June 4, 2023

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NFL Week 1 features a record number of home underdogs

NFL Week 1 features a record number of home underdogs

The NFL point spreads hit the board in the sports books Thursday shortly after the league released its schedule for the 2022 season. The first week is filled with underdogs at home.

Ten domestic teams are underdogs in the first week, the most in an opening week in the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Statistics and Information research. The Houston Texans and Chicago Bears are the biggest underdogs on their home soil in Week One. The Texans are an underdog 7.5 points to the Indianapolis Colts, and the Bears are a 6 point underdog to the San Francisco 49ers.

New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Denver Broncos are also home underdogs in the early ranks of the first week games.

The value of the home field advantage in the NFL regular season has been declining for years, according to the betting market. Domestic teams were favored by just 1.65 points last season, the third lowest in the Super Bowl era, behind only 2020 (1.10) and 1969 (-1.65). Domestic teams covered their spread in 48% of matches last season and had a losing spread record in 15 of the past 18 seasons, including four in a row.

In the season opener on September 8, the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams was a one-point lead over the visiting Buffalo Bills.

The Bills are the unanimous favorites to win the Super Bowl title in sports betting. At Caesars Sportsbook, Buffalo has drawn more for the amount of money they bet on the odds of winning the Super Bowl than any other team.

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“This is a big year for them and certainly a big stage for them to open the season in the Super Bowl,” Adam Boleyn, assistant director of trading at Caesars Sportsbook, said in a company statement. “They will have to prove it immediately.”

While the Bills are a favourite, the longer-range planes have caught the attention of bettors. At Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, there are more bets on Jets to win the AFC title than any other team, and only the Bills have attracted more bets to win the Super Bowl than the Jets. The Jets are the underdogs at home by 5 points against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.

Opening lines on other notable first week matches via Caesars Sportsbook include:
Pirate -2.5, Cowboy 51.5
Chiefs -3, 53 in the Cardinals
Invaders in Chargers -4, 51.5
Bronx -3.5, 41 VC Hawks (Mon)

ESPN Statistics and Information Researcher Matt Willis contributed to this report.