Well, we knew it was coming soon and the correction on Over/Unders hit hard in Week 6. After Overs were off to a blazing start this season, Unders came in at a 10-4 clip this past weekend. For those of you playing fantasy football, you probably took the brunt of this hit with a lot of teams and players putting up poor performances on Sunday. This did come in a week where Seattle and New Orleans were on a bye and the high-scoring Cowboys offense saw it’s first full game without Dak, so it’s not hard to say that we didn’t see this coming. The sportsbooks don’t seem to care however, as this week we already have seven different games posting a total over 50.
Week 7 should be a fun one, whether it’s betting on games, playing DFS, or rooting on your fantasy lineups. Matchups between the Texans and Packers, Lions and Falcons, and Seahawks and Cardinals highlight the games with high-powered offenses. Of course, it wouldn’t be 2020 without another COVID scare this week, as the Raiders are trending to be without their entire offensive line on Sunday against the Buccaneers. It seems like that Bucs defense is going to demolish the 2nd-string unit, so hopefully you were able to get some TB bets in early. Buckle up, we are in for a great slate this weekend!
CAUTION! Your picks shouldn’t be based solely on NFL historical betting trends. There are a multitude of things to consider. Trends are just one variable. However, one variable might be the tie breaker you need to make a bet.
Please reach out to me on Twitter if there’s anything you want a deeper dive on or particular info you would like to see for upcoming weeks. A lot of these that I will be writing about were once gut opinions or ideas of mine that I decided to dig in and #showmethedata on!
Please note: I have removed games that contradict over multiple trends from the “Targets” list
NFL Week 7 Betting Trends
Historically Reliable Teams
It appears that the NFL wants Russ to cook just as much as the rest of the football community, since Wilson and the Seahawks will now be playing in their third primetime game of the season. In all reality, this game was flexed to Sunday night to avoid any potential conflict if the TB/LV game eventually got postponed, but we can’t complain about seeing Russ and Kyler duke it out under the bright lights. We’ve already touched on this a couple of times this season, but Seattle is 31-10 straight up (SU) and 28-13 against the spread (ATS) in night games since 2007. During that span, they have covered the spread against teams with a winning record at an even better clip, going 14-6 ATS. All signs are pointing to Seattle simmering down the scorching hot Cardinals.
We already talked about how unders did well last week, and there’s an interesting spot to target this week. We saw how the Dak-less Cowboys looked on Monday night against Arizona, and it was extremely underwhelming. Through 6 games, their defense doesn’t look like it could hold an FBS team under 30 points, but the Cowboys games have historically favored the under when they play on the road (28-14 unders since 2015). Odds are that Washington won’t be able to replicate some of the more explosive teams that Dallas has already faced this season.
Since 2013, the Kansas City Chiefs have been dominant when they travel to play their division opponents. They went a perfect 3-0 ATS last season and are now 17-4 ATS over the last 7 seasons. The Broncos are coming off a game where they had to rely on their kicker to make 6 field goals to beat the Patriots, and when you are facing a Mahomes led-offense you are going to need a lot more than field goals to keep up. I like Kansas City to roll here.
Target Sides: SEA -3.5, KC -8
Target Totals: DAL/WAS u44.5
How Early-Season Byes affect Teams
For the purposes of this article, I am defining an early-season bye as Weeks 4 through 6. Of course, like in most things, 2020 is an outlier for this trend. We didn’t have any teams have a bye in week 4 and we have already had a couple of “fake” bye weeks with games getting postponed but teams still practicing most of the week. Nevertheless, we have four teams coming off real byes this week and all four of them get to play at home on Sunday. Historically, home teams after an early season bye have won and scored a lot of points, but they have been middle of the road covering the spread going 24-15 SU, 17-22 ATS, and 24-15 Over since 2010. I already loved a few of these games to go over the total this week, and this trend just helps cement it.
Target Totals: CAR/NO o50, TB/LV o53, JAX/LAC o49, SEA/ARI o55
Early Down Success Rate (EDSR) Mismatches
In week 4, I talked about EDSR, one of Warren Sharp’s favorite statistics. Almost every 3rd and 4th down is reactive due to the distance needed for a first down, and many times the 4th quarter is reactive based on the score differential between teams. EDSR eliminates these conditions and only looks at how teams do (offensively and defensively) on 1st and 2nd downs in the first three quarters of a game. In the biggest mismatches this season, the better team went 7-4 SU and 6-5 ATS. Here are this week’s biggest mismatches.
Target Sides (The differentials listed compare the EDSR of the target team to the EDSR of their opponent on the other side of the ball)
NO -7 (Run Offense +21, Pass Defense +5, Run Defense +2, Pass Offense -2)
SEA -3.5 (Pass Offense +12, Run Offense +6, Run Defense +4, Pass Defense +2)
KC -8 (Pass Defense +20, Pass Offense +8, Run Offense +3, Run Defense -13)
SF +2.5 (Pass Offense +16, Pass Defense +4, Run Offense +2, Run Defense -10)
Pace of Play & Explosive Play Rate
Defined as a rush over 10 yards or a pass over 15 yards, explosive plays are a good stat for us to use to dial in on totals to bet. Theoretically, if a team is really good at hitting explosive plays on offense and they face a team who gives up a lot of them on defense, that is a recipe for a game where possession is constantly changing. With shorter drives (and more of them ending in scoring plays), this increase in offensive opportunities should help lead to higher scoring games. When it comes to pace, there are two things to consider. Seconds per play tells us how quickly teams are breaking the huddle and snapping the ball in order to increase pace, and overall plays helps us compare expected offensive opportunities. Comparing how teams rank in these two pace categories (in neutral game scripts) with the Vegas Totals can help determine some spots to target. Last week we took a big goose egg going 0-2 on this new combined stat, so hoping for a bounceback this week. On their own these trends, didn’t perform well to start the year, so this may also be the last week this shows up in the article.
NYJ/BUF o46 (9th highest total, 3rd in explosive plays, 5th in sec/play, 9th in plays/gm)
KC/DEN o44.5 (11th highest total, 10th in explosive plays, 8th in sec/play, 5th in plays/gm)
HOU/GB u57 (1st highest total, 1st in explosive plays, 13th in sec/play, 13th in plays/gm)
Underdog Movement off the Lookahead Line
If you have been reading this every week, you should be well versed in reviewing lookahead lines by now. If you need a refresher, make sure to go check out Week 2’s article. This is a trend that I started tracking to good success last year and it is already off to a great start in 2020. All told, underdogs in any of these situations have now gone 21-12 ATS even though they have only gone 12-21 SU. Here’s a reminder of the three different buckets I am tracking for underdog line movement. It’s important to check back in on these right before kickoff on Sunday morning to make sure you get the closest to the closing line as possible. On the other hand, if you see any of this drastic line movement during the week and you can lock in the underdog at an inflated price, then feel free to do so.
Line Movement towards the Underdogs – When the line moved more than 1.5 points towards an underdog they are only 5-10 SU but 9-6 ATS and Overs have been 9-6 this year. Giants already covered on Thursday night as an underdog with 3.5 points of movement. Target Sides: CIN +3 (opened as +5), WAS +1 (opened as +4.5), SF +2.5 (opened as +5.5)
Favorite Swapped Sides – This trend is now 3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS, and 3-2 Over to the team that closed as the underdog this season. No games currently fall into this category for Week 7, but the PIT/TEN is hovering at TEN -1. If it swaps to PIT as a favorite than hop on the Titans.
Line Movement towards the Favorites – When the line moved more than 1.5 points towards a favorite, they are a chalky 9-4 SU, but only 5-8 ATS. Unders in these games have also gone 8-5. No games currently fall into this category for Week 7, I am disregarding the TB/LV game because who knows what will happen.
That wraps it up for the Week 7 edition of Trend Wisely. Good luck this week, I hope to see some winning ticket screenshots!