NFL betting systems to turn Week 1 results into Week 2 profits

September 16, 2023 05:54 PM

NFL Week 2 betting systems

There is nothing quite like NFL Week 1 each season and, in particular, the reaction to it. There are always big performances, surprise results, key injuries and plenty more for the armchair quarterbacks to analyze. Unfortunately, what usually comes along with all of the analysis is overreaction.

This past weekend was an eventful one in the league, not only did we see almost all of the AFC’s top contenders go down, including the Chiefs, Bills and Bengals, but we also witnessed tight games, some absolute routs and some costly injuries. None of those, of course, was bigger than the season-ending injury to new Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers as one of the league’s most intriguing stories heading into the season has already seen its script end.

The reality is it was just the first of 17 games for every team in the league. Nothing has formulated yet, we’ve only gotten perhaps hints of what could happen. To put it in perspective, do you ever see overblown analysis of the first 10 games of an MLB season? The first five games of a team’s NBA slate? The answer is not really.

With all of this in mind, bettors need to understand that teams tend to react and progress from their Week 1 results to their Week 2 games similarly year after year. I like to quantify these “reactions” through the use of betting systems, and I have detailed 12 betting systems below to help bettors turn what they saw in Week 1 into Week 2 profits.

This year’s Week 1 action was much like last year’s in that underdogs, particularly those on the road, enjoyed huge weeks. It was a “bloodbath” for players in the survivor contests, and from everything I’ve heard and read, the entire weekend was a mega-windfall for sportsbooks, culminating with the improbable upset win by the Jets over the Bills on Monday night, even after Rodgers went down early in the first quarter. All of the results lead us to a number of successful angles for Week 2 that have thrived since I introduced them a handful of years ago.

Let’s take a foundational look at why these angles may be consistently successful. First, the NFL is a huge momentum league, and with only one game every week, it gives a team a lot of time to either stew on a loss or bask in a victory. During this time, the losing teams may be starting to doubt themselves or the winning teams may be thinking too highly of their own games. The betting public and media sensationalize this type of thinking and theorize that what they just saw in Week 1 is the new standard. Bookmakers are thus placed in a precarious position of having to juggle what just happened with what should happen in the follow-up week along with what the public thinks will happen. It is a fine balancing act.

The systems below come as a result of two things. First, bookmakers don’t want to over-adjust, and second, they try to balance their sides against new public sentiment. Over-adjusting seems to be getting more common in college football, but in the pros, with all the money that is wagered each week, they realize they can’t radically adjust lines in such a short window simply because of one game result. They are forced to wait out the first few weeks in hopes that everything balances out. Because of this “oddsmaker patience,” I believe these one-week transitional systems are valid only this early in the season. So let’s take a look, and then, of course, take advantage.

Think of the above explanation as you read through each system, and trust in those that you think make the most sense. There are 12 angles, each with a winning percentage of at least 59.5%.

NFL betting splits | NFL odds

1. Week 1 favorites of six points or more that lost their games have bounced back with a record of 20-5 SU and 19-6 ATS (76%) in Week 2 since ’02 (+12.4 units, R.O.I.: 49.6%, Grade 70)

2023 plays: NONE

Analysis: Teams favored by six points or more in Week 1 are typically well-respected clubs in the NFL, and naturally they tend to bounce back when aided by a sense of urgency. In 2020, San Francisco and Indianapolis both responded to Week 1 upset losses with easy Week 2 wins. In 2021, Buffalo rebounded quickly against Miami, winning 35-0. Last year, San Francisco won handily, Denver won but failed to cover and Cincinnati lost outright.

2. Week 2 teams playing as favorites OR underdogs of less than three points against an opponent that scored more than 30 points the prior week are 44-16 SU and 38-19-3 ATS (66.7%) since ’03 (+17 units, R.O.I.: 28.3%, Grade 62)


Analysis: It seems that these 30-point teams may have overachieved in Week 1 and are naturally due for a letdown, or an overinflated line in Week 2. In 2021, 10 teams hit the 30-point mark in Week 1. Last year there were only four. For 2023, there are four qualifiers.

3. Teams that beat their Week 1 point spread by eight points or more in non-conference games are 20-9-3 UNDER (69%) the total in Week 2 since ’02 (+10.1 units, R.O.I.: 31.6%, Grade 64)

2023 plays: Play UNDER in SAN FRANCISCO-L.A. RAMS

Analysis: Week 1 higher-scoring teams typically grab the attention of bettors. Having lit it up against unfamiliar opponents, they typically come back to earth offensively against higher totals from oddsmakers. There were three plays for 2021 and the system went 2-1. For 2022, there were two games, both prime-time broadcasts. The TNF contest went UNDER, but a big total move downward 51 to 47.5 cost the MNF game, a 41-7 decision. For this season, the only game qualifying is the 49ers-Rams tilt, with San Francisco coming off a 30-7 win in Pittsburgh.

4. Teams playing a second straight divisional game in Week 2 are an impressive 34-16-1 SU and ATS (68%) since ’03 (+16.4 units, R.O.I.: 32.2%, Grade 65)


Analysis: Divisional games typically require greater focus and intensity, and these teams are well-prepared the second time around. Last year, those teams went 2-2 ATS. This year, there were eight divisional contests in Week 1, increasing the number of qualifiers here to five.

5. Teams playing as underdogs in their second of back-to-back divisional games are 15-14-1 SU and 20-10 ATS (66.7%) in Week 2 since ’04 (+9 units, R.O.I.: 30%, Grade 63)

2023 plays: Play ON L.A. RAMS, CAROLINA

Analysis: This is basically the same as No. 4 above, only adding a line qualifier. The motivation of being an underdog to a divisional opponent provides the needed incentive for these Week 2 dogs to compete. This has been an outstanding moneyline system over the years as well, hitting at 51.7% on outright winners, so don’t ignore that betting option. For 2023, two teams from Week 1 settle into divisional underdog roles for Week 2.

6. Teams that lost (or tied) as road favorites in Week 1 have bounced back with a record of 20-11 SU and ATS (64.5%) in Week 2 over the last 11 seasons (+7.9 units, R.O.I.: 25.5%, Grade 60)


Analysis: Week 1 road favorites are usually highly regarded teams. They have proved good enough to be able to bounce back from a loss in that game, in most cases avoiding an 0-2 start. The Bengals and Bills stumbled out of the gate offensively in their openers and will try to rebound in Week 2.

7. Teams that lost on the point spread by more than 14 points in Week 1 divisional games are 14-7 SU and 14-6-1 ATS (70%) in Week 2 since ’07 (+7.4 units, R.O.I.: 35.2%, Grade 65)


Analysis: Second-week point spread adjustments tend to go against teams that were beaten soundly by divisional opponents in Week 1 and are in most cases over-adjustments. Last year there was just one qualifier, and Green Bay won decisively at home against Chicago. For 2023, an impressive list of four teams meets the criteria.

8. Teams that won close games in Week 1 (3 points or fewer) are 37-18-1 UNDER (67.3%) the total in Week 2 since ’05 (+16.1 units, R.O.I.: 28.8%, Grade 65)

2023 plays: UNDER in Seattle-DETROIT, Chicago-TAMPA BAY, LAS VEGAS-Buffalo, MIAMI-New England, NEW ORLEANS-Carolina

Analysis: This one is genuinely tough to explain, but it could stem from the emotional toll that winning a close game brings, and the potential offensive letdown that might occur, at least early in the game. Whatever the reason, 19 games over .500 gives the system merit.

9. Week 2 teams that went under their Week 1 total by at least 17 points are 25-17 OVER (59.5%) the total since '08 (+7.3 units, R.O.I.: 17.5%, Grade 52)

2023 plays: OVER in Baltimore-CINCINNATI, CLEVELAND-Pittsburgh

Analysis: These teams underachieved offensively in Week 1, creating a situation where oddsmakers adjust their total downward too quickly. Early public perception says that these could be worse offenses in 2023. This system proves it’s too early to make that conclusion. The only game that vastly underperformed offensively overall in Week 1 was the 24-3 Cleveland-Cincinnati game.

10. Teams that lost by double digits in Week 1 have responded by going 45-25-2 ATS (64.3%) in Week 2 over the last 11 seasons (+17.5 units, R.O.I.: 24.3%, Grade 60)


Analysis: This is as direct of an overreaction system as there is, and it goes against all that the betting public was told they “learned” in Week 1. With so much emotion on the line in a season opener, it’s no wonder that a team over- or underachieves in that game. Those that were beaten soundly in their opener have had a tendency to come back strong in their second games. Last year, there were six plays on this angle and those teams went 4-1-1 ATS. Half of this year’s 16 Week 1 games were decided by 10+ points, six teams qualify for this angle as Houston/Indianapolis cancel each other out.

11. Teams whose opponent played in the Thursday night season-opening game and thus have extra rest are 14-22 SU but 21-14-1 ATS (60%) in Week 2 since ’05 (+5.6 units, R.O.I.: 15.6%, Grade 55)

2023 plays: Play on SEATTLE, JACKSONVILLE

Analysis: Routine, routine, routine. Teams that play in the season opener are out of that typical routine, and most teams rely on that for peak performance throughout the season. Extra rest is typically valued more at later parts of the season. This is a tough system to stomach usually, since it requires fading two of the better teams in the league (the Lions and Chiefs in this case), although for 2023, the latest lines I’m looking at show both the Seahawks and Jaguars, returning playoff teams, lining up as underdogs for Week 2.

12. Teams that recorded big Week 1 divisional wins by seven points or more are 26-20 SU and 25-17-2 ATS (59.5%) since ’06 in Week 2 (+6.3 units, R.O.I.: 14.3%, Grade 52)


Analysis: Momentum created by a big divisional win in Week 1 seems to carry over well into Week 2. This system is only 4-6 SU and 5-5 ATS over the last three seasons, so it is also teetering on the edge of removal from the list. For 2023, there are four qualifiers. There would have been six, but Green Bay and Atlanta face each other.

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