Handicapping Week 1 Of The NFL Season



The 2017 NFL season officially kicks off on Thursday September 7th, with one game, following by 13 games on Sunday September 10th, and two games on Monday September 11th. With the New England Patriots looking to defend their 2016 Super Bowl title, fans have something to get excited about. For casual bettors looking to place some wagers for week 1 games of the season, here is a look at historical records based on the previous year’s record of teams as to how this week should be handicapped.

Performance Of Teams With Seven Wins Or More From Last Year

Handicapping week 1 games can be done based solely off the previous year’s record of teams. Based on records against the spread of teams with records from the previous year of 7–9 or better, these teams have covered against the spread just 47.8% of the time. As a result, it may be wise to fade these teams, especially teams that are road favourites (covered only 47.2% of the time) and road underdogs (covered only 40.7% of the time). Additionally, when this statistic is broken down further, it reveals that road underdogs of 6.5 points or less covered only 34.9% of the time.

Performance Of Teams With Six Wins Or Less From Last Year

When it comes to teams that won six or less games from the previous season, it should be obvious that not many people are willing to jump on them for their first few bets to start the 2017 season. However, from the trends of past years, these teams have dominated against the spread at a win rate of 56.2%. The only caveat would be betting on road favourites, who have historically covered against the spread at only 47.1%. Home favourites have covered 54.8% of the time, home underdogs have covered 54.3% of the time, and road underdogs have covered at a robust 60.0% of the time. When this statistic is broken down further, it reveals that road underdogs of 6.5 points or less have covered at an astounding 70.3% rate.

Performance Of Teams With Worse Record Than Opponent From Last Year

Based on the historical data from the past five, 10, and 15 years, it seems that employing a strategy to bet on the team with the worse record compared to its opponent would be the more prudent strategy. In 2016, these teams covered against the spread during the first week at a rate of 64.30%. Additionally, when taking a look at last five years, these teams have covered against the spread at a rate of 59.2%; when taking a look at the last 10 years, these teams have covered against the spread at a rate of 57.7%; when taking a look at the last 15 years, these teams have covered against the spread at a rate of 59.3%. Clearly, this trend does not seem to be slowing down. When breaking this statistic down, it reveals that the focus for bettors should be placed on underdogs of five points or less (+5.0, +4.0, etc.) to reap your money’s worth. Additionally, if you are a fan of betting on favourites, the focus should be on favourites that are three points or more (-3.0, -4.0, etc.) in order to have a better chance of obtaining a superior winning percentage.