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2020-2021 NFL Season Update


August is usually the slowest month for sports betting. Most of the attention goes to the NFL odds board at Bovada Sportsbook, and the four (or five) exhibition games each team plays before the regular season gets underway. But everything’s backwards in 2020. Because of the coronavirus shutdown, MLB, NBA and NHL games are just getting started; meanwhile, the NFL has agreed to cancel their preseason. The players, coaches and officiating crews will start cold when Week 1 kicks off in mid-September.

Will anyone be in the stands to watch? Other than requiring masks to be worn, the NFL has decided not to adopt a league-wide policy on whether fans will be allowed into the stadiums, leaving it up to the state officials where the games will be played. Fans are the driving force behind home-field advantage, especially in places like Seattle, so that’s one more thing to consider when you’re browsing the NFL betting lines at Bovada.



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NFL Odds to Win the Super Bowl

These shifting sands haven’t had too much effect on the Super Bowl odds board – not yet, at least. The defending champion Kansas City Chiefs are still the +600 favorites at press time, followed by the Baltimore Ravens at +650 and the San Francisco 49ers at +900. All three locales have seen a surge in coronavirus cases over the last few weeks. So far, New Jersey is the only state banning fans from attending until further notice, but others may join the list soon.

Florida probably won’t be one of them. They’ve already declared athletes to be essential workers, so the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might be the most secure team among the top Super Bowl LV favorites. They’re tied with the New Orleans Saints for fourth place on the NFL lines at +1000. The Orleans Parish hasn’t been hit as hard as other parts of Louisiana, but the number of COVID-19 cases is still rising for now.


New Week 1 Odds

The biggest news heading into the new season might be in Washington, where Dan Snyder has finally relented to public (read: sponsor) pressure and changed the team’s name. Here’s what you’ll see now for their opening game on the NFL odds at Bovada Sportsbook, along with two more Week 1 matchups of interest.


1. Philadelphia Eagles at Washington (Sunday, September 13, 1 PM ET, FOX)

Officially, they’re now called the Washington Football Team, but that’s just a placeholder name for 2020. And while the product on the field will look a little different, one thing hasn’t changed: Washington (3-13 SU, 6-10 ATS last year) remain one of the worst organizations in the league. They’re laying six points at home to the Eagles (9-7 SU, 7-9 ATS), the only NFC East team to post a winning record in 2019. Philadelphia’s defense should be better this year with the arrival of CB Darius Slay, but losing Pro Bowl RG Brandon Brooks this summer to a torn Achilles could be just as bad for their offense.


2. Los Angeles Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, September 13, 4:05 PM ET, CBS)

This will be our first chance to see Joe Burrow in an NFL uniform. Sadly, that will be a Cincinnati Bengals uniform. The Bengals (2-14 SU, 6-10 ATS) won the league’s race to the bottom last year, and they’re 3-point home dogs to the Chargers (5-11 SU, 4-9-3 ATS), who have a rookie college star of their own in QB Justin Herbert. These two should be worth the price of admission, if there is any. Make sure to check out Bovada’s game props for this matchup once they hit the board – you won’t find these gems anywhere on the NFL Vegas odds.


3. Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants (Monday, September 14, 7:15 PM ET, ESPN)

Two of the league’s most storied franchises will have the honor of kicking off this year’s Monday Night Football coverage. But unless things change for the better soon, there won’t be anyone in the stands when the Giants (4-12 SU, 7-9 ATS) welcome the Steelers (8-8 SU, 9-7 ATS) to East Rutherford. This was already going to be a tough spot for Big Blue; they’re rebuilding around QB Daniel Jones, while Pittsburgh fans are pumped now that Big Ben Roethlisberger is back under center. Take away the fans, and the Giants are heading into their 2020 opener as vulnerable 3.5-point home dogs.


*Odds as of July 31, 2020

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