Throughout the course of an NFL season, sports fans and bettors often look at trends when evaluating games and weekly match-ups. NFL betting trends let you see how teams do in specific situations.
Unfortunately, trends are mostly meaningless. Trends don’t win games, or pay the rent, and team trends especially are often useless. They are fluff added to game analysis to convince you they matter. Many are nothing more than an interesting tidbit. Don’t buy into a majority of them, or 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 or 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.
Here are some (of the MANY) NFL Week 3 trends that are being tossed around that you can throw away as you evaluate the matchups and Week 3 NFL lines.
1. Tennessee (-1.5) at Jacksonville
TREND: The total has gone UNDER in four of the last five Jaguars games.
Thursday night’s AFC South matchup features the Jaguars (0-2) hosting the Titans (1-1). FanDuel Sportsbook has set the point spread with the Titans (-1.5) a slight road favorite and the total has dropped to 39.
The Titans have won and covered five of the last six meetings against the Jaguars, and it’s noted also that the total has gone UNDER in five of the Jaguars last six home games. Both of these are mostly meaningless as they carry over into previous seasons. And the total trend, especially, can be thrown out. The Jaguars played their final three games last season under the total (each posted under 40 points) with Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler as Jacksonville’s quarterbacks. Neither is now on the Jaguars, who will start rookie QB Gardner Minshew against the Titans.
Sure, the Jaguars lost 13-12 last week at Houston with Minshew making his NFL starting debut. And yes, these two teams failed to score a touchdown in last year’s September meeting at Jacksonville in the Titans’ 9-6 win. But that’s all been factored into this total, and the reason why it has been dropping from the opening number of 41, where more than 65% of the bets are supporting the UNDER.
Again, a team total that really doesn’t matter. What matters in this one are the matchups on the field, the play calling and execution, and game plans that can take advantage of a team’s strength and weaknesses. The Titans (290 YPG) and Jaguars (354 YPG) offenses both rank in the bottom half of NFL total yards through two games.
2. Miami at Dallas (-21.5)
TREND: The total has gone UNDER in five of the last six meetings between the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins
Really? These two teams have played twice in the past decade. This trend goes as far back as 1999, when Dan Marino was completing his final season as the Dolphins quarterback! It doesn’t matter. Toss. What’s getting more news is the spread, as Dallas is a 21.5-point favorite over the Dolphins, and the Cowboys are taking a majority of the bets. FanDuel Sportsbook also has the total at 47.5 points.
3. New York Giants at Tampa Bay (-6.5)
TREND: The New York Giants are 7-1 ATS across their last eight road meetings with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Bucs (-6.5) are near a touchdown favorite at FanDuel Sportsbook. Six of these eight games in this trend were more than a decade ago, and it goes back as far as 1991. Meaningless.
These two NFC teams meet for the third straight season, and the Giants (0-2) have announced that rookie QB Daniel Jones will make his NFL debut against the Buccaneers. The Giants (+2.5) lost at Tampa Bay 25-23 on Oct. 1, 2017, when Eli Manning was New York’s quarterback. But the Buccaneers have a new head coach and new offensive system under Bruce Arians.
Quarterback Jameis Winston is now in his fifth season as Bucs quarterback after being drafted No. 1 overall. He’s thrown a league-high 61 interceptions since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2015. Also, Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is now in Miami, started last year’s 38-35 loss to the Giants.
Something that actually does matter: Giants RB Saquon Barkley is averaging an NFL-best 7.57 yards per rush this season. The Buccaneers defense ranks No. 3 in the NFL against the run so far, allowing just 2.69 yards per rush. Christian McCaffrey was held in check by this Bucs defense last week.
4. Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
TREND: The Cincinnati Bengals are 5-0 ATS in last their 5 games on the road.
Clearly this team trend will not continue at this rate, and Cincinnati lost all five of those road games SU while catching at least 6.5 points as underdog. But the Bengals (0-2) have more concerning issues in matching up with the Bills (2-0) and their stronger defense in Buffalo.
Left tackle Cordy Glenn missed a second straight game last week in concussion protocol; backup left tackle Andre Smith suffered a groin injury; rookie guard Michael Jordan suffered left knee injury. Also, seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver AJ Green (ankle) remains out but is expected to return in Week 4 for the Bengals Monday night matchup at Pittsburgh.
5. New York Jets at New England Patriots (-22.5)
TREND: The Jets are 1-4 ATS in their last five in Week 3 and New York is 0-5-1 ATS versus a team with a winning record.
Once again, small sample sizes, and does it really matter how the Jets have done in Week 3? No. I guess the Jets are doomed against the powerful Patriots since New York hasn’t covered against a winning team in their last six games, all dating back to last year. Again, worthless. Similar to the Jets’ 1-7 ATS record in their last eight versus the AFC East.
The top-ranked Patriots (2-0) have yet to allow a touchdown through two games. New England returns home to tackle the now bottom-feeding Jets (0-2), who are forced to start third-string QB Luke Falk. This spread continues to rise from an opening of -19, as FanDuel Sportsbook now has the Patriots laying 22.5 points with a total of 44.
The look-ahead line last week at FanDuel Sportsbook prior to Week 3 games being played was Patriots -14.5. The Jets have lost their last three games in Foxboro with the Patriots out-scoring Gang Green by an average of 31 points per game. But the point spread is the great equalizer and should be an embarrassment to a Jets team.
New Jets head coach Adam Gase was the Dolphins head coach previously and should have preparations in place for the Patriots’ high-powered offense. But can the Jets counter enough if New England scores at least 30 points? Second-year QB Luke Falk makes his first NFL start for the Jets with both starter Sam Darnold (mono) and backup Trevor Siemian (ankle) out. Falk was on the Dolphins under Adam Gase last season, and his start means the Jets are the first team in more than a decade to start three different quarterbacks in their first three games.
Falk completed 20-of-25 passes for 198 yards last week in relief of injured Siemian. Many were to RB Le’Veon Bell (10), who may get 30 touches again this week. All the prognosticators are calling for another Patriots blowout, but it should have nothing to do with the team trends.