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NFL Week 1 Spreads and Key Line Movement

NFL Key Line Moves for Week 1

The goal of this article is to look at the key line moves for the week and what they mean in terms of betting. Key numbers in the NFL to watch for are 3, 7, 6, 14, and 10. When a line crosses through one of these, it is a significant move that warrants attention.

One of the themes for Week One is that we have 10 home underdogs (7 are at least -3 or greater) out of 16 games. History tells us that not all of these road favorites will cover and more than likely we will see a 50/50 split.

NFL Week 1 Odds

  • Buffalo Bills (-2.5) at Los Angeles Rams O/U 52.5

  • New Orleans Saints (-5.5) at Atlanta Falcons O/U 42.5

  • Indianapolis Colts (-8.0) at Houston Texans O/U 46.0

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Washington Commanders (-3.0) O/U 44.0

  • Philadelphia Eagles (-4.0) at Detroit Lions O/U 48.5

  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (-3.0) O/U 46.5

  • San Francisco 49ers (-7.0) at Chicago Bears O/U 41.5

  • Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers (-2.5) O/U 41.5

  • Baltimore Ravens (-7.0) at New York Jets O/U 44.5

  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5) O/U 44.0

  • Green Bay Packers (-1.0) at Minnesota Vikings O/U 48.0

  • Las Vegas Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-3.5) O/U 52.5

  • New York Giants at Tennessee Titans (-5.5) O/U 43.5

  • Kansas City Chiefs (-4.5) at Arizona Cardinals O/U 53.5

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys O/U 50.0

  • Denver Broncos (-6.5) at Seattle Seahawks O/U 43.0

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NFL Week 1 Line Movement: Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Rams

This line opened Bills -1 (-110) and has climbed to -2.5 (-135) mainly on the health concerns of Matthew Stafford and the momentum of the Bills being the Super Bowl favorite. With so much money already bet on the Bills, if this line were to go to -3, you would have people buying back on the Rams looking to "middle" the game or buying 0.5 point on the Rams to get them at +3.5.

The popular play here is going with the moneyline on either side to avoid the point spread, especially if you like the Rams.

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NFL Week 1 Line Movement: Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers

This game has seen the biggest line move in Week 1 with the Browns opening -4 (-180), but the Panthers are now -2.5 (Browns +120). The quarterback situation for both teams is the reason for the huge line move. Baker Mayfield being traded to the Panthers (line moved July 6th from -4 to -1) along with Deshaun Watson being officially suspended (line moved from Panthers -1 to Panthers -2.5 from August 16th to August 30th) fueled the shift, as well as the Browns having to turn to Jacoby Brissett at quarterback.

Oddsmakers will tell you that quarterbacks move the line more than any other position (up to a full touchdown for Tom Brady/Aaron Rodgers/Patrick Mahomes), and only a handful of non-QBs actually move the line by maybe 1 or 2 points (Aaron Donald, Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Cooper Kupp, Derrick Henry).

This feels like an overreaction on both sides to me which is often the case with a key injury, especially quarterback.

NFL Week 1 Line Movement: Baltimore Ravens at New York Jets

Another game in which a change in quarterback has affected the line movement. The Ravens opened as 4.5-point road favorites and have gone all the way up to -7. The injury to Jets quarterback Zach Wilson and Joe Flacco being named the starter has moved the line 2.5 points and locked on the key number of 7. But the line move was not immediate like the Browns/Panthers, it has steadily crept up over the summer. Now we get word that Wilson could indeed start in Week 1 which could impact the line and bring it back down a couple of points.

The fact this line hit the key number of 7.0 will be huge for oddsmakers as you could have people with Ravens -4.5 and Jets +7.

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NFL Week 1 Line Movement: Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks

One of the angles I always look at in the NFL is out-of-conference games especially when the road team is favored. For me, it all comes down to motivation. Each team will play two home games and two road games out of conference. The home games mean so much more than the road games for each team.

This line opened Broncos -4, hit -5.5, but then dropped to -4, and moved back up to -6.5. I am expecting it to land on -7 by kickoff.

While we do not have an injury to the starting quarterback, we do have the Seahawks starting Geno Smith. There had been a lot of speculation that Jimmy Garoppolo would end up in Seattle, but that did not happen which I think was the reason for the up-and-down nature of the line.

Everyone is buying into the narrative of Russell Wilson coming back to play against his former team and I think there is at least 2-3 points built into the line for that alone. This has the classic signs of a backdoor cover by the home dog.

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