Week 6 update: The Eagles announced on Tuesday, October 13 they will allow up to 7,500 fans into the stadium for Week 6 vs. the Ravens.
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 earlier this week we learned that the Philadelphia Eagles can expect to be playing in an empty stadium.
Philadelphia city health commissioner Thomas Farley thinks the various leagues’ health protocols can work for games, but he does not think they can work for fans in the stands (via Bleeding Green Nation).
“I do think that games can be played with the kind of safety precautions that they’re proposing. I do not think that they can have spectators at those games. There’s no way for them to be safe having a crowd there,” Farley said. “I can’t say what the plans are for the league, but from a safety perspective, they can play games but not [have] crowds.”
The NFL provides that local authorities have the power to ban fans from games, and the city has been in touch with the team. Plenty can change in short order given the nature of Covid-19, but odds seem pretty high the Eagles will be playing without fans this season.
Assuming that does happen, we’ll start to see some changes in point spreads for their home games. DraftKings Sportsbook has provided lines for the Eagles Week 1-16 games, and no line for the final week against Washington. Here is where they currently stand:
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 Eagles draw well and have a loud crowd, but it’s going to be in that 2.5 to 3 point range depending on 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 Eagles lose 1.5 points in home field advantage, we could see the Rams line drop to 2.5, the Bengals to 6, and the Ravens climb to 4. 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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