Are people prone to overreacting to what they saw in Week 1 when they make their Week 2 NFL picks? Perhaps, but the betting trends support sticking with the winners.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 13: 4-1 ATS; 1-1 Total
It's a tale as old as the NFL itself. Well, not quite that old, but we hear time and time again that people rush to judgment after Week 1 of the regular season. Why the moral panic? It's only one game, the smallest sample size there is. The New England Patriots lost their 2014 opener, and things turned out all right for them, as they often do.
Poppycock. That first week of results is a godsend when you're making your football picks. The data should be handled with care, of course, but recent history shows that teams who cover in Week 1 are in good shape to do it again in Week 2 – provided they play teams who dropped the cash to start the regular season.
When the Browns Were Good
This would be a good time to click here and read about what we had to say about this betting trend going into Week 2 of the 2014 campaign. For all you tl;dr types out there, here's how the “Week 1 ATS winners vs. losers” angle performed during the previous five years:
2013: 6-1 ATS
2012: 4-3-1 ATS
2011: 4-6 ATS
2010: 4-6 ATS
2009: 7-3 ATS
As it turned out, the pendulum swung in the other direction last year; winning teams went 1-3 ATS, but that still leaves us at 26-22-1 ATS over the past six seasons. And wouldn't you know it, the one team we isolated as a possible “follow” candidate using this trend, the Cleveland Browns, covered its Week 2 game in a 26-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints (–4.5 away).
The Birds and the Bears
That's the thing about these trends. Betting on them blindly might be tempting, it's definitely a big time-saver, but we wouldn't recommend it. Using trends should be a small part of a balanced diet, along with the other food groups: reading consensus reports, analyzing statistics, and shopping around for the best NFL odds. Otherwise, you're leaving too much of your money on the table in exchange for too little of your time saved.
So which Week 2 games fit the dynamic? Winning ATS teams are denoted by an asterisk.
Houston at *Carolina (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
*Arizona at Chicago (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
*Tennessee at Cleveland (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
*St. Louis at Washington (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
*Miami at Jacksonville (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
Seattle at *Green Bay (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
*N.Y. Jets at Indianapolis (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
These are all Sunday games except for the last one, which is your Week 2 Monday Night Football matchup. As you may recall, the sharps are already fading Seattle, and our consensus reports show even heavier early support for Arizona, Tennessee, St. Louis and Miami. We happen to prefer the proven Cardinals out of this bunch, now at 29-13-4 ATS under head coach Bruce Arians. Easy game.