2022 NFL Preseason Week 2: Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills
Updated: Aug 20, 2022
Taking the two field goals with the road team: Broncos +6
In our analysis of the week 2 preseason matchup featuring the Bears at the Seahawks, we noted that underdogs have demonstrated an edge in exhibition play, covering at a nominally profitable 52.3% rate since the 2004-05 season, versus a 50.9% ATS win rate for point-takers during the regular season. On average, favorites win by less than a field goal in the preseason (2.8 points per game)—exactly half the 5.6 point regular season margin of victory.
As such, we are biased toward underdogs NFL preseason play, in general, and are especially disposed toward big preseason dogs. This intuition-based position is supported by empirical data.
Though rare, teams that missed the prior postseason and that are taking more than the average regular season margin have proven great bets in the first three weeks of the preseason (the last game of the exhibition season tends to feature more action for starters, so greater margins for favorites are the norm).
Big dogs that sat out of the last playoffs have delivered a 33% historical return on investment until the final contest of the preseason. This level of profitability proved statistically significant despite the slight sample size.
Our hypothesis is that teams in this position are victim of the betting public's recency bias, so spreads are bid too low.
For week 2 preseason action, the Bills opened as 1.5 point underdogs versus the visiting Broncos (who have not played after the regular season since 2015). Expectations though have since risen materially for the host team. The spread quickly moved by six points, flipping to Buffalo -4.5, and has climbed higher still. The home squad is presently slated as six-point favorites.
We are betting Denver's top-10 defense can slow Buffalo's offense sufficiently to hold the margin to less than a touchdown.