NFL Week 2: Don't overreact to Week 1 - Prediction Machine

NFL Week 2: Don’t overreact to Week 1

Kansas City Chiefs

A Lot More Football To Come

The best advice for betting the NFL in Week 2, is to not overreact to what you saw in Week 1.

Every year, bettors spend all summer forming strong opinions on teams based on data and logic and then emotionally toss those opinions in the garbage after Week 1. It’s very common for public bettors to start hot Week 1 and then get eaten by the “recency bias monster” in Week 2.

Of course, you don’t want to completely ignore what you saw in Week 1 either, but take what you witnessed with a Nate Newton size grain of salt because poor performance Week 1 could be explained for a variety of reasons that are more likely than the public’s general, “I watched they game, they suck” analysis.

For instance, rust and lack of time to gel could explain disappointing performances especially these days with one less preseason game. Also, it can take some time for new coordinators and players to get on the same page. Rookies will be playing more loose and free in Week 2 after getting a week under their belt too.

In Week 1 last year, the Eagles barely got by the Lions (38-35) and the 49ers were upset by the Bears, 19-10. Then these teams played 2022 playoff teams (Vikings and Seahawks) the following week and both won by 17+ points and eventually played each other in the NFC Championship game last season.

In other words, the Lions defense is probably not as good as we saw in Week 1 and the Giants and Steelers likely have better days ahead.

8 teams looking to rebound

Recency Bias is a dangerous thing in Week 2, especially this season when several Week 1 games were played in wet field conditions.

Eight teams lost by double-digits in Week 1 (Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Carolina, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Seattle, Chicago, Giants) and conventional wisdom suggests fading these teams in Week 2, but betting with conventional wisdom is what helps buy those fancy screens and expensive decor at your favorite sportsbook.

Since 2010, teams who lost by double-digits in Week 1 are 51-33-3 in Week 2. Since 2018, they were 21-12-1 and last year when the NFL reduced the preseason to three games, they were 4-1-1.

These trends and psychological principals like recency biasĀ are well known by sharp bettors and that’s why there’s already been line early movement on teams who looked bad in Week 1. The Giants, for instance, were the worst looking team in Week 1, but have already been bet up from -4 to -6 vs. Arizona.

If you’re a recreational bettor, and a Week 2 line seems too good to be true, ask yourself if you’re overreacting to Week 1 before pulling the trigger.