NFL Week 1 betting market report: How bettors perceived all 32 teams
Betting on Week 1 isn't just a one-week process.
Lines such as Lions +7, Packers +3, Buccaneers +6.5, and Falcons -2.5 were all available after they were put up in May. However, getting the best price on those teams didn't matter as they won outright and covered all numbers comfortably. Meanwhile, the Steelers (+3) and Commanders (-5.5) didn't cover at all.
Those line moves are what change a team's rating. It's important to track how NFL clubs are rated in the betting market for two reasons:
- Knowing how the market rates a team one week provides a clue as to whether it's overrated or underrated the next.
- We can quantitatively measure how injuries (or a holdout) affect a team's rating.
How ratings work
Every week, we'll look at what the betting market thinks of each team based on the closing lines from that week's games. The "rating" column is an educated guess at the oddsmakers' rating to create a point spread, with the specific number being the percentage chance that the team beats an average opponent on a neutral field.
Ratings aren't rankings. Oddsmakers and bettors had the offseason to shape the point spread in the 49ers-Steelers (+2.5) and Cowboys-Giants (+3) games. Both couldn't have been more lopsided. Neither the Cowboys nor the 49ers would be favored by 20 or even 10 points if there were rematches. The closing line is considered a better reflection of a team's value than one 60-minute game.
The range column is my evaluation of what each team is capable of. It's our job as handicappers to determine where within its range a team will play based on things like the situation, on-field matchups, and roster/injury issues. The earlier in the season, the wider range a team may have.
Market ratings and our range
If a team was rated toward either pole of its range, it's likely either an unusual situation occurred or the club was overrated or underrated. For me, Cleveland has the biggest lean toward either side of its range. Guess who I'll be fading Monday night.
It took one game to provide a perfect example of what our weekly report is all about. The Chiefs closed -4 against Detroit after Travis Kelce was officially announced as out. But that drop in rating for Kansas City without him and Chris Jones wasn't enough.
We know the Chiefs' range has a higher upside than any other team. With Jones back in the fold and Kelce potentially returning, Kansas City will be back on top next week.
There's another side to that coin - the New York Jets. The Jets went from 3-point underdogs in Dallas (via the lookahead lines) to -7.5 after Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles. With the Cowboys receiving a modest upgrade for dominating Sunday night, New York's new rating is in the low 40s. Without Rodgers, the Jets' range expands downward.
Elsewhere at the top, the Bills should see a drop in their rating after they somehow blew a 10-point to Zach Wilson's Jets. The 49ers' trucking of Pittsburgh and the Cowboys' waxing of the Giants should see the winners get a bump and the losers get a dip.
The bottom five of the market's ratings went 3-2 against the spread in Week 1 and were one yard away from 4-1. We can be slower to move the perceived bad teams up, but the Cardinals, Colts, Rams, and Buccaneers should see a tick up while their opponents receive a dip down.
If you feel that any of those are overreactions, that's where it's a good idea to step in and bet.
Matt Russell is the lead betting analyst for theScore. If there's a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on social media @mrussauthentic.