NFL betting trends let you see how teams do in specific situations. Unfortunately, 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. Miami at Buffalo (-17)
TREND: Since 1989, teams favored by at least 17 points are 13-22-1 (37.1%) against the spread.
We are seeing a record number of high point spreads this season, and this will be the fourth time the Dolphins (0-5) have been at least a 15-point underdog this season. TheScore posted this trend, and notes Miami is 0-3 SU/ATS in those games thus far. So while big underdogs in this range have been profitable on a limited sample, it’s noted that the Dolphins are a historically bad team and have already failed in the big, big ‘Dog role three times this season.
The Bills (4-1) are off a bye, and the point of attack play suggests little rushing success for the Dolphins, who will change to Ryan Fitzpatrick this week at quarterback. The Dolphins are rushing for just 58 yards per game and the Bills run defense ranks seventh allowing 87 rushing yards per game and shut down the Patriots (74) and Bengals (67) rushing attacks in two home games.
This trend is point spread specific, and this line could not only close below 17 (it’s currently -16.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook), but the situations with injuries, changing quarterbacks, bye week for the Bills and historically bad team in Miami makes the trend nothing by a tidbit.
2. Minnesota (-1.5) at Detroit
TREND: Minnesota is 14-1 ATS in its last 15 games vs. an opponent off a SU loss by 3 points or less.
This comes from the stats guys as Vegas Stats & Information Network. Team trends are often best to avoid, and while division games and trends may seem more meaningful with familiarity, there is still more turnover in player personnel and injuries to consider. The Vikings’ success in playing teams off a close loss has more to do with their stronger personnel and defense under coach Mike Zimmer than an opponent’s ability to bounce back off a close loss.
3. LA Rams (-3) at Atlanta
TREND: LA Rams are 5-0 ATS in their last five games on the road.
This is an easy trend to research and the Sporting News used it to point out the Rams road run of success, which is 3-0 ATS on the road this season. The trend is meaningless, as is the Falcons’ 5-0 SU record in their last five games against the Rams. The Falcons are 1-5 this season and one of the greatest under-performing teams.
The trend also includes last year’s playoff win at New Orleans, when an official’s call determined the game late, and this year the Browns had first and goal inside the Rams 5-yard line trailing by seven points late as an underdog but failed to score a touchdown. Those plays and calls would change this trend, and personnel and match-ups are much more meaningful.
The Rams (3-3) have lost three straight games, including on the road at Seattle two weeks ago 30-29 when Seattle closed a 1-point favorite but this trend is using -1.5 as the line. So again, there is variance in trends, lines, and far more meaning in personnel, injuries, match-ups and how a team is performing and when they play opponents than a meaningless short term trend.
4. Philadelphia at Dallas (-2.5)
TREND: Favorites (like Dallas) coming off three straight ATS losses are 14-27-2 ATS (34.1%) since 2015, with a 1-5 record in their last six games.
Another trend from TheScore, and while the Cowboys (3-3) are reeling with three straight losses, they are still tied with the Eagles (3-3) for first place in the NFC East. Dallas swept Philadelphia last season including 29-23 in overtime at AT&T Stadium when Dak Prescott passed 54 times for 455 yards in a dominating yards differential in favor of the Cowboys.
This Sunday Night Football showdown is up in the air with injury issues and Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith and wide receiver Amari Cooper still questionable. The Eagles secondary issues with injuries could see both Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby returning, along with wide receiver Desean Jackson. So again the trends are not a reflection of the matchups, health or opponents. Despite the Dallas injuries, the Cowboys still lead the league on offense with a 6.8 yards per play. They also have a 1.4 yards per play differential while the Eagles are -0.4.
5. New England (-10) at New York Jets
TREND: Since 2015, New England is 18-5-1 ATS (78.3%) as a double-digit favorite, including a 4-1 ATS record (80%) versus the Jets in those spots.
The Monday Night Football division match-up has the undefeated Patriots (6-0) against the Jets (1-4), who pulled the upset last week against the Cowboys as a seven-point home underdog. The Jets passing game was solid with QB Sam Darnold (mono) returning and passing for more than 300 yards in victory.
Note Darnold was out when the Patriots pounded the Jets 30-14 in Week 3. In that contest, New York had just six first downs and 105 total yards offense without an offensive touchdown. The Patriots have dominated division opponents with poor quarterback play by New York, Miami and Buffalo for a number of years, so the trend is not too surprising. The Jets will also get start linebacker CJ Mosley back this week, aiding their cause in hopes to be more competitive.