What did the Colts, Falcons, and Bears have in common heading into Week 2 of the NFL season? All three teams had win total projections of 8 or more going into the year, and all were 0-1 heading into their second game of the 2019 season.
Situational betting is a handicapping technique that will allow you to take advantage of recency bias from the public. Watching how the lines overreact to from week-to-week is a great way to find value in the opening lines from the books. I feel like it happens the most from Week 1 to Week 2 in the NFL, and this year was no different. The three aforementioned teams all presented great betting opportunities that all cashed on the moneyline.
Identifying bounce-back situations
The Tampa Bay Bucs were another team that looked awful in a Week 1 loss only to bounce back for a big win, but I don’t put Tampa in the same category as the other three because their preseason win total at most books was just six. They also played on the road on Thursday night, a spot that isn’t normally great coming off a short week.
The Bucs rallied for a big win against Carolina anyway. But I passed on that game.
Meanwhile, the Colts were catching three points from the Titans on the road after Indy lost to the Chargers in Week 1. A lot people were afraid of the back-to-back road games to open the season for the Colts and the loss of QB Andrew Luck is still hard to quantify in betting terms for this season. However, I’ve maintained that Jacoby Brissett isn’t that far of a drop off at the position as the public is making it out to be and Indy needed a win desperately. The Colts didn’t just cover but they won the game outright against a divisional rival on the road.
Chicago was desperate for a win after being embarrassed by the Packers defense at home to open the season. The Bears scored only three points against Green Bay and were laying three points on the road at Denver. While Chicago didn’t cover the line the closing line of -3, they did cover the opening line of -1 (we discussed getting the best number in an earlier column) and they cashed the moneyline which was closed around -145 at most books.
Finally, the Falcons were in a great spot at home on Sunday Night Football against a 1-0 Eagles team that was on a lot of parlay and teaser cards across the country. The sportsbooks were very much in need of Atlanta to win the game outright and that’s never a bad place to be. Atlanta looked awful in its first game against Minnesota, but coming home to play in front of fans and a national TV audience catching two points is never a bad spot. The Falcons and Eagles went back and forth but at the end, Atlanta held on fourth down to win the game 24-20.
Going beyond the matchup
While it’s always great to look at a matchup from a numbers perspective and try to find an angle for how the game will go, don’t overlook when and where the game is being played on the schedule. Teams that start 0-2 only make the playoffs 15% of the time and a team that is predicted to win 8 or more games is normally in the running for a playoff spot. That means an 0-1 team is going to fight like mad to get that first win in week 2.
While I understand teams that play on the road in back-to-back games to start the season are at a massive disadvantage and maybe passed on Indy for that reason, quality teams in my opinion will go the extra mile to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. The Colts did just that. The Bears were about to go 0-2 with a loss at Denver but pulled a rabbit out of a hat to avoid answering a ton of questions about their team this season. Atlanta led for most of the game but made big plays late in the game to take back the lead they blew and held it against Philly late in the contest.
If you played Bears, Colts and Falcons this week to win outright, you were rewarded nicely for having faith in an 0-1 team turning things around in Week 2 of the NFL.