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 last week we learned that the Cleveland Browns will play with up to 6,000 fans at FirstEnergy Stadium in their first two home games.
The state of Ohio initially was not going to allow fans, but agreed to allow 1,500 fans per quadrant of the stadium. The rule applies to both the Browns and the Bengals. The Browns first two home games are Week 2 vs. the Bengals and Week 3 vs. Washington.
This will result in considering an adjustment for their home opener line, and more lines will change if the team does not have a full stadium. DraftKings Sportsbook has provided the point spread for seven Browns games, including their home opener. The Browns are listed as 7.5-point favorites against Cincinnati.
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 Browns have a solid fan base with the Dawg Pound, so they might be near the three point mark.
DK Sportsbook oddsmaker Johnny Avello said he would cut a home field advantage in half with no fans in the stands. With a limited amount of fans, he might add a 1⁄2 point back. 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 the stadium was full of fans.
If the Browns lose a point in home field advantage, it moves them to 6.5 point favorites against Cleveland. 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 Browns, it might be worth waiting to see if the line comes down a bit. If you like the underdog Bengals, maybe jump on the line sooner than later.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).
Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (NH/CO) or 1-800-BETS OFF (IA). 21+ (18+ NH). NJ/PA/WV/IN/NH/IA/CO/IL only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.