NFL Week 1 features record number of home underdogs

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

Ten home teams are underdogs in Week 1, the most in an opening week in 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 to the Indianapolis Colts, and the Bears are 6-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers.

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

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

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

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

“This is a big year for them and certainly a big stage for them to open the season at the Super Bowl champions,” Adam Pullen, assistant director of trading for Caesars Sportsbook, said in a company release. “They’ll have to prove it right off the bat.”

While the Bills are the favorites, the long-shot Jets have been garnishing attention from bettors. At the 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 home underdogs against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 1.

Opening lines on other notable Week 1 matchups via Caesars Sportsbook include:
Buccaneers -2.5, 51.5 at 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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