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 on Tuesday we learned that the Cincinnati Bengals will play with no fans at Paul Brown Stadium in their season-opener against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Update September 5: The Bengals announced the State of Ohio will grant a variance to the team to host 6,000 fans at their October 4 home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and their October 25 home game against the Cleveland Browns. The line might drop a 1⁄2 point less with a small number of fans.
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 the point spread for seven Bengals games, including their home opener. The Bengals are listed as 3.5-point underdogs in Joe Burrow’s debut game.
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. The Bengals don’t have a great home field advantage and might be closer to 2.5.
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 Bengals lose 1 or 1.5 points in home field advantage, it moves them potentially as high as a 5-point underdog against LA. Plenty could change, but for now that’s where things stand. 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. If you like the favored Chargers, you might want to jump on it. If you like the underdog Bengals, maybe wait for some line movement.
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