Betting against the biggest NFL Week 1 winner a strong strategy in Week 2

Sep 12, 2017 |

NFL teams coming off the largest margin of victory in Week 1 are 2-8 against the spread in Week 2 dating back to the 2007 campaign. Teams coming off the largest Week 1 margin of covering the spread are an even worse 1-8-1 ATS in Week 2 again over the last 10 seasons.

Last year, the San Francisco 49ers thumped the visiting Los Angeles Rams 28-0 as 2.5-point underdogs. The Niners lost 46-27 and failed to cover as 12-point underdogs against the hosting Carolina Panthers. The result turned out to be the Panthers' only ATS win in their first six games of the 2016 season.

The data shows us not to overreact to what we saw in the first week of the season, and that oddsmakers know bettors want to back teams who look most impressive right out of the gate.

The Rams qualify as the team to fade in Week 2 based off this trend. Los Angeles throttled the sad-sack Indianapolis Colts 46-9 and covered the 3.5-point spread by a comfortable margin.
Los Angeles is 2.5-point chalk at home against the Washington Redskins on Sunday. CG Technology originally set the Rams as 2-point dogs in this game when the book created spreads for every game of the 2017 season last April.

These squads stream-rolling in Week 1 don’t usually bounce back after a bad Week 2 showing either. Only two of the last seven teams to produce the biggest ATS win in Week 1 of the season finished with an above .500 ATS mark for the year.

The 2016 Niners finished with the third worst ATS record at 5-11 behind the Rams and Cleveland Browns. The 2015 Tennessee Titans won by 28 points at Tampa Bay, but finished the season 4-11-1 ATS. 

The teams who were on the losing end of those Week 1 giant covers are 5-4-1 ATS in their next games. After that embarrassing 28-0 loss to the Niners in Week 1 last season, the Rams won outright as 5.5-point pups against the visiting Seattle Seahawks the following Sunday. LA went on to cover in its next three games and produced 75 percent of the team’s ATS wins for the season in the process.

The Rams extended the streak to three years of the biggest Week 1 loser covering the spread the following week. The 2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost by 28 points to the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, went to New Orleans the next weekend and won outright as near double-digit underdogs.

In 2014, the Rams were 3-point home chalk in their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. They lost 34-6 but came back the next week and won 19-17 at Tampa Bay as 4-point underdogs.

The numbers tell us there is an over-correction made by oddsmakers to create two-way action in the second week of the season. It'll be easy to attract bets on the Rams this week after their impressive season debut, but there aren''t many out there desperate to back the Colts this week. Indy is getting just 30 percent of the picks against Arizona according to the Covers Consensus board.

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