Week 1 NFL games are nearing. And with the games only a handful of weeks away, handicappers are moving the spreads, even with very little changes to teams in the last few months.
It's a rite of passage for week 1 NFL spreads to move all over the place and 2018 is no exception. Pretty much every game has moved from its opening line, with a few games offering a bit more movement.
Which games have featured the biggest line movers? Here's four games to keep an eye on in the next few weeks, with NFL regular season game odds provided by Topbet.eu.
Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Oakland Raiders
When this game opened, oddsmakers placed an even spread on the contest. So what happened to make the line move the most of any game so far in the NFL for week 1?
The Rams went on a spending spree, forcing the media to go head over heels for the Rams.
Brandin Cooks, Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters and Ndamukong Suh are all acquisitions made this offseason by the Rams. Meanwhile, the Raiders are left with new faces and new coach Jon Gruden.
My problem with this movement is that the Rams are ignoring a pretty major issue in front of them — an aging offensive line, which isn't one of the better units in the NFL anyway. Talib is getting older, Peters and Suh have been known to cause problems, and Cooks is on his third team in three years.
Something tells me those additions won't look so great by year's end. The Raiders are going to be better than last year, so I would be careful to jump on the Rams bandwagon for this one.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-9.5)
People are either really believing the Saints are going to be good again in 2018 or that Jameis Winston is very valuable to the Bucs.
To me, neither of those statements are true.
This line has moved 2.5 points in the direction of the Saints since the opening line, thanks to Winston's suspension and likely the fervor about the Saints. What's lost in this movement is that Mark Ingram is suspended, complicating New Orleans' offensive attack, and the notion that Tampa Bay's defense is going to be much improved.
Sean Payton needs those change-up running backs to generate the best offensive structure. Without them, the Saints will struggle, allowing the Buccaneers to offer more resistance than anticipated. I'd love this number to get to double-digits, but feel comfortable with Tampa Bay in this one.
Buffalo Bills at Baltimore Ravens (-5.5)
This is another conundrum. On one hand, the Bills will probably be really bad. On the other, what can we expect from the Ravens?
Bettors have moved this line 1.5 points toward Baltimore, likely because of the lack of talent on the Bills and quarterback questions. But can you trust the Ravens?
Baltimore's defense will be good again, but it won't be the turnover machine it was a year ago. The offense has been stagnant for years and nothing from this offseason tells me that will be different in 2018. Meanwhile, the Bills do have solid coaching and a decent defense.
The Ravens are the better team, but they've disappointed so much in recent years, it's difficult to trust Baltimore in this situation.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles (-4)
Here's finally a game where the number is creeping toward the underdog.
The Eagles opened as 5.5-point favorites, only to see that fade as the betting public doesn't know what to do with Nick Foles.
Are we to expect the Foles we saw in the regular season or the one in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl? The Eagles are loaded, but the Falcons can compete with defensive and offensive talent.
I tend to agree with the betting public on this one to reduce that number. Atlanta will be one of the better teams in the NFC this year and there are still too many question marks surrounding Foles. Matchup-wise, the Falcons are a good test for the Eagles, so this should be more toward the field-goal spread level.
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. His Against The Chalk blog has earned him back-to-back Iowa Newspaper Association awards for Best Blog. Check out more at Against The Chalk.