The Raiders-Broncos game isn’t the only NFL season opener with a notable line move.
While Oakland opened as a 2½-point home favorite over Denver in April before moving to a 1-point underdog Friday, at least four other NFL Week 1 games have had line moves of two points or more.
The Ravens opened as 4-point road favorites over the Dolphins at Las Vegas sportsbooks in April. But the line soared to 6½ after Miami traded starting left tackle Laremy Tunsil and wideout Kenny Stills to Houston, and it’s now up to 7 at several books.
“We’re not going to give a bet away on Miami, no matter what,” Westgate sportsbook manager Ed Salmons said. “Everybody is in a race to push that line as high as they can. The question is do the wiseguys want to bite? We’re going to need Miami huge.”
Bettors also are backing the Lions, or, perhaps more accurately, fading the Cardinals. That line opened at pick, but Detroit is now a 2½-point road favorite.
“Unless something happens here early, everybody is going to bet against Arizona,” Salmons said. “They just looked atrocious in the preseason. I don’t know if they were trying to hide their offense and show nothing. But if Arizona doesn’t play a competitive game here, everybody is going to be betting against Arizona like they are with Miami.”
The Chargers opened as 3-point home favorites over the Colts, but the line shot up as high as 9½ when Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck announced his retirement. It has since settled at 6½ and is at 7 at Station Casinos.
“The Colts are still a good team,” Salmons said. “They have a solid defense, a great offensive line, they can run the ball, and if you had ranked all the backup quarterbacks, Jacoby Brissett probably would’ve been the best.”
The Eagles are 10-point home favorites over the Redskins after the line opened at 8, and the Rams are 1½-point to 2-point road favorites over the Panthers after the line opened at 3.
“That’s a tough spot for the Rams,” Salmons said. “They played no one in the preseason, they have to travel cross country and play in the heat of the day and humidity, and it’s a body-clock game, too.”
The Browns generated plenty of offseason buzz, but a Westgate bettor placed a $25,000 wager on the Titans as 5½-point underdogs at Cleveland.
“That’s surprising. I thought we’d have more money on Cleveland,” Salmons said. “But Tennessee is a well-coached team and kind of plays a ball control style. In that kind of a game, 5½ points is a lot.”
Sharp bettors took the Steelers at plus-6 over the Patriots in the Sunday night game, and the line has dipped to 5 at several books.
“The public is going to be all over the Patriots in that game,” Salmons said.
A CG Technology bettor placed an $11,000 straight bet Friday on the Chiefs (-3½) over the Jaguars, and the books are going to need Jacksonville.
Salmons said he likes Kansas City to win the Super Bowl but doesn’t like the Chiefs in their opener.
“It’s the same as the Rams game. It’s hard for a team like that to play in Florida with the heat and humidity,” he said. “Jacksonville probably has the best team to defend Kansas City.”
A sharp gambler at CG Technology placed an $11,000 straight bet on the Bills (+3) over the Jets. CG also took several large Super Bowl futures bets: $3,500 to win $192,500 on the Texans (55-1); $2,000 to win $100,000 on the Ravens (50-1); $5,000 to win $85,000 on the Cowboys (17-1); and $3,000 to win $54,000 on the Chargers (18-1).