NFL line movement: Bucs now favored after opening as underdogs

·5-min read

With each week that passes, we begin to gain a clearer picture of the NFL landscape. Each team now has two games under their belts, allowing fans and bettors to gain a better understanding of what we could expect this season.

The NFL betting market is a great way to gain insight to what the general perception of teams is. Which games are seeing significant line movement early in the week at BetMGM? And what does it suggest for this weekend's games?

Market turns Tampa Bay into favorites 

At the start of the week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opened as 1.5-point road underdogs against the Los Angeles Rams. Currently, Tampa Bay sits as 2.5-point favorites at BetMGM. 

A four-point line movement at this point of the week is very significant, and it's by far the largest shift we've seen this week. Anytime the favored team changes, alarm bells should be set off as well. 

TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on September 19, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Quarterback Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up before the Week 2 game against Atlanta. (Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

The Buccaneers were always going to attract action as underdog, so it's not surprising to see the line move in their favor. However, the fact that it moved so much so quickly could be telling. 

The Rams are a very good team and probably have a case for being mentioned among the league's elite. However, they aren't defending Super Bowl champions and their quarterback isn't Tom Brady. Oddsmakers respected Los Angeles, opening with them as a favorite. The market disagreed. 

Bettors catching on to the Chiefs?

The Kansas City Chiefs are an elite football team, there's no denying that. One area where they aren't elite? Covering the spread. In their last 13 games, Kansas City is 1-11-1 against the spread. They've opened the 2021 season by failing to cover in both of their games.

Kansas City opened as a touchdown favorite at home against the Los Angeles Chargers for Week 3. However, that line has already moved off the key number of 7. The Chargers are currently down to 6.5-point underdogs on the road. 

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 11 times? I'm going to start fading you. Have bettors reached that point with the Chiefs? 

Raiders, Steelers catching the fade?

Two other games this weekend have seen line movements of at least 1.5 points. One of them might surprise you. 

The Las Vegas Raiders have opened their season with two wins despite being sizable underdogs in both games. They opened as 5.5-point home favorites against a team that was shut out in their most recent game and has a starting quarterback dealing with an injury. Seems fair, right?

The market disagrees. The Miami Dolphins are currently down to just 4-point underdogs in Sin City on Sunday against the Raiders. It seems like respected bettors still aren't buying the Raiders, despite their impressive start to the year. 

Elsewhere, the Pittsburgh Steelers opened as 4.5-point favorites at home against the Cincinnati Bengals. That line is down to the Bengals getting just 3 points on the road.

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 19:   Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) points while looking at the the bench during the game on September 19, 2021 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger points during a Week 2 game against the Las Vegas Raiders. (Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Pittsburgh's offense has been far from impressive to open the season, and now Ben Roethlisberger is dealing with a pectoral injury. He's expected to play, but it gives us less faith in a quarterback many are already quickly losing faith in. 

Any notable total movement?

Six games for this upcoming weekend have already seen their total move by at least a point. 

Washington-Buffalo: The total opened at 46.5, but it's down to 45.5 at BetMGM. Josh Allen hasn't been particularly efficient to open the season. 

Baltimore-Detroit: The total for this one is up to 50 points, after opening at 49. Baltimore's defense might not be as good as we are accustomed to. The Lions defense is also atrocious.

Indianapolis-Tennessee: After opening with a total of 50.5, this game's total now sits at 48 points. A lot of this movement could likely be explained by the uncertainty surrounding Carson Wentz. 

New Orleans-New England: This total is down two points since the opener. Both teams have seen their first two games go under the total. Solid defenses and questionable offenses are usually a good recipe for unders. The total is down to 41.5 points at BetMGM.

Tampa Bay-Los Angeles: The spread is not the only market seeing significant movement in this game. Bettors must really believe in Tom Brady, and can you blame them? The total currently sits at 55.5 points after opening at 54. 

Green Bay-San Francisco: Aaron Rodgers showed signs of life on Monday night after a clunker in the opener. Despite San Francisco's vaunted defense, the total in this game is up to 50. It opened at 48.5. 

Other line movement

Carolina is up to an 8-point favorite on Thursday night in Houston after the line opened at 7. 

Washington opened as 8.5-point underdogs against Buffalo, but that line is currently down to 8 points,

The Cleveland Browns are 7-point home favorites against the Chicago Bears. The line opened at 7.5. 

Detroit opened as 8 point-underdogs at home against Baltimore, but that line is down to 7.5.

The Titans opened as 4.5-point favorites, but that line is on the move due to the Wentz uncertainty. Tennessee is currently a 5.5-point favorite.

New Orleans was a 3-point underdog on the road against the Patriots, but that number is down to just 2.5.

Arizona opened as a touchdown favorite against Jacksonville, but that number has moved to 7.5 points.

Seattle opened as a 1-point road favorite in Minnesota. The Seahawks are currently 2-point road favorites.

Green Bay opened as a 4-point underdog in San Francisco, but that number is down to 3.5.

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