Early Season Trends To Follow for Better NFL Handicapping Success

Jay Pryce

Friday, September 29, 2017 1:16 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 29, 2017 1:16 PM UTC

Using situational trends to bet NFL games can be a powerful tool. Do not overlook or dismiss meaningful ones. Here's some worth considering for the first half of the season focusing on quarterback play.

Using situational trends to bet NFL games can be a powerful tool. They highlight a team’s performance under various game conditions and specific market settings. A meaningful trend often serves as a confidence-building tool or benchmark in assessing risk with specific wagers. Do not overlook or dismiss good ones.

NFL trends are particularly useful in the first half of the NFL season, as many models are relatively volatile due to new data and public perception often stale. Through Week 8, for example, road underdogs on a losing streak catching fewer than 6 points on the Betting odds-board cover the spread at a 56 percent rate. The Raiders, Giants, and Eagles fall under this umbrella on Sunday. Teams are improving or worsening at a quicker rate in the new season than the number can catch up.

Situational QB Trends:

For NFL betting, we like to use coaching and quarterback trends. The latter is specifically powerful, as the game’s elite-level signal-callers are the most influential to game outcomes. They’re also valued highly in betting markets. Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and others can move a line by 3-7 points depending on their participation. Very few players at other positions command this much bias. Here are a few early season trends using elite quarterbacks you should consider:

Drew Brees

The Saints are projected to win 8 or 9 games virtually every year. They are your typical mid-level parity franchise with an ace quarterback often underrated at the beginning of each season. This is where Drew Brees is a bettor’s best friend.

Through Week 9, in matchups where the points differential between New Orleans and its opponent is fewer than 5 points, Brees is an astounding 41-19-2 ATS (68 percent). He keeps the Saints competitive in nearly every contest, particularly those where they enter with a worse average scoring margin. This trend applies Sunday against the Dolphins. New Orleans is a 3-point favorite for the neutral-site tilt in London. For what it’s worth, the trend is least profitable when Brees is asked to cover as short-priced chalk, going 12-10-1 ATS with a line less than 6 points.

Review Saints vs. Dolphins Affair in London

Tom Brady

The Patriots -9 is a benchmark line for bettors with Brady under center at Gillette Stadium in the first half of the season. The number is hovering around this figure for the Panthers visit on Sunday, New England is favored anywhere from 8 to 9.5 points depending on the sportsbook. Lean Carolina if the line stays long.

Here’s the trend: Brady is 7-12 ATS when laying 9 points or more at home prior to Week 9. The Pats are 26-9-1 ATS when asked to cover less. Beating an opponent by more than a touchdown is a tough task in the modern NFL, even for the GOAT. The Patriots are one of the most public betting teams, and seemingly invincible at home, which causes an overvaluation at the beginning of every year. Let’s not forget, this is a franchise that was favored in every game when sportsbooks set advanced lines over the summer. 

Aaron Rodgers

Just in case you doubted Aaron Rodgers, he proved last season with the Packers remarkable run to the playoffs he can essentially will the team to victory. For years, bettors have witnessed the Canton-bound quarterback catch fire with the Green Bay offense. When it gets rolling, look out. This is especially true at Lambeau Field before winter sets in with vengeance. Here’s a trend that cashed last night in the Pack’s 35-14 romp over the Bears, and has another chance at doing so in Week 7 versus the Saints.

Through the first half of the season, Rodgers is 24-13 ATS (64 percent) at Lambeau when putting up more than 24 points in the previous game. The offense is clicking and does not let up under good playing conditions in front of the home crowd. It averages 31.8 points per game in this spot. Rodgers punishes “better” defenses in this situation, going 16-6 ATS versus units allowing less than 25 points per game entering the matchup. Rodgers’ offense averages 34.4 points here. 

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