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. Baltimore (-6) at Buffalo
TREND: Buffalo is 0-6-1 ATS in its last seven games when playing a team on winning streak of six or more games
What a meaningless trend. Almost as useless as the Ravens 18-4 ATS record in games before they play the Steelers. What is meaningful is that this is a big playoff positioning game between the AFC North-leading Ravens (10-2) and AFC East second-place team Bills (9-3).
Both teams bring hot streaks into this contest in cold climate. Weather forecasts show temperatures in the 30s but feeling colder with 16 MPH southwest winds in Orchard Park.
Baltimore has won eight straight games since the start of October and had its 5-0 ATS run snapped last week in a 20-17 win over the 49ers as a six-point favorite. Buffalo continues to exceed expectations on a current 3-0 SU/ATS run and the Bills defense has allowed 20 points or less in five straight games. Bills games are 9-3 to the ‘under’ this season, but when you have a strong defense like Buffalo and play the Redskins, Bengals, Broncos, Dolphins and Jets — the five lowest-scoring teams in the league — you tend to play lower-scoring games.
2. San Francisco at New Orleans (-2.5)
TREND: San Francisco is 6-19-1 ATS since 2000 on the road against teams with a winning percentage of 80% or better
Huge game in the NFC between first-place teams looking toward a No. 1 playoff seed and a first-round bye. The 49ers (10-2) lost last week at Baltimore, and San Francisco is staying in Florida this week in preparation for the Saints (10-2) in the second leg of a cross country road trip.
The Statfox guy at the Vegas Stats & Information Network (VSiN) uses many of these meaningless team trends going back decades and adding subsets against strong or weak teams. Of course, the 49ers had a bad run of sub-par seasons, which any losing team is going to struggle against the best teams especially on the road. The situation, personnel, match-ups and injuries are of much more significance, and of course the betting line.
In this huge matchup of top teams, it’s strength versus strength with the 49ers’ top 2 rushing offense (148 yards per game) against the Saints’ top 3 rushing defense (88/game). Also, the Saints No. 2 pass completion offense (26 completions per game) with QB Drew Brees against the 49ers’ No. 1 pass defense (134 passing YPG, 4.6 yards per pass). The 49ers are +166 in point differential, averaging 29 PPG on offense and allowing 15.25 PPG on defense. The Saints are +50 in point differential, averaging 24.8 PPG on offense and allowing 20.6 PPG on defense. Both teams have been profitable for their betting backers with the 49ers covering 7-of-12 games and the Saints 8-of-12.
3. Detroit at Minnesota (-13)
TREND: The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Detroit’s last 12 games when playing Minnesota
Another team total trend that is mostly meaningless. Lions third-string QB David Blough will make his second straight start and first road start. Detroit has extra rest following its 24-20 loss on Thanksgiving. The Lions have averaged just 19 points per game over their last four contests with two of those against the Bears. The Lions’ losing streak has reached five games following a strong start in which they blew a number of games including against the Chiefs and Packers.
A rookie quarterback making his first road start plus the Lions seemingly sluggish offensive over the last month has bettors looking towards the under. The Vikings defense is still tough with head coach Mike Zimmer one of the best defensive minds. Minnesota is not as strong statistically this season, but still ranks 11th in points allowed (20.2), 16th in total defense (347.4), 15th against the run (104.5) and 20th against the pass (242.9).
The Vikings offense has scored 29 points per game at home to rank No. 2 in the league, and in Week 5 the Vikings rolled to a 42-30 win at Detroit when Matthew Stafford was quarterback for the Lions. The average combined score in the Vikings’ last seven games is 47 points.
4. Kansas City at New England (-3)
TREND: New England 14-3-3 ATS at home over the last five years as a favorite of 7 or less
Bettors buying low on the Patriots will love this trend. The Patriots (10-2) defense remains elite (12 PPG, 258 YPG) while also facing an early-season softer schedule. But the offense and QB Tom Brady have struggled in recent weeks. New England has averaged just 17.3 points per game over its last three contests and enters off a 28-22 loss at Houston. Still, the Patriots’ +177 point differential is second only to the Ravens.
The Chiefs (8-4) are a potential sleeping giant as they put the pedal down through December with QB Patrick Mahomes back from injury and directing the offense. The ‘over’ is 7-0 in Patriots games when facing head coach Andy Reid, including in last year’s AFC Championship game won by New England 37-31 in overtime when the Chiefs and Patriots combined for 38 points in the fourth quarter of a thrilling finish.
5. Seattle at LA Rams (-1)
TREND: Seattle is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 games on Sunday Night Football
Primetime Sunday night matchup of NFC West rivals. The Seahawks (10-2) continue to fly over opponents and rallied from a 17-10 halftime deficit to beat the Vikings 37-30 Monday night. Now traveling to Los Angeles in a game that has the Rams a 1-point favorite at both DraftKings and FanDuel, but the line has dropped to pick ’em at William Hill Sportsbook. The look-ahead line was Seattle -2.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook.
The Rams (7-5) make their last gasp for a playoff push following last week’s dominating win at Arizona, 34-7. The Rams offense accumulate a week-high 549 yards against the Cardinals. Los Angeles is also seeking redemption for a 30-29 loss at Seattle in Week 5 when Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein missed a 43-yard field goal in the closing seconds. Both teams racked up better than 425 yards offense at 6.4 and 7.1 yards per play respectively in that contest.
Seattle continues to win and gain wagering support despite just a +36 point differential this season as the Seahawks defense is bottom 10 in the league allowing 24.4 points per game and 369 yards per game. More than 85% of the bets and money at FanDuel Sportsbook are on the Seahawks as of Saturday morning as Seattle has generated the highest percentage of bets of Week 14 teams, yet the line has dropped, signaling sharper action and support on the Rams.