Five Things We Learned From NFL Week Two: A Gambling Perspective

Five Things We Learned From NFL Week Two: A Gambling Perspective


1. The Browns Are Still Allergic To Winning

Alright, I get it. The Browns are cashing tickets for spread betters, but there’s another alternative here as Cleveland is still 0-2 against teasers and 0-1-1 on the money line as has been the case for the last two-plus years. After two weeks I’m not ready to admit they are worthy of getting a bet from me, as the two methods above are still cashing, but they are obviously a bit improved through two weeks from a spread perspective. Installing them as a three-point favorite after not winning a game in over two years is absolutely ludicrous, however, Sam Darnold just went into Detroit and while Detroit may be this year’s Giants, he still looked good.


2. Update On The LifeLess Spread

Again, over the last four years, the spread has mattered one-two times a week within the NFL, but the tie situation is somewhat throwing a wrench into the data. Last week, the spread mattered twice out of sixteen games, this week, aside from the tie, Detroit, Cleveland, and Oakland covered without winning outright. That’s four games (two per week) out of 32.

Remember-When a favorite wins the game straight up, they cover the spread 85.1% of the time over the last three-plus years and when an underdog covers, they win the game 82% of the time. 

Moneyline it. Don’t take the points and reduce your break-even point. Conversely, parlays-not teasers are more profitable, despite the stigma.


3. Buffalo May Be Bad, But Arizona Are The New Browns

You’re not supposed to take double-digit favorites in the NFL, or at least that’s a lesson on day one of handicapping school, but there are exceptions. Here’s the deal; The average margin of victory in the NFL the last four years is 11.0. My true theory on the NFL and the biggest reason for the spread mattering less and less is a parody-or lack thereof. The good teams are really good while the bad teams are really bad. Bookmakers still remain unwilling to stand out from the marketplace and take a position, however, which leads to the current situation. College football routinely has favorites in the 10’s,20’s,30’s and upwards, yet for some reason, the NFL will only go above 7 one to two times a week. Both favorites of double digits covered with ease this week as Buffalo continued to struggle, but I really want to talk about Arizona. If Cleveland is allergic to winning, this version of Arizona is allergic to first downs. They have completely refused to use their best pass-catching weapon aside from Larry Fitzgerald in the passing game in David Johnson, yet routinely have asked him to run for three straight downs with 8 men in the box opposing him while down two touchdowns. The leash on Sam Bradford has to be getting shorter, and while they promise to use David Johnson in the slot more, you should probably take advantage of betting against this team and specifically Sam Bradford while you can.


4. Patrick Mahomes Is Going To Scare BookMakers, Watson, Not-So-Much

If you’re familiar with the Inside Vegas Podcast on The SGP Network, you know that every week Anonymous Gambler, head oddsmaker and risk manager from comes on to talk liability, exposure, and where professionals are weighing in every week. The first episode he ever came on to talk with me, I asked him his biggest liability for the MVP award and he specifically said, “Patrick Mahomes is our biggest liability by far, and if he wins the MVP award, it may be the biggest loss in futures history for the company.” Other notable liability DeShaun Watson saw his team fall to 0-2 and has not seemed like himself at all this year, thanks in part to a beat up offensive line.

5. Dogs Ran Wild

Underdogs Kansas City, Tennessee, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Dallas, Miami, and Tampa Bay all won outright (see a pattern here?) while Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit covered their respective point spreads. Throw in a tie to include Minnesota and dogs were running wild in the NFL on Sunday. The worst teams in the NFL didn’t come close despite rising numbers in the point spread market as Buffalo and Arizona were ran over, while divisional dogs Carolina put up a fight, although that game wasn’t as close as the score indicates thanks to a garbage-time touchdown. It was a great NFL Sunday for books, but these things tend to regress towards the mean.

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