How Opt-Outs Will Affect NFL Betting in 2020

With the calendar having turned to late-July, it’s usually the time of year when NFL fans start getting giddy as their favorite teams report to training camp. That has happened as we hit early August, but the “real” training camp, you know the one where players actually run into each other with pads on, will not begin until August 17.

With the coronavirus pandemic still hanging over our heads, the NFL is taking it nice and slow with testing and other safety measures in place to ensure fans and bettors have a 2020 season.

Bettors will have to take extra care in their NFL betting this year. A number of player opt-outs are sure to have an impact on moneylines, spreads, and NFL futures props.

Players Opting Out

A total of 28 players have opted out of the 2020 NFL season thus far. Through an agreement signed by the league and the NFL Players Association, healthy veterans that decide to forgo the 2020 season will receive a $150,000 advance against their 2020 base salary. They will not receive an accrued season or credit toward free agency.

Any player that opts out due to medical concerns – Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, etc. – will receive a payment of $350,000 that does not count as an advance against their 2020 base salary. These players will also receive credit for an accrued season for both free agency and NFL benefits.

Biggest Movers

In the NFL futures market, the Atlanta Falcons were a longshot at +4500 to win Super Bowl LV. Then, newly acquired RB Todd Gurley, a former NFL Offensive Player of the Year, opened his mouth.

“There’s not a proper plan in place that I’m comfortable with,” said Gurley in an interview with an Atlanta-based radio station. Gurley, who formerly played for the Los Angeles Rams, has said he is fully prepared to sit out the season if the league doesn’t do better.

As a result, bettors now see Atlanta listed at +6000 to win this season’s Super Bowl. Gurley has yet to opt out, but if he does expect the Falcon’s odds to shift even more.

Where do we get our information on line moves? Check our Sportsbook Review to get the latest and place your action.

Patriots Odds Shift

New England has the highest number of plays to opt out – six – of the 2020 season so far. Starting safety Patrick Chung and Pro Bowl LB Dont’a Hightower are two big blows. The biggest blow, of course, was when future Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady jumped ship in free agency and signed with Tampa Bay.

The Patriots were listed at +2000 to win the Super Bowl and, for the first time in many years, were not the favorite to win the AFC East. Then, head coach Bill Belichick signed former NFL MVP Cam Newton.

New England is once again a favorite, if only slightly, to win the division in 2020. The Patriots Super Bowl odds, however, have shifted to +2500. It’s a longshot bet worth considering especially if Newton can get back to Pro Bowl form.

Speaking of Brady

When Tampa Bay announced the signing of Brady, the futures market went crazy. The Bucs odds to win the NFC South, the NFC, and the Super Bowl all improved dramatically. At one point, Tampa Bay was the favorite to win the NFC.

The Bucs’ Super Bowl odds were priced at +1000 placing them not all that far behind the likes of San Francisco (last year’s NFC champion) and New Orleans.

Tampa Bay has not had a player opt out of the 2020 season just yet, but the team’s Super Bowl odds have changed. The movement from +1000 to +1400 is likely more of a readjustment from the initial overreaction to Brady’s signing.

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.