NFL line movement: Davante Adams' impact on Thursday's number

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Every week of NFL football is a blessing, but let's be honest. It's a good thing last week is in the rearview mirror. Six teams were on a bye, there was a lack of marquee matchups and all three prime-time games were terrible. Thankfully, we're on to Week 8 and the slate has much more intrigue.

We've already seen some notable line movement early in the week at BetMGM. Which games are seeing significant movement and what does it mean?

The impact of Davante Adams

For the second straight week, we are dealing with a depleted team on Thursday night. Last week, the Browns were without their starting quarterback and top two running backs but went on to beat the Broncos and cover the spread despite significant line movement against them.

This week, the Green Bay Packers will likely be without star receiver Davante Adams due to COVID. Allen Lazard, the team's No. 2 receiver, is also likely to miss the game because of COVID protocols. 

The Cardinals opened the week as 3.5-point favorites over the Packers, but once the news broke about Adams and Lazard, the line ballooned to its current number of 6.5. The total in this game is also down two points to its current number of 50.5 points.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - OCTOBER 24: Davante Adams #17 of the Green Bay Packers after the game against the Washington Football Team at Lambeau Field on October 24, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Green Bay defeated Washington 24-10. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)
Davante Adams is expected to miss Thursday's game because of COVID protocols. (John Fisher/Getty Images)

Adams might be the best receiver in football, but I don't think he's worth three points to the spread. This line movement is likely a combination of an overreaction to the injuries and love for the undefeated Cardinals. 

The Packers might be a good contrarian play this week to fade public narrative. We saw the Browns win last week when the public left them for dead. Green Bay might be the next example of that. 

Fading the Jets

The New York Jets have opened the season with a 1-5 record both on the field and against the spread. Now, they're starting some guy named Mike White at quarterback.

The Jets opened as 8.5-point home underdogs against the Cincinnati Bengals. Currently, the Bengals are up to 10.5-point favorites, and my initial reaction is that it seems low.

White is a former fifth-round pick out of Western Kentucky. It's not like Zach Wilson was lighting things up for the Jets, but at least we know he possesses NFL-level traits. We cannot say that about the former Hilltopper. 

The only concern here is that this screams letdown spot for the Bengals. They just had a huge win over the Ravens and now they need to somehow get emotionally invested in playing hard against Mike White and the Jets. 

Popular teams getting love

Three of the league's more popular teams have seen lines move in their favor early in the week. 

The Buffalo Bills are 13.5-point favorites against the Miami Dolphins after opening as 12.5-point favorites. The Bills are coming off their bye week and before that they lost. Additionally, these teams played in Miami earlier this season and the Bills won 35-0. 

Tom Brady and the Buccaneers opened as 4.5-point favorites on the road against the New Orleans Saints, and that line is now up to 5.5-point favorites. Brady's offense seems to be scoring at will these days while the Saints offense desperately needs Michael Thomas back, and then some. 

The Dallas Cowboys are also back off their bye week, and they're currently 2-point favorites against the Minnesota Vikings on the road. The line opened with the Cowboys as a 1-point favorite. It'll be interesting to see if this line gets anywhere near a field goal by kickoff. 

Totals on the move

In addition to Arizona-Green Bay, four other totals have moved by at least two points early in the week. 

Dallas-Minnesota: Fireworks are expected in this matchup, as the total of 55 is the highest on the board in Week 8. The total opened at 52.5, but it's been steadily moving up all week. 

Pittsburgh-Cleveland: The total for this AFC North matchup opened at 44, but it's been bet down to 42 points. We don't know who will start at quarterback for Cleveland yet, but both teams have solid defenses. Ben Roethlisberger will likely struggle, and the same can likely be said about Case Keenum or an injured Baker Mayfield. 

Tennessee-Indianapolis: This matchup has a huge potential impact on the AFC South outlook, and the market is expecting the offenses to shine. After opening with a total of 49 points, the current total sits at 51.

NY Jets-Cincinnati: The total in this game is down to 42 points after opening at 44. There's plenty of reason to expect a low scoring game in this one. 

Key number watch

Not all line moves are equal. Some moves might appear small, but they're actually much more important because they involve key numbers. Four games are currently circling the key number of 3. 

Pittsburgh-Cleveland: The Browns opened as 3-point home favorites, but that number is now up to 3.5-points at BetMGM. Early reports suggest there's a chance that Baker Mayfield plays on Sunday, which could explain a speculative line move. 

Atlanta-Carolina: The Falcons are now 3-point favorites after the line opened at 2.5-points. After a brief hiatus, it appears we might be back on the fade Sam Darnold train. 

Denver-Washington: Both teams are trending downward and it's tough to watch. The Broncos opened as 3.5-point favorites, but the market decided that was too much love for Teddy Bridgewater and Co. The current line has the Broncos as 3-point favorites.

Philadelphia-Detroit: The Eagles are favorites for the first time this season, and the market is trending in their direction. After opening as 3-point road favorites against the Lions, the current line has the Lions as 3.5-point home underdogs.

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