Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes
- With the start of the 2019 NFL preseason just two weeks away, we look at the most interesting Week 1 line moves.
- Since odds opened back in April, Chiefs-Jaguars, 49ers-Buccaneers and Lions-Cardinals have all produced intriguing betting action.
While we’re still in the dog days of the summer sports calendar, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The 2019 Hall of Fame Game between the Atlanta Falcons and Denver Broncos will take place on Aug. 1, meaning the official start of the NFL preseason is just two weeks away.
While savvy fantasy football players are already off and running preparing for their upcoming drafts, NFL betttors have remained quiet since Week 1 lines opened back in April.
But with the start of the regular season inching closer, we decided to catch up on the most interesting Week 1 line moves that many fans, and bettors, likely missed.
Here’s a look at opening and current lines from the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas, as well as why bettors should be aware of each point-spread adjustment for three NFL Week 1 matchups.
Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars
Sept. 8 | 1 p.m. ET
Open: Chiefs -4.5
Current: Chiefs -3.5
This game caught my eye for a myriad of reasons. First, while it’s still extremely early, Chiefs-Jaguars is the most heavily bet Week 1 matchup — in terms of tickets wagered — according to The Action Network’s NFL public betting data.
Naturally, we’d expect that action to be all over the Chiefs and their fun, explosive offense, but the opposite is happening.
While overall betting appears pretty split — 53% of bets are on Kansas City — 72% of the dollars wagered on this point spread have taken Jacksonville.
This tells us that the bigger bets have come in on the Jags, motivating oddsmakers to drops KC from -4.5 to -3.5.
It’ll now be interesting to monitor whether Chiefs money hits this game going forward as recreational bettors — who are more likely to lay the points with road favorites — will start betting Week 1 games closer to the start of the regular season.
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sept. 8 | 4:25 p.m. ET
Open: Bucs -1.5
Current: Bucs -1
While the line move itself isn’t necessarily that intriguing, the betting percentages are. San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo has yet to return from a torn ACL suffered in Week 3 of last season, yet bettors are backing the 49ers as if Jimmy G will be 100% at the start of the season.
Eighty-two percent of tickets wagered are taking San Fran, making the Niners the most popular public side of Week 1. Obviously, there’s still plenty of time for news regarding Garoppolo’s health to surface and more action to shift these percentages, but it’s interesting to see bettors already lining up to take San Francisco despite so many questions yet to be answered.
Why is this important?
According to our Bet Labs data, NFL teams receiving 80% or more of spread bets are just 94-114-9 (45.2%) against the spread since 2003.
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
Sept. 8 | 4:25 p.m. ET
Open: Lions -1
Current: Lions -2.5
After selecting the electrifying Kyler Murray with the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, I fully expected to see bettors backing Arizona as a home dog against Detroit. However, bettors are overwhelmingly taking perennial underachievers Matt Stafford and the Lions.
With 79% of tickets and 92% of money wagered on the spread flowing on Detroit, oddsmakers have had no choice by to adjust this line up to Lions -2.5.
Considering the importance of three when betting on NFL point spreads, don’t be surprised to see sharp bettors pounce on Cardinals +3 should this line continue its march to a field goal.