Hot & Not Report – Week 1

NFL Week 1 Betting Angles

In the wild and wacky world of the 2020 sports schedule, the 2020 NFL season is going on as scheduled, albeit after no preseason games and limited practice situations to keep everyone safe.

Fans in limited capacities and limited stadiums brings next to nothing in atmosphere, and with road teams not having to worry about signal calls so much, we could see a slew of visitors do well early on this year.

All this is meant to say we are probably in for an especially chaotic NFL season where huge home chalk get blown out because they can't get up without an environment, the craziest of comebacks in whatever shape and form they take on occur, and all the other usual wackiness we see from this league. Things that have worked in the past may suffer numerous woodshed beatings and the other way around.

But at least in the past few seasons, there has been a nice clear pattern for a couple of angles of what we see from the previous year's playoff teams in Week 1 the following year.

Whether or not you want to consider these is up to you, the first should definitely be considered by Survivor pool players, but it is interesting to note that...

Straight Up (SU), Against the Spread (ATS), Over-Under (O/U)

Who's Hot

Over the past three years, in Week 1, playoff teams from the previous year are 18-4-1 SU (13-10 ATS) when playing a non-playoff team from the previous year.

Fading the Super Bowl loser thought always gets tossed out a lot this week (myself included), but those teams are still a part of this massive group that you can basically pencil in for outright wins in Week 1.

With five SU wins coming at the expense of a point spread victory, it's clear some of these playoff teams could be slightly overvalued the following year. And with no preseason to base anything off of bettors, opinions based off last year's production have to be formed.

But at least the past three Week 1's have shown that when you put these playoff teams up against non-playoff foes, the outright win seems to always get there.

The 2019 playoff teams in the AFC were:

  • Baltimore
  • Kansas City
  • New England
  • Houston
  • Buffalo
  • Tennessee

The 2019 playoff teams in the NFC:

  • San Francisco
  • Green Bay
  • New Orleans
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle
  • Minnesota

Going through the Week 1 schedule brings you to eliminating Houston and Kansas City from this equation with them playing one another on TNF, so not applicable there. The same can be said for the Green Bay-Minnesota game as well on Sunday.

Which leaves outright thoughts on Baltimore (-7.5) over Cleveland, New England (-6.5) over Miami, Buffalo (-6.5) over NY Jets, and Tennessee (-1) over Denver on MNF as options from the AFC side of things.

In the NFC, Seattle (-2) over Atlanta, Philadelphia (-6.5) over Washington, San Francisco (-7) over Arizona, and New Orleans (-3.5) over Tampa Bay fit the above trends.

It's interesting to note that five of those eight games all have point spreads within a point of a full TD, meaning the SU win and ATS loss expectation is fairly reasonable. With it happening five times already in just three seasons (1.66 times per year), guessing at least one of those TD favorites will squeak out a nail-biting victory can go along with that.

Which does put that Arizona/San Francisco game in an interesting light for those that definitely want to fade the Super Bowl loser. Would anybody be surprised by a 49ers win by three or four points in that one?

But an 80% outright win rate to start the year for these playoff teams is tough to ignore even in these odd times. Flipping back and forth between some of these options for Survivor pools might have some easy advancements to next week on the horizon, but remember at the same time, 1.33 times per year one of these teams has lost outright as well.

Unless it's Tennessee or Seattle falling as small road chalk, you find that diamond in the rough this week and go ML shopping, it will be a nice start to the year.

Who's Not

AFC playoff teams from the previous season are 8-1 O/U in Week 1 against any opponent the past two seasons 

Horrible trend for 'under' bettors, but a swoon one for 'over' players, and it's a shame that it only applies to two of a potential six games this year – they are both prime time though.

They are the TNF game between Houston and Kansas City, and the MNF game between Tennessee and Denver.

Prime time 'overs' always get a lot of love, so expect even more of it to come on these two games before things go the other way around.

A Houston/KC game needs no hard con to convince someone to look 'over' there already, with the 51-31 game they had in the playoffs back in January, and everybody wants points from Mahomes when they sit down to watch him play. That combined with this run of 'overs' for AFC playoff teams added on top of it, may actually make the 'under' a good look on TNF when you consider how high the number might get, and how sloppy the football might look on the field with minimal practices, no games etc.

Waiting on the MNF game is a lot easier, because by then we'll already have a full Sunday slate digested and assessed just for how sloppy or sharp some play looked. The market will react significantly to those results for the Week 2 lines, but the Titans/Broncos total of 40.5 has only dropped from it's opener of 42.

That's hardly a concern for those looking to ride this 'over' run, because you already know that 42 is going to likely be the peak this total sees. If you are comfortable getting that many points from those two teams on MNF, then this O/U run only helps the cause.

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