UPDATE Sep 28: The Texans announced they will allow up to 13,000 fans into the stadium for the Week 4 home game against the Vikings.
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 on Friday, the Houston Texans announced their plans to start the season.
The Texans will have no fans in the stadium for the month of September, and will continue to evaluate the situation. Their schedule includes only one home game in that period, which is Week 2 vs. the Baltimore Ravens. Their next home game after that is October 4th against the Minnesota Vikings.
DraftKings Sportsbook has provided lines for five of the Packers games this season, but only two home games. They are 5.5-point favorites in Week 2 against the Texans and one-point favorites in Week 13 against the Colts.
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 Texans draw well, but it’s hard to see a huge home field advantage at NRG Stadium, so they’re in that 2.5 to three 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 Texans lose 1.5 points in home field advantage, they would be in that always odd zone of less than a touchdown but more than a field goal. That often feels like a “we don’t reeeeeally know” type of line. Meanwhile, they could drop to underdogs against the Colts if there are still not fans when October rolls around.
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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