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 “+”).
When there are fewer games to bet on during the postseason, the lines tend to move more throughout the week because each individual game is getting more action than any regular-season game. For the Bills vs. Ravens divisional game, there is plenty of movement to look at.
The spread of the game in most places is settling into the Bills as 2.5 point favorites. However, while some books started there and are there as of the time of this article, you have been able to find anywhere from the Bills at -1 to -3. Some of the stops away from 2.5 have been brief, while some have lingered off base before being bet back into place. In general, for a home team to be less than a 3-point favorite at any point means Vegas expects the game to be really close.
The over/under for the game has remained very steady at 49.5 or 50 with 50.5 being available for a hot second in a couple books earlier in the week. It’s been a bit of a surprise to see how steady the over/under has been because early in the week the forecast for Orchard Park was showing clear weather while forecasts are now calling for lake effect snow to hit the southtowns (including Orchard Park) by sunset. Despite this night game likely having snow present, betters don’t seem to think it’s going to make much of a difference for the point total.
Most books have the Bills at -145 on the money line with a -139 available in a few spots. While that consensus was being built across books, you could have gotten the Bills as low as -119 or as high as -160 depending on when and where you placed your bet. Early in the week several books had the Ravens at +130, which then dropped as low as +102 and now has come back to earth settling in at +120 or +125.
If Vegas was going to predict this game correctly, the Bills would win by a score similar to 26-24 or 27-24. Here’s to hoping!