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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

2022 NFL Week 1: Lines We Don't Expect to Last Until Opening Week

Updated: Sep 4, 2022


Despite having reached only the midpoint of NFL preseason action, we can't help but look ahead to the opening week docket for the regular season, as lines are already in place.


Notably, each of the ten picks on our radar for week 1 features underdogs. This bias is not incidental. Point-takers are no more likely to cover than favorites over the long haul because bookmakers are good at setting the spread so that dogs and favs each enjoy roughly a 50/50 shot at beating the number. To wit, since the 2005-06 regular season underdogs have beat the number at a 50.9% rate, not statistically significantly different than 50% (at the 95% confidence level). However, underdogs do tend to beat the number during the early going of the regular season, as indicated by their 430-360-19 ATS (54%) record through week 3 (this finding does meet the threshold for statistical significance).


We believe a lack of information on which to base decisions early in the year leads bettors to overweight prior season outcomes, resulting in an underappreciation of point-takers during the initial part of the season. We will detail documented, exploitable biases, which tend to be more pronounced early season, in our longer-form write-ups for week 1.


In the meanwhile, consider getting down on the following wagers...while the getting is good.


New England Patriots +3 -120 @ Miami Dolphins


As 2.5 point underdogs at the Dolphins, the Pats have attracted 47% of the nearly 5,200 spread bets tracked by SportsInsights. However, in contrast to the roughly even split by ticket count, New England is supported by an inordinate 70% of dollars wagered versus the number for their first out of the new season. This observation suggests bigger, sharper (presumably better informed and more influential) wagers are with the road dogs. If this early action is indicative of the betting public's outlook, expect the spread to narrow in days and weeks to come.


BetUS.com is currently offering Patriots backers three points at a modestly juiced up -120 vigorish. We are takers right now.


Philadelphia Eagles @ Detroit Lions +4


Preliminary action on the Eagles Lions game is likewise approximately evenly split based on nearly 6,100 tickets counted by SportsInsights. However, 80% of dollars bet against the spread have flowed Detroit's way. Accordingly, the line for this game has already moved from as wide as 4.5 to as tight as 3.5. A continued skew of dollars toward the home dogs would likely keep pressure on this number.


Indianapolis Colts @ Houston Texans +8


While the Colts have attracted 58% of the 6,200 ATS wagers monitored by SportsInsights for their week 1 romp at the Texans, SportsInsights reports that Houston is backed by an unsustainable 99% of dollars bet versus the number. An extreme of this magnitude can not hold, but still, objective bettors could stand their ground enough to bid this number down toward the key seven level.


Jacksonville Jaguars +3.5 @ Washington Commanders


Of about 4,600 bets on the Jags at the Commanders reported to SportsInsights so far, something like two out of every three support Jacksonville. Further, the cats are taking 98% of dollars bet ATS. Again, nosebleed figures like this are bound to normalize, however, early action clearly favors the road dogs, and we are jumping on the current line to ensure that we get number north of the most common outcome in professional football (the home win by a field goal).


Las Vegas Raiders +3.5 -115 @ L.A. Chargers


Akin to the situation facing Jacksonville backers, the Las Vegas Raiders too are supported by almost two of every three of 4,800 ATS bets followed by our preferred data provider. Also inline with that of the prior contest, 97% of dollar action is down on the Raiders. In response to the mere threat that the line might tighten, we are taking the three and the hook now.


New York Giants +6 @ Tennessee Titans


The New York Football Giants are listed as six point dogs at the Titans in their first action of the coming season. The G-men have taken a shade over half of the 5,400 bets to which SportsInsights is privy, but 89% of the dollar action. In response to this overwhelming support, the line has already compressed from 6.5. We are jumping on the Giants' train now, before any further tightening materializes.


The following short list represents other positions we are likely to take for week 1. However, flows do not imply the level of urgency that we perceive with the aforementioned contests.


New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons +5

Pittsburgh Steelers +6.5 @ Cincinnati Bengals

San Francisco 49ers @ Chicago Bears +7.5 -130

Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings +2


Happy betting!!


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