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.
Long Rest Following a Short Week
One of the earliest developments this season is just how good teams have been following up a Thursday Night game the previous week. Teams playing on a short week and then getting the extra days off prior to their next game have crushed so far. Those teams are 7-1 straight up and against the spread, with the only loss being the Buccaneers’ late-game collapse against the Giants in the first career start for Daniel Jones. Even that loss needed the aid of one of the weirder coaching decisions of the season.
Do these extra days off provide a tangible edge for the following game or is it just happenstance through five weeks? Looking back at prior seasons, the numbers suggest the latter. Over the previous five seasons, teams coming off a Thursday game have gone 14-20 (13-21 ATS), 15-19 (16-16-2), 18-18 (21-15), 19-15 (17-16-1), and 14-22 (15-21).
We’ve had high variance samples like this run hot for an entire season — last season’s home teams on Thursday Nights comes to mind — but for now, this is one is just something to monitor as variance could easily sway back into the opposite direction given the recent history of teams in a similar spot.
Short Rest Following Monday Night
Another early-season development is that teams that have had to go on the road after playing on Monday Night Football have also struggled. Teams in that situation have started the season 2-8 straight up and 3-7 against the spread.
Taking the same approach as above, there is a lean to fading teams coming off a Monday night game, but it’s very light. Over the previous five seasons, those teams are 17-17 (16-18 ATS), 17-19 (14-22), 19-14-1 (17-17), 17-17 (17-16-1), and 11-25 (13-23). As was the case above with teams coming off Thursday night, there’s room for this trend to continue and run hot for an entire season, but it’s hard to stock the current sample size against longer-running results.
Narrowing it down, there is more of an advantage to be gained in these situations by betting against teams that are forced to go on the road after a Monday night game over a larger sample.
This season, road teams in that spot are 0-3 and 1-2 versus the spread, with the lone spread win coming from the Jets who lost by 16 points while getting 17. Over the previous five seasons, teams playing on the road after a Monday night game are 30-51 (37%) straight up and 37-43-1 (46.2%) versus the spread.
Ironically, both teams that played last Thursday night play against both teams that played on Monday night, combining both of the opening trends this season. In those rarer occurrences, teams coming off the longer rest from Thursday are 11-4-1 against the spread over the previous five seasons with home teams 6-1 ATS in those scenarios. Combine that with Sean McVay’s history coming off long rest and there’s a cocktail of trending ingredients working against the 49ers this weekend.
Vikings as Home Favorites
Mike Zimmer-led teams have won the games at home they’re supposed to win. Minnesota has already started the season 2-0 as a home favorite heads up and against the spread, something they’ve done regularly as a team under Zimmer.
Since hiring Zimmer in 2014, the Vikings have a 26-7 (78.8%) record straight up as a home favorite, which trails only New England (87.2%) and Green Bay (79.5%) over that span. Against the number, Zimmer’s Vikings are a league-best 22-10-1 (68.8%) versus the spread in those spots. Ahead of the Patriots (66.7%) and Packers (62.2%) over that span.
The Jaguars Playing Out of Conference
With a 34-27 loss to the Panthers last week, the Jaguars lost and failed to cover versus an NFC opponent for the fourth straight time. While that streak isn’t as long-standing as the Falcons’ run of struggling out of conference play that we’ve covered the past two weeks, the Jaguars have not played well out of conference at all in bulk.
Since 2013, the Jaguars are a league-worst 4-21 (16%) heads up and against the spread versus an out-of-conference opponent. As favorites — they are currently laying a point to the Saints this weekend — the Jaguars are 2-6 straight up and against the spread in those games.