Every week, three betting lines are released by the various sports books around the country, primarily based on those in Las Vegas. Those are the spread, the over/under, and the money line. The spread is the number of points a team must win by to “cover.” The over/under is the total number of combined points expected to be scored in the game. And the money line indicates how much you must bet on a favored team in order to win $100 (indicated with a “-” before the number) or the amount you would win if you bet $100 on an underdog team (indicated with a “+”).
A general rule to keep in mind is that when lines shrink or grow, they move in that direction either because news breaks (like Lamar Jackson being out against the Pittsburgh Steelers) or because the majority of bets are coming in on one team. This week, that team is (surprisingly?) the Los Angeles Chargers.
The Chargers have a reputation that rivals the generational ineptitude of teams like the Buffalo Bills and Cleveland Browns in finding horrible ways to lose games. This year is turning out to be par for the course. The Chargers are 3-7 but literally all of their losses have been by eight points or less, including two in overtime.
That “better-than-their-record” opinion of the Chargers seems to be reflected in the line movements this week. The Bills opened as 5.5-point favorites in most books, with 6 points being available in at least one spot. The line has narrowed in most places to be 4 with some bouncing back up to 4.5 after making a brief stop at 4. In general, this means the money is coming in on the Chargers but not to an overwhelming extent that drops the spread considerably.
Similar movements have happened on the Money Line. Early in the week the Bills were as high as -260 and now as low as -200 with most places being around -215 or -220. The Arizona Cardinals opened at anywhere from +185 to +220, which is already a pretty wide margin. Depending on where you go, most books have the Chargers between +175 and +180 but as of the time of this article being written you can still get +210 at the Golden Nugget.
The Over/Under has been pretty steady this week with only a field goal or so movement in either direction. Books opened with the game at anywhere from 51 to 55 total points expected and now sit anywhere from 51.5 to 53.5. If the Chargers keep up their “keep-it-close” style, then the Bills might win this one but both teams are going to score in the 20s and it’s going to be a one-score game.