3 NFL Week 1 Betting Notes: Pay Attention to Weather, Fade the Public
Pictured: Justin Fields. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
With the early and late afternoon windows of Week 1 wrapped up, let’s delve into three betting notes we observed.
1. Pay Attention to Weather
The total for 49ers vs. Bears absolutely deteriorated on Sunday morning after weather reports indicating heavy, torrential rain were actualized.
The line was 42 on Saturday afternoon, moved to 40.5 early Sunday morning, then dropped to 37.5 by kickoff.
The upshot? If you track weather ahead of time — and gamble a bit in ensuring the weatherman is telling the truth — it can pay major dividends in the long-run.
The Action Network’s PRO features and writers cover weather reports extensively. For Week 1, our PJ Walsh was ahead of the curve, predicting winds and rain days ahead of the game.
The 15 mph winds and relentless storm stymied both offenses. Chicago’s kicker missed two extra points, fumbles and dropped passes were abundant and both teams went ultra-conservative during instances in which they otherwise may not have.
The game finished with a total of 29 points.
While the closing under of 37.5 still hit, if you had gotten in on Friday or Saturday at around 42, you’d have had roughly 13.3% in expected value.
For next week, keep this in mind: Underdogs in games with an over/under below 42 are 87-54-3 against-the-spread (ATS) since 2018. In the first eight weeks of the regular season, that spikes to 40-17 ATS. Hat tip to our director of research, Evan Abrams, for that tidbit.
2. Fade the Public
This is a general principle around here and it’s the baseline for the majority of our betting systems and algorithms.
The Action Network’s PRO features show where retail bettors are putting their money and at what percentage they’re doing so across various sportsbooks.
On Sunday, nearly every team that received 60% or more of the public’s wagers failed to cover. The Ravens were the lone exception.
That included the Panthers (-2.5), Eagles (-5.5), Colts (-7), 49ers (-6), Saints (-5.5) and Jaguars (+3.5).
3. Underdogs Early in the Season
This one’s more of a trend, but generally underdogs early in the season are the right play.
Week 1 underdogs in division games are 49-22-2 ATS (69%) since 2009.
And home underdogs in Week 1 division games are 21-5 ATS since 2009, including a 7-0 clip since 2018. The Falcons covered at +5.5 and the Texans covered at +7 in a tie.
Home underdogs finished 4-2 ATS on Sunday, before the start of the Buccaneers vs. Cowboys game, in which the Cowboys are home dogs.