As we get deeper into each football season, we know more about the teams each passing week — strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, key stats and other factors. This arms bettors with a weapon that perhaps they didn’t have at the outset of the season, and using trends is a good way to take advantage of this knowledge. It always helps to have a good database at your fingertips to be able to peg good and bad spots on each team’s schedule as to how they relate to those defining characteristics.
Well, for those with a VSiN all-access subscription, you have that database at your fingertips daily, and all you need to do is dig into your Point Spread Weekly matchups each week or visit the Exclusive Info pages for each sport at VSiN.com. Look for the Team Trends link under the Matchups tab.
I have dug through the extensive information available on VSiN.com to uncover some trends I think might define some of the games on this week’s NFL schedule. I have picked these trends myself, and for each one I offer the records plus my own analysis as to why the angle has become so definitive and why it is so relevant this week.
Bettors have several sources for trends nowadays, including those offered in PSW on our matchup pages. As you look at these and continue to refine your routine for finding games on which to wager, consider the importance you put on trends. Will they stand the test of time? Do they carry over from season to season? Are they valid only as long as the current coach or key players are around? These are important questions to ask because of what seems to be increasing changeover from year to year. I tend to focus less on the records than I do on the foundational philosophies behind them. You might think otherwise, and I can tell you that neither of us is right 100 percent of the time.
Here are my 15 trends for NFL games this weekend, one for each contest. They are in order by game board number. Hopefully you will get a sense of the vast variance in trend analysis that VSiN offers from this small sample and how much deeper you can get into understanding teams and their favorable and unfavorable situational spots.
TOP WEEK 11 NFL TRENDS
New England at Atlanta
Game Line: New England -6.5
Atlanta is 1-6 ATS (L7G) at home against solid defensive teams allowing fewer than 20 ppg (win pct. 85.7 percent, + 4.9 units, ROI 63.6 percent, trend grade 78)
A lot has been made lately about the vast improvement by New England’s defense since the start of the season. Having allowed just 13 points in the last two games combined, the Patriots are at 17.7 ppg allowed for the season, second in the NFL. There is a reason they are nearly TD favorites at lowly Atlanta, which is scoring just 19.8 ppg and figures to be on the cusp of a total rebuild. The Falcons’ only chance figures to be a low-scoring game, and with the Pats scoring 34 ppg in their last six outings, what are the chances of that?
Detroit at Cleveland
Game Line: Detroit + 10
Cleveland is 10-28-1 ATS (L10Y) at home against limited-mistakes offenses averaging fewer than 1.5 turnovers per game (win pct. 73.7 percent, + 17 units, ROI 39.6 percent, trend grade 84)
While the Lions haven’t won a game yet, they are far from the worst team in the league right now. In fact, behind the spirit of coach Dan Campbell, this team continues to fight and compete and actually has a winning point-spread mark. One reason is that the Lions don’t turn the ball over much, unlike the other bad teams in the league. Historically, Cleveland has had trouble beating point spreads against such foes.
San Francisco at Jacksonville
Game Line: San Francisco by 5.5
Jacksonville is 10-39-1 ATS (L50G) in nonconference games (win pct. 79.6 percent, + 28 units, ROI 50.9 percent, trend grade 94)
It’s hard to pin a reason on why Jacksonville would be such a horrible wager against NFC teams besides the fact that the Jaguars haven’t fared well overall, but this trend is just so egregious that it deserves highlighting. With the 49ers coming off their best performance of the year Monday night against the Rams, I wouldn’t expect much from the Jaguars.
Indianapolis at Buffalo
Game Total: 49.5
Buffalo is 20-5 Over (L25G) at home against elite rushing teams averaging more than 4.7 yards per rush (win pct. 80 percent, + 14.5 units, ROI 52.7 percent, trend grade 89)
Indianapolis has arguably the best rushing attack in football right now behind a stud-offensive line and RB Jonathan Taylor. In recent years, Buffalo has played some pretty high-scoring games at home against such teams. It makes some sense, too, as with the typical winds and other late-season elements that affect games dramatically in Orchard Park, the ability to run the ball is paramount. Combine that with a Buffalo offense that has topped the 40-point mark three times in 2021, and this has the makings of a high-scoring tilt.
Miami at New York Jets
Game Line: Miami by 3
New York Jets are 0-10 ATS (L10G) at home against lesser-scoring teams averaging 18.5 or fewer ppg (win pct. 100 percent, + 10 units, ROI 90.9 percent, trend grade 91)
The Jets don’t win much at home overall, but what makes it most painful for their fans is that they have little to no success against the worst teams. They have lost 10 straight games at home ATS versus teams that are scoring fewer than 18.5 ppg. For Sunday, in comes Miami, which scores just 17.7 ppg yet is favored by a field goal. If that doesn’t speak to how miserable things have gotten for New York football ...
Washington at Carolina
Game Line: Washington + 3.5
Carolina is 6-19 ATS (L25G) vs. poor teams with 40 percent or lower winning percentage (win pct. 76 percent, + 12.4 units, ROI 45.1 percent, trend grade 82)
By definition, Washington is a poor team by virtue of its 3-6 record, although the Football Team certainly wasn’t poor last week in upsetting defending champion Tampa Bay. The 6-19 ATS trend on Carolina signals that coach Ron Rivera’s team has a reasonable shot at making it two in a row this week in what would be a nice homecoming win for him, as he used to coach the Panthers. His former team has a tendency of not putting poor teams away, and the Panthers’ unstable situation at quarterback makes them a risky favorite.
Baltimore at Chicago
Game Total: 45
Chicago is 17-8 Under (L25G) against high-scoring teams averaging 25 ppg or more (win pct. 68 percent, + 8.2 units, ROI 29.8 percent, trend grade 74)
This is the one game in which I struggled to find a trend that really caught my eye. However, I did see several angles suggesting that Under the total would be the most sensible option. I guess it’s logical, with Chicago knowing its only chance to compete is to minimize QB Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense. Baltimore comes off an ugly 22-10 loss at Miami and would like to get back to what has helped it score 25.7 ppg. Chicago’s offense is quite possibly the worst in the NFL and won’t have a shot if it needs to get into the 20s.
New Orleans at Philadelphia
Game Line: New Orleans + 1.5
New Orleans is 21-4 ATS (L25G) on road on Sunday (win pct. 84 percent, + 15.6 units, ROI 59.1 percent, trend grade 89)
This is a very simple and effective trend. For as much as most bettors tend to associate the Superdome with the Saints’ success, their road prowess has kept them a perennial playoff team. This trend goes back more than three seasons, and after covering again last week at red-hot Tennessee, New Orleans has become an almost must-back on the road, especially in an era of declining home-field advantage.
Houston at Tennessee
Game Line: Houston + 10
Tennessee is 3-12 ATS (L15G) against low-scoring teams averaging 17 or fewer ppg (win pct. 80 percent, + 8.7 units, ROI 52.7 percent, trend grade 82)
Tennessee’s six-game winning streak is as impressive a stretch as any team has had in the NFL this season, and it includes wins over the Rams, Chiefs and Bills. Well, don’t get too excited yet. If recent history is any indication, Sunday’s game versus Houston could be the one where the Titans lay an egg. Their 3-12 ATS mark in the last 15 games against horrible offensive teams leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t be surprised to see Houston make a game of this one.
Green Bay at Minnesota
Game Total: 49
Green Bay is 24-7 Over (L10Y) on road against decent rushing teams averaging more than 4.3 ypa (win pct. 77.4 percent, + 16.3 units, ROI 47.8 percent, trend grade 89)
The Packers have struggled recently on the road containing teams that have the proven capability of running the football. For the most part, the Packers’ defense is much improved and a major reason why they are atop the NFC standings at 8-2. However, many experts are still skeptical of that unit, and it would be no shock to see the Vikings put up some scoring. On offense, though, with Aaron Rodgers coming off a very quiet performance last week against Seattle, I’d expect a huge rebound game from him.
Cincinnati at Las Vegas
Game Line: Cincinnati by 1
Cincinnati is 10-0 ATS (L10G) on road when traveling 1,500 or more miles (win pct. 100 percent, + 10 units, ROI 90.9 percent, trend grade 91)
This trend is quite a surprise to me, and that is the sole reason I picked it. Most bettors don’t think of the Bengals as a team that plays its best when it travels the farthest, but that is exactly what has happened. The current Bengals have the stuff to continue the trend, having outscored their opponents 29.4-18.4 in their five road games this season. Don’t overthink why Cincinnati is favored.
Arizona at Seattle
Game Line: Seattle + 2.5
Seattle is 14-1 ATS (L15G) at home against strong defensive teams allowing fewer than 18.5 ppg (win pct. 93.3 percent, + 12.9 units, ROI 78.2 percent, trend grade 91)
This trend won’t officially apply this week after Arizona was tagged by Carolina for 34 points last week, pushing the season average to 18.9 ppg allowed. But since I figured this angle would have a big impact on this week’s contest before that result, I decided to showcase it anyway. Seattle has thrived against its best defensive foes at home in recent years, and this is one of the big reasons most fans think the Seahawks are one of the few teams that still enjoy an actual home-field edge. This is a last hurrah of sorts for the Seahawks — and a must-win.
Dallas at Kansas City
Game Total: 55.5
Kansas City is 9-1 Over (L10G) at home against big-play passing teams averaging more than 7.50 passing yards per attempt (win pct. 90 percent, + 7.9 units, ROI 71.8 percent, trend grade 82)
I wouldn’t believe many mega-high-totaled games would live up to the billing. This is one of those games, however, especially since QB Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are coming off their best offensive performance of the year. It actually looked like they finally had figured something out on that side of the ball Sunday night against the Raiders. A little earlier in the day, the Cowboys scored 43 points on Atlanta and showed the offensive balance we’ve been long waiting for. I wouldn’t be surprised to see both teams in the 30s at Arrowhead.
Pittsburgh at Los Angeles Chargers
Game Total: 47
Pittsburgh is 21-3-1 Under (L25G) on road against weak defensive teams allowing more than 24.5 ppg (win pct. 87.5 percent, + 17.7 units, ROI 64.4 percent, trend grade 91)
This has been another long-running trend that has been difficult to explain. For whatever reason, the Pittsburgh offense just rarely clicks on the road anymore. It doesn’t matter who is at quarterback either. However, the Steelers are still playing very good defense on the road. The result has been a lot of Unders. Looking at this year’s numbers alone, the three Pittsburgh road games have produced an average of just 36 ppg. This week’s total is over 10 points higher than that, and the Chargers’ offense isn’t clicking like it did earlier in the season.
New York Giants at Tampa Bay
Game Line: New York Giants + 11
New York Giants are 48-17-3 ATS (L68G) on road against decent passing teams averaging more than 6.80 passing yards per attempt (win pct. 73.8 percent, + 29.3 units, ROI 39.2 percent, trend grade 89)
By far, this is the longest-running trend I have picked. The bottom line is that the Giants are a great bet on the road typically, a horrible bet at home. Against the league’s best passing attacks, the reasons to bet New York away from home are enhanced. I would say the Buccaneers and Tom Brady would apply.