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. Seattle (-7) at Atlanta
TREND: The Seahawks are 5-0 SU and ATS in their last five games in the early afternoon
Many trends like this with early starts or East/West time zones are highly-publicized, only to be not worthwhile. What time the Seahawks play their games does not matter, and a very short sample size like this is meaningless. What matters is that the line has risen sharply with Falcons QB Matt Ryan still questionable with coach Quinn to announce the decision on Saturday. Ryan suffered an ankle sprain in last week’s 37-10 home loss to the Rams, but he was seen jogging at practice last this week.
The Falcons (1-6) have been dreadful with their deficient defense allowing 387 yards per game. But the Seahawks (5-2) defense has allowed 6.0 yards per play this season; same as the Falcons. Are you willing to lay seven points on the road with a sub-par Seattle defense that was also gouged last week by the Ravens in a 30-16 defeat in Seattle?
2. LA Chargers at Chicago Bears (-3.5, 40.5 total)
TREND: CHICAGO is 28-5 UNDER (last 33 games) at home after a game with a turnover margin of -2 or worse
This type of team trends in VSiN’s Point Spread Weekly is ridiculous, despite so much other good and informative information with matchup analysis in their lengthy newsletter. Using a turnover margin to find a positive ATS situation is meaningless. Even the recent trends of Bears games going under in eight of their last 11 games doesn’t matter as much if the matchups don’t work.
Weather and injuries impact results as well — see the 49ers’ 9-0 win at Washington last week in the rain and muddy field as an example. Check the weather in Chicago on Sunday. The linemaker is adjusting the total with this being the fifth straight Bears game with a total of 41 or less.
Sometimes a team’s (poor) offensive play like the Bears can continue, and there is certainly hesitation to play OVER when QB Mitch Trubisky is struggling so much. But three of the last four Bears games have gone over the total.
The bottom line is both the Bears (3-3) and Chargers (2-5) are under-performing after each team won 12 games last season. Neither team is running the ball well and last week the Bears ran the ball a franchise-low seven times for 17 yards and the Chargers have rushed for 39, 32 and 25 yards in their last three games — worst in the NFL and just ahead of the Bears ’43 rushing yards per game in their last three games. Five of the last six Chargers games have had 43 points or less scored, so there is hesitation with both teams’ lack of offensive productions and matchups to buck the UNDER trend.
3. Arizona at New Orleans (-12.5)
TREND: The Saints are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games before a bye.
These types of pre-bye trends are mostly meaningless. What matters is the opponent and matchups, along with key injury situations and of course the betting line. The Saints (6-1) went 5-0 SU/ATS since QB Teddy Bridgwater took over for injured Drew Brees. The Saints were an underdog in four of those contests and a three-point HOME favorite over Tampa Bay when Bridgewater had his best game of the season with 312 net passing yards and 4 TD’s in a 31-24 win.
Now there’s a big adjustment in price against an improving Cardinals (3-3) team that has won three straight games, all as 3-4 point underdogs, while scoring at least 26 points in each contest against Cincinnati, Atlanta and the NY Giants.
This is a big test for rookie QB Kyler Murray against the best defense he’s faced this season in the Saints, who are top-7 allowing 328 YPG but just above average allowing 5.4 yards per play. The Saints are 18-3 SU in their last 21 home games and the Cardinals are 0-4 in their last four road games at New Orleans losing by 19 PPG. But that was without Murray, additional players, and a new coaching staff. Personnel changes, and so do schemes, making trends like those useless.
4. Denver at Indianapolis (-5, 42.5 total)
TREND: The total has gone UNDER in 14 of the Broncos’ last 16 games. (Avg combined score: 37.31)
A real totals trend has emerged on the Broncos games dating back to the middle of last season. Nine straight unders to close last season and 5-2 UNDER this season, falling 7.3 points short of the projected total on average. The Broncos offense continues to struggle this season, scoring more than 20 points in just one game. Denver’s offense is averaging just 16 points per game this year — tied with the winless Bengals and ahead of only the dregs Redskins, Jets and Dolphins.
The Broncos are averaging 5.1 yards per play on offense which is bottom quartile in the league. Broncos QB Joe Flacco has one or fewer pass TD in eight of his last nine games (0 pass TD four times). But Denver’s defense is holding opponents to 5.0 yards per play which is top-6 in the NFL, and ranks third defensively in passing yards allowed at 195 yards per game and 4th overall at 302 yards per game.
The trend looks tempting again on the under until you dig deeper and see that the Colts have played and scored their best at home. All three Colts home games have gone over the total with Indianapolis 2-1 at home winning 27-24 over the Falcons, 30-23 last week over the Texans and losing 31-24 to the Raiders. The Broncos defense is better than those three teams statistically, and the Broncos’ highest-scoring road game this season was 43 points in a 27-16 loss at Green Bay.
5. Green Bay (-4.5) at Kansas City
TREND: The Packers are 1-7-1 ATS in their last nine games at night.
Another time reference trend rendered mostly meaningless. What matters is that the Chiefs (5-2) will start backup QB Matt Moore with MVP Patrick Mahomes sidelined (kneecap). The Packers (6-1) are on a roll with the offense clicking and scoring at least 27 points in four of their last five games. But Green Bay ranks 24th in net yards per play in their last three games despite winning all three games.
The look-ahead line on this game was Chiefs -4 before Mahomes’ injury last Thursday. The Packers play just their third road games this season and are 2-0. However, Green Bay lost its first seven road games last season before beating the lowly Jets in overtime as a road favorite. Big adjustment in price in this primetime inter-conference clash of first-place teams, and that’s what matters along with the key injury situations and matchups.