NFL Week 1 Picks: A Winning Betting System Backing Last Season’s Worst Teams

NFL Week 1 Picks: A Winning Betting System Backing Last Season’s Worst Teams article feature image
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Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants fumbles

  • Savvy bettors can find Week 1 NFL value by backing last season's worst teams as underdogs.
  • By doing so, bettors can follow a system with a 57.6% against-the-spread win rate since 2005.
  • Learn the details of this system, as well as the best NFL Week 1 bets.

Many bettors use the terms “betting against the public” and “contrarian betting” interchangeably; however, the former is really a subset of the latter.

The main idea behind contrarian betting is finding value by being willing to bet on undervalued teams as oddsmakers will often shade lines toward the popular or better straight-up team in a given matchup.

One of the most common mistakes made by recreational bettors is by overemphasizing the most recent results. It’s easy to see a blowout in primetime and let that affect wagering decisions for the upcoming week of NFL games, but that’s exactly what oddsmakers are expecting as well.

And when it comes to early-season NFL games, bettors overwhelmingly lean on the previous season’s results, despite an entire offseason that includes the NFL Draft, roster turnover, coaching/system changes, etc.

Savvy bettors willing to stomach backing last year’s worst teams can find edges through the first few weeks of a new NFL season, and historical data shows just how valuable this strategy can be.

NFL Week 1 Betting System

Since 2005, teams that won six or fewer games the previous year are 152-140-8 (52.1%) against the spread (ATS) through the first three weeks of an NFL season.

Due to the customary -110 vig that sportsbooks charge in order to wager on spreads, bettors need to win 52.38% ATS in order break even, so blindly betting all teams that won just six or fewer games last season is not profitable.

However, if we drill down and look at just underdogs (track live NFL odds here), we have a winning system.

Favorites in this spot have put up a paltry 52-87-6 (37.4%) ATS record, while dogs are a robust 178-131-10 (57.6%) against the closing spread.


Week 1 currently offers eight matches for this system, and that doesn’t mean to blindly bet each of these games.

However, by combining this system with other winning NFL betting strategies, like additional historically-profitable systems, market movement, model and power rating edges, which are all built into our new NFL PRO Report, bettors can find consistent edges to help profit over the long-term.

NFL Week 1 Betting System Matches

  • Browns (+7.5) at Ravens
  • Washington (+5.5) vs. Eagles
  • Jaguars (+8) vs. Colts
  • Panthers (+3) vs. Raiders
  • Dolphins (+7) at Patriots
  • Bengals (+3) vs. Chargers
  • Cardinals (+6.5) at 49ers
  • Giants (+6) at Steelers

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