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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

2023 NFL Season Betting Picks Performance

Updated: Dec 26, 2023

Regular Season NFL Betting Picks: 53-51-6 ATS (51%), -4% ROI

We offer objective handicapping of 2023-24 NFL action.

“If there weren’t luck involved, I would win every time.”

- Phil Hellmuth, Professional Poker Player

Recall that our methodology for betting our NFL picks entails risking one unit on wagers with plus-money odds, otherwise betting to win one unit.

Regular Season Week 16: 6-1

We took a hiatus for three weeks to focus on NBA, given our poor results through week 12. Worth noting, we did not in any way alter our approach or methodology. We merely took a breather. Fortunately, our results upon our return proved encouraging.

After a 4-10-2 showing in week 15, underdogs registered a 9-6-1 record versus the number for the football week ended on Christmas day. The bounce back for point-takers boded well for our approach, which is largely predicated on identifying undervalued pooches. Four of our six plays, in fact, backed dogs. We cashed on three.

In an even more decisive showing, OVERs enjoyed an 11-5 week. In addition to our wagers on underdogs, we endorsed two plays on higher than expected aggregate scores, both of which collected.

Thus, our framework aligned with the overarching trends evident in week 16. Accordingly, we reaped a 63% return on investment, and pared our season-to-date loss from an -8% return on investment to -4%. We hope this momentum persists throughout the remainder of the season and into the playoffs.

12/24/23 Packers @ Panthers +4 💰

12/25/23 Raiders +14 @ Chiefs 💰

12/25/23 Raiders @ Chiefs u40.5 💰

12/25/23 NY Giants +14 @ Eagles 💰

Regular Season Week 12: 1-5-1

Underdogs finished the week 4-12 against-the-spread. Remarkably, none of our five wagers on dogs covered (though we pushed on one), which is to say that our point-taking endeavors finished notably worse than the 25% aggregate ATS win rate for pooches.

We also backed one UNDER, which likewise lost, not surprisingly, in retrospect, given that OVERs finished week 12 with a 9-7 record for the period.

Our solitary trip to the cashier's booth in week 12 came courtesy of a two-leg teaser, which featured to favorites. The end result for our efforts in week 12 was a -56% return on investment.

11/24/23 Dolphins @ NY Jets +10 🚫

11/24/23 Dolphins @ NY Jets u40 🚫

11/26/23 Panthers +3.5 @ Titans 🚫

11/26/23 Browns +1.5 @ Broncos 🚫

11/26/23 Bills +3 @ Eagles PUSH

Regular Season Week 11: 3-4-2

Trends were definitive in week 11. For instance, underdogs finished 9-5 versus closing spreads, with road dogs' 8-4 showing accounting for all of this strength. At odds with the 64% cover rate for this cohort though, our stabs at taking points went a disappointing 2-2-2 (including a 1-1-2 showing for point-takers in the opposition's building).

Just as definitively, UNDERs submitted a 10-4 aggregate tally last week. Our framework highlighted one play on lower than expected offensive output, which missedquite improbably, as it were, given UNDERs' 71% hit rate.

We also played two OVERs, which, also rather remarkably, split.

11/19/23 Steelers +1.5 @ Browns 🚫

11/19/23 Raiders @ Dolphins o42 🚫

11/19/23 Bears +8 @ Lions 💰

11/19/23 Cardinals +5 @ Texans PUSH

11/19/23 Buccaneers @ 49ers o44 💰

Regular Season Week 10: 1-3

We bet on two road dogs, one home dog and one favorite in week 10. We cashed on only one of our four wagers (taking the points in Thursday Night Football). Underdogs turned a profit away and at home, finishing 8-6 ATS in aggregate, making our 1-3 showing especially disappointing.

Regular Season Week 9: 3-3

The UNDER finished 10-4 this week, and, at 83-52-1 (61%), is solidly profitable on the year. This observation represents is the biggest, most exploitable trend of the current season—dogs are 61-70-5 (47%) following a 4-10 stint in week 9 and road teams are 61-67-5 ATS, after going 6-7 this week.

Fortuitously, and contrary to our general predilection towards dogs, plays on favored teams represented half of our picks—these wagers finished 2-1. Further, in spite of the adverse general environment, we split out two play on underdogs. And most improbably, our UNDER bet flopped.

Thus, while we wait for (hope for?) a breakout week that propels us toward our long-term level of profitability—perhaps akin to the success we realized in week 2, we concede that our framework's bias toward dogs could have resulted in a much worse week 9 outcome, given the struggles point-takers experienced.

Regular Season Week 8: 2-2-1

Through seven weeks of action, we were 37-33-2, for a 0% return. In week 8 the doldrums continued with continued wheel spinning. But the lack of excitement that attended our 2-2-1 record felt apropos given the trendless state of the market last week: dogs were 7-7-2 versus the number, home teams were 8-6-2, and the UNDER went 8-7.

We cashed on a road favorite and a road dog, lost on a home favorite and a home dog and pushed with home dog.

Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Regular Season Week 7: 1-2-1

In an exceptionally sparce card (we only published four picks this week), we delivered our second lowest cover rate of the season.

Broadly speaking, underdogs asserted themselves in week 7 with an 8-5 ATS record, after going missing a week earlier. Of note, pooches strength owed entirely to home dogs, who were an absolutely perfect 5-0. We did not get the memo, as our sole ATS pick was a play on a home favorite, which missed, despite a respectable 5-3 showing from this cohort.

UNDERs were 8-5 on the week, implying our 1-1-1 record betting on disappointing aggregate scores represents underperformance.

Regular Season Week 6: 6-6

Quite notably, road dogs were 2-6 in week 6, while underdogs, broadly, were 5-10. In fact, after this week, despite dogs' hot start to the season, chalk-layers 48-42-3 ATS record suggests it would have been nominally profitable to simply back every favorite this year.

Our plays on away point-takers finished 2-4, so we fared better than the aggregate market for this cohort...but this observation offers only about as much comfort as being the 'tallest pigmy'. We also finished 1-2 on three home dogs. In all, our 3-6 tally siding with pooches was exactly in-line with the cover rate for all week 6 underdogs.

Fortunately, we cashed on two UNDER picks (UNDERs were 12-2-1) and one favorite, which mitigated our losses for the period.

Regular Season Week 5: 6-4

There were no overarching ATS trends evident this week. Underdogs were 7-7 ATS and road teams were 7-6 versus the number. As such, we feel pretty good about having taken the points in six of seven winning situations, and in only three losing instances. Also impressively, of our six plays on road dogs, we cashed on four. This showing is much better than the 4-4 aggregate ATS record for this cohort.

In addition to erroneously siding with two pooches playing in the other team's building, our week 5 losers included one home dog and a going-against-the-grain stab at an OVER (UNDERs were 9-5 on the week).

Regular Season Week 4: 6-6

We backed five road teams and seven host teams last week. This segmentation represents a distinction without a difference though, as away teams were 7-7-1 ATS. After this even-Steven showing, road teams can still cling to the claim of modest profitability on the season, but, as we have remarked before, this success owes entirely the 12-4 ATS showing out the gate. Since week 1, away teams are 21-23-3 versus the betting line.

Separately, pooches 5-10-1 ATS record in week 4 constitutes the worst showing of the young season, and brings the year-to-date record for underdogs to 30-31-1 ATS. The bad news for our followers is that all 11 of our prescribed wagers entailed taking the points. The good news though is that our result was much better than the 33% cover rate implied by dogs' aggregate performance. We ended week 4 with only a modest (5%) loss.

Point-takers are a wealth-sapping 11-19 over the last couple of weeks (after a blistering 19-12-1 ATS start). Accordingly, our bread-and-butter approach of identifying undervalued dogs has struggled of late. We do not expect this malaise to last though, as we do not believe the cognitive biases consistently evident in betting markets over at least the last couple of decades, which we seek to exploit, have been corrected. Thus, we continue to anticipate better days ahead.

[Separately, UNDERs 9-7 record represents relative normalization, after a three-week roller coaster ride. We did not endorse any totals plays in week 4.]

Regular Season Week 3: 3-7

We did not get much right in week 3. We sided with nine dogs, but only three cashed, as favorites submitted a dominant 9-6-1 performance versus the number. Thus, we were swimming against the tide last week. Our operating at cross purposes is reflected in our results (our 33% cover rate backing point-takers is actually worse than one would have expected based on dogs 40% ATS win rate for the period).

After last week, underdogs' aggregate profitability for the year decreased to a 3% return on investment, on a 25-21-2 ATS (54%) record.

From a different angle, we backed seven road teams in week 4. Unfortunately though, away teams finished 7-8-1 versus the number (as was the case the week before). And while squads playing in the opposition's building are still a respectable 26-20-2 ATS (57%) cumulatively, this success owes entirely to the 12-4 showing in opening week action.

As an indication of the magnitude of our week 3 struggles, we did have one play that was aligned with the trend of home favorites covering. That wager flopped too, with the Ravens losing to the Colts outright, despite laying better than a touchdown.

As our approach is validated by empirical data, we suspect our terrible week 3 merely represents variance, which afflicts all gamblers at some point or another. As such, as disappointed as we are, we press forward, undeterred, in anticipation of an eventual recovery.

[The UNDER's 11-5 showing continued the up-down sequence evident in weeks 1 and 2. Unfortunately though, we did not find a basis to bet on lower than expected combined scores.]

Regular Season Week 2: 9-4-1

Underdogs continued their strong showing with a 9-6-1 ATS record in week 2. We sided with ten pooches, based on closing lines, so we absolutely rode that wave (we also had the Texans +1, but Houston closed at -1). Our plays on point-takers finished 6-3-1.

Through an alternate lens, after a blistering 12-4 start to the season, road teams were a middling 7-8-1 last week. Against this backdrop, the 3-1 record for our four plays on away teams appears quite impressive.

We also endorsed plays on two OVERs (both of which cashed). These recommendations seemed intrepid given that UNDERs were utterly dominant in week 1. As it turned out though, our bets on higher than expected offensive output proved in sync with the overarching trend for week 2, as OVERs' 13-3 tally was almost as commanding as UNDERs' 12-4 record a week earlier.

Finally, we played one favorite, as we sometimes (but rarely) do, which also led adherents to the cashier's window at the end of the night.

In all, a superlative 69% of our wagers covered in week 2, for a 30% return on investment.

Regular Season Week 1: 6-4

Per data from SportsInsights, underdogs have proven profitable bets in the NFL in each of the last five regular seasons. Point-takers' 2023-24 week 1 record is showing no signs of the turning of this tide. Dogs, in general, are 10-6 ATS so far this season, while road dogs are a stellar 8-2 versus the number.

Consistent with the operative trends of the young season, our stab at the Chiefs as home favorites Thursday flopped, as did our plays on the Colts and Giants as home dogs Sunday. We were also disappointed by the Panthers as modest underdogs at the Falcons. Still our 5-1 record backing road dogs helped us finish the week solidly profitable.

[We missed out entirely on another prominent week 1 theme, however. The UNDER was 12-4, but we did not indicate a single total play...whoops!]

Preseason Week 3

Preseason Week 1

Hall of Fame Game

Happy betting!!


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