As usual, I am going to take a dive into that week’s slate of games and try to dig up some trends. Hopefully, they give us an edge when making game selections each week.
Of course, trends are trends…until they’re not. The goal here isn’t to plant a flag based on a trend, rather to simply shine a spotlight on these trends that exist and talk through some of them as food for thought.
Since we’ve moved into October, I thought it would be interesting to do a recap on the first month of the season, taking a top-down view from a betting perspective compared to this point of the season over the past five years.
|Through 4 Weeks of Season||2019||2018||2017||2016||2015|
|Underdog Outright Wins||41.30%||33.30%||38.70%||48.40%||36.50%|
|Away Team ATS||63.50%||46.00%||48.40%||50.80%||50.80%|
|Away Team Outright Wins||55.60%||36.50%||43.80%||46.00%||42.90%|
|Under Game Total||55.60%||46.00%||48.40%||44.40%||46.00%|
The start of the 2019 season has skewed dramatically towards a few things. Getting points as always been the more fruitful side of playing lines, but underdogs have hit at a much higher rate to start this season. Dogs went a sensational 11-4 in Week 4, but have also had a winning week against the spread in every week to open the season.
In August, we covered how home field advantage was decreasing the NFL and that has played out in spades over the opening month of this season. Away teams went 35-27-1 straight up in September. Against the spread, they’ve been even better, going 40-22-1. Paired with the opening paragraph, away dogs have gone a staggering 28-12-1 (68.3%) against the spread.
Game totals have also gone under at the highest rate in the recent sample above to start a season. Coming off the highest-scoring season in NFL history, it makes some sense that Vegas would overcompensate on the game totals. We’ve also had a plethora of backup quarterbacks already take the field, which has played a part in the depressed scoring. Week 5 has just one game total at 50 points or higher, so we may be seeing these totals drop.
All of the above is only a one-month sample from the yet-to-be-finished product. Whether or not these trends continue over the course or recalibrate remains to be seen, but the start of the 2019 season has had as unique of a start as any season in recent years.
Favorites in London
Week 5 kicks off our first game in London this season and once again we’ve set them our finest in Chase Daniel and Derek Carr. Jest aside, London games have become a yearly tradition and the trends have skewed towards the favorites.
Favorites in London have a 18-5-1 straight up record and have gone 15-9 while laying points. They are 5-1 ATS over the past six games played across the pond while we’ve sent a number of blowouts over there. Over the past two years, five of the seven games in London have been decided by 17 or more points.
As far as game totals, we’ve had a dead even 24-24 split for Over/Unders in London. Recent trends have trickled towards the under, with five of the past six going below the game total, but all those games had a 44-point game total or higher while this weekend’s game is sitting at just 40.5 at the moment. If you still wanted to make a play on that, Chicago games are averaging 27.8 combined points per game, the fewest in the league.
San Francisco Taking Off After a Week Off
The 49ers were one of the first teams with a bye in 2019. Recently, taking a week off has been bad news for the 49ers no matter the timing of the bye. San Francisco has lost six consecutive games following their bye, the longest such losing streak in the NFL. They also haven’t kept those games close, matching that 0-6 record against the spread, with 18, 9, 18, and 16 point losses over the past four seasons. Two of those six losses came as favorites, which they are this Monday night, giving 3.5 points to the Browns. To tack onto the Browns side, after a 40-25 win at Baltimore last week, Cleveland has gone 7-3 ATS the spread on the road since the start of last season while covering in five of their past six while traveling.
When All Else Fails, Follow Week 4
Two of the Week 4 trends we covered not only continued, but also come into play once again in Week 5.
The first is the Falcons versus a non-conference opponent. With a 24-10 loss at home to the Titans, the Falcons are now 1-11 over their past 12 games versus an AFC opponent with six straight losses. While they did win one of those games, the Falcons are 0-12 against the spread in those games, Atlanta heads to Houston in Week 5 as early 5-point underdogs.
The second trend that held up last week was Baltimore continuing to struggle in the division. After losing to the Browns last week, the Ravens are now a league-worst 1-6 ATS the spreads in divisional games since the start of last season. With a 27-3 win against the Bengals on Monday night, the Steelers continued to run in the completely opposite end of that trend, extending their in-division record to 11-1-1 against AFC North opponents since the start of 2017, the best record in division over that span.