Betting NFL Football Prime Time Games
The new NFL season is underway with Week 1 of the regular season in the books. There were a few surprises along the way, but the top contenders to win Super Bowl LIV got out of the gate with a fast start.
The matchups that gained the most attention from the betting public were the night games on Thursday, Sunday and early Monday night. Green Bay got things started by grinding out a 10-3 road win over Chicago as a three-point underdog. New England made the biggest statement in Week 1 by hammering Pittsburgh 33-3 as a 5.5-point home favorite and the New Orleans Saints squeaked past Houston 30-28 on a 58-yard field goal closing as 6.5-point favorites at home.
The three prime time games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday night are always going to catch the attention of the betting public, especially when they feature some of the top betting teams in the league. While Week 2’s prime time schedule lacks the same type of star power, all three games will still be heavily bet.
Two games of interest will be Sunday night’s Philadelphia at Atlanta’s NFC matchup and Monday night’s Cleveland at the New York Jets tilt in the AFC for two different reasons. Philadelphia continues to climb the board as one of the top favorites to win it conference this season. An impressive road win against the Falcons would add even more momentum to that climb.
Cleveland was one of the most hyped teams in the NFL the entire offseason, but a stunning 43-13 loss to Tennessee as 5.5-point home favorites simply makes the Browns the most overhyped team in the league. Anything short of a blowout win against the Jets this Monday night as 2.5-point road favorites would maintain that overhyped status.
As the season continues to unfold, knowing the key storylines for all three prime time games is a big part of the handicapping process. The best teams are usually at their best in front of a national audience. Legitimate contenders will normally win these games both straight-up and against the spread. The pretenders tend to show their true selves, especially early in the season.
Another important aspect of betting prime time games is the movement in the spread. The online sportsbooks already know that the betting public is going to gravitate to the favorite in all three matchups. The spreads are set accordingly and moved as the early action starts to come in. With the lean towards the favorites, there is some immediate value in the underdogs.
Tampa Bay opened as a 5.5-point road underdog for this Thursday night’s showdown against NFC South rival Carolina. The Buccaneers struggled in Sunday’s 31-17 loss at home to San Francisco as slight one-point favorites while the Panthers gave the Los Angeles Rams a battle in a 30-27 loss as slight 1.5-point home underdogs.
This Thursday’s spread has already moved a point to 6.5 and it could reach seven points by the end of the week. Now comes the big question, is Tampa Bay that bad or was it just a poor start? The line movements continue to add value to the underdog.
As the season wears on, bettors will have much more information to go on for all 32 NFL teams. However, so will the Oddsmakers as the lines get sharper and sharper with each passing week. By understanding the key storylines and watching the movements in the betting lines, you will be on the right track to cashing in on all three prime time matchups.