If it’s Week 1 of the NFL regular season, then it must be time to dust off those tried-and-true Week 1 NFL betting trends. But which ones actually work? And which games should we use these bad boys on?
It’s never like the first time. All that nervous excitement and fumbling around, not quite knowing what you’re doing. We’re talking about betting on NFL games in Week 1, obvs. These are very special and important games for everyone, including NFL handicappers, who have to work this week’s slate without the benefit of last week’s results. Even the best of the best can mess this up: Last year’s Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest entrants went a combined 1966-2986 ATS (39.7 percent) in Week 1.
So how do we tell which teams will manage to fit Tab A into Slot B? Looking at past Week 1 results will at least give us some perspective. That’s where we’ll discover any useful NFL betting trends that might be lurking beneath the numbers. Once we get the data we need, all we have to do is figure out which Week 1 games to fire away at. Sometimes the answer is in the trend itself; for example, defending Super Bowl champions are 18-2 SU and 11-9 ATS in their last 20 season openers. That’s welcome news for anyone betting on the Seattle Seahawks (–235 on the ML) in Thursday night’s tilt (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) with the Green Bay Packers.
Other Week 1 trends will be harder to pigeonhole. But not that difficult. None of this is rocket surgery. Let’s run down the list and cherry-pick three goodies for this week’s games.
The 'Over' is 29-18-1 in Week 1 the Past Three Seasons
This is the big one everyone in the football betting universe should be looking at. We’ve got more scoring than ever, and because of the growing alarm over concussions, the league is constantly changing the rules to discourage hitting. Defenses need time to adjust to these changes; until they do, they’ll be drawing more yellow than Matt Groening.
We could simply bet the 'Over' at 5Dimes in all 16 games this week, of course. Or we could focus on Reliant Stadium, where the Houston Texans have the 'Over' at 6-1 in their past seven home openers. They’ll be entertaining Washington on Sunday afternoon (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX). Meanwhile, you might want to steer clear when the New York Jets host the Oakland Raiders in their Sunday matinee (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS). The 'Under' is 6-2 in New York’s last eight Week 1 games.
Divisional Road Favorites are 3-10 ATS in Week 1 the Past Five Seasons
These games used to be sweet for the chalkeaters at 16-9 ATS between 1997 and 2008. But the sweet has turned to sour; only one of the last six road faves has taken down its divisional rival in Week 1, and that was back in 2011. Last year’s only example: The New England Patriots were laying 10 points when they beat the Buffalo Bills 23-21 at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
Go figure, the Patriots are road faves again this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS), when they’ll be giving up 4.5 points to the Miami Dolphins. We also have the visiting New Orleans Saints favored by 2.5 points at the Georgia Dome against the Atlanta Falcons (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX). The Pats and Saints have already been pegged as overvalued teams going into 2014, so this Week 1 NFL betting trend should have a little extra mustard on it.
Double-digit underdogs are 11-4 ATS in Week 1 since 1997.
Are you ready to bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars? They’re the only double-digit dogs on this year’s Week 1 schedule, getting 10 points from the Philadelphia Eagles as we go to press. Kick-off is Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET on CBS. And may the prolate spheroid be with you.