Welcome to the first Sunday of the NFL regular season. Historically, Week 1 has been a profitable time to bet underdogs. Early in the season, dogs are healthy and favorites haven't hit their stride yet, which levels the playing field and benefits the team getting points, not laying them. Dogs getting a touchdown or more have also been a smart bet in Week 1. Same goes for buying low on dogs who missed the playoffs the previous season against teams who made the playoffs the previous season.
The early season variance specifically benefits divisional dogs. The built in familiarity of knowing your opponent leads to tighter, closer games. Road divisional dogs are even more profitable as the public overvalues home field advantage. This could be especially meaningful this season due to many stadiums having little to no fans in the stands. This decreases home field advantage. Also, dogs with low totals (think less than 45) are valuable because the fewer amount of expected points scored makes it harder for the favorite to cover the number.
We also see a positive edge on early season unders. This is due to defenses being ahead of offenses. After all, it takes time for offenses to gel and get on the same page. For this reason, we typically see lower scoring games early in the season.
Overall, we have 13 NFL games to bet on today. We also have 1 NBA game, 1 NHL game and 16 MLB games. Let's discuss four nFL matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors.
For more Sunday analysis and betting updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning from 10 a.m.-noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and breaking down late sharp action across MLB, NBA, NHL and more.
1 p.m. ET: Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Football Team
This NFC East showdown features two teams coming off polar opposite regular seasons. The Eagles went 9-7 and won the division while Washington finished with the second worst record in the NFL at 3-13. This line opened with Philadelphia listed as a 6-point road favorite. More than two-thirds of bets are laying the points with the Eagles, expecting an easy win and cover. However, despite this lopsided support we've seen this line fall from Eagles -5 to -5.5. Some books are even down to -5. This signals sharp reverse line movement on Washington, with pros scooping up the home dog. Washington also has value as a contrarian divisional dog. Washington's advantage more come from their stout defensive line facing a banged up Eagles offensive line. Philadelphia will also be without starting running back Miles Sanders (hamstring). Sharps have gotten down hard on the under as well, dropping the total from 45 to 42.
1 p.m. ET: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
The Browns finished last season a disappointing 6-10. The Ravens were a world beater during the regular season, finishing an NFL-best 14-2. But then Baltimore suffered an early playoff exit, losing to the Titans 28-12 at home in the Divisional Round. This line opened with Baltimore listed as an 8.5-point home favorite. The public is all over the high-flying Ravens. However, despite two-thirds of bets backing Baltimore, we've seen the Ravens fall from -8.5 to -7.5. Some books are even down to -7. This signals wiseguy money coming down on Cleveland plus the points. The Browns have value as a road divisional dog getting more than a touchdown in Week 1, which has historically been a profitable bet. This total has ticked down slightly from 48.5 to 47.5.
8:20 p.m. ET: Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams
Both of these teams missed the playoffs last season and are looking to rebound in 2020. The Cowboys started 6-4 but went just 2-4 down the stretch to finish 8-8. The Rams had a shot at a Wild Card berth but went 1-2 in their last three games to miss out and finish 9-7. After bringing in Mike McCarthy and drafting wideout CeeDee Lamb, expectations are high this season in Big D. This line opened with Dallas listed as a 2.5-point road favorite. The public is all over the Cowboys. This lopsided support pushed Dallas up to -3. That's when sharps pounced on the Rams at the key number of + 3. Los Angeles has contrarian value in a primetime game, receiving only one-third of tickets on Sunday Night Football. Pros and Joes are both on the over, which has been adjusted from 50 to 51.5 since opening.
More Notable Line Moves
- Bucs + 4 to + 3.5 at Saints
- Bucs-Saints Under 49 to 48
- Chargers-Bengals Under 44 to 41.5
- Packers + 3 to + 2.5 at Vikings
- Dolphins-Patriots Under 43 to 41.5
- Bears-Lions Under 44 to 42.5