When a new season of football gets underway in the NFL, it becomes hard to draw all that much handicapping value out of the betting trends given just how much things actually change from one year to the next. Just because a team had a winning record against the spread at home last season does not automatically make it a great bet at home this year.
Now that the 2016 NFL regular season has seven weeks under its belt, we can finally start to assign some value to all the various betting trends that have been generated over all those games. One of the easiest trends to track on a league-wide basis and maybe one of the most important is the early results between favorites and underdogs both straight-up and against the spread.
According to Covers.com, underdogs in the NFL have won 46.7 percent of their games SU. When you factor in the closing spreads, this winning percentage jumps to 56.7, which is a significant advantage against the favorites. This does not mean that you should string together a six-team parlay with teams getting points in Week 8, but it does mean that you should take a hard look at your own personal results if you have continually been losing on favorites. The Oddsmakers are continually making an effort to even things out, but this kind of betting advantage for underdogs over this long of a time frame provides a serious edge to NFL bettors that are not hung up on betting favorites.
You always have to keep in mind that general betting trends such as this one for underdogs can still change on a moment’s notice, but sometimes it also makes sense to ride a hot trend until it cools. You might want to focus your attention on a few NFL games in Week 8 that feature a team with a solid record covering as an underdog this season. The Oakland Raiders are 5-2 SU with a 4-3 overall record ATS. In the four games they have closed as underdogs, they are 3-1 ATS. This Sunday, they just so happen to be 1.5-point road underdogs against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are 3-3 both SU and ATS this season.
Another good example of a dog to possibly bet on in Week 8 would be the New Orleans Saints as three-point underdogs at home against Seattle. The Saints have just two SU wins in their first four games, but they improve to 4-2 ATS. They have closed as underdogs in four of their first six games and they have covered in all four contests. The Seahawks are 4-1-1 SU on the year, but just 3-3 ATS. They have closed as favorites in five of six games this season with a 2-3 record ATS in those five games.
Some of the other useful betting trends to keep in mind this week revolve around betting the total line. The total has gone OVER in 53.8 percent of the games through the first seven weeks This is no doubt a significant advantage when it comes to betting on the games, but it still underscores the need to handicap each game on its own merit.
One of the biggest matchups on this week’s slate in a Sunday night NFC East showdown between Philadelphia and Dallas. The Eagles’ defense comes into this game ranked third in the NFL in points allowed and the total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in four of their first six games. The Cowboys are coming off a bye following a very successful 5-1 SU start while going 5-0-1 ATS. Their defense is seventh in the league in points allowed and the total has stayed UNDER four of their first six games. This game may have a good chance to buck the overall trends on the total line by staying UNDER 43.5 points, given the individual betting trends in the actual matchup.