NFL: Early Week 1 Lines

Hours after the NFL schedule was released last month, point spreads started to pop up for Week 1 of the regular season. This was before the NFL Draft so it was very early to post lines. However, the point spreads are good indicator to see what linemakers think about teams so this information is useful going into the season. Here are the consensus lines for Week 1 on May 29:

Steelers at Patriots (-2.5)

Packers (-5) at Bears

Chiefs at Texans (-1.5)

Browns at Jets (-3)

Colts (-2.5) at Bills

Dolphins (-2.5) at Redskins

Panthers (-4) at Jaguars

Seahawks (-3.5) at Rams

Saints at Cardinals (-2.5)

Lions at Chargers (-1.5)

Titans at Buccaneers (-3)

Bengals (-3.5) at Raiders

Ravens at Broncos (-4)

Giants at Cowboys (-5.5)

Eagles (-1) at Falcons

Vikings vs 49ers (-3.5)

A few observations about the lines:

  • The most glaring line here is that the Patriots are 2.5-point favorite in the season opener against the Steelers. When the line opened, Tom Brady wasn’t suspended yet and the Patriots were giving -6.5. So the line adjusted four points after Brady was suspended. Jimmy Garoppolo will have a full summer knowing he is the starter and the Patriots can game plan accordingly.
  • There are seven home underdogs right now. The Packers opened as a four-point favorite and now are giving five points in Chicago. The line move is justified with many questions surrounding the Bears and the Packers having a high-scoring offense with good weather conditions in September. The Bills and Rams are home underdogs I can see winning straight up in Week 1.
  • The side I feel most strongly about in May is the Texans giving 1.5 points to the Chiefs in Houston. I think the line will go up by kickoff. The Texans will have improved quarterback play this season and still have a solid defense. Wouldn’t be surprised if Houston was a field goal favorite in September.
  • Another line that is fascinating to me is the Vikings-49ers game, which is the second part of the Monday Night Football doubleheader. If you didn’t follow the offseason, you might be confused why the 49ers are only a 3.5-point favorite at home against a Vikings team that has one winning record in the last five seasons. However, the 49ers had significant departures this winter and spring, and they made a puzzling choice with their new head coach. Meanwhile, the Vikings are on the upswing under quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. This line is fair for Week 1 but I think the Vikings will be a better team than the 49ers in 2015.

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