If you like betting home underdogs in the NFL, you won't have to wait long for opportunities.
The thing that stands out most about the Week 1 NFL lines, which are already posted at BetMGM, is how many road teams are favored.
Of the 16 opening-week games, there's a road favorite in 10 of them. That could go to 11 if the Buffalo Bills take over as the favorite in the Thursday night opener against the Los Angeles Rams. The Bills are favored at some other books, and this week BetMGM said the Bills were getting 81 percent of bets and 91 percent of the handle for their game against the Rams. That line should move toward the Bills at some point and they'll likely be the 11th road favorite for the first week.
That would mean only five home teams would be favored in Week 1. That's odd.
A lot of road favorites in Week 1
Here are all 10 current road favorites at BetMGM for Week 1:
Baltimore Ravens (-4.5) at New York Jets
New Orleans Saints (-4) at Atlanta Falcons
Cleveland Browns (-3.5) at Carolina Panthers
San Francisco 49ers (-6.5) at Chicago Bears
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) at Detroit Lions
Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) at Houston Texans
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5) at Dallas Cowboys
Denver Broncos (-4.5) at Seattle Seahawks
Not only are there an inordinate amount of road favorites, eight of them are favored by a field goal or more.
The biggest reason for the unusual amount of road favorites is luck of the draw. The NFL schedule pitted some good teams on the road against lesser teams in the first week and it's unlikely that was by any design. The Colts are far better than the Texans and it just happened that they meet in Houston in the first week.
But there is another reason, and that's the erosion of home-field advantage in the NFL. Last season home teams barely went over .500, finishing 136-132-1 according to Dave Tuley of VSiN. Against the spread, road teams were 140-126-3, covering 52.6% of the time.
That's a multiyear trend, and it wasn't just due to fans being mostly absent during the strange COVID-19 impacted season of 2020. Home-field advantage just isn't what it was before.
Should you bet Week 1 now?
There's a question over whether it's wise to bet Week 1 games this early. It ties up your money for months. There's worry that you can bet a team in May and sometime before early September they could lose a key player to injury, suspension or any other reason.
The best reason to bet Week 1 games early is if you think the line will change. If you like the Saints to cover against the Falcons and think the line will go from -4 now to -5 or -6 by the days leading up to kickoff of Week 1, it's worth it to make the bet now.
It might be wise, at whatever point, to bet on some of those Week 1 underdogs. Every year there are surprising results in Week 1. Some of those results stick all season, with surprising teams announcing their intentions on being contenders. Other times there are simply random results that look really strange by the end of the season.
If you still believe in home-field advantage, Week 1 could be a good time to take a shot on some underdogs. There are plenty of them to choose from.