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

The Bills will not have fans in the stands for the first two home games of the 2020 season and then will re-evaluate for their remaining games. We take a look at their current home point spreads and what it might mean.

General view of fans attending the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Baltimore Ravens during the third quarter at New Era Field on December 8, 2019 in Orchard Park, New York. Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Update Sep 29: The Bills announced they will continue with no fans for the foreseeable future.

The NFL is on track 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 Tuesday, the Buffalo Bills announced their plans to start the season.

The Bills will have no fans for “at least” their first two home games. That covers Week 1 vs. the New York Jets and Week 3 vs. the Los Angeles Rams. The team is working with state and county officials “to establish policies and procedures that hopefully permit fans later this season.”

DraftKings Sportsbook has provided lines for five Bills games this season, with one of them being their home opener. Buffalo is a 6.5-point favorite against the Jets. The other home game with a line is Week 14 vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, in which Buffalo is installed at -2.5.

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. The Bills draw well and have a loud crowd so it’ll be around a field goal, maybe more depending on the weather and the oddsmaker.

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 the Bills lose 1.5 points in home field advantage, we could see the Jets line drop to five points. That’s still a sizable line, but it drops into a murkier area that can be a little more difficult to sort. If things did not change between now and Week 14, they’d be down at around one point against Pittsburgh.

Of course, not all lines are created equal and plenty will change between now and each game, 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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