Reaction or Overreaction? Pro handicappers weigh NFL Week 1 results
The most common mistake a NFL bettor can make is overreacting to Week 1 outcomes.
While Week 1 tells us a lot about where teams are headed, it’s a snapshot of the big picture and banking on opening day results when wagering on Week 2 can get the season started on the wrong foot.
We asked some of Covers Experts’ sharpest handicappers what they saw in Week 1, and what bettors should and shouldn’t react to.
Bruce Marshall – “The New Orleans Saints. If the Saints were going to re-emerge as the team to beat in the NFC South, they simply had to beat Atlanta in the opener. Mission accomplished. Better yet, they rallied from 10-0 down and needed their defense to hold on for the win. The road to the NFC South title now runs through the Superdome, where the Sean Payton Saints have now won and covered 10 in a row.”
Teddy Covers – “Pittsburgh catching 6.5 next Monday Night. The Steelers lost a lot of defensive leadership this past offseason and their top two pass catchers from last year are hurt (Heath Miller) or gone (Mike Wallace). Pittsburgh had won at least three preseason games in every previous season under Mike Tomlin. This year, they went 0-4. The opening day loss of Maurkice Pouncey is as impactful an injury as we've seen all year. Pittsburgh is in serious trouble.”
Jesse Schule – "Patriot fans should be concerned about New England's offense. Tom Brady turned the ball over twice and he was completing just 50 percent of his passes until late in the fourth quarter. Shane Vereen had a big day running the ball but a broken wrist will keep him out for the next several weeks."
Bryan Power – "I would point toward the Keystone State. I think the Eagles and Chip Kelly's offense are going to be even better than expected while the Steelers appear to be in serious trouble."
Steve Merril – “The New York Jets. The Jets were miserable offensively last year, but it does look like rookie QB Geno Smith might give them a spark offensively this season. He led them to a late-drive victory and played well overall.”
Sean Murphy – “Bettors should react to bad defensive performances. At this early stage of the season, the defenses should be ahead of the offenses, but that certainly wasn't the case for some teams in Week 1. I think it's easier to show offensive improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 than it is to turn things around defensively.”
DON’T OVERREACT TO…
Doc’s Sports – “I would not overact to the loss by the Green Bay Packers against San Francisco. I actually felt the Packers offensive line played outstanding against one of the best defenses in the league. If not for a couple of bad calls, Green Bay would have earned the victory in a hostile environment. I expect the Packers to bounce back well at home next week, as they still have the best coach/quarterback combination in the league.”
Art Aronson – “Don't overreact to how well the Broncos and Chiefs looked. The biggest mistake that bettors can make going into Week 2 is overreacting to how well or poorly a team did in Week 1. Be mindful of the situation and take a good long look at the line before laying down your wager.”
Matt Fargo – “Do not overreact to the amount of low-scoring games in Week 1. The under went 8-4-1 Sunday but that doesn’t mean that offenses won't step it back up in the coming weeks. If anything, these low-scoring games will present some value in Week 2, as we have seen some lower than expected totals come out for Week 2. We can definitely use this to our advantage as the bounce angle is always a very good one when it comes to attacking totals on a week-to-week basis.”
Jesse Schule – "Don't overreact to Adrian Peterson's big day, scoring three touchdowns against the Lions. After breaking away for a 78-yard TD run in the first quarter, he averaged less than two yards per carry from then on and the Vikings' running game was shut down for the rest of the game."
Steve Merril – “The Giants loss. New York outgained the Cowboys by 147 total yards, but lost 36-31 because of six turnovers. This is unlikely to happen going forward and New York should still be the team to beat in the NFC East this season.”
Bruce Marshall – “Oakland and Terrelle Pryor. It looks as if Pryor might provide a long-overdue spark for the Raiders offense. But NFL defenses adjust quickly to new flavors like Pryor, and the aerial component of his game still needs refinement. Expect Pryor to be forced to deal from the pocket more often in upcoming weeks, as opponents pay closer attention to his escape lanes.”