NFL Betting Picks: Historically Reliable System Highlight Seven Dogs Worth Considering
In a piece outlining several week 2 NFL betting picks, we highlighted a system that seeks to exploit recency bias evident in the betting market. Quite simply, this early-season angle entails backing underdogs following sub-par offensive showings.
Adhering to this simple set of rules has proven good for a statistically significant 9% long-term return on investment over the lookback period.
As outlined in the aforementioned week 2 write-up, we hypothesize that casual bettors tend to extrapolate bad offensive showings into the future, particularly for poorer squads (read: underdogs) and particularly early in the season, when data regarding team competencies is still relatively sparce. This inclination, we believe, manifests as an irrational preference for favorites to beat the number—Golec & Tamarkin (1991), for instance, observed an increased bias against underdogs; Humphreys, Paul & Weinbach (2013) likewise found that bettors gravitate towards the best teams.
Bettors herding around favorites, in turn, leads to inflated spreads, as bookmakers shade lines in an effort to maximize profits—in support of this thinking, Levitt (2004) concluded that bookmakers set prices to capitalize on bettor biases; Humphreys (2011) likewise observed that sportsbooks tolerate unbalanced betting in order to generate excess profits. The common result is an exploitable opportunity with dogs coming off low-productivity offensive performances.
For week 4, eight games (listed below) meet the criteria for this angle. We are betting seven of the eight, as we have observed conflicting signals on the Commanders +8.5.
Denver Broncos @ Chicago Bears +3.5 -125
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS +3.5 -125 @ New Orleans Saints
Washington Commanders +8.5 @ Philadelphia Eagles
Cincinnati Bengals @ Tennessee Titans +2.5
Las Vegas Raiders +5.5 @ Los Angeles Chargers
New England Patriots +6 @ Dallas Cowboys
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets +9.5 -120
Seattle Seahawks @ NEW YORK GIANTS +1.5
More discerning bettors might be inclined to distill the above list down to two plays: the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this afternoon and the New York Giants Monday evening, as the historical profitability of this angle improved markedly when the underdogs coming off low offensive output games appeared in the prior postseason.
As a final note, plays on the Bears, and Titans appear untimely given that these contests commenced well before this post will be published. However, we disseminated these picks earlier, before kickoff, given triggers on separate systems (the endorsement for the Bears ATS is indicated here, and the alternate system that highlighted the Bucs for the cover is laid out here).