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What no home fans could mean for Washington point spreads in 2020

Washington announced it will not have fans in the stands for the 2020 season. We take a look at their current home point spreads and what it might mean.

A general view of the stadium as Washington Redskins kick an extra point against the New York Giants during the first half at FedExField on December 22, 2019 in Landover, Maryland. Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The NFL hopes to open its 2020 season on time, but some or all of their teams can expect to be playing home games without fans in the stadium. Each locale is implementing different rules, and on Wednesday, the Washington football team announced they will not have fans in attendance for the 2020 season.

“We are fortunate to host the best fans in the NFL year after year, but the well-being of those supporters, along with that of our players, coaches and each and every member of our gameday staff is simply too important, and the current knowledge of COVID-19 too unpredictable, to welcome our fan base to FedExField to start the season,” said Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder. “We were the first team in the league to recall our scouts and other personnel from the field back in mid-March and have been monitoring this evolving situation ever since. This decision was not an easy one, but after several discussions with federal, state and local officials – along with input from some of the nation’s foremost medical experts, based right here in the nation’s capital – we are confident that it is the right one. We are working to find ways to make our fans’ presence felt in new and innovative ways for 2020 and can’t wait to welcome the community through the gates as soon as it’s safe.”

This is going to result in some changes to point spreads for their home games. DraftKings Sportsbook has provided lines for six of Washington’s games this season, including two homes. The two home games include:

Week 1 vs. Eagles: WAS +6.5
Week 9 vs. Giants: WAS -1

In sports betting, home field advantage is viewed as being worth roughly 2.5 to 3 points. Some teams like the Seahawks, Saints, and Chiefs have a more significant advantage than other teams. Washington has its share of diehard fans, but the teams doesn’t exactly have a monstrous home field advantage like it did in its RFK Stadium hey day. The HFA is aroudn 2.5 points.

DK Sportsbook oddsmaker Johnny Avello said he would cut a home field in half with no fans in the stands. There is still benefit of knowing your home stadium and locker room, and not having to travel, so you still get some benefit to playing at home. But, it will not be nearly what it would be if there were fans in the stands.

If Washington loses 1.5 points in home field advantage, we could see the Eagles line move to upwards of eight points and the Giants line move to pick ‘em or Washington +0.5, give or take. Of course, not all lines are created equal so this some basic projection for the time being. However, sportsbooks have yet to make a move with the potential for no fans in the stand, so there could be some value to be found in early lines.

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