As Week 7 of the NFL season approaches, the way we view each team and the overall betting landscape, is starting to come into focus.
Every team now has five or six games under its belt, which is a decent sample size to (carefully) make judgments and draw conclusions going forward. I say carefully because sportsbooks adjust, so it’s important to thoughtfully consider trends as opposed to blindly chasing them. With that disclaimer in mind, let’s take a look at a few interesting early season trends and see what we can glean from them.
Panthers and Broncos winless ATS
Carolina and Denver are both 0-5-1 ATS, but I have completely different outlooks on how these teams will fare moving forward.
Carolina coach Frank Reich (finally!) turned play calling responsibilities over to 37-year-old Sean McVay disciple Thomas Brown. As we’ve seen in the past, changing playcallers has a way of igniting offenses. Carolina is on a bye this week and despite their awful record vs. the spread this year, I’ll actually be looking for nice buy-low spots to bet Carolina moving forward.
Carolina has weapons on offense (DJ Chark Jr & Adam Thielen) and Miles Sanders should be back soon, but even with Sanders healthy, the offense has been lackluster (ranked 31st in Offensive DVOA). Reich was in charge of the Colts offense last year which finished dead last in Offensive DVOA (albeit Reich was only leading it for nine games before being fired) and it’s beginning to look like he’s part of the problem.
I’m not nearly as optimistic about the Broncos turning the ship around. If Denver’s gross ATS record wasn’t off putting enough, consider that it’s failed to cover its games by an average of 11.1 points. With a team struggling this badly and two polarizing figures in the organization (Sean Payton and Russell Wilson), I’m wondering if Payton has already lost the locker room. The trade of DE Randy Gregory to the 49ers might be the precursor to a fire sale and I’m expecting the Broncos ATS and SU struggles to continue.
Saints 6-0 on unders
With NFL scoring down, much of the league is finding itself in low scoring games. But the Saints stand alone as the league’s only team which hasn’t played in a game where the over cashed this season.
The Raiders, Ravens, Titans, Vikings, Giants, Patriots and Falcons are all 5-1 to the under. You may notice a trend here as all these teams (With the exception of the Vikings who have struggled with turnovers) have QBs who haven’t done much to wow us this season.
There was a lot of hype about Saints QB Derek Carr in his new offense. Others were optimistic about Daniel Jones in his second year with Brian Daboll or Lamar Jackson with a new pass-first offensive coordinator. Some felt Mac Jones was being held back by poor play-calling last season and he’d thrive without Matt Patricia calling plays. None of these narratives have proven true so far and it’s starting to look like these QBs just aren’t as good as many people thought.
Unless Carr can get his act together, expect the Saints’ unders to keep cashing.
Bears 5-1 to the over
While much of the league has been in rock fights, Chicago has watched the over cash in five of its six games this season.
However, with the injury to Justin Fields last week, I expect this trend to come to a screeching hault. I’m not a big believer in Fields but he is able to move the ball and put up points when his team is trailing late in games (11 TDs) and that’s a great ingredient for overs. Fields’ replacement, Tyson Bagent is an unknown so I’d see what the kid has before betting Bears’ games moving forward.