NFL Week 1 Market Moves and Vegas Look Ahead Lines for Week 2

Written By Billy Attridge

We’re baaaack! For a moment it looked like a dicey proposition the NFL season would get off the ground, but here we are and we have work to do. If you’re new to the weekly Market Moves article, I uncover which games have moved either side or total and discuss if that line movement is real or a possible set-up with reasoning behind it.  A small disclaimer: This is not a “picks piece” but rather a look into the logic behind a move in the market. Hopefully this provides a better grasp of the market and invariably helps your overall investment approach.  Now let’s dig into Week 1

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Las Vegas Raiders @ Carolina Panthers OVER 47.5 (-108):

This total opened a consensus 47 and dipped down to 46.5 before the real move on the over came in. This number will not stop here especially if the sky stays clear (19% chance of rain at publication). Let’s start with Carolina, the Panthers trot out a defense that only returns 34% of last year’s snaps, the lowest amount in the NFL. Departures of Luke Kuechly and James Bradberry along with a slew of others forced Carolina to use all 7 draft picks on defense. The secondary is young and unproven with Troy Pride Jr., a rookie out of Notre Dame, starting alongside Donte Jackson, their #1 corner.  Both are dealing with nagging ankle and toe injuries, but did log full practices Thursday so they should be out there Sunday. Things look a little brighter on the offensive side, as new OC Joe Brady reunites with Teddy Bridgewater and has a plethora of weapons at his disposal.  Adding Robbie Anderson to an already lightning fast skill group should lead to some creativity this Sunday. While the Raiders have added pieces to their defense, including the return of 2nd-Year safety Jonathan Abrams, I’m not sure it’s enough to limit the Panthers off the bat with little to no film on what they plan to do. Meanwhile, Jon Gruden’s teams are known for being well-prepared and organized as they enter the season, and the strength of this team is their offensive line and Gruden’s play-calling.  This number should reach 48 and we could see some 48.5 before any resistance in the market shows.

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Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Football Team +6 (-115):

The Birds opened touchdown favorites at FanDuel against the Washington Football Team, and we’ve seen this number start to drop to Philadelphia -6. We attribute most of this movement to injuries that seemingly pile up on the Eagles every season. Starting WR Alshon Jeffrey is out, RB Miles Sanders is dealing with a hamstring injury, OT Lane Johnson has an ankle injury, DE Derek Barnett a hamstring, and DT Javon Hargrave hasn’t practiced at all this week due to upper AND lower body injuries. This is before we even mention the massive losses along Philadelphia’s offensive line where they lost the best guard in football in Brandon Brooks along with starting left tackle Andre Dillard. What was once the strength of the Eagles offense, is now a giant question mark and herein lies the issues for Week 1. Washington will trot out what could potentially be the most underrated and talented defensive line in the NFL. Montez Sweat, Chase Young, Ryan Kerrigan, and Matt Ioannidis paired with Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen could lead to major issues for Carson Wentz and company.  With Wentz unlikely to have much time to throw Sunday, could the speed the Eagles have at receiver be minimized in terms of the damage it can do to Washington’s secondary? We’ve seen the total drop as well, from a high of 45.5 on the open to the current price of 42, which strengthens the +6 on Washington.  In what projects to be a low scoring affair, expect to see more underdog money enter the market as limits rise and the weekend approaches.

Arizona Cardinals +7 (-110) @ San Francisco 49ers:

Significant movement on both the side and the total of this NFC West division matchup has taken place. The over has gone from 46.5 to 48.5 and the Cardinals side has dropped a tick on the second most valuable half point in NFL betting. The 49ers are another team dealing with cluster injuries at the receiver position, as Jalen Hurd is on IR, Deebo Samuel hasn’t practiced this week, and Brandon Aiyuk only logged a limited practice Thursday.  This could benefit the Cardinals secondary, as Robert Alford was lost for the second season in a row with a torn pec, so Byron Murphy will need to come up big if the Cardinals are going to stop Jimmy Garopollo and Kyle Shanahan.  Additionally, there’s been some shuffling along the offensive line for San Francisco, as starting center Weston Richburg is on the PUP list, and backup center Ben Garland is dealing with an ankle injury and was limited in Thursday’s practice.  Now that we’ve handled the injuries, let’s look at this matchup when Arizona has the ball on offense.  Kyler Murray gave the 49ers everything they could handle as a rookie thrown into the fire last year, with a passer rating of 130.7 and 101.8 in their two matchups.  With another off-season under offensive “mad scientist” Kliff Kingsbury (Patrick Peterson’s words not mine), we could see even more wrinkles to the Cardinals offense in 2020.  The addition of DeAndre Hopkins helps, and the fact there was no off-season can only help Arizona disguise what they want to do with their new shiny toy. It’s difficult to imagine this number getting to -5.5, but you should certainly expect this number to come off the 7 before kick. I’m not a huge trend guy, but over the last 10 NFL seasons division underdogs have covered 68% of their Week 1 matchups. Both Washington and Arizona fit the aforementioned trend, and I only bring it up because this trend has merit. It makes sense that having additional time to prepare for an already familiar foe lends itself to tighter games. Less unknowns significantly decrease variance.

NFL Week 2 Look Ahead Lines:

Cleveland -7.5 vs. Cincinnati (TNF)

Philadelphia -3.5 vs. Los Angeles Rams

Tampa Bay -8.5 vs. Carolina

Pittsburgh -6 vs. Denver

Dallas -6.5 vs. Atlanta

San Francisco -6 @ New York Jets

Buffalo -3.5 @ Miami

Indianapolis -2.5 vs. Minnesota

Green Bay -6 vs. Detroit

Chicago -5.5 vs. New York Giants

Tennessee -11 vs. Jacksonville

Arizona -6.5 vs. Washington

Baltimore -5 @ Houston

Kansas City -6.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers

Seattle -3.5 vs. New England (SNF)

New Orleans -4.5 @ Las Vegas (MNF)

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