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NFL Week 1 Up 10, Early Win Promotion Predictions: At DraftKings, Underdogs Reign Supreme

NFL Week 1 Up 10, Early Win Promotion Predictions: At DraftKings, Underdogs Reign Supreme article feature image
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Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images. Pictured: Buffalo’s Gabriel Davis, Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs.

DraftKings is running a promotion for Week 1 of the NFL season in which a moneyline wager will cash if the team you bet on goes up 10 points or more at any point during the game.

The moneyline will cash, too, if the team you wager on wins but never goes up 10 points.

The sportsbook is offering the same promotion for Thursday’s season opener between the Bills and Rams — but for an even better price. A mere seven-point lead there will cash your wager.

The max wager is as high as $250 for VIP accounts. Most accounts will see a max bet per game of $50, but maximum wagers will range everywhere in between, depending on how much you bet with the book.

DraftKings has run this promotion for other events in the past, namely during the 2022 NBA Finals, when both sides cashed during a topsy turvy Game 1.

For this week’s promotion, I went about analyzing which teams to pick by looking at every game from 2009 to 2018, which is the last year betting data of the sort is available.

My main thesis was to discover whether favorites or underdogs were the better play.

The results were clear: underdogs are generally the better play.

Teams below .500 saw an increase in win probability of roughly 8.4%. Meanwhile, teams .500 and above only saw a 5.5% probability bump from the promotion.

The strength of the relationship between a team’s winning percentage and the probability bump they received by applying the promotion is high. That’s reflected in a correlation coefficient of -0.35.

In effect, that means the worse a team was, the better a pick they were for this promo.

I won’t be taking underdogs for every single pick on this promo, seeing as there isn’t much of a difference between a small favorite and small underdog. For instance, if DraftKings has a valuable line for a small favorite, I may be more inclined to take it.

However, I will be looking to take every sizable underdog based on the aforementioned information.

Teams that were very bad saw statistically substantial probability boosts to their “win” percentage with this promo.

For example, the Pittsburgh Steelers are +230 on the road against the Bengals on Sunday. With the aforementioned 8% probability boost as a result of this promotion, the fair odds are priced at +160.

That gives this pick at +230 roughly 26% in expected value (EV). Effectively, you’re expected to make $26 for every $100 wagered over the theoretical long run on this specific bet.

This method isn’t perfect and certain games will have higher or lower EV depending on over/under of the game and other factors.

My picks:

  1. Bills -130 (Seven-point promo)
  2. Jets +245 vs. Ravens
  3. Will wait for Bears line to improve vs. the 49ers
  4. Texans +265 vs. Colts
  5. Steelers +230 vs. Bengals
  6. Lions +165 vs. Eagles
  7. Falcons +195 vs. Saints
  8. Patriots +155 vs. Dolphins
  9. Browns +105 vs. Panthers
  10. Jaguars +120 vs. Commanders
  11. Giants +210 vs. Titans
  12. Cardinals +200 vs. Chiefs
  13. Packers -120 vs. Vikings
  14. Raiders +155 vs. Chargers
  15. Cowboys +120 vs. Buccaneers
  16. Seahawks +240 vs. Broncos

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