Despite reports of a possible delay, the NFL confirmed on Tuesday that its full 18-week schedule will be released on Thursday at 8 PM ET during a three-hour Schedule-Release show on the NFL Network. Fans, bettors, and NFL social media teams are all excited for the reveal of key matchups and prime-time television slots. As ESPN's Mina Kimes humorously put it, the schedule release is "the Super Bowl for each team’s social media team." But before the social media graphics and montages roll in, prepare to capitalize from the NFL schedule release with this primer, covering schedule changes, futures odds shifts, recent rumors, and what bettors should watch for during the official release.
What's New: Changes from the 2022 Schedule
The NFL has implemented several adjustments to the 2023 schedule, aiming to enhance the experience for both players and fans. For the first time ever, there will be an NFL game on Black Friday. Additionally, games will no longer be exclusive to specific networks, with all games now being free agents. According to ESPN, teams can now play on Thursday Night Football twice, and not every team is guaranteed a prime-time spot.
Where to Watch: Schedule Release Details
The 2023 NFL Schedule, powered by AWS, will be released on NFL Network, NFL.com, the NFL app, and NFL+ on Thursday, May 11 at 8:00 PM ET. Schedule Release '23 presented by Verizon will analyze the 2023 NFL regular season schedule, breaking it down division by division and examining the top matchups and prime-time games. Rich Eisen and Colleen Wolfe host the three-hour show, joined by analysts Maurice Jones-Drew and Emmanuel Sanders.
Ahead of the full schedule release on May 11, several games will be announced, including International Games and the Black Friday Game. Select individual games will be revealed on popular morning shows like Fox & Friends, CBS Mornings, Today Show, and Good Morning America.
NFL Schedule Rumor Season
As anticipation builds, rumors have started to circulate about potential matchups. One such rumor, reportedly revealed by Travis and Jason Kelce's mother, Donna, suggests that the Chiefs and Eagles will face off in a rematch of Super Bowl LVII during Week 2 of the new NFL season. The game is said to take place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Donna Kelce has also mentioned that the Chiefs will be playing the Bears in Frankfurt, Germany.
According to Peter King of NBC Sports, the NFL is planning to hold a Monday tripleheader for the first time in history, expected to happen on Christmas Day. With the success of Christmas games in recent seasons, the Christmas tripleheader may become a mainstay on the NFL schedule, similar to the Thanksgiving tripleheader.
Biggest Offseason Odds-Moving Headlines
The trade of Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers to the New York Jets caused significant shifts in betting odds for both teams. Since Rodgers' announcement, the Jets' odds to win Super Bowl 58 have shortened from 40/1 to 12/1, while the Packers' odds have lengthened from 30/1 to 45/1.
The Baltimore Ravens also made headlines recently by signing quarterback Lamar Jackson to a historic five-year, $260 million contract extension. Following the announcement, the Ravens’ Season Win Total increased from 8.5 to 9.5 expected wins, their odds to win the AFC North improved from +310 to +280, and their Super Bowl odds jumped from 25/1 to 20/1.
NFL Bettors' First Glance: Schedule Quirks and Prime-Time Opportunities
Although we already know each team’s opponents for the next season, the schedule release will reveal when and where each team plays, creating opportunities for bettors to find value by isolating specific spots. For example, according to NFL Research, the Philadelphia Eagles have the "most difficult" 2023 strength-of-schedule, while the Atlanta Falcons have the "easiest." That information is already booked into the Vegas market. However, who the Eagles might play after their bye week, will be new information for the Vegas market to digest.
For bettors looking to gain an edge, it's essential to consider key factors when analyzing the upcoming schedule. Disadvantage spots include consecutive road games, playing teams coming off a bye week, and short weeks with less preparation time. On the other hand, advantage spots consist of extended rest periods, playing teams in previously mentioned disadvantageous positions, and other factors that could tilt the odds in a team's favor.
Schedule Quirks to Keep in Mind
An important element bettors can use to gain value from the NFL schedule-release comes in taking note of unusual schedule quirks. For example, if the Patriots play three consecutive road games – we consider docking them a point to a point-and-a-half when assessing their expected spread in the third game. These types of observations can add up when building your off-season NFL betting portfolio.
Additionally, it's crucial to consider some teams that seem to have significant advantage early in the season, such as the Broncos in Denver during the first two weeks. At Mile High Stadium, the Broncos enter the 2023 season with a 34-5 SU and 21-12-5 ATS record when playing at home in the first two weeks of the season. We may consider raising our expectations of the Broncos if they are lucky enough to secure a home game in each of the first two weeks.
On the other side of the coin, if we find out, for example, that the Vikings will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos in Week 2, we may adjust our expectations of Minnesota on the year. The Vikings might be favorites in Denver during any other week, but it would be challenging to bet on Minnesota to win when facing a 34-5 SU trend. Knowing the Vikings are less likely to get a win because they play the Broncos in Denver early, we might also consider how that affects their Season Win Total Over/Under.
Every year, there are a few scheduling quirks like the ones listed above that could make or break a team. Make notes of these when assessing a team’s win total and considering whether to bet over or under.
Prime-Time Games and Betting Opportunities
The final tip for bettors is to identify prime-time games and nationally televised games, looking for opportunities in Monday Night Football betting. These matchups often will see more action from the public as these are the games fans are tuning in to watch.
If you find yourself agreeing with the side you expect the public to back, you may consider betting early. Alternatively, if you are on the opposite side of the public, consider waiting and seeing if you are not able to get a more advantageous number later in the cycle.
In Week 1 last year, it was expected that the Denver Broncos would be an AFC contender, while their Week 1 opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, were expected to be among the worst teams in the league. In that game we saw the Broncos open as 3.5-point favorites and be bet all the way up to -6.5 in the days leading up to kick-off. Seattle went on to win by 1.
All Eyes on Thursday: Schedule Insights and Betting Opportunities
As the NFL schedule release draws near, bettors are gearing up to analyze the matchups and identify potential betting opportunities. With key changes to the schedule, rumors swirling, and major offseason headlines impacting the futures market, there's plenty to consider before placing your bets. Keep an eye out for our follow-up article from Pregame News to be published immediately after the official schedule release, where we'll provide more in-depth analysis of the 2023 NFL season and report any new betting opportunities opened by the Vegas market, including week 1 spreads & totals.