Oddsmakers are spreading it on thick in Week 3 of the NFL season, thanks to some lopsided matchups on schedule.
The NFL’s top two teams – Denver and Seattle – take on two of its worst – Oakland and Jacksonville – forcing oddsmakers to pile on the points. The Broncos opened as high as -16.5 hosting the Raiders Monday night while the Seahawks are as high as -20 welcoming the Jaguars to CenturyLink Field Sunday.
“These numbers are made to keep the games equal,” Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based service The Sports Club, tells Covers. “You treat them just like any other game on the schedule. They just are what they are.”
Double-digit spreads are rare in the parity of the NFL, and two-touchdown chalk is like finding two prizes inside a box of cereal. But getting an NFL spread in the 20-point range is like seeing Big Foot riding a Unicorn through the Lost City of Atlantis. It’s pretty rare.
The 2011 Indianapolis Colts were 20.5-point underdogs visiting the New England Patriots in Week 13 of that season. The Manning-less Colts put up a good fight, losing 31-24 with QB Dan Orlovsky at the helm.
“At this level of points, it will reduce some of the money on this game because people won’t want to get involved,” says Korner, who originally sent out Jacksonville as a suggested 16-point underdog. “I think people will take Jacksonville on a flyer and hope they get a touchdown or two.”
As for the Oakland-Denver matchup, early action has actually taken this spread down a bit, dropping the line from Broncos -16.5 to -14 as of Monday morning. Denver has been impressive in its first two wins, blowing out the Ravens and Giants, while Oakland narrowly lost to the Colts in Week 1 and defeated the Jaguars this past Sunday.
“We’re sending this out trying to overcompensate for the favorite,” says Korner, who sent out a suggested line of Denver 16. “What has Denver done to make us think they won’t play Oakland any different? They’ve done everything right and have clobbered their first two opponents. What’s not to like about Denver.”
“I don’t know how this made it to a Monday Night Football game,” he says. “An old rivalry like this isn’t going to attract people with the way things are going. But having a pointspread on a game like this will attract people. Even if it is this big.”
Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles (-3, 50)
The return of the Walrus - goo goo g'joob - headlines the Thursday nighter, with new Chiefs coach Andy Reid coming back to Philadelphia.
Korner says that while the Eagles are running a different offense and defense, Reid still knows their players better than any coach in the league. He had his oddsmakers suggesting this spread as low as Philadelphia -1.5 before sending out Eagles -3.
“You have to figure Kansas City has the edge,” he says. “There is an incentive for Kansas City’s players to play for their coach. That’s worth more than the Eagles playing against one man. The Chiefs look strong and have a great shot of winning this game. They're something new and more of a mystery to Philadelphia. I don’t see it going to -3.5.”
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins (-1, 44)
Oddsmakers are buying into Miami’s 2-0 start to the season, making them home favorites against the Falcons Sunday. The Dolphins knocked off Indianapolis on the road in Week 2 and Korner admits he wasn’t giving Miami much credit to start the season.
“We had it around -2.5 for Miami,” he says. “Atlanta is a capable team but they match up well against each other. You’re basically looking at home-field advantage with this one. (The Dolphins) kind of snuck up on me. My thoughts are much different now."