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Odds Analysis For Monday Night Football Week 1

As usual, the NFL has two prime-time games on tap for us on the first Monday night of the season. One game features two playoff teams from last year and the other is, well, it’s a divisional matchup, at least. 

The public is definitely picking sides as of Monday morning with over 70 percent of the action on Pittsburgh at -2.5 and the Rams at -2.5. Sports Interaction was one book reporting 76 percent of bets are on the Steelers at their shop.

What’s intriguing here, though, is that only a few books have moved the lines up to +3 as of Monday morning for either the Redskins or the 49ers. Hmmmm, why is that, I wonder, with all the love on the faves here? 

My guess is the books feel they’ll attract some sharp money on the home sides if they put them back to a field goal. Some books want to balance the action a little so they’ve made that move while others appear just fine with taking on the bettors and going with the home underdogs here. 

Remember that sportsbooks are gamblers too. Only in a perfect world do they get 50 percent action on both sides where they get to collect their guaranteed win of 10 percent juice. 

Tonight is not a perfect world situation and I think the books are happy to take on the bettors in these games with the points in their back pocket to work with. By no means does that make the home teams a 10-star lock of the millennium and you should put your paycheque on them. I just think the books are content with the hand they’ve been dealt here and as of Monday morning, it looks like they’re willing to take their chances by betting on the home dogs. 

Something to consider is that visiting teams are 10-4 ATS (against the spread) so far in Week 1 and underdogs went 9-5 ATS. Home faves also went a measly 3-8 ATS and when you add all that up, it usually equals out to the books having a pretty good week against the bettors. 

That leaves some books with a little more confidence that they can gamble in the Monday nighters and they’ll still come out OK for the week  — with the chance to have a pretty fantastic week. 

Another factor to consider is simply that these Monday nighters are very big games for the home side. The Redskins went 5-3 ATS at home last year and 6-2 SU (straight up). The Niners, meanwhile, had the second-lowest season win total in the NFL at just 5.5 games and if that is an accurate indicator, they could be playing in their biggest game of the season tonight.     

If the action keeps going the way it does, I won’t be surprised if one or both of these games moves back up to 3 points but my guess is that will happen late if it does. 

Good luck tonight and hope you had a good first week of NFL betting. I had a very good Sunday at the books and I don’t love either game here tonight so I’m going to try to be disciplined and stay away. If I had to make a wager, my leans would be toward the Steelers in a gritty victory and a Niners squad that may not have much left to look forward to after this Monday night contest but I'd wait to see if that number gets up to 3. 

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