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Sharpe's Take: Favorite NFL Week 1 bets

NFL football is only days away, so it’s time to begin the weekly process of searching for value in the upcoming week’s betting lines.

As always, the beginning of the season has the highest uncertainty, which allows the opportunity to get ahead of the market. Here are my favorite bets for Week 1 of the 2020 NFL season.

Home-Field Advantage

As soon as the NFL releases its schedule, sportsbooks post lines and start taking bets. Some only put up Week 1 games while others post up to the whole season.

When the opening lines were posted in May, few expected that COVID-19 would still be affecting us in September, but here we are. Most teams are playing Week 1 without fans, while the remaining teams are allowing only a small fraction of their normal capacity.

It's hard to know exactly what causes home-field advantage in the NFL, as, historically speaking, almost all games have lots of fans in attendance, so there’s not a great data set to control for this. However, L. Jon Wertheim and Tobias Moskowitz have researched home-field advantage across sports and found that the primary source of home-field advantage is the crowd influencing game officials to be more likely to make calls in favor of the home team.

The market, however, still appears to be valuing home-field advantage at 2.5 points, not much of a shift in the overall downward trend we’d been seeing in the NFL. This should create value on away teams relative to the market, though not in every game.

Editor's note: PFF's Betting Dashboards (Greenline) are available for both all NFL and all NCAA games between FBS teams as a part of your PFF ELITE subscription.

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