You’d think NFL betting lines would be settled by this point. We’ve had the offseason to dissect every week 1 matchup. No matter how far we delve into each game, the lines will continue to move away from the opening line set weeks ago.

Of the 16 week 1 NFL games, seven games have moved more than one point since the opening line was unveiled. In the run-up to these games, those lines will shift even more.

Jameis Winston is leading the charge for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Flickr/Keith Allison

Biggest line movers

Three games have moved two points — Kansas City at New England; Carolina at San Francisco; New York Giants at Dallas.

One game, though, takes the cake, moving a favorite to the underdog — Tampa Bay at Miami.

Tampa Bay (-1.5) at Miami — This line actually opened with the Dolphins as a 2.5-point favorite. Ryan Tannehill’s injury, coupled with the nation going all in with the Buccaneers, likely moved this line hard in the direction of Tampa Bay. I’m a big believer in Tampa Bay this season, but I can’t let that cloud my judgment in this first week. The Dolphins are still a playoff team from a year ago with a lot of quality parts. Jay Cutler is good enough to do pretty much what Ryan Tannehill did last year, so this game would scare me if I was tilting in favor of the favorite.

Kansas City at New England (-9) — The opening line started at seven points, but betters are likely focusing not only on New England’s talent level, but the fact that it’s extremely unlikely that New England loses the season opener at home. These games generally go to the home team on that Thursday night before the season. This shouldn’t be any different. I’m banking on New England to win, but I’m not sure this is a fair value spread. The Chiefs can rush the passer. That’s the best way to slow down the Patriots offensive attack. New England is a cover machine no matter what the spread entails, but the public may be going too far with this one.

Carolina (-6.5) at San Francisco — Handicappers set this line too low. The 49ers were only 4.5-point underdogs heading into this week 1 opener against a team that pretty much everyone agrees will compete for a playoff spot once again. The Panthers shouldn’t be at too much of a disadvantage by traveling west, since it’s week 1, so this line is more in the ballpark of what it should have started. The only thing that could give people pause is San Francisco’s recent dominance in openers. San Francisco hasn’t been over .500 in three years, but they’re 3-0 in openers in that time.

New York Giants at Dallas (-3.5) — It’s unfortunate that this spread is coming down to where it should have been. Dallas opened as 5.5-point favorites, setting up the Giants as my pick of the week. I still like the Giants as more than a field goal underdog, but the optimism is a bit lower. This line movement is a direct reaction to Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, so we’ll see if it shifts back to the Cowboys once they prove they can continue to run the ball in the preseason.

No movement?

Four games still haven’t changed since the opening line was set — Indianapolis at Los Angeles Rams; Seattle at Green Bay; New Orleans at Minnesota; Los Angeles Chargers at Denver.

I’d imagine that won’t continue to stay the same going forward, but it’s fairly unique. It’s rare to not even see a 1/2 point movement at this point, but there are some underlying reasons why these haven’t changed. Betters are being patient with the Rams vs. Colts, with the news that Andrew Luck may not play. If Luck plays, the current line of three points would likely tip more in the Colts favor, putting that closer to a touchdown.

For Seattle at Green Bay, the current number of three shouldn’t drift too much. The Packers get a three-point edge for being at home, and both teams are expected to be similar in terms of wins this season. That’s a toss-up game, with Green Bay owning the favorite role only because they’re hosting the Seahawks.

The final two games are a bit of a surprise to me. Both are Monday night contests and that should favor the home team. I don’t see that changing this year, so both teams should own a bigger spread than 3.5 points.

Competitive first week

The first two weeks in the NFL season are difficult ones to handicap. Most teams are trying to find themselves and no matter what a team does in these first two weeks, it doesn’t predict greatness or doom.

So it’s not surprising that betters and handicappers aren’t going heavy on big favorites. Nine games feature spreads of four or less, with an even spread set in the Oakland at Tennessee matchup. It helps to have these small spreads because of the uncertainty of week 1, but the matchups actually are pretty good.

When you’re deciding who to favor in week 1, don’t forget about the home field advantage. Since 2010, only once (last year) did the road teams have the advantage. In the other years, four of the six years featured at least 10 home teams winning straight up. For many of the games this year, straight-up winners likely will cover the spread.

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