Brian Spurlock, USA Today. Pictured: Joe Flacco
- Bookmakers in Vegas are reporting that the Browns, Ravens and Rams are seeing a lot of action ahead of Week 1.
- Usually, the Patriots, Seahawks and Cowboys attract a lot of betting support but this week they are being largely ignored.
- Sunday night's game featuring the Packers as 7.5-point favorites against the Bears could be one of the biggest decisions for the books.
An interesting narrative in Week 1 is that popular teams such as the Patriots, Cowboys and Seahawks aren’t really making much noise in the betting world this weekend.
It will be interesting to monitor if those teams continue to remain out of the conversation or if this is just a Week 1 quirk.
Here are some of the games that bookmakers in Vegas will be paying especially close attention to this weekend.
Week 1 Betting Action Roundup
Green Bay (-7.5) vs. Chicago | O/U: 47.5
Sunday, 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
Sunday Night Football always end up being heavily bet, and that’s particularly the case when the game features two high-profile teams. That’s the case this weekend as the trendy Chicago Bears visit the Green Bay Packers as 7.5-point dogs.
“Our biggest decision will likely be Green Bay,” Tony Miller, sportsbook manager at the Golden Nugget, said. “We’re a Packers house. Packers fans come far and wide to watch and bet games at the Golden Nugget. The line here is currently -7.5 for Green Bay but we expect that to go up by game time. The Khalil Mack trade from Oakland to Chicago is no factor here.”
Cleveland Browns (+3.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers | O/U: 45.5
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Steelers are always a public darling, but this season the Browns are attracting a lot of attention. They made some improvements in the offseason and were featured in this year’s Hard Knocks on HBO.
Bettors are also skeptical about Le’Veon Bell’s status for the Steelers. The star running back’s holdout is now entering the 11th hour.
Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill, says the line has gone in one direction for this one.
“The line movement might be attributed a little to the Browns’ appearance on HBO’s Hard Knocks. But at the moment it seems mostly because of the Bell holdout,” he said.
Even though nearly 70% of the money so far has come in on Cleveland, Bogdanovich expects that it will be status quo at the books, meaning the late public tickets will come in on the Steelers.
Baltimore Ravens (-7.5) vs. Buffalo Bills | O/U: 40
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The Westgate is also seeing significant action on the Bills-Ravens game.
“We’ve seen significant line movement (from -3.5 up to -7) mostly due to the Bills starting Nathan Peterman at QB,” he said. “We originally opened Baltimore at -3.5 back in April, but the Bills look like a very different team now after trading AJ McCarron and the struggles of rookie Josh Allen in the preseason.”
The wiseguys have been down on the Bills in the future market.
“We have also seen a number of sharp bettors play the Bills under the win total (now 5.5, down from 7) for the season and we view the Bills as a rebuilding team,” Murray noted.
The same story holds true at William Hill, where 86% of the money is on the Ravens at the time of writing, according to Bogdanovich.
Oakland Raiders (+4) vs. Los Angeles Rams | O/U: 49.5
Monday, 10:20 p.m. ET, ESPN
Money has also poured in on the Week 1 finale between Oakland and the LA Rams.
“The sharps jumped heavy on the Rams after the Khalil Mack trade from Oakland to Chicago,” Bogdonavich reported. “They also went heavy on the under total wins for the season on Oakland.”
Nearly 90% of William Hill’s action is on the Rams in this one.
Murray noted a similar sentiment at the Westgate:
“The Rams opened a -1.5 favorite and are now up to -4. I wouldn’t be surprised that the line is even higher by kickoff Monday night. That is also the final game of Week 1, and there will be a lot of parlays closing with the Rams. Oakland traded its best player last week and looks like a team that is headed for a long season.”
Nearly 90% of William Hill’s action is coming in on the Rams.