With the NFL kicking off on Thursday, here are a few trends bettors should take note of as they finish up their Week 1 capping:
Since 2005, dogs and favorites have been about even when it comes to covering in Week 1. Dogs are slightly better at 112-106 ATS (+1.97 units). However, we see a massive distinction between divisional dogs (47-31 ATS, 60.3%, +14.42 units) and non-division dogs (65-75 ATS, 46.4%, -12.45 units). Divisional dogs perform much better due to the fact that they play each other twice a year and the familiarity levels the playing field and leads to closer games.
Here are the Week 1 Divisional Dogs (X means ff-winners.com AI agrees)
Packers (+3) at Bears
Redskins (+9.5) at Eagles X
Bills (+3) at Jets X
Giants (+7) at Cowboys X
When it comes to totals, Week 1 also provides an edge to the under (118-103, 53.4%, +9.13 units). This is likely for two reasons. First, the public is inclined to bet an Over because they want to see a past-faced, high-scoring game. The sportsbooks know this and will shade numbers to the Over, providing added value and extra free points for contrarian under bettors. Second, the defenses are usually ahead of the offenses this time of year, leading to lower scoring games overall.
If you look at the under in Week 1 when both teams missed the postseason the previous year, the under improves to 52-37 (58.4%, +12.71 units, 14.1% ROI).
Here are the Week 1 unders that fit this system (X means ff-winners.com AI agrees)
Vikings-Falcons Under 47.5
Browns-Titans Under 45.5
Jets-Bills Under 41
Buccaneers-49ers Under 50
Cardinals-Lions Under 47 X
Raiders-Broncos Under 43.5 X