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NFL Schedule Release Betting Primer: Notes, Stats and Trends for 2023 Season

NFL Schedule Release Betting Primer: Notes, Stats and Trends for 2023 Season article feature image

We are just a measly 124 days away from Sunday NFL football and 121 days away from the Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions kicking the season off on Thursday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium.

Let’s dive into a few notes, stats and trends to get you hyped for the upcoming 2023 season.

1. Time For The Opener

The Chiefs open up against the Lions to kick off the 2023 season. The Chiefs are 7-point favorites right now. The highest spread for an opener in the Bet Labs database goes to the Buccaneers in 2021 as 9.5-point favorites against the Cowboys and the Chiefs in 2020, also 9.5-point favorites against the Texans. Both teams won straight up.

The biggest upset in an opener was in 2017 when the Chiefs, as 8-point underdogs, beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in Foxboro. We’ll see if this Chiefs/Lions number climbs in the coming months.

Additionally, this is the first time the Lions have played in the NFL opener.

2. Hot Starter

With the Lions opening the season on Thursday Night Football against the Chiefs, we ask this important question:

Who is the most profitable QB against the spread in Week 1 over the past 20 years?

The answer: Jared Goff, who is 6-0 ATS in his opener (4-0 SU/ATS with the Rams and 0-2 SU, 2-0 ATS with the Lions).

3. New Role, New York

The New York Jets open the season against the Buffalo Bills as 3-point home underdogs

Bills at Jets in Week 1 — Aaron Rodgers went 73-42-4 ATS at home with the Packers (best in the NFL).

• 111 of those starts as the favorite.
• 8 of those starts as the underdog (or 7% of his home starts).

Rodgers is 6-1-1 ATS as a home dog in his career ⤵️

— Evan Abrams (@EvanHAbrams) May 11, 2023

In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers made 119 home starts at Lambeau Field, but only eight of those starts came as a home underdog (7%).

Rodgers is 6-1-1 ATS as a home dog in his career.

4. Intercontinental Breakfast

The International Series is out:

  • Week 4: Falcons-Jaguars, London
  • Week 5: Jaguars-Bills, London
  • Week 6: Ravens-Titans, London
  • Week 9: Dolphins-Chiefs, Frankfurt
  • Week 10: Colts-Patriots, Frankfurt

Let’s look at a few facts and trends from the 39 total international games:

  • Overs are an almost even 20-19. Where the value has been is at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where the over is 5-1.
  • Favorites have excelled in international games. They are 29-9-1 straight up and 25-14 against the spread.
  • The public has struggled a bit overseas. Teams with 51%+ of tickets in international games are just 18-20 ATS.

5. Top Expectations

Since 2011-12 — the years Cam Newton and Andrew Luck were taken No. 1 overall — 17 QBs have been taken in the top five of the draft.

Not counting Bryce Young, CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson — the previous 14 QBs are 22 games under .500 ATS, losing a $100 bettor $4,496. Ten of the 14 QBs are .500 ATS or below in their career. The four QBs above .500 ATS are Joe Burrow, Jared Goff, Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa.

6. Preparation King

Under John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 11-4 ATS in Week 1, the most profitable Week 1 coach in the Bet Labs database.

John Harbaugh with extra time to prepare:

  • 10+ days: 24-8 SU, 18-12-2 ATS
  • Week 1: 11-4 SU/ATS

7. Trend Misdirection

Between 2019 and 2022, teams with new head coaches were 3-19 straight-up (SU) and 7-16 ATS in Week 1 when facing a returning head coach.

That changed last season as a whopping 10 new head coaches made their debuts in Week 1 vs. a returning coach and those teams went 6-3-1 SU and 6-4 against the spread.

8. Home Dogs

Overall, home underdogs are 56-55 against the spread in Week 1 over the past 20 years. Where we find the value is with divisional home dogs in Week 1.

Divisional home dogs are 25-13 ATS in the past 20 years, including 7-0 ATS since 2018, 15-2 ATS since 2012 and 21-5 ATS since 2009.

9. The MVP Game

Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers are scheduled to face off for the first time in their careers in Week 4 on Sunday Night Football in New York.

If they both start, Mahomes (2 MVPs) and Rodgers (4 MVPs) would become the seventh different pair of quarterbacks to meet in a regular-season game after both players had won multiple NFL Most Valuable Player awards.

10. Slow Start?

The Eagles lost in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs last season and the loser of the previous Super Bowl has historically struggled out of the gate.

Last year, the Bengals started slow out of the gate, losing as 7-point underdogs to the Steelers in Cincinnati.

Since 2000, the loser of the Super Bowl has had a tough time getting over its hangover in Week 1 of the following season. Super Bowl losers are 4-19 ATS.

11. Dancin’ In September

Some coaches are tough to beat early in the season.

  • Andy Reid is 44-22 SU in September since 2003, including 16-3 SU since 2017-18. His 44-22 record has profited a $100 moneyline bettor $1,022 — the most of any coach in the Bet Labs database.
  • Sean McVay is the other hot coach early on. He is 16-4 SU in September, going above .500 SU in all six seasons.
  • Between 2003 and 2020, Bill Belichick was 42-16 SU in September, but recently, the trend has fallen by the wayside as he’s 2-4 SU in September over the past two years.

12. High Octane

In Week 1, indoor games have leaned toward the over in the Bet Labs database.

They are hitting the over at a 62% clip since 2015 — 24-15 to the over, cashing by four points per game.

In Week 2, we see the opposite effect. The under in indoor games is 19-8 since 2015.

13. Indy Indigestion

The Colts haven’t had a good start to the season over the past decade-plus.

Since 2008, the Colts are 2-12-1 straight up and 1-13-1 ATS in Week 1. Over the past 20 years, the Colts are 5-13-2 ATS in their season opener, the least profitable team ATS in the NFL.

14. Grass Isn’t Always Greener

The Packers have turned the page after having Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers under center for 20+ years. Entering 2023, they are 50-1 to win the Super Bowl with a win total of 7.5

Green Bay hasn’t been 50-1 or higher to win it all in the preseason and they hasn’t had a win total below 8 since 2007.

15. Top Rookie Matchup

The top-two picks in the 2023 NFL Draft, Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud, are scheduled to meet in Week 8 when the Panthers host the Texans. This would be the fifth game in NFL history between rookie starting quarterbacks selected first and second overall in the NFL Draft.

16. Honoring Brady

The Patriots open up the season at home in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

New England hasn’t been listed as a home underdog in its first game of the season since September 9, 2002, when the Patriots were 2.5-point home underdogs against Kordell Stewart and the Steelers — a 30-14 New England win.

The Patriots haven’t closed above a field goal underdog in a Week 1 home opener since 1976.

17. Low Dogs

A profitable method for betting underdogs is in low total games — less points means more of an opportunity for the dog to cover.

Underdogs in games with an over/under below 42 are 137-94-4 ATS (59.3%) since 2018.

In the first eight weeks of the regular season, that spikes to 55-30-1 ATS (64.7%).

18. Road Warriors

The public tends to overrate favorites and home-field advantage, no matter what time of year it is. And early in the season, the public also tends to overrate what happened the year prior.

Road underdogs in Week 1 are 105-94-8 ATS over the past 20 years. If you split those road dogs by whether that team made the playoffs the year prior, you see a drastic change:

  • Made playoffs year before: 21-37-3 ATS
  • Missed playoffs year before: 84-57-5 ATS

19. Ultimate Longshots

Over the past 20 years, only three teams have won their division with preseason odds of 20-1 or higher and two — the Bengals and Washington Football Team — have done it in two of the past three seasons. The only team 20-1 or higher this year? The Arizona Cardinals are 25-1 to win the NFC West.

20. Early Altitude

The Broncos play at home in Weeks 1 and 2, against the Raiders and Commanders.

Denver is 32-8 straight up at home in the month of September dating back to 2002. The Broncos are 13-1 SU in the month of September at home against divisional rivals, which will be the Raiders in Week 1.

21. NFC Feast

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys open up the season against Daniel Jones and the Giants on Sunday Night Football in Week 1.

Prescott has excelled in his career against NFC East foes. He is 24-10 ATS vs. the NFC East, covering the spread by over 5 PPG.

In the past 20 years, here are the most profitable QBs ATS vs. Division Foes:

  1. Aaron Rodgers: 53-32 ATS
  2. Ben Roethlisberger: 54-38-3 ATS
  3. Tom Brady: 63-47-5 ATS
  4. Dak Prescott: 24-10 ATS

22. Captain Monday’s

Kirk Cousins has had his issues on Monday Night Football.

This year, Minnesota is slated to play on MNF against the 49ers (Oct. 23) and against the Bears (Nov. 27).

In his career, Cousins is 2-10 straight up and against the spread on Monday Night Football.

23. Home Cooking

Amazingly enough, the Pittsburgh Steelers open the season at home in Week 1 for the first time since 2014 and are listed as underdogs at home in Week 1 for the first time since 2010.

Pittsburgh hasn’t closed as a 2.5-point home underdog or higher in Week 1 since 2000.

24. Tight Spreads

For the fourth consecutive season, it looks like we won’t have a double-digit favorite in Week 1. The closest right now is the Ravens -9.5 against the Texans.

The four-year streak without a double-digit favorite in Week 1 is the longest such streak since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger.

If it does get there, double-digit favorites in Week 1 are 25-5 straight up in the Wild Card era, with the biggest upset going to the Texans against the Dolphins as 14-point underdogs in 2003.

As of now this is also the only game with a spread of 7 points or more, that would be the fewest since 2010, where we had no games with a spread of 7 or more.

25. A 50 Burger…

The Lions-Chiefs Thursday Night opener has an over/under of about 53 — making it the only Week 1 game with a total of 50 or more.

2018 is the last year with only one total of 50 or more in Week 1. 2017 was the last season where we didn’t have a single game with a total of 50 or more — those are the only two years over the past decade matching 2023.

26. A New High

The Commanders are 6-point favorites in Week 1 under new QB Sam Howell against the Arizona Cardinals.

Washington was last a 6-point favorite or higher in Week 1 back in 2002 and 2005, and the last time they were higher than a 6-point favorite in Week 1 was all the way back in 2000 as a 10.5-point favorite at home against the Carolina Panthers.

27. Not Again…

The New Orleans Saints open the season at home as a 4-point favorite against the Tennessee Titans.

The Saints are under the new regime of Derek Carr, who has struggled mightily as a favorite in his career.

Carr is 17-29-1 ATS as a favorite, all with the Raiders, with a $100 bettor down $1,286, making him the 4th-least profitable QB as a favorite in the past 20 years. He’s ahead of just Carson Palmer, Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan.

28. The Ups and Downs

According to DraftKings Sportsbook, which has odds up for all 276 games this season, the Kansas City Chiefs are projected to be favored in every game this season. Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals are projected to be underdogs in every game.

29. Jimmy The Dog

In Week 1, the Raiders are currently 4-point underdogs against the Broncos in Denver.

New Las Vegas starting QB, Jimmy Garoppolo is 15-7 straight up and 17-5 against the spread as an underdog in his NFL career.

In the last 20 years, we’ve had 266 QBs listed as an underdog at least once and the most games above .500 on the moneyline for any QB is four games above .. Garoppolo is currently eight games over .500 SU as an underdog.

30. Rare Favorites

The Chicago Bears are currently small 1-point favorites over the Packers in Week 1.

It would be the first time since 2019 they are favored to beat Green Bay (a total of 7 straight meetings as an underdog).

Since the 2009 season, the Bears have only been favored to beat the Packers three times in a total of 27 meetings.

Over the last 20 years, the Bears are a putrid 12-28-1 ATS (30%) against the Packers. A $100 bettor would be down $1,673. Their next closest worst opponent would be Washington, who Chicago is 1-7 ATS (-$608).

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