NFL betting trends let you see how teams do in specific situations. Unfortunately, these trends are mostly meaningless. They don’t win games or pay the rent.
Team trends, especially, are useless (examples of that later). They are fluff added to game analysis to convince you that they matter. Many are nothing more than an interesting tidbit. Don’t be sold by touts who use trends as marketing tactics to please and engage fans and bettors.
Digital and social media is part of the ways these trends are filtered to fans, as it’s been reported that more than 80% of fans check social media while enjoying their favorite game on TV.
When you see trends provided by various handicappers, journalists, media outlets, newsletters or database queries, ask yourself: “Does this make sense?” Also, for any type of technical analysis that references a trend, it should have extended situations to support its premise.
There is some technical analysis that can be useful when analyzing fundamental indicators and league-wide situations. But many trends should be thrown away, as other factors like injuries, weather or line movement may have affected the ATS result.
1. Atlanta at New Orleans (-13.5)
TREND: The Falcons are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games after a bye.
The bye week angle is often meaningless, as the record is dependent on the opponent and how a team is performing and prepared. The Falcons are poor in both those areas this season, but that post-bye week record never had the Falcons as this big an underdog.
The Falcons (1-7) have lost all four road games this season and two in blowout fashion to the Vikings and Texans. The NFC South-leading Saints (7-1) are also off a bye, and the Saints offense leads the league in net yards-per-play over their last three contests, including 510 yards at 7.1 yards per play last game with QB Drew Brees returning under center.
The Falcons have been a double-digit underdog once since December 2014, and that was last season at New Orleans on a short week in a 31-17 loss taking 11.5 points. Matt Ryan passed 47 times for 377 yards that game, and he’s likely to return from an ankle injury this week after missing the Falcons last game. He’ll be passing plenty again, and a high-scoring game is expected.
2. Detroit at Chicago (-2.5)
TREND: The Bears are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games vs divisional opponents.
The Bears (3-5) are on a 0-4 SU/ATS slide and need a 7-1 finish or better to make the playoffs. Same for the Lions (3-4-1), but Detroit has played better than the Bears this season (especially on offense), and the Lions could easily have five or six wins.
Chicago has not played a division game since September and is 1-1 SU/ATS this season versus division opponents with a win over the Vikings. Last season the Bears went 6-0 ATS in division games, winning five of them, including two against the Lions.
But short term team trends like this are often meaningless, as the matchups, injuries and performances dictate outcomes, along with turnovers. After winning the NFC North last season and finishing 12-4, the Bears are a completely different animal this season. Chicago has delivered ranking top 5 in scoring defense, but QB Mitch Trubisky has been terrible and the Bears scoring offense ranks 28th averaging 17.8 points per game — eight PPG worse than the Lions.
3. Buffalo at Cleveland (-2.5)
TREND: The Browns are 1-13 ATS in their last 14 games at home vs. teams with winning records.
Of course they are! The Browns have been brutally bad in recent years including a winless season in 2017 when Cleveland’s clueless coach kept starting a rookie quarterback that belonged on the scout team. Now coach Freddie Kitchens is on the frying pan with his continued questionable decisions and recent comments like “I truly don’t look at stats.”
The Browns are on an 0-4 SU/ATS slide and also 0-3 SU/ATS at home this season. The Dawg pound is getting ornery, and QB Baker Mayfield and the talent around him better start producing. The Bills (6-2) visit in Week 10 and the Browns (2-6) are favored. The oddsmakers know what they are doing far more than coach Kitchens. Guaranteed.
4. Minnesota at Dallas (-3)
TREND: The Vikings are 0-6 SU and ATS in their last six games as an underdog.
This is a short term trend that picks up traction but can be easily dismissed noting that the Vikings went on an 18-2 ATS run under coach Zimmer in 2015 through the early part of 2016 season. That included an 8-0 ATS run as underdog. The Vikings were good enough to beat the Eagles as underdog last season and cover as ‘Dog against the Rams in back-to-back weeks before this downward trend.
Now the Vikings (6-3) get another shot against the Cowboys (5-3), who are 8-1 SU in their last nine home games. The Cowboys offense leads the league in net yards-per-play (6.7), but the Vikings counter with the No. 3 offense (6.2 YPPL). Both defenses are just fractions apart statistically, allowing 318 (5.1 YPPL) and 320 (5.2) yards per game. Minnesota has played the superior strength of schedule with Dallas beating the NYG (2-7) twice, Dolphins (1-7) and Redskins (1-8), and losing to the Jets (1-7)! So Dallas has not beaten a team with a winning record this season and lost to the Packers and Saints. Player performances, play calls and execution will determine the outcome. Not a short term trend.
5. Seattle at San Francisco (-6.5)
TREND: The Seahawks are 13-3-1 ATS in their last 17 night games vs divisional opponents and 13-2 ATS in their last 15 night games as an underdog.
Big Monday Night Football division match-up between the Seahawks (7-2) and 49ers (8-0). The night game trends for Seattle are about as meaningful as the Seahawks’ 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS record in their last eight games before a bye. The Seahawks have been winning in recent years with strong defensive play and QB Russell Wilson delivering MVP performances like he’s doing again this season.
What time of day the Seahawks play division opponents does not matter, but this Monday night game will be one of the most bet games of the weekend with FanDuel Sportsbook reporting that 80% of the bets and 75% money is on the Seahawks as of Friday. The Seahawks have also been a big moneymaker against the 49ers, going 13-3 ATS in their last 16 meetings. None of those were against a San Francisco teams as good as this one, however.
The 49ers boast the best rushing game in the NFC (171/game) and a balanced attack with QB Jimmy G adding new receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who could play a big role with TE George Kittle questionable. San Francisco is not going to be slowed by a Seahawks defense that allows a NFC-worst 6.2 yards per play.