Even though we’re in the middle of the NFL offseason, football is back in the conversation.
The 2019 NFL Draft will take center stage this week. Plus, the league released the schedule for all 32 teams last week. Pennsylvania sportsbooks have already posted the betting lines for the Week 1 matchups and there is plenty to dissect.
Bears and Packers play on opening day
The Green Bay Packers will visit the Chicago Bears for the season-opener on Thursday, Sept. 5. Chicago will be celebrating the 100th anniversary of their franchise this season.
They opened as a four-point favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook at Valley Forge Casino. It’s interesting to note that while the Bears finished 12-4 last season and the Packers were merely 6-9-1, their 2019 Super Bowl odds are neck-and-neck. The Bears are listed at +1,700 at FanDuel and the Packers at +1,800.
Week 1 for the Eagles and the Steelers
Philadelphia sports bettors will be happy to hear Philadelphia Eagles are the biggest favorite in Week 1. Harrah’s Philadelphia has them as an 8.5-point favorite as they host the Washington Redskins. The teams were separated by just two wins last year but the teams finished in opposite fashion. The Eagles won five of their final six and then won a playoff game. Meanwhile, the Redskins, who suffered a slew of quarterback injuries, lost six of their final seven games.
The first Sunday Night Football will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers visiting the New England Patriots. The Steelers find themselves as a 6.5-point underdog, but it’s worth noting that the Patriots haven’t won a season-opener by more than seven points in six years. The Steelers have had a whirlwind of an offseason as they watched running back Le’Veon Bell walk in free agency and traded away star wideout Antonio Brown. This will be one the Pittsburgh sports betting scene will be keeping a close eye on.
SugarHouse offering lines for several high profile games
SugarHouse is one of the few sportsbooks that has posted betting lines beyond Week 1. In fact, they put up odds for a number of highly-anticipated showdowns.
Of course, the Steelers are featured in a number of those games, starting with their Week 6 Sunday Night Football contest with the Los Angeles Chargers. As you might recall, the Steelers shockingly blew a 23-7 second-half lead at home to the Chargers last season. The Chargers are currently a 4.5-point favorite.
The Steelers will play in five primetime games in 2019. Few will be more important than their Week 11 showdown with the upstart Cleveland Browns. The Browns, who are favored to win their first division title since 1989, are currently a three-point favorite.
The Eagles will also play in primetime five times. They’ll have a tricky schedule as their road games are frontloaded. Five of their final eight games are at home. Their most anticipated matchup could be the Week 11 visit they get from the New England Patriots. The Eagles, who will be coming off a bye, are a one-point favorite right now at SugarHouse.
Weighing the strength of schedule
With the release of the schedule, we know now each team’s strength of schedule based on last year’s records. The teams playing the easiest schedules are:
- Redskins (.469)
- Patriots (.473)
- Rams (.473)
- Giants (.473)
- Jets (.473)
The teams playing the five toughest schedules are:
- Raiders (.539)
- Broncos (.537)
- Jaguars (.531)
- Texans (.527)
- Bears (.520)
Knowing these numbers is useful for betting futures and FanDuel Sportsbook has posted a number of these season-long props, including regular season win totals for each team.
The Eagles, who play the sixth-easiest schedule, are facing a regular season win total of 9.5. Meanwhile, the Steelers, who are facing the 19th toughest schedule, are facing a total of exactly nine wins. It’s worth noting that the Steelers haven’t won less than nine games in five straight season and just twice in the last 12 seasons. The two misses were quite close as they were 8-8 both times.
The team with the biggest win total on the board is the New England Patriots at 11. The smallest number on the board is five and two teams are faced with that number. The Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals are expected to be among the worst in the league.
These numbers, as well as the Super Bowl futures, could all change on Thursday as teams stock up on a new wave of talent at the 2019 NFL Draft.