The Top 10 NFL Trends Every Bettor Needs to Know Before the Season Begins

We've carefully combed through reams of stats and have identified the Top 10 long-standing trends bettors can bank on heading into the 2023 NFL season.

Last Updated: Sep 6, 2023 7:46 AM ET Read Time: 5 min
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow NFL
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While a lot of NFL betting trends are simply coincidental and need to be taken with a grain of salt, it’s undeniable that some teams simply excel or flat-out suck in specific situations. As bettors, it’s our responsibility to determine if there’s actual value in backing these trends and to track if the market is reacting to how teams are performing in these spots.

While many seasoned bettors scoff at betting trends, I view them as a good starting point for a handicap, with two very important caveats:

1) They should never be backed blindly
2) They should always be supported by statistics

While every season is different and old trends give way to new ones, here are a few longer-standing trends to consider as we enter the 2023 NFL season.

Fading the Super Bowl loser in Week 1

Trend: The loser of the Super Bowl is 4-19 ATS in Week 1 action over the last 23 seasons.

People like to throw out the expression “Super Bowl hangover” quite a bit, often without much substance, but the numbers confirm the loser of the Super Bowl has been an atrocious bet in its first game of the following season.

Week 1 betting can be tricky because we sometimes view teams as their previous year’s version, but we often see a lot of roster and coaching staff turnover on teams that qualify for the Super Bowl, which can lead to some initial growing pains that bettors don’t anticipate. 

The team in this spot this season, the Philadelphia Eagles, lost both of their offensive and defensive coordinators, so Philly's game flow might not match what we saw last season right off the bat.

Philadelphia is favored by 4.5 in New England vs. the Patriots in Week 1. 

Backing the Chiefs in Week 1

Trend: The Kansas City Chiefs are 9-1 SU under Andy Reid in Week 1.

Anyone who’s consumed even a little bit of NFL betting content over the years knows about Andy Reid off a bye, but how about Andy Reid off an offseason?

Kansas City has come out absolutely flying in season openers, even before Patrick Mahomes stepped in as the starter. Under Reid, KC is 9-1, with six of those wins coming by double-digits.

The offense has been especially locked-in in Week 1 games, as they’ve scored 33 or more points in seven straight season openers. Since Mahomes became the regular starter in 2018, Kansas City has averaged 37.8 PPG in five Week 1 games.

In Week 1 this season, they host the Lions who allowed the fourth most points last season. KC’s team total is 30.5, while teaser bettors will likely be interested in taking them down to -0.5.

The Ravens lay the smack down in Week 1

Trend: The Baltimore Ravens have recorded 15+ point wins in five of their last six Week 1 performances. 

Baltimore comes out absolutely swinging to open the regular season as they’ve been flat-out humiliating their Week 1 opponents since 2017 – the lone speed bump being an OT loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in 2021’s season opener.

These quick starts to a season include a 44-point win vs. the Bills in 2018, a 49-point win vs. the Dolphins in 2019, and a 32-point win vs, the Browns in 2020. In last season’s Week 1 game vs, the Jets, they led by 21 points prior to New York scoring a garbage time touchdown with a minute left.

This pattern of being an early-season buzzsaw is especially important when you consider that they’re the biggest favorite of the week in Week 1, coming in at -9.5 vs. the Texans.

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Joe Burrow covering

Trend: Joe Burrow is 27-14-1 ATS in his regular season career as a starter.

How can you not like Joey B, especially when he’s cashing tickets at a 65.8% clip in his career. It gets even better as the Cincinnati Bengals have gone 15-4-1 ATS as an underdog with Burrow as the starter in games that he finished.

The Bengals come into this season on an absolute tear that’s seen them cover 16 of their last 20 regular season games and five straight as an underdog.

They’ll open their season as a 2.5-point favorite in Cleveland and lookahead lines have them as an underdog in just two games: +1 at San Francisco and +3 at Kansas City.

The Under prevails in Commanders home games

Trend: The Under is 18-4-1 in the Washington Commanders' last 23 games

What do you get when you combine a pretty good defense with an atrocious offense? You get yourself a lot of Unders – specifically in home games in the case of the Commanders.

It’s been a revolving door at quarterback for Washington the past few seasons. This has led to them being a Bottom 10 scoring offense in five straight seasons. That’s hard to do.

While there’s plenty of question marks regarding Sam Howell as their long-term answer at quarterback, there’s not much debate regarding how good the defense is. They’re coming off a season where they were great on third down and is the red zone while also being strong at generating pressure. 

Washington is opening their season at home vs. the Cardinals in Week 1, and unfortunately, oddsmakers aren’t giving us a lot of room to work with. This game has the lowest total of the week at 39. It’s certainly a low number, but still, maybe not low enough. Last season, Commanders’ home games saw an average combined score of 36.8. Their final four home games were especially low scoring, with an average combined score of just 32.5.

Fading the Jets vs the AFC East

Trend: The New York Jets are 5-25 SU and 9-21 ATS over their last 30 games.

I get it, this is as high as people have been on the Jets in a very long time, but I can’t ignore that they’ve been an absolute punching bag vs. their divisional rivals. A lot of these losses are on Robert Salah’s watch too as the Jets are a pathetic 2-10 SU and 4-8 ATS within their division since he took over as head coach.

The Jets have long been the whipping boys of Bill Belichick and the Patriots who have a 14-game win streak (10-4 ATS) against them coming into the season. New York has also been horrific in divisional road games where they’re on a slide that’s seen them go 2-18 SU and 5-14-1 ATS since 2016.

What’s different this year is that the Jets are viewed as a much more competitive team, so if you’d like to fade them vs. their divisional rivals, you won’t have to pay the big price of going against a clearly overmatched underdog.

They open their season as a +2.5 home underdog vs. the Bills. For what it’s worth, they’ve been a double-digit underdog in four straight games against Buffalo. Does Aaron Rodgers really close the gap by that many points?

The Bears blow in divisional matchups

Trend: The Chicago Bears are 4-17 ATS since November 28, 2019.

The NFC North is perhaps the NFL’s most wide-open division this season with a lot of question marks. One thing we shouldn’t question, however, has been the ability of the Packers, Lions and Vikings to cash tickets vs. the Bears.

The Bears have only been an outright winner in six of these 21 games and have lost nine straight divisional matchups. Justin Fields hasn’t helped matters, as the Bears have lost eight of his nine games within the NFC North, with Chicago failing to reach 20 points in five of them.

Some view Chicago as a sleeper candidate with a high upside in 2023 and they’ll actually open the season as a rare favorite when they host the new-look Packers. They’re favored by 1.5 in that one. Four of their six divisional matchups are all within three points on lookahead lines.

The Giants are worth a shot as an underdog

Trend: The New York Giants were 10-2 ATS with six outright wins last season.

The G-Men were one of 2022’s biggest surprises as they often played up to the competition and beat a lot of that higher-level competition. Despite their overwhelming improvement from the previous year, the Giants are still a Bottom 10 team on the Super Bowl odds board and will be an underdog in plenty of games this season.

New York played in an incredible 13 one-score games last season and were an outright winner in eight of them. Coaching was clearly the biggest upgrade for this team and there weren’t many games they were truly out of as they always played hard right to the final whistle. 

You won’t have to wait long to back the Giants as an underdog. They open the season as a 3.5-point home dog vs. Dallas, and are an underdog in nine other games in current lookahead lines.

The 49ers' domination of the Rams

Trend: The San Francisco 49ers are 15-5 SU and ATS against the Los Angeles Rams since 2013.

This trend goes back a few coaching staffs and lots of roster turnover, but it’s been especially hot lately with San Francisco winning eight straight regular season games vs. the Rams, while covering seven of those spreads. 

Both teams have great head coaches, but Kyle Shanahan has been the one swinging the hammer when he faces Sean McVay, going 9-3 SU and ATS in their head-to-head regular season matchups. The 49ers destroyed them by 16 and 15 points respectively in each of the matchups last season.

Lines are up for their two regular season matchups this season. Unsurprisingly, the 49ers are favored in each at -4.5 for their Week 2 matchup in LA and -7 at home in Week 18.

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The Browns don’t win in Pittsburgh

Trend: The Cleveland Browns have suffered 19 straight regular season losses in Pittsburgh to the Steelers!

Although they’ve earned a little bit more respect as a franchise since Kevin Stefanski stepped in, the Browns have mainly been a laughingstock since returning to the NFL in 1999, with the team earning just two trips to the playoffs in that span.

They’ve been more competitive within the division, but one constant is that when they go to Pittsburgh, they lose. Now Browns’ diehards (god bless their souls) will point out that the Browns won a wild-card game in Pittsburgh in 2020, which is fair, and we’ll give them that if it makes them feel better about getting constantly humiliated in the regular season. Cleveland has also been an ATS disaster in these games, going 5-13-1 ATS.

Thankfully for us bettors, we’ll be able to jump on this bet early as the Browns visit Pittsburgh for Monday Night Football in Week 2. Lookahead lines have the Steelers favored by a single point.

Things are trending in the right direction

While a few of these trends might blow up in my face, I’m sure a few of them will continue to be a goldmine. The trend monitoring doesn’t end here, as I’ll have a weekly trends article looking at the top trends for every single game right up until the Super Bowl. See ya in Week 1!

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