If the betting trends are true, the Raiders & Giants have some special sauce for our NFL football picks this week. It's all about buying low and selling high.
How much stock should we put in the predictive power of trends? That's one of those tricky questions that can put you astray just from its wording; some trends are more valid than others, and each one has to be taken on its own merit – or lack thereof. When it comes to Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season, we've already identified one big trend that deserves our attention, so let's go straight to the Thought Bubble... I mean the data.
The Week 1 trend in question features non-playoff teams from 2014 facing teams who did make the playoffs. Putting the non-playoff teams in our NFL picks has been a profitable play over the past decade, so that's our plan for this week – if we find the right teams, that is. Here are our options, all playing this Sunday:
Green Bay at Chicago (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
Indianapolis at Buffalo (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS)
Carolina at Jacksonville (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
Seattle at St. Louis (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
New Orleans at Arizona (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX)
Detroit at San Diego (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX)
Cincinnati at Oakland (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
N.Y. Giants at Dallas (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
That's a healthy list. However, we don't want to fade just any of the playoff teams in question. For example, when it comes to Green Bay and Indianapolis, those two teams have been way too good against the spread under their current coaching regimes. So let's cross them out. New Orleans could be worth buying low this year under Sean Payton (70-65-3 ATS lifetime), but Arizona is 30-15 SU and 28-13-4 ATS under Bruce Arians, including the playoffs. Not a good fade candidate.
Regression Does Dallas
We also wouldn't be too quick to bet against the Seahawks and Pete Carroll (82-67-8 ATS), or the Panthers under “Riverboat” Ron Rivera (36-29-2 ATS). The Lions? Jim Caldwell is only 34-34-1 ATS lifetime, but our early consensus reports show tons of money coming in on Detroit. We'll take them off the list, too, although the Chargers have outperformed the market in general at 18-15-1 ATS under Mike McCoy.
That leaves two solid fade opportunities using this trend with our NFL picks. The Bengals (–3) and the Cowboys (–7) don't have profitable histories under Marvin Lewis (94-94-10 ATS) and Jason Garrett (37-36-1 ATS), respectively, and there isn't much early action on either team. Cincinnati and Dallas also outperformed both their Estimated and Pythagorean Wins from 2014, as per Football Outsiders, with the 12-4 Cowboys getting particularly “lucky” at 10.3 EW and 10.8 PW. When you factor in the additional public support Dallas should be getting in this SNF matchup, we figure the Giants will give you the best betting odds value as we get closer to kick-off.