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

The Broncos are not expected to 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 the Denver Broncos drive against the Oakland Raiders while the sun sets during the third quarter at Empower Field at Mile High on December 29, 2019 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Raiders 16-15. Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Update Sep 20: The Broncos will have up to 5,700 fans in attendance for Week 3 vs. the Buccaneers, per reporter Troy Renck.

The NFL should be able to open its 2020 season on time, but some or all of their teams can expect to be playing home games with a small percentage of fans or without fans in the stadium. Each locale is implementing different rules, and today we learned that the Denver Broncos will play with no fans at Empower Field at Mile High in their season-opener against the Tennessee Titans, followed by a re-assessment, per the team’s website.

“Working in collaboration with the state and with safety as the top priority, we have made the decision that our home opener against Tennessee at Empower Field at Mile High will be played without fans,” the team said in a statement. “We are grateful for the loyalty and enthusiasm that Broncos fans have shown this year—despite such challenging circumstances—but this is the responsible thing to do right now for our community.

This will result in an adjustment for their home opener line, and more lines will change if the team continues with no fans. DraftKings Sportsbook has provided a few lines for the Broncos Week 1-16 home games.

Here is where they currently stand:

vs. Titans: -1.5
vs. Buccaneers: +1.5
vs. Dolphins: -5.5
vs. Chiefs: TBD
vs. Chargers: -2.5
vs. Saints: +3.5
vs. Bills: -1
vs. Raiders: TBD

In sports betting, home field advantage is viewed as being worth roughly 2.5 to 3 points. Some teams like the Broncos, Seahawks, Saints, and Chiefs have a more significant advantage than other teams.

DK Sportsbook oddsmaker Johnny Avello said he would cut a home field advantage 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 boost playing at home. But, it will not be nearly what it would be if there were fans in the stands.

If the Broncos lose 1.5 points in home field advantage their game with the Titans could move closer to event. If they end up having no fans later in the season, they could move to one-point favorites over the Chargers and even against the Bills. The Broncos do have a built in home field advantage due to the elevation they practice in while their opponents aren’t as acclimated. We’ll see how much line movement actually takes place.

Of course, not all lines are created equal so this is just a 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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