NFL Betting Odds: Week 1 Line Movements & Last-Minute News
It was an absolute no-brainer for the NFL to postpone Sunday's Buccaneers at Dolphins game because it looks like Miami is going to get pummeled by incredibly dangerous Hurricane Irma. There's going to be major damage in South Florida - perhaps even to the Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium, although when that was recently renovated it was strengthened against potential hurricanes.
So while football doesn't matter in the Miami area right now, this is a betting site so we need to talk about what moving that game from Week 1 to Week 11 means. The NFL was fortunate that both the Bucs and Dolphins happened to have a bye that week - or else this game would have had to been played in Week 1 at some neutral site up north; reportedly Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were under consideration as both the Steelers and Eagles are out of town.
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Now, however, the Bucs and Dolphins will have to play 16 straight weeks without a bye. Certainly not ideal, and one would think the players might be more likely to wear down or get injured without that week off at some point during the season as opposed to before it begins. This could wreck the Dolphins, especially, because now they don't play at home until Oct. 8. It's at the Chargers in Week 2, at Jets in Week 3 and "home" to Saints in London in Week 4; Miami asked to not have the bye week after the trip overseas. At least the Dolphins are facing three teams with losing records from 2016 the next three weeks, but that's tough. When they host the Bucs in Week 11, Miami will be on a short week after visiting Carolina on Monday in Week 10. And a trip to New England follows Tampa's visit - how nice would it have been to have a bye before facing the Patriots?
Meanwhile, this could really benefit the Bucs initially as three of their first four are at home. However, now they have a three-game road trip starting with Week 11 in Miami, followed by trips to Atlanta and Green Bay. Since bye weeks were introduced in 1990, eight NFL teams have played games in 16 straight weeks. Only one of those eight made the playoffs, while the other seven finished with 4.3 wins on average. Keep that in mind if considering some last-minute futures bets on the Bucs or Dolphins.
Here are some line moves or potential game-changing injury notes for Week 1.
Steelers at Browns ( +9, 47): I touched on this game in my Opening Line Report story , but I have bad news for those of you who bet on Cleveland's Myles Garrett, the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft, to win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He's likely to miss at least a month after suffering a high ankle sprain in practice on Wednesday (although Joey Bosa only played 12 games last year and won DROY). It's the second high-ankle sprain Garrett has suffered in the past year, one on each ankle. Last season, he suffered a left ankle sprain at Texas A&M and sat out two games. During minicamp earlier this year, Garrett suffered a lateral foot sprain and had to wear a walking boot for a few weeks. One has to wonder if perhaps Garrett is injury-prone. Too bad for Cleveland as Garrett looked great in camp and in the preseason. I don't care about either of these teams personally, but I really wanted to watch this game only because Garrett mouthed off about Ben Roethlisberger, saying: "I'm coming for him first, (to) chop him down." The Pittsburgh offensive linemen were eager to teach the rook a lesson.
Colts at Rams (-3.5, 41.5): This game has had easily the biggest spread and total movement from where it first opened weeks ago when Indy was -3 and the total was 47.5. The changes are all about Andrew Luck, who officially has been ruled out for Week 1 as he continues to rehab from January shoulder surgery. Man, does it appear the Colts botched this whole thing. The Colts kept saying all spring and into summer they expected Luck to be ready for camp and the season. The guy hasn't practiced once, but he was taken off the PUP list at the end of camp so Luck wouldn't officially have to miss the first six games. The Rams will face Scott Tolzien, a former undrafted free agent who has been a backup with San Diego, San Francisco, Green Bay and Indianapolis since 2011 and appeared in nine games with three starts. L.A., though, will be without one of the NFL's best defensive players in tackle Aaron Donald, who continues to hold out.
Giants at Cowboys (-4, 47.5): This line has shifted all over the place because of the suspension of Ezekiel Elliott and ankle injury to Odell Beckham Jr. We only have clarity on one of those two: Elliott will play Sunday night even though his six-game suspension was upheld on Tuesday by an NFL arbitrator. I don't have a law degree and don't pretend to know why Elliott is allowed to play here but then start serving the suspension. Or maybe he doesn't at all in 2017 as the NFLPA fights it through the courts. That worked for Tom Brady in 2015. This line likely will rise a point or two if Beckham doesn't play, and he still hasn't practiced since spraining his ankle in the Giants' second preseason game. The New York media expects him to be a game-time decision. The Giants might have to take the long view here and not let OBJ play Sunday night, as big of a game as it is, to avoid long-term injury. He's too important.
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