LAS VEGAS–This is our weekly NFL opening-line report.
The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has taken the lead in the industry in recent years as far as NFL openers go. The SuperBook posts its lines around 4:30 p.m. PT each Sunday and it tries to put a number on every game (with the most common exception being when a starting QB is injured), including the next games for those teams that are playing that Sunday night and on Monday Night Football (most other books keep those four teams’ games off the board on Sunday night).
I do this exercise so we can see how these lines have evolved, especially as I like to look back at the Westgate’s advance lines that they post on Tuesday afternoon (so these Week 5 lines were available on the board since last Tuesday) and sometimes even the Week 2-16 lines that are posted over the summer at the CG Technology books here in Vegas.
Offshore books such as Pinnacle, CRIS/Bookmaker, the Greek, 5Dimes and BetOnline also open on Sunday afternoon and we compare the Westgate’s openers to them as well as the other Vegas books that open like William Hill, CG Technology, Wynn Las Vegas, Boyd Gaming and Stratosphere. We then look at how the early lines get bet. Usually, if the Vegas and offshore numbers are different, they will move toward each other, but there are also times when we can get clues as to where the lines will be moving during the week so we decide if we should bet early because the lines move or if we should wait for a better number later in the week.
So, without further ago, here is the NFL opening-line report (note: the line posted with the matchup is where the line was sitting late Sunday night or where I expect it to be come Monday when more books such as the South Point post their openers):
Patriots -4.5 at Buccaneers (Thursday): This was New England -4.5 last week at the Westgate, but with the Patriots losing to the Panthers, this was shaded down to -4 at the Westgate in its openers. The offshore books and other Vegas books mostly went with -4.5 anyway (probably since the Bucs barely beat the Giants 25-23) and Boyd Gaming actually opted for Patriots -5, so later Sunday night the line was pretty much -4.5 across the board.
Chargers at Giants -4: The Giants were -3 at the Westgate last week, but after both teams lost Sunday (though the Giants covered), the Westgate went with Giants -4.5. Offshore books opened between -3 and -4 while Vegas books were mostly -3.5, so the consensus ended up in the middle at Giants -4 (though the Westgate was still at -4.5 as of 8 p.m. PT Sunday).
Bills at Bengals -3: This was Cincinnati -3 (-120) last week at the Westgate, but with both teams winning, the Westgate re-opened the line at -3.5. Offshore and the Vegas books went with -3 and Westgate joined them at -3 as well.
Jets at Browns -2: The Browns were -4 at the Westgate last week, but after the Jets upset the Jaguars and Browns were upset were blown out by the Bengals, the Westgate dropping this all the way to Browns -2.5. Offshore books didn’t think that was enough of an adjustment and mostly went with -1.5 while other Vegas books opted for -2. By late Sunday night, Browns -2 was the most common line.
Jaguars at Steelers -9: The advance line was Steelers -7.5, but after the Steelers blew out the Ravens and Jaguars lost to the Jets, the Westgate adjusted it to Pittsburgh -8.5. Offshore books agreed at 8.5, but William Hill and CG Technology both went with -9 and Boyd Gaming went even higher at -9.5, so the market settled at Steelers -9.
Titans OFF at Dolphins: This was Titans -2.5 last week at the Westgate. Both teams lost, but the game was off the board Sunday afternoon/night as books are waiting to hear the status of Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota’s hamstring injury. FYI: After both teams lost Sunday, CG Technology did post a line of Titans -3 (EVEN), so if Mariota is able to play next Sunday, we should see a round around -2.5/-3 – note: that’s how I list a game that is split among books at -2.5 (-120) and -3 (EVEN).
49ers at Colts OFF: This was Colts -2 on the advance line and re-opened at Colts -2.5 (-120) before being taken off the board when the Sunday night game kicked off. With the Colts losing at Seattle, this will probably dip back down (we’ll call it Colts -2 again) when books open this game on Monday morning.
Cardinals at Eagles -6.5: This was Eagles -5.5 last week, but raised to -6.5 after the Eagles upset the Chargers on the road and the Cardinals needed OT to beat the 49ers at home. Offshore and other Vegas books mostly agreed with the -6.5, though the Wynn didn’t go quite that high and posted -6.
Panthers at Lions -3 (-120): The Lions were -3 on the advance line, but the Westgate added the extra juice at -3 (-120) after both teams pulled road upsets on Sunday (Carolina at New England and Detroit at Minnesota). Offshore and other Vegas books agreed, though with the Panthers winning on the road over the Patriots, I wouldn’t expect this line to hit 3.5.
Seahawks PK at Rams: This line was Seahawks -3 last week, but after the Rams upset the Cowboys (and with the Seahawks yet to play Sunday night), the Westgate adjusted it all the way to pick ‘em. Other books kept it off the board. With the Seahawks beating the Colts, I’d expect the books to make them short road favorites though I’m not sure we’ll see -3 again.
Ravens at Raiders OFF: The Raiders were -5 on the advance line, but after both teams lost Sunday, it wasn’t re-opened as books wait for reports if Oakland QB Derek Carr will play next Sunday after leaving the loss in Denver with back spasms.
Packers at Cowboys -2.5: The advance line was Cowboys -3 (-120), but after the Packers beat the Bears on Thursday night and the Cowboys lost to the Rams on Sunday, the Westgate re-opened at Cowboys -2.5. Offshore and other Vegas books were in agreement and it looks like a solid -2.5.
Chiefs -1.5 at Texans: The Chiefs were -3 (-120) last week at the Westgate, but after the Texans routed the Titans 57-14 and with the Chiefs not playing until Monday night, the game was re-opened at Chiefs -1.5. Other books kept it off the board. This line will be adjusted after we see how the Chiefs fare against the Redskins.
Vikings OFF at Bears (Monday): This was off the board last week at the Westgate due to Minnesota QB Sam Bradford’s uncertain status. It remains off the board at the Westgate and most other books, though CG Technology and CRIS offer hints as they posted Vikings -3.5.