As soon as the NFL schedule for the 2019 regular season was announced earlier this week, Las Vegas sports books sprung into action posting point spreads for Week 1. In sports betting, NFL is king…even in April.
Those opening point spreads allowed market observers to deduce approximate Power Ratings from oddsmakers. Using a standard 3 points for home-field advantage, it’s easy to tweak from final 2018 ratings to build a scale that represents the NFL from top to bottom.
VSiN’s Jonathan Von Tobel and I put our heads together to create such a scale. You regulars will remember our efforts during the 2018 regular season. The only difference here is that we’re focusing at first on how sports book operators are rating teams. Sharps (pro bettors) have months to influence these preliminary lines.
Today’s numbers are based on Week 1 lines posted at the Westgate. We start in the AFC…
AFC: Kansas City 86, New England 86, LA Chargers 84, Cleveland 83, Indianapolis 83. Pittsburgh 83, Houston 82, Baltimore 81, Tennessee 81, Cincinnati 77, Denver 77, Jacksonville 77, NY Jets 76, Oakland 76, Buffalo 75, Miami 74.
Those represent “neutral field” differentials. We’re estimating that Chiefs/Patriots would be a virtual pick-em on a neutral field, meaning either home team would be favored by three in a head-to-head matchup (which will happen on December 8 in Foxboro, though team perceptions could change by then).
NFC: New Orleans 87, LA Rams 86, Philadelphia 83, Chicago 83, Seattle 82, Dallas 82, Minnesota 82, Green Bay 82, Carolina 81, Atlanta 80, San Francisco 79, Washington 78, Tampa Bay 78, NY Giants 77, Detroit 76, Arizona 73.
The Saints and Rams are currently clear of the field based on first week prices (New Orleans -7.5 at home vs. Houston, LAR -2.5 on the road at Carolina). It would not be a shock for any of the NFC teams at 82-83 to make a leap forward in the championship chase.