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Raiders installed as underdogs as NFL Week 1 lines released

On the day the NFL schedule is released, staffers at the Westgate SuperBook start a group text and give their lines for each of the Week 1 games.

“We’ll kind of meet in the middle and open it,” SuperBook senior risk supervisor Casey Degnon. “We love doing it. It’s definitely a lot of fun.”

That chat was busy Thursday evening as the SuperBook and other Las Vegas sportsbooks posted Week 1 lines four months before the Sept. 7 opener.

The Raiders open Sept. 10 at Denver and are listed as 3½-point underdogs despite signing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as a free agent and addressing their needs on defense in the draft. The total is 44.

The Broncos are coming off a disappointing 5-12 season but hired Sean Payton as coach to fix an offense that sputtered with Russell Wilson at quarterback.

“We all had Denver between 3 and 4½,” Degnon said. “We all kind of agreed that Denver needed to be a favorite of at least a field goal until we see more from the Raiders.”

The defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs and the Detroit Lions, a chic pick to win the NFC, will kick off the season Sept. 7 in Kansas City. The Chiefs are 7-point favorites at the SuperBook in the “Thursday Night Football” matchup, and the total is 54, which is the highest on the board for the opening week.

Week 1 wraps up with the Bills visiting New York on “Monday Night Football” for Aaron Rodgers’ Jets debut. The game is a pick’em at the SuperBook, with the total 47.

Caesars Sportsbook reported a bettor in New Jersey wagered $5,000 on the Jets +3 (+100), and the book was down to Bills -1 a couple of hours later.

“Some of our guys had Bills -1, some had Jets -1,” Degnon said. “I kind of thought pick was a good number. We opened pick, and then I know at the time FanDuel had the Bills favored by 3. I think they’ve kind of come down from that number.”

A handful of teams are expected to have new starting quarterbacks, which increases the degree of difficulty for oddsmakers.

The Panthers, who selected quarterback Bryce Young with the first pick in the draft, are 3-point underdogs against the Falcons at the SuperBook and Caesars Sportsbook.

The Texans are projected to start rookie C.J. Stroud, the No. 2 pick in the draft, in Week 1 and are 9½-point road underdogs against the Ravens. That is the largest spread on the board at the SuperBook in Week 1.

Caesars has Baltimore as 9-point chalk.

“Really any of the new quarterbacks like Jordan Love in Green Bay, stuff like that is always a little bit harder for me to decide how bad are these teams going to be,” Degnon said. “It’s still early so we don’t know they’re bad yet.”

The Rams-Seahawks game also saw a large range of opinion with the SuperBook staff before landing on Seahawks -5½. Some believed the number should be as low as Seattle -4, while others were at -6, Degnon said.

Seattle is -5 at Caesars.

“That’s probably the largest discrepancy we’ll see while we’re doing it in the chat,” Degnon said. “Usually you’re all within a point, point-and-a-half of each other. That was one the games we were kind of apart on.”

There are five road favorites in Week 1, including the Cowboys (-3) over the Giants on “Sunday Night Football.”

The Cardinals-Commanders matchup features the lowest total at 39½.

The SuperBook is expected to post lines for the rest of the NFL schedule starting Friday. That includes the Raiders’ two appearances each on “Sunday Night Football” and “Monday Night Football,” along with a Christmas Day matchup at Kansas City.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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