three Best Games
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints
Tom Brady’s first game away from New England will take place in the Superdome in New Orleans. The 42-year old Brady will face 41-year old Drew Brees starting his 15th season under center for the Saints.
For bettors, a game without fans in the Superdome should hold high fascination. What happens when the opposing quarterback can speak to his teammates rather than drowned out in the loudest stadium in professional sports?
Brees flourishes playing indoors, and if you are looking for a wager in this game, check out the success of overs in his career with the Saints. When Drew plays indoors, the game goes over the posted total roughly 57% of the time.
Brady has held workouts every day during the spring and summer to get acclimated with his teammates. But many football pundits wonder if he can give the Bucs the bump they need to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Not surprisingly, New Orleans is favored by 4 points across the board, with FanDuel lifting the number to 4.5.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
If you are hunting for the biggest mystery of Week One, look no further than Cleveland and Baltimore’s divisional battle. Last season’s MVP, Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, looks to lead Baltimore to its first Super Bowl since 2013. After last year’s disappointing loss to Tennessee at home, Jackson worked in the offseason to improve as a passer.
The other quarterback, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, hopes to rebound from a poor 2019 that had many questioning if the former number one pick was a bust. A healthy Odell Beckham Jr. should boost Mayfield’s prospects to lead the Browns back to the playoffs.
But sportsbooks are less than hopeful that Mayfield can turn around Cleveland in Week One, as the Browns are 8-to 9-point underdogs to the Ravens. BetMGM has Baltimore as 9-point favorites. DraftKings, FoxBet, and BetRivers offer the lowest spread listing the Ravens as 8-point faves.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams
There’s no drama big enough for Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys. With Dak Prescott’s contract and Ezekiel Elliott’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis, there’s been plenty this offseason to keep the Cowboys’ beat writers busy.
Dallas gets the honor of opening the Los Angeles Rams’ new stadium with a Sunday afternoon matchup. The Rams spent their offseason slashing payroll by the tens of millions. LA moved running back Todd Gurley to Atlanta, pass rusher Dante Fowler Jr. left for Atlanta, and cut linebacker Clay Matthews.
While most moves made sense, the considerable turnover to both sides of the football leaves the Rams with a lot of catching up to do before their opening day clash against the Cowboys.
Even with Dallas traveling to the west coast, Colorado sportsbooks are giving the Cowboys a slight edge over LA. Five out of the six books slot Dallas as a 2.5-point favorite.
Why the Sportsbooks Like the Broncos on Monday Night
The Broncos open their 2020 season with the late Monday night game against the Tennessee Titans. While neither team posted a dazzling 2019 regular-season record, the Titans squeaked into the postseason as one of the AFC wild-card representatives.
But once they were in, Tennessee shocked the football world by defeating the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens 28-12 in the divisional round. But just because they found magic in last year’s AFC playoffs, doesn’t mean that sportsbooks in Colorado remain impressed with the Titans.
Once lines posted for Week One, Denver became a small favorite over the visiting Titans. Tennessee has never won in Denver since moving from Houston, losing all three contests, including 16-0 last October. The Broncos range from 1.5-to 2.5-point favorites among the books.