NFL lockout impacts players, betting lines 

September, 9, 2011

Week 1 can be a blessing and a curse.

Lines go up so far in advance, often before the draft, and guys like, oh, I don't know, Peyton Manning have a surgery that shelves them till T-giving. So the sharpest of the sharps who pounce on the numbers as soon as some place like the Golden Nugget posts are really just playing hedges. Will the Lions draft smart? Did something in the wiseguys' research tell them that the Saints are due for a regression to the mean in forced turnovers? They're guessing, sure, but they are educated guesses.

But this year that was even tougher, as point spreads were posted in the middle of a lockout. The Eagles hadn't yet signed half a Pro Bowl roster and the Bengals hadn't decided they were totally set with rookies as their top two quarterbacks. So when guys made bets, it was a little more guess than usual. In some cases, like getting the Vikings plus-9 against the Chargers (Hey, Fezzik, I'm talking to you) that turned out to be pretty good value. But in other cases, like sharps steaming the Lions from plus-3 at the Bucs to plus-1, that remains to be seen.

That's the beauty of this particular season opener, though -- the swings have been wider because the guesses have been bigger.