Losing a game when you're the favorite is no fun. And according to the betting trends, the hangover doesn't stop – unless you've become the underdog on the NFL odds board.
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 18: 39-34-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 22-29 Total
It's one thing for a double-digit underdog to beat the NFL odds – happens all the time. But to win straight-up? That's a much rarer event, and yet it happened twice last week. The Detroit Lions (+10.5 away) downed the Green Bay Packers 18-16, and the Houston Texans (+10 away) upended the Cincinnati Bengals 10-6. What what?! If you had both the Lions and Texans on the moneyline when you made your Week 10 NFL picks, you won about eight times your original bet.
You might think that Green Bay and Cincinnati would use those embarrassing losses as motivational fuel for Week 11. And they will, if the NFL betting trends hold up. According to trend guru Walter Cherepinsky, teams who lose as favorites one week are 372-350 ATS (51.5 percent) the following week. Even better, if the team in question is now the underdog, that record improves to 188-171 ATS (52.4 percent). That's break-even at the standard -110 vigorish.
It just so happens that, as we go to press, both the Packers and Bengals are underdogs for their Week 11 matchups. Green Bay is a 1-point road dog versus the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday afternoon (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX), then Cincinnati is getting five points on the road against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC). Excellent.
As with most of these trends, it's a good idea to break down the ATS records by head coach. Some do a better job than others of preparing their teams in these situations. Let's go straight to the numbers:
Mike McCarthy: 6-0 ATS
Marvin Lewis: 9-6 ATS
Very nice. However, we've already picked the Vikings to get paid against Green Bay, and we're not too worried about this trend. Are the Packers even going to be underdogs by the time kick-off rolls around? This game is already a pick 'em at many of our featured sportsbooks. If you flip the script with this trend and look at games where the team is still favored the following week, McCarthy and the Packers fall to 6-8 ATS.
With that in mind, we turn our attention to the Bengals. They had a pretty bad game last Monday, but the mistakes are correctable – TE Tyler Eifert's three dropped passes, for example. Cincinnati (8-1 SU, 7-1-1 ATS) is still No. 3 on the DVOA charts at Football Outsiders, just one spot below the Cardinals (7-2 SU, 6-3 ATS). At Pro-Football Reference, there's only a 1.2-point gap between them on the Simple Rating System. These are two closely-matched teams on paper, and Arizona may be getting too many points at -5. We'll return later this week with our ATS pick for what should be an excellent football game.