After what has seemed like an impossibly long year, the new NFL season is almost here. The Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will start off the 2020 NFL season as the favorites at various bookmakers to reach Super Bowl LV, but there are quite a few other teams who are being touted to spring a surprise in the upcoming months.
Before we get into the odds and permutations for Week 1 as well as the entire season, it is important to note that this football season will come as a relief to most fans in the United States. Due to the ongoing pandemic, sports had been cancelled across the country for the last few months, and it is only now that fans are able to return to watching their favorite sports. Matches are being held in empty stadiums and arenas though, and that will be the case for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, it is telling that during the absence of sporting action, more and more people were playing online casino for real money, as sports betting sites had no markets on which to offer odds. With the return of the NFL, it is estimated that betting volumes on sports betting sites will shoot up in the next few weeks.
Looking at the top bookmakers in the United States, we see that 49ers are the clear favorite to win Super Bowl LV, while the Chiefs, who won Super Bowl LIV by beating the 49ers, are in second place in the stakes. The Ravens follow close behind. Given that the NFL remains a quarterback-dominated league, it is no surprise that the Ravens and Chiefs are among the favorites. However, this is one of the most uncertain seasons in recent memory due to the pandemic, and given that every NFL season usually has at least one surprise team, it will be interesting to see how the season pans out. It is also interesting to note that the Philadelphia Eagles are the favorites among teams which are based out of areas which allow legal betting. Thus, do not be surprised to see large betting volumes on the Eagles this season, especially if they go on a good run of form early on.
In Week 1, the Chiefs open against the Houston Texans, where they are the consensus favorite by nine points. The Ravens are also favored by a similar margin in their own opener against the Cleveland Browns, while the 49ers are considered 7-point favorites against the Arizona Cardinals. Elsewhere, the Philadelphia Eagles begin this season with a repeat of their 2019 season opener, against the Washington Football Team, where they have a spread of -6.
In terms of the New York Jets, they face the Buffalo Bills, who have a great shot at making the championship, now that Tom Brady has left the New England Patriots and consequently the AFC East division. The Bills have a consensus spread of -6.5 over the Jets at betting houses.
It is an interesting lineup in Week 1 in terms of the betting odds and spreads, as it is usually a challenging week for betting houses to price these opening matches. This can be seen this year as well, where there are at least eight matches at the moment which have spreads of less than 3. Other dynamics to keep note of this season include the fact that home advantage is likely to be a lesser factor this year than in previous seasons, while the health and safety of the teams’ rosters will probably have a greater say in who gets picked, especially in the opening weeks. This NFL season thus has the potential to be one of the most unpredictable ones in recent years.