TheLines: Oddsmakers adjusting well to near-empty stadiums ahead of NFL Week 15

The 2020 NFL season might be remembered mostly for its empty or near-empty stadiums, which forced oddsmakers to factor into their lines what has been presumably less of a home-field advantage. Yet, according to analysts from TheLines.com, it is remarkable how well oddsmakers have done in making those adjustments.

A consensus of the nation’s largest legal online sportsbooks, including DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, PlaySugarHouse, BetMGM, Unibet, and William Hill, has picked nine home favorites and seven road favorites for Week 15 of the 2020 season.

However, given the current situation of a lot of games this year being placed in almost empty venues, is picking the road team a safer play this season than in seasons past?

Straight up, home teams have won 50.5% (103-101-1) of the season’s games through Sunday, which is down from games played since 2010, a stretch when home teams have won 56.6% of their games (1,602-1,226-8).

On the other hand, against the spread is another matter. Home teams are 100-105 this year, covering at a rate of 48.78%. Since 2010, home teams are 1,346-1,415-75. The home-team win percentage? 48.78%.

Brett Collson, lead analyst for TheLines.com, said: “The oddsmakers, and the betting market as a whole, have adjusted with stunning precision to a season like none other. There may have been an opportunity early in the season to catch a line that is out of balance, but as the season goes on it becomes more difficult.”

The biggest home favorites this week are the Los Angeles Rams, who are 16.5 point favorites in their game against the now 0-13 New York Jets. The Baltimore Ravens aren’t too far behind, as they’re 13 point favorites in their contest against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who haven’t won since the opening day of the season.

On the flip side, the biggest away favorites in Week 15 are the Pittsburgh Steelers who, despite losing twice in a row recently, are 12 point favorites in their clash on Monday night against AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Bengals.

The consensus point spreads for Week 15 as of Monday, December 14:

  • Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders (-3); over/under 54.5
  • Buffalo Bills (-5.5) at Denver Broncos; over/under 48
  • Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-8.5); over/under 51
  • Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-3); over/under 46
  • Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans (-8.5); over/under N/A
  • Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-7); over/under 52.5
  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens (-13); over/under N/A
  • New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (-2); over/under 42
  • San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) at Dallas Cowboys; over/under 45.5
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4) at Atlanta Falcons; over/under 51
  • Seattle Seahawks (-4.5) at Washington Football Team; over/under 43.5
  • New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams (-16.5); over/under 44.5
  • Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (-5.5); over/under 48
  • Kansas City Chiefs (-4) at New Orleans Saints; over/under 51.5
  • Cleveland Browns (-4) at New York Giants; over/under N/A
  • Pittsburgh Steelers (-12) at Cincinnati Bengals; over/under 41.5

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