The NFL Season is upon us. Check out our Week 1 Opening Odds Report!
Oakland will be looking to rebound from last season’s 4-12 debacle that saw them lose 8 of their last 9 games. The Colts surprised the majority of the experts a season ago by going 11-5 in the regular season, and captured the AFC South division title. The season did end on a disappointing note with a 24-9 road playoff loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. The Colts are a 10-point favorite on Sunday and the total is 47, according to NFL odds.
Dennis Allen returns for his second season as the head man for the Oakland Raiders. Not only did the Raiders suffer through a miserable campaign for their faithful, but they also drained bettors who wagered on them, as they went 5-11 ATS in 2013. Oakland made a trade in the offseason to bring in quarterback Matt Flynn from Seattle. Flynn had a signed a huge free agent contract the season before and was assumed to be the starter hands down. However, Russell Wilson had other ideas and Flynn’s time in Seattle was cut abruptly short. Unfortunately for Flynn, it was déjà vu all over again in Oakland as he was beaten out for the starting job by former Ohio St. quarterback and 2nd year pro Terrelle Pryor. On defense, it’s possible the Raiders may have 9 different starters compared to the unit that opened the 2012 season.
Even though this will be technically the 2nd season for Chuck Pagano as the head coach of the Colts, he will be realistically embarking upon his first full season in charge. After being named the new head coach of the Colts in 2012 Pagano was diagnosed with cancer shortly before the season began. Thankfully, Pagano has fully recovered and was able to return on the sidelines for the final 4 regular season games a year ago. The Colts were a very profitable 11-5 ATS last season including going 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games of the season prior to the playoffs. Quarterback Andrew Luck had a superb rookie season that saw him play well beyond his years. Veteran wide receiver and future Hall of Famer Reggie Wayne was rejuvenated last season, and developed a great chemistry with his rookie signal caller.
Inside the Numbers
Oakland has lost 9 of their last 10 season openers. The only opening season win in the prior 10 years came at Denver in 2011. Ironically the Raiders are 3-2 in their first road game of the year over the last 5 seasons. The 2012 Raiders were a miserable 1-7 straight up on the road but they did manage to cover 3 of those 8 contests. The “Silver and Black” went under the total in 4 of 5 road games last season when the total was 43.0 or more.
Being an underdog wasn’t real kind to Oakland backers in the latter part of 2012 as they witnessed their team going 1-6 ATS in their last 7 in that role.
Indianapolis has lost their last 3 season openers and has failed to cover the last 5. The Colts have won 8 of their last 10 home openers while covering 6 of the 10. Indianapolis finished last season by going a perfect 5-0 SU&ATS in their last 5 games as a favorite. In addition they went under the total in 5 of their last 6 in 2013 as a favorite. At home, this is a club that went 6-0 SU&ATS in their last 6, in addition to going under the total in 6 of their 8 at home.
The Appropriate Angles to Take
Since the start of the 1980 season, any home favorite playing in their season opener that won 11 or more regular season games in the previous year, versus an opponent that won 4 games or less in the season before, has won all 12 of those contests, and covered 8 of the 12. If they were a sports betting favorite of 10 or less they covered 5 of 6 in the exact above mentioned scenario.
Another approach to handicapping this game is by looking at how home favorites of 10.0 or more do in their season openers. Well if that home favorite won 12 or less regular season games in the prior season, and they’re facing an opponent who won 6 games or less the season before, the home favorite of 10.0 or more is a very profitable 9-4 ATS since 1980, and a perfect 4-0 ATS since 2005.
The Final Analysis
Every time you think the Raiders organization can’t get any more dysfunctional than it is already, they find a way to set a new precedent. With a totally revamped defense, and a shaky at best situation at quarterback, this hardly looks like a team prepared to start the season fast. The Colts will ride the momentum of a season ago and capture the emotion of the home crowd, to carry them to a resounding victory in this one. Choose Indianapolis for your NFL picks.
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