In yesterday's newsletter we highlighted how Week 1 has historically been a great time to buy low on NFL underdogs. True to form, dogs went an impressive 10-4 ATS on Sunday, highlighted by eight outright wins. This was music to the ears of contrarian bettors and sportsbooks, who enjoyed a monster day to kick off the season.
Including Thursday night's cover by the Cowboys ( 9) against the Bucs, underdogs are now 11-4 ATS (73.3%) to start the season. Week 1 dogs improve to 96-74 ATS (56.5%) over the past decade. Unders also cashed for contrarian bettors on Sunday, going 9-5 overall.
Now we turn our attention to Monday, where bettors have Monday Night Football to sweat along with 8 MLB games. For an updated breakdown of Monday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 1 p. m. ET. I'll also be joining the Lombardi Line at 1:30 p. m. ET to offer a market update and then co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 to 5 p. m. ET.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for tonight's MNF matchup.
8:15 p. m. ET: Baltimore Ravens at Las Vegas Raiders
This Monday Night Football showdown features a pair of playoff hopefuls looking to start their seasons on the right foot. The Ravens went 11-5 last season, upsetting the Titans 20-13 in the Wild Card Round before falling to the Bills 17-3 in the Divisional Round. Meanwhile, the Raiders went 8-8 in their inaugural Las Vegas campaign, missing the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year. The Raiders started last season 6-3 before going just 2-5 down the stretch.
This line opened with Baltimore listed as a four-point road favorite. The public sees an easy win and cover with Lamar Jackson and company as is happy to lay the points with Baltimore. Heavily lopsided betting pushed Baltimore up from -4 to -4.5. But then a rash of Ravens injuries, combined with some smart money favoring the Raiders getting the hook, dropped the line back down to -4. Baltimore will be missing running backs J. K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards, plus starting cornerback Marcus Peters.
The Raiders have heightened contrarian value as they're an unpopular dog in a heavily bet, primetime game. Las Vegas also matches the red-hot Week 1 dog system, which is 11-4 ATS this season and 56.5% ATS the past decade. Also, buy-low Week 1 dogs who missed the playoffs the previous season are 8-2 ATS so far this year and 75-54 ATS (58.1%) the past decade. The Raiders will enjoy home field advantage for the first time in their Vegas history, after no fans were allowed in the stands last season.
Pros also seem to be leaning on the under. The total opened at 51 and has fallen to 50 despite a majority of bets backing the over. This signals some sharp under reverse line movement.