Rovell’s Week 1 NFL Vegas Report: Sharps and Squares Disagree on Chiefs vs. Jaguars

Rovell’s Week 1 NFL Vegas Report: Sharps and Squares Disagree on Chiefs vs. Jaguars article feature image

Steve Mitchell, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Nick Foles

  • Darren Rovell spoke to bookmakers across the country about the betting action for Week 1 of the NFL season.
  • The public seems to be falling in love with the Chiefs as road favorites in Jacksonville and sharps are buying the Colts against the Chargers.

The day that bettors have been waiting seven months for has finally arrived.

It’s the first NFL Sunday of the season, which along with Super Bowl Sunday and the first weekend of March Madness, is the busiest day of the season for the people behind the betting window.

Let’s see what games are making the most noise in the market:
Odds below are via PointsBet and current as of Friday afternoon.

Chiefs (-3.5) at Jaguars | Over/Under: 51.5

This might be the most intriguing game of the week. It’s also the most polarizing. The public is heavy on the Chiefs, while the sharps like the Jags.

“When we first posted Week 1 lines, we hung KC -4.5 and immediately took sharp action on the Jaguars,” said PointsBet’s Matt Chaprales. “As a result, the line moved through -4 all the way to -3.5, where it currently sits. All recreational action this week has been on the Chiefs, which is positioning this game as the first true pro/public divide of the season.”

Tony DiTommaso of Cantor Gaming says many want to stay away from this game, but as of now, 80% of the tickets at their book are on the Chiefs. Interestingly, this game makes up 12% of the total tickets at William Hill’s sportsbooks across the country.

The SuperBook’s Eric Osterman says the best result of his book is for the Jags to win outright, but they’d still be in the green if Jacksonville covers.

Colts at Chargers (-6.5) | Over/Under: 44.5

This line was pretty active as well.

“We opened at Colts being three-point dogs, then came Andrew Luck’s ankle, so it moved to six, then he retired and it went to seven and now it’s back to 6.5,” Osterman said.

Sharps took the Colts when it hit 7 and again at 6.5, but recreational bettors don’t believe Indy and Jacoby Brissett will cover at the current number. “I don’t understand it,” said Cantor’s DiTomasso.

Titans at Browns (-5) | Over/Under: 45.5

The Browns are certainly receiving plenty of hype from public bettors, as the number has moved from 4 to 5 or 5.5, depending on the book. According to William Hill, 74% of the tickets are on the Browns to cover.

Sharps at the Westgate SuperBook triple-tapped the Titans when they hit +5.5.

“Our largest bet this week is a $25,000 bet on the Titans at 5.5,” said Osterman, who expects to see a lot of parlays include the Browns.

Giants at Cowboys (-7) | Over/Under: 45.5

Giants-Cowboys usually draws a big handle, but that doesn’t seem to be the case this year.

“I think Zeke not returning until the last minute scared off people,” Osterman noted.

Steelers at Patriots (-6) | Over/Under: 49

The sharps are clearly on Steelers here. “We’ll wind up needing the Steelers in the end because of the amount of people that throw the Patriots in their parlays,” the SuperBook’s Osterman said.

Bills at Jets (-3) | Over/Under: 40.5

The public likes the Jets here, thanks in part to Sam Darnold and Le’Veon Bell. But the sharps bought the Bills at 3.5 to move the line down to 3.

“There are a lot of sharps who like the Bills this year, bunch of bets on the over on their win Total (7), even some bets for them to make the playoffs,” Osterman said.

This is the biggest decision game for PointsBet, particularly because it operates in New Jersey and the hype machine is rolling.

Redskins at Eagles | Over/Under: 44.5

The public is heavy on Philadelphia despite the line.

“The public is never afraid to take a double-digit line,” Osterman said. “They’re not scared despite the history of double-digit favorites covering.”

According to BetLabs, double-digit NFL favorites have covered the number just 47.2% of the time.

Osterman also noted that there are a bunch of bets for the Eagles on the moneyline (-550), the belief being it’s free money. Due to the mobile market being most robust in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, sportsbooks in those areas are disproportionately exposed to the Eagles. The Eagles make up 26.6% of the money FanDuel has taken in on the Super Bowl LIV champion market.

Bengals at Seahawks (-9.5) | Over/Under: 44.5

This is the most lopsided game of the week, at least at FanDuel. As of Friday morning, 98.1% of the money at that book was on Seattle. Maybe it’s because the numbers are small. The largest bet on this game at the SuperBook, Osterman said, is $500.

Lions at Cardinals (-2.5) | Over/Under: 46

The story here is the relative lack of disinterest on the spread due to the uncertainty of both teams. As excited as the public has been for the Browns, Kyler Murray hasn’t generated much betting hype yet.

The Cardinals are currently getting only 23% of the tickets, according to Action Network data, with only the Dolphins getting fewer tickets (16%).

Osterman says the heavy action (75%) is on the under, which is has dropped by three points.

Broncos (-1) at Raiders | Over/Under: 43

This is the busiest line of Week 1. When the market was first opened, Oakland was a 2.5-point favorite. Then, with Antonio Brown apparently out, it swung as far as 2.5 points in favor of the Broncos. With Raiders coach Jon Gruden saying Brown is in, it has settled down to 1.

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