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Freedman’s NFL Week 9 Trends & Early Bets: We’re Still Waiting for Dallas to Cover…

Credit:

Elsa/Getty Images. Pictured: Ezekiel Elliott.

Week 8: Mostly professional football was played. We’re on to Week 9. Let’s take a look at some applicable trends for the early spreads.

Although I am not a trends bettor, I find that trends help me identify spots I should consider further when analyzing games. Using our Bet Labs database, I have uncovered some intriguing NFL trends for three games this week.

All lines are from our NFL Odds page.

Early Week 9 NFL Picks

Click on a pick to skip to that analysis.

Pick Bet Now
Panthers +12.5 at Chiefs FanDuel
Seahawks -2.5 at Bills FanDuel
Cowboys +10 at Steelers FanDuel

Panthers (+12.5) at Chiefs

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

I have a theory, the historic profitability of which I will test using Bet Labs.

I believe it’s likely that the sports-betting public tends to undervalue teams in three distinct situations.

  • Off a loss
  • On the road
  • As underdogs

My theory is that if we triangulate these factors and look at them in combination — if we screen for road dogs off a loss — we’ll find teams that have beaten the vigorish (the sportsbook surcharge).

Not all teams are either road dogs off a loss or home favorites off a win, but it’s instructive to compare these two cohorts and see how they do against the spread (ATS) and in return on investment (ROI).

  • Road Dogs Off a Loss: 762-672-39 ATS | 3.4% ROI
  • Home Favorites Off a Win: 719-735-41 ATS | -2.9% ROI

A 3.4% ROI might not seem like much, but over a sample this large it’s significant. Within Bet Labs, road dogs off a loss have earned an A- grade.

This looks like an angle we can exploit, especially this year, when home-field advantage has been minimized due to COVID-19 restrictions on attendance.

And if you look at the numbers, it turns out that this year has been the most profitable one for this trend. In 2020, road dogs off a loss are 24-13-0 ATS (25.6% ROI).

And last year was the third-most profitable one for this trend: 45-28-5 ATS (18.1% ROI).

Could there be a reason (other than COVID-19) for road dogs off a loss to be especially undervalued over the past two-ish years?

Yes.

I say this as an inordinately non-sharp bettor, but going against road dogs off a loss is a very square thing to do. It’s the act of a novice. A neophyte. A newbie.

And since 2019 many new and inexperienced bettors have entered the market as more states have legalized sports speculation.

Road dogs off a loss have been undervalued this year and last year because the overall market is now more unsophisticated.

And we should look to exploit this. Hence, the Panthers, who have a career ATS dominator in quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

  • All Situations: 31-11 ATS | 44.6% ROI
  • Underdog: 21-5 ATS | 58% ROI
  • Visitor: 17-3 ATS | 65.8% ROI
  • Road Underdog: 16-2 ATS | 73.6% ROI

Of all the bets I’ve made this season, this is probably a top-five favorite.

  • Action: Panthers +12.5 (-115) at FanDuel
  • Limit: +10.0 (-110)

Seahawks (-2.5) at Bills

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: FOX

The Seahawks are a West Coast team traveling east and playing in the early game, which theoretically means they should have some sort of biorhythmic disadvantage.

I’m skeptical.

There might have been an edge with that angle years ago, but nowadays the market tends to account for cross-country travel.

In fact, bettors now might put too much weight on the west-to-east angle, creating value on the team that should be hindered. With the Seahawks, head coach Pete Carroll has had 24 East Coast games with a start time of 1 p.m. ET. He’s 14-7-3 ATS (27.5% ROI).

And in general I want to bet on quarterback Russell Wilson, who is 73-55-7 ATS (11.0% ROI) in the regular season. Winners win.

  • Action: Seahawks -2.5 (-120) at FanDuel
  • Limit: -5.5 (-110)

Cowboys (+10) vs. Steelers

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday | TV: CBS

I’m writing this as Sunday Night Football is ending, so the spread for Cowboys-Steelers is yet to be posted, but the lookahead line at FanDuel was +10.

I’m going to assume that the spread opens at a higher number and that it gets bet up throughout the week, so I probably won’t be betting it right away, but I’m willing to take it at +10 if need be.

But I’m not happy about it. In fact, I hate it.

The Cowboys are a dreadful 0-7 ATS. Wait, scratch that. They’re 0-8. Perfect.

The 2020 Cowboys are off to the worst start in NFL betting history.

I really don’t want to bet on them. I have no respect for them at all, and I have enormous respect for the Steelers.

As a long-suffering, self-loathing Dallas sports fan who has regularly bet against the Cowboys for years, I do not want to make this bet.

But I’m doing it.

Teams with an ATS win rate no higher than 20% (after four games, so we have a decent sample) are an A-graded 167-126-6 ATS (10.7% ROI).

Historically, the market has underrated teams that have massively struggled ATS early in the year — and the Cowboys are clearly such a team.

  • Action: Cowboys +10 (-110) at FanDuel
  • Limit: +10 (-110)

Matthew Freedman is 726-571-28 (56.0%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.

The Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs, Freedman is commonly called the Oracle & the Labyrinthian.

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