The Biggest NFL Line Movements for Week 1

There have been some notable line movements for Week 1 of the NFL regular season and we’ve documented a number of them. There’s likely to be much more shifting before the games actually kick off but here’s a look at the biggest changes we’ve seen so far:

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos

Open: Broncos -9

Current: Broncos -7.5

The first game of the season seems to have an early consensus from the many experts that are serving up NFL betting tips: take the Ravens with the points. Steady action has flown in on the Ravens as most people are under the impression that even though the Broncos will want revenge – and possibly get revenge – for the loss to the Ravens in last year’s divisional playoffs, they might not win by more than a touchdown. Other contributing factors are the suspension of Von Miller, who is the Broncos’ best passrusher, and the injury to stalwart defensive back Champ Bailey, who appears iffy to play.

At the beginning of the offseason, when the Ravens roster was being stripped for parts, nobody had faith in them but come kickoff, the public appears confident that they’ve properly retooled.

New England Patriots @ Buffalo Bills

Open: Patriots -6.5

Current: Patriots -9.5

This line has been shifting around quite a bit due to injuries. The Bills have been wavering on their starting quarterback and when it looked like it might be rookie first-round pick E.J. Manuel, the line was at 6.5. When news broke that he might miss the game and the Bills would have to use undrafted rookie free agent Jeff Tuel, the line shot up.

Now it’s been made official that Manuel is expected to start but the line has not come back down. The challenge is that he has missed valuable preseason time and it won’t help that four of the Bills top six receivers he’ll be working with have never caught a pass in the NFL.

Further injuries have piled up for the Bills as top cornerback Stephon Gilmore is out and Pro Bowl safety Jairus Byrd looks like he will be too. These are all the factors that are contributing to the NFL online betting line increase in favor of the Patriots.

Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions

Open: Lions -3

Current: Lions -5.5

One of the surprise movements on the NFL lines for Week 1 was the Lions going from a field goal favorite all the way up to 5.5 points. There’s no significant injuries on either side, so the catalyst for this movement must be sharp action and the general perception of both teams.

If I had to guess, there are two main factors contributing here: the lackadaisical preseason from Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (two touchdowns, two interceptions and two fumbles) and the frail Vikings secondary. Minnesota’s top three cornerbacks include Chris Cook, who has missed more NFL games than he’s played, raw second-year man Josh Robinson, who had a rough preseason and rookie first-round pick Xavier Rhodes, who was unable to beat out Robinson for the starting job. It appears bettors don’t believe they’ll hold up well against Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Chicago Bears

Open: 43.5 O/U

Current: 41.5 O/U

Those who bet on the NFL will note that the biggest totals move among the Sunday NFL odds is the over-under in Chicago. The total started at 43.5 but has dropped a full two points.

It’s definitely a bit surprising as the Bengals surrounded third-year quarterback Andy Dalton with more offensive weapons during the offseason and the Bears passing game is expected to take off under new head coach Marc Trestman. However, both teams also feature fairly stout defenses.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

Open: 49 O/U

Current: 51.5 O/U

The other big NFL betting odds move on the totals is the first Monday nighter, which features an all-NFC East matchup between the Eagles and Redskins. Clearly, this total is tied to the return of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who has been medically cleared to start. Interestingly enough, the NFL point spread on this game opened at Washington -5 but is now down in the field goal range.

The bottom line is with the Eagles unveiling Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense and RGIII back, bettors are expecting more points.

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