After Week 1 in the NFL, I made some observations. Of course, that early in the year, nobody knows anything for certain, but I suspected a few trends. I was right that the AFC South stinks, and was also correct that the AFC West is strong. My thoughts on road teams weren’t wrong: they have a winning record against the spread this year, but not by a margin that makes up for the vig, and it hasn’t been a winning strategy. Now with at the midway mark of the season, here are a few more thoughts and reminders.
2016 NFL Betting Trends – Halfway Takeaways
Overreacting To What You Just Saw Is A Mistake
The Raiders looked great on Sunday Night Football and are now 7-2. That’s fantastic, but let’s take a look at the calendar: it’s early November. Remember how good the Vikings and Eagles seemed in September? Those that show something for a three-week stretch indeed give legitimate reason for optimism. Right now, I am bullish on Minnesota and Philly because I know they have talent, and the public is backing away from them.
The Raiders have played a lot of tight games this year and won most of them. If they’d lost a couple of those coin-flips, the hysteria around their chances would be tempered. I’m hoping Oakland loses at Houston and Carolina the next two weeks so that I can bet on them against Buffalo and Indianapolis down the stretch.
The Cowboys have the best record in the NFC by two games. They have played the easiest schedule in the league by a mile. Three of their seven wins are against Cleveland, San Francisco, and Chicago, arguably the three worst teams in the NFL. Their other four victories are against Washington, Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Philadelphia. That quartet is a combined 15-15-2 and none of them have winning records. Dallas has faced one team this year that is over .500 at the moment, the Giants, and lost 20-19 in Week 1.
All Hail Mike McCoy
A month ago, a friend told me that I was the biggest Mike McCoy fan on earth. That is funny because I don’t live in California or cheer for the Chargers, and I’ve have never met the man (who started his college football playing career at Long Beach State only to have the school drop the sport). What I like about McCoy is simple: he’s good at game planning, he’s had to face ridiculous issues in San Diego. The Chargers have one of the worst stadiums and home-field advantages in the NFL, the franchise is in flux, and the team is always suffering from key injuries these days.
According to Football Outsiders, San Diego has been the 27th, 31st, and 28th-healthiest team the last three years. This season, they lost Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, Manti Te’o, and Jason Verrett during the first five weeks of the year. Yet, they’re now 4-5 this season despite starting 1-4 and facing the most difficult schedule in the league thus far. They’re also 6-3 against the spread and – but for horrible luck and boneheaded plays late in games – should be over .500 straight up. The contingent that thinks McCoy should be fired vastly outnumbers those who think he should be given a contract extension. Those people aren’t paying attention.
Photo credit: Zennie Abraham (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode].