In Week 1, the notable betting strategy was that underdogs coming off a 10-loss season generally carried value at the beginning of the season.
Those scenarios went 4-3 against the spread last week. Not bad, but not great either.
In Week 2, the value again generally lies with the underdogs. We can call this “Overreaction Week,” because we love to make blanket statements about teams or betting trends based on only one week’s worth of results.
But in the NFL, parity rules. Teams are never as bad—or as good—as they look in any one particular game, especially early in the season.
Since 2006, underdogs of 3 to 7 points in the NFL’s second week have gone 32-20-3 (.615) against the spread. Even more impressive, though, is 23 of those 32 covers were also outright wins.
Last year alone, dogs of 3 to 7 points went 4-2-1 ATS, but only one of them (Tennessee against Baltimore) managed to also pull off the outright win.
This week, 11 teams are currently underdogs of 3 to 7 points.
This weekend, we’re forced to decide which teams are for real, which teams really do just stink, and—most importantly—which teams have value.
WHY IS THE GOLDEN RANGE OF 3 TO 7 POINTS SO PROFITABLE FOR BETTORS?
There are a couple possible explanations.
First, underdogs of less than 3 points are playing virtual coin-flip games. It’s highly unlikely you’ll cover without winning outright, and the numbers reflect that (see below). Second, underdogs of more than a touchdown are those teams that were either projected to be terrible before the season or looked terrible in the first week.
But that leaves us with the golden range of 3 to 7 points, which has been extremely profitable for bettors over the past six seasons. Look at the chart below.
|YEAR||0-2.5 POINT DOGS||3-7 POINT DOGS||7.5+ POINT DOGS|
|TOTAL||7-10-1 (7 outright)||32-20-3 (23 outright)||8-11 (1 outright)|
|2011||2-1 (2 outright)||4-2-1 (1 outright)||1-3|
|2010||1-1 (1)||9-4 (6)||0-1|
|2009||2-2 (2)||4-5 (4)||2-1 (1)|
|2007||0-0||8-2-1 (7)||4-1 (0)|
|2006||2-2 (2)||2-4 (2)||1-5 (0)|
So, here’s what you can take from this post.
- Opening-week losses can lead to a lot of undervalued teams in Week 2. We’d say the Jaguars (+6.5 vs. Houston), Seahawks (+3 vs. Dallas) and Titans (+7 at San Diego) could fall into this category.
- There are teams that won in Week 1 that we still haven’t identified as good teams to bet on. The Buccaneers (+7 at Giants) or Jets (+5 at Pittsburgh) could be in this category.
- There are solid teams that are going on the road to face huge publicly bet teams in Week 2. The Lions (+7 at San Francisco) fall into this category.
- Most importantly, if you’re going to bet on an underdog of 3 to 7 points in Week 2, you might as well take them on the money line for a far greater payout.