NFL line movement: Favorite has flipped in Vikings-Panthers

·6-min read

As we get more and more information and data on NFL teams this season, we aren't the only ones getting sharper. The oddsmakers are benefiting as well. Of the 14 NFL games on this weekend's schedule, only three have seen the line move by a point or more since the opening numbers were posted on Sunday night. 

Totals have seen more movement and some of the line movement is circling around key numbers, so even if the movement is extreme, it's still important and viable information to keep track of as we place our bets and head into the weekend. All lines are courtesy of BetMGM. 

Minnesota is now a favorite in Carolina

The biggest line movement we've seen so far has been in the Vikings-Panthers game. Carolina opened as a 1-point favorite at home against the Vikings. That is no longer the case as Carolina is now a home underdog and the Vikings are the team laying a point on the road.

Carolina has lost two straight games after opening the season 3-0. Dallas and Philadelphia are solid teams, but hardly unbeatable if you wanted to send a message you were the real deal. 

The biggest concern for the Panthers is that we saw the Jets' version of Sam Darnold last week. Darnold was solid to begin the year, but it'll take a while to fully trust him after his first three years in the league. 

Minnesota escaped the Lions by the skin of their teeth last week and currentlyhave a 2-3 record. This is a big spot for the Vikings if they want to stay in the picture in the NFC. 

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 03: Justin Jefferson #18 of the Minnesota Vikings celebrates after a touchdown in the game against the Cleveland Browns during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
The Vikings hope to see Justin Jefferson hit the "Griddy" in the end zone this weekend. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

The hope for Minnesota is that Dalvin Cook will return this week and that with him, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, the offense gets back on track after two lackluster weeks. 

No end to the Bills love

Letdown spot? Never heard of it. 

After putting an absolute thumping on the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, the Bills find themselves as 5.5-point road favorites in Tennessee on Monday night. The line opened with the Bills as 4.5-point favorites. 

The Bills are now the favorites to win the AFC and Josh Allen is the current frontrunner for MVP. After a slow start to the season, the Bills are absolutely running through opponents. 

The Titans have a 3-2 record, but they've been inconsistent on a week-to-week basis. Derrick Henry remains a real issue, but the Titans' passing attack has faltered. Bettors are not expecting Ryan Tannehill to be able to keep up with Allen. 

Fade Geno Smith at your own peril

The Seattle Seahawks were set to be road favorites against the Steelers, but then Russell Wilson went out with a finger injury. With Geno Smith now in control, the oddsmakers opened the Steelers as 3.5-point home favorites. 

However, it seems like bettors don't believe that Smith is a viable NFL option in 2021. He wasn't exactly a viable option when he first entered the league in 2014, but there was some excitement around the quarterback when he came out of West Virginia.

Currently, the Steelers are 5-point favorites against Seattle. Pittsburgh's offense has been disgusting for most of the season, but they showed flashes of being competent last week against the Broncos. Seattle's defense has struggled for most of the season. 

Will the undefeated go down?

The Arizona Cardinals are the last undefeated team in the NFL. Surprisingly, they're underdogs in Week 6. Arizona is a 3-point road underdog against the Cleveland Browns.

The line hasn't moved, though it did go down to 2.5 points for a little bit before jumping back up to three. However, the total has seen significant movement. 

After the Browns played a 47-42 thriller in Week 5, the total for this game against Kyler Murray opened at 53.5 points. The under has received the majority of the sharp bets, as the total is all the way down to 50 points right now.

We know Cleveland will try and run the ball to shorten the game and keep the ball out of Murray's hands. If the Browns are able to execute that game plan, a low-scoring game makes sense. 

Movement around key numbers

Four games have seen minimal line movement, but the movement has been around a key number, which makes it much more important. 

  • Tampa Bay opened as a 6.5-point favorite for Thursday night against the Eagles. That line has moved in favor of the Buccaneers and they are now a full touchdown favorite.

  • Miami opened as a 3-point favorite against Jacksonville, but the current number sits with the Dolphins as a 3.5-point road favorite. This move might be in part due to a potential return for Tua Tagovailoa. 

  • Baltimore opened as a 3.5-point favorite against the LA Chargers. However, if you're interested in backing the underdog, the hook is no longer available. The line now sits at a flat three.

  • Denver opened as a 3-point favorite at home against Las Vegas. After a hectic week surrounding the Raiders, that line has moved to the Broncos now laying 3.5 points.

Key movement on totals

Outside of the Browns-Cardinals game, five other games have seen the total move at least two points. 

  • The total for Miami-Jacksonville is up to 47.5 points after opening at 45. As mentioned, Tagovailoa's potential return might be a reason. 

  • Justin Fields will play his first game against the Packers, but the total for that game has dropped two points, down to its current number of 44.5 points.

  • Justin Herbert and Lamar Jackson both put on a show this past weekend, while the Chargers' and Ravens' defenses struggled. The total in this game is up to 51.5 points after opening at 49. 

  • Dallas' offense has been explosive to begin the year, but this week they'll be going up against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Despite the defensive genius of Belichick, the total for Cowboys-Patriots is up to 50.5 points after opening at 48.5. 

  • Minnesota has struggled offensively the last two weeks and Sam Darnold showed flashes of his old scary self last week. The total for Vikings-Panthers is down to 46 points after opening at 48.5 points. 

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