Are You Ready For NFL Season? Here Are Some Week 1 Betting Strategies

NFL Betting

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, August 4, 2016 9:26 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016 9:26 PM UTC

Our NFL handicapping professional shares some of his regular season opening week betting strategies. If you're serious about getting off to a good start to the 2016 NFL campaign, go inside to read this compelling and revealing article.

The onset of NFL regular season play is just 35 days away. As a matter of fact, the exact date is Thursday 9/8, and it will be a rematch of last year's Super Bowl. The defending world champion Denver Broncos will play host to the Carolina Panthers. If you're anything like me, football season can't come soon enough. Nevertheless, I'm going to share some opening week betting strategies that have been very successful for me over the years. Please keep in mind, I don't want to mislead anyone into believing, these discussed situations will imply what my exact picks will be for Week 1. There undoubtedly will be miscellaneous factors which require consideration between now and then. However, you can use these ideologies when handicapping the opening week of action, and they certainly should be a vital asset when making your NFL picks.


Deceiving Opening Week Underdogs
If there's one apparent flaw that's common among all NFL bettors, it pertains to having a short memory. Often times a majority of individuals overreact to the previous week's results, and in doing so are negatively affected when making ensuing wagering decisions. In this specific instance, since we're discussing the 2016 NFL opening week games, it becomes how teams did during the preceding season which clouds one's thinking. Let's explore some specific examples.

The Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and New England Patriots are all opening week underdogs. What do these teams all have in common? Well, I'm glad you asked. All three teams won 10 or more regular season games last year. That certainly would lend itself to a majority of bettors believing, there's a plethora of wagering value regarding those three underdogs. Nonetheless, NFL ATS history shows that not to be the case, and does so in a very convincing manner.

Any NFL underdog playing in an opening week of the season, and they won 10 or more regular season games during the previous year, resulted in those underdogs going 20-46 ATS (30.3%) since 1993. In fact, this exact scenario came up three times last season, and those underdogs went 0-3 SU &ATS. Pittsburgh +6.5 was a 28-21 loser to New England, Baltimore +5.0 was defeated 19-13 by Denver. and Detroit +3.5 fell at San Diego by a score of 33-28. Taking this concept even one step further, if these teams were underdogs of 2.5 or more, they became an even worse 13-41 ATS (24.1%) over that identical time period.

Defending Super Bowl Champions in Opening Games
Since 2001, the NFL has slated the defending Super Bowl champions to open the season at home on Thursday nights. There were two exceptions to that scheduling practice. Baltimore was forced to play at Denver in 2013. This was due to contractual obligations concerning the Baltimore Orioles being at home on that specific date. As a result, Baltimore suffered a 49-27 resounding defeat in "The Mile High City". The other such instance occurred in 2012 and involved the New York Giants. Their opening game came on a Wednesday. This scheduling quirk was to avoid conflict with a nationally televised presidential debate already slotted for Thursday. The Giants ended up losing as a 3.5 point home favorite to Dallas by a score of 24-17.

Besides those two isolated instances, since 2001, all Super Bowl champions opened at home, and each took place on a Thursday night. The results were in stark contrast to the aforementioned two games, evidenced by the defending champions going an extremely profitable 12-1 ATS. Last year's game saw New England cover as a 6.5 point home favorite with a 28-21 win over Pittsburgh.

As I already alluded to, it will be Denver hosting Carolina in 2016, and thus becomes a contradictory scenario. According to current NFL betting odds at Bookmaker, Denver is a 3.0 point underdog. Remember earlier in this article, I touched upon Denver being an opening week underdog that won 10 or more regular season games last year, and was a play against the team. Some things are just better left alone.

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