NFL Week 1 packed with home underdogs

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NFL point spreads hit the board at sportsbooks on Thursday shortly after the league announced its schedule for the 2022 season. Week 1 is packed with home underdogs.

Ten home teams are underdogs in Week 1, most in an opening week of the Super Bowl era, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. The Houston Texans and Chicago Bears are the biggest home underdogs in Week 1. The Texans are 7.5-point underdogs for the Indianapolis Colts, and the Bears are 6-point underdogs for the San Francisco 49ers.

The New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals, Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks are also home underdogs in the early lines of their Week 1 games.

The value of home court advantage in the NFL’s regular season has been declining for years, according to the betting market. The home teams were favored with just 1.65 points last season, the third lowest in the Super Bowl era, after only 2020 (1.10) and 1969 (-1.65). Home teams covered the spread in 48% of the matches last season and have had a losing record compared to the spread in 15 of the last 18 seasons, including four in a row.

In the season opener on Sept. 8, defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams are 1-point favorites over the visiting Buffalo Bills.

Bills are the consensus favorites to win the Super Bowl at sportsbooks. At Caesars Sportsbook, Buffalo has attracted more than the amount wagered on the odds of winning the Super Bowl than any other team.

“This is a big year for them and definitely a big stage for them to open the season at the Super Bowl Champions,” Adam Pullen, assistant commercial director for Caesars Sportsbook, said in a company announcement. “They’ll have to prove it right away.”

While the Bills are the favorites, the long-shot Jets have garnered attention from players. At Borgata in Atlantic City, New Jersey, there are more bets on the Jets to win the AFC than there are on any other team, and only the Bills have attracted more bets to win the Super Bowl than the Jets. The Jets are 5-point underdogs at home against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.

Opening lines on other notable week 1 matches via Caesars Sportsbook include:
Buccaneers -2.5, 51.5 at the Cowboys
Chiefs -3, 53 at Cardinals
Raiders at Chargers -4, 51.5
Broncos -3.5, 41 at Seahawks (Monday)

ESPN Stats & Information researcher Matt Willis contributed to this report.

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