After last week’s article highlighting some of college football’s top head-to-head series trends the 2022 season, some readers asked if I could help them mark their calendars in the same way for when the top NFL head-to-head trends of the season would be in play. Happily, I’ll oblige.
I must caution, however, that the series history angles in the NFL don’t hold the same foundation, and thus effectiveness, that the college ones do, for several reasons. First, the talent gap in college football is much greater, and for longer periods of time, thus the likelihood of series swinging back and forth in NFL is much greater. Second, there is a familiarity aspect in the pros that trumps anything in college, thus revenge periods are shorter, and teams make adjustments more rapidly to that opponent, often in season. Third, pro athletes tend to be more predictable for oddsmakers than college, thus the point spread is a more effective equalizer at that level.
Here is a list of top head-to-head trends that you’ll want to mark on your calendars. You’ll see that I’ve included the game date for each.
Note that our VSiN Pro Matchups subscribers will get all the top head-to-head trends for the season weekly. That said, the 75 trends below are “extra special,” with each one being at least six games over .500, and thus quite profitable in recent years.
I’ve again grouped the trends into several categories and sorted them by date of the game. Enjoy the analysis and best of luck with your NFL wagers this season.
* KANSAS CITY is on a 7-1-1 ATS run vs. San Francisco (10/23)
* KANSAS CITY has won its last 7 ATS vs. L.A. RAMS, scoring 39.1 PPG (11/27)
* NEW ENGLAND is on a 7-1 ATS surge vs. Arizona (12/12)
* PITTSBURGH is 7-0 ATS all-time vs. Carolina (12/18)
Steve’s thoughts: Kansas City takes up two of these four trends against NFC foes, and in fact, you’ll see that NFC teams are on the short end of each of these angles. Of course, the teams that have built these big trends make up the three most successful franchises of the AFC in recent memory.
Non-Conference Total Leans
* OVER the total is 7-1 in last 8 of Bills-Rams series (9/8)
* The last 6 games of BUF-DET h2h series went UNDER the total (11/24)
* OVER the total is 8-1 in last 9 of LV-SEA series in Seattle (11/27)
* The last 7 games of ARI-DEN h2h series went OVER the total (12/18)
Steve’s thoughts: There are three particular AFC-NFC matchups that have proved to be consistent high-scoring affairs over the years, and one that has leaned Under. Remember, in most of the non-conference matchups, the teams only meet every four years. In any case, don’t overlook the season-opening trend for Thursday at the top of the list.
Lay the wood
* FAVORITES are on 10-2 ATS surge in ATL-LAR series (9/18)
* FAVORITES are 10-1 ATS in last 11 of NYJ-CLE series but lost last time (9/18)
* FAVORITES are 7-1 ATS in last 8 of CHI-NE h2h series (10/24)
* FAVORITES have won last 7 ATS in JAC-DET h2h series (12/4)
* FAVORITES have won last 6 ATS in NYG-MIN h2h series (12/24)
Steve’s thoughts: There are a lot of professional bettors who swear by the underdog in NFL betting. VSiN expert Dave Tuley is well known for his love of underdogs. These five trends prove that taking the points isn’t always the best strategy, sometimes laying the wood is.
Back the barking dog
* UNDERDOGS are on 9-1-1 ATS run in TEN-BUF series (9/19)
* UNDERDOGS are 8-2-1 in last 11 of LAC-CLE h2h series (10/9)
* UNDERDOGS have won last 6 ATS in TEN-WAS h2h series (10/9)
* UNDERDOGS are 8-1-2 ATS in last 11 of SEA-LAC h2h series (10/23)
* UNDERDOGS have won last 7 ATS in NO-CLE h2h series (12/24)
* UNDERDOGS have won last 6 ATS in DEN-LAR h2h series (12/25)
Steve’s thoughts: There are six “back the barking dog” categorized trends as compared with four “lay the wood” angles, so in that sense, it’s easy to understand how the best NFL bettors tend to favor the underdogs. Some of these games, specifically the Christmas Broncos-Rams matchup, could prove to be impactful to the playoff picture.
The comforts of home
* HOME TEAMS are on 8-1-1 ATS run in last 10 of CIN-NYJ series (9/25)
* HOME TEAMS are 8-1 ATS in last 9 of LAR-NO h2h series (11/20)
Steve’s thoughts: The two matchups detailed above are conference tilts, so the teams don’t meet every year, but they meet regularly enough to be familiar with one another. Hosts are the more successful teams when they get together.
* ROAD TEAMS are on 13-4-1 ATS run in LAC-KC rivalry (9/15)
* ROAD TEAMS are on 10-2 ATS surge in DET-NYG h2h series (11/20)
* ROAD TEAMS are on 8-1 ATS surge in ATL-WAS h2h series (11/27)
Steve’s thoughts: As opposed to the group of trends just above, the road teams in these three series seem to have the advantage. In the case of the Chargers-Chiefs rivalry, L.A. could benefit greatly in the AFC West race if it was to keep the series trend going in week 2.
One-sided conference matchups
* BALTIMORE is 9-1 ATS in last 10 vs. Miami but lost last time (9/18)
* LA CHARGERS have won last 9 ATS vs. Jacksonville (9/25)
* CAROLINA is on 7-1 ATS run hosting San Francisco (10/9)
* WASHINGTON is 5-1 SU and 6-0 ATS in last 6 trips to Chicago (10/13)
* DENVER is on 12-4-1 ATS surge vs. NY Jets (10/23)
* LA RAMS are 9-1 ATS in last 10 vs. Tampa Bay (11/6)
* CLEVELAND is on a 7-1 ATS run vs. Miami (11/13)
* DENVER is on a 7-1 ATS run vs. Tennessee (11/13)
* CHICAGO is 9-2-1 ATS in last 12 vs. Atlanta (11/20)
* LA CHARGERS have won last 6 ATS hosting Tennessee (12/18)
* GREEN BAY is 7-1 SU and 8-0 ATS in last 8 vs. LA RAMS (12/19)
* RAIDERS are 8-1 ATS in last 9 vs. Pittsburgh, all as dogs (12/24)
* LA CHARGERS are on 8-2 ATS surge vs. Indianapolis (12/26)
Steve’s thoughts: One thing that stands out immediately from the list of one-sided dominance by teams over conference foes is that the Chargers appear on the list three times. They have a favorable recent history over three of the four teams in the AFC South, their slotted AFC divisional matchup for 2022. Elsewhere, Green Bay’s perfect 8-0 ATS mark versus the Rams could be important come December in the NFC playoff hunt.
Intraconference totals leans
* OVER the total is 10-3 in last 13 of ATL-SEA h2h series (9/25)
* OVER the total is 10-2 in last 12 of DET-DAL h2h series (10/23)
* The last 7 games of CHI-DAL h2h series went OVER the total (10/30)
* Last 8 games of GB-PHI series at Philadelphia went UNDER the total (11/27)
* OVER the total is 6-0 in CAR-SEA series since '15 (12/11)
* UNDER the total is 8-1 in last 9 of MIA-LAC series at LA CHARGERS (12/11)
Steve’s thoughts: There are four Over leans and two Unver leans among these six trends matching conference opponents. Most of my analysis in recent years has led me to believe that there are more frequent Overs in games between non-divisional conference foes than in other matchups. This is evidence of that.
* INDIANAPOLIS is on 7-1 SU and 8-0 ATS run vs. Houston (9/11)
* GREEN BAY has won last 6 ATS vs. Chicago (9/18)
* NEW ORLEANS is 7-1 ATS in last 8 vs. Tampa Bay (9/18)
* DALLAS is on 8-2 ATS run vs. NY Giants (9/26)
* RAIDERS are on 8-1 ATS run vs. Denver (10/2)
* HOUSTON is on an extended 16-6 ATS run vs. Tennessee (10/30)
* TENNESSEE is on 10-3 ATS surge vs. Jacksonville (12/11)
Steve’s thoughts: Interestingly, the AFC South appears to be the division with the most one-sided series of recent years, although not one singular opponent is picked on. It is a true round robin. Of course, most NFL fans are very familiar with Green Bay’s dominance of Chicago (“I still own you” — Aaron Rodgers 2021)
Not a division rival’s place to visit
* SEATTLE is 12-2 ATS in last 14 hosting San Francisco (12/15)
* BUFFALO is 8-2 ATS in last 10 hosting Miami (12/18)
* NEW ENGLAND is 8-2 ATS in last 10 hosting Miami (1/1)
Steve’s thoughts: There are three particular divisional rivalries where one team feasts on an opponent consistently on its own home turf. Unfortunately for Miami, the Dolphins are on the short end of these travel trends, not surprisingly considering the opposing stadiums are in far different weather environments than theirs.
Loving the divisional rival locale
* LA RAMS have won last 7 ATS at Arizona (9/25)
* SAN FRANCISCO is 8-2 ATS in last 10 at LA RAMS (10/30)
* KANSAS CITY is on 7-1 ATS run when visiting LA CHARGERS (11/20)
* GREEN BAY is 12-3 ATS in last 15 at Chicago (12/4)
* KANSAS CITY is 7-1 ATS in last 8 trips to Denver but lost last year (12/11)
* BALTIMORE is on 12-2 ATS run at Cleveland (12/18)
* NEW ENGLAND is 15-4 ATS at Buffalo since 2004 (1/8)
Steve’s thoughts: A lot of what makes for great divisional rivalries is the ability of teams to win consistently on their rivals’ home fields, or at least make it competitive enough to cover point spreads. These seven angles show some of the most one-sided divisional road trends available for 2022.
Divisional dogs are the play of choice
* UNDERDOGS are 7-1 ATS in last 8 of GB-MIN at Minnesota (9/11)
* UNDERDOGS have won last 7 ATS in LAR-SF rivalry (10/3)
* UNDERDOGS are 14-5 ATS In HOU-JAC series since '12 (10/9)
* UNDERDOGS are 7-1 ATS in last 8 of BUF-NYJ series at New York (11/6)
* UNDERDOGS are 12-1 ATS in last 13 of LAC-LVR series at Raiders (12/4)
* UNDERDOGS are 12-1-2 ATS in last 5 of BAL-PIT rivalry (12/11)
Steve’s thoughts: Being an underdog to a divisional rival can be a huge motivator. These trends clearly demonstrate that. Make note that the first of these angles comes on Sunday in the Green Bay-Minnesota matchup.
Divisional defensive grinders
* UNDER total is 17-4 in Raiders-Chargers series at Chargers since '01 (9/11)
* UNDER the total is 10-3 in last 13 of CIN-PIT series at Pittsburgh (11/20)
* UNDER the total is 7-1 in last 8 of MIN-CHI series at Chicago (1/8)
* UNDER the total is 9-3 in last 12 of NYG-PHI series at Philadelphia (1/8)
Steve’s thoughts: A lot of divisional rivalries are known for their hard-hitting defensive intense brand of football. I wouldn’t have thought that Raiders-Chargers has been one of them, but it's worth noting that when these teams get together on the Chargers’ home field, the games most often go Under the total. The Cincinnati-Pittsburgh rivalry is known for its intensity and sometimes ugly football.
* The last 7 games of WAS-DAL series in Dallas went OVER the total (10/2)
* OVER the total is 10-2 in last 12 of ATL-TB h2h series (10/9)
* OVER the total is 9-3-1 in last 13 of GB-DET h2h series (11/6)
* Last 6 games of CLE-CIN series in Cincinnati went OVER the total (12/11)
* OVER the total is 8-1 in last 9 of CAR-NO series in NO but lost last year (1/8)
Steve’s thoughts: These five divisional series have become known for their point production, some at a particular locale, others not mattering where the game is played. You might be surprised to see that Over trend in the Cleveland-Cincinnati series at Cincy. For 2022, that game will be QB Deshaun Watson’s second game back from suspension for the Browns.