The NFL is officially back! With football's opening weekend upon us, we will be blessed with games every Sunday until February 20th, 2022 (fingers crossed against the Delta Variant). While that’s five straight months of NFL betting opportunities to take advantage of, I want to focus today's article on the opening weekend specifically and a few trends that you may consider when placing your biggest Week 1 wagers.
Week 1 in the NFL brings about hope and optimism for all 32 teams. It’s simply a fresh start. For some it’s a chance to live up to the preseason hype, and for others it’s a chance to prove all of the prognosticators wrong. That chance officially begins on Thursday, September 9th, 2021 when the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Dallas Cowboys at Raymond James Stadium.
Naturally, there is a lot of focus on the defending champions and their chances of repeating. But there is also somewhat of an equal focus on the Super Bowl losing Kansas City Chiefs and their prospect of getting back to the big game and breaking through. What I want to focus on this article are some simple trends surrounding the most recent Super Bowl participants as they embark on their first game of the new year:
Super Bowl Winners:
First let’s focus on the defending Super Bowl champions and their historical week one trends. Since the 2000 NFL season, the defending champions are 14-6-1 against the spread in their week one matchups.
That is a 70% winning percentage (!) against the spread. In those matchups, the defending champs won their game by an average of 7.66 points. When it comes to the total, that record stands at 11-9-1, which is a 55% winning percentage to the over. In those matchups, both teams scored an average of 45.28 points.
The, Super Bowl defending Tampa Bay Buccaneers are currently 7.5-point favorites at home against the Dallas Cowboys with a total of 52. As of this article, I do not have a play on the side or total, but I lean towards the defending Super Bowl champs and the under given their roster continuity on both sides.
Super Bowl Losers:
Now let’s focus on the Super Bowl losers: since the 2000 NFL season, the Super Bowl runner ups are an abysmal 3-17-1 against the spread in Week 1 matchups. That's a very lowly 15% winning percentage.
In those matchups, the runner ups have lost their season-opening game by an average of 1.95 points and when it comes to the total that record stands at 6-13-2, which is a 68.42% winning percentage to the under. In those matchups, both teams also scored on average of 41.85 points per contest combined.
The, Super Bowl losing Kansas City Chiefs are currently 6-point favorites at home against the Cleveland Browns with a total of 53. As of this article, I like the Kansas City Chiefs and strongly lean towards the over. So why buck the trend here and go with the runner ups to rebound and play well in Week 1?
Simply put, the Kansas City Chiefs have been a juggernaut in recent years, but I expect an even more laser focused Andy Reid-led group this year. They are coming off a disappointing Super Bowl loss where their offensive line ultimately led to their demise. They aggressively fixed that position this offseason and I expect them to come out and make a statement in their home opener against a team that a lot of prognosticators are high on entering the 2021 season. But we are going to fade the narratives here.
Remember, this is the same Browns team that the Chiefs beat 22-17 in last year's AFC Divisional Round, and yes that was with an injured Patrick Mahomes sitting on the bench for most of the game and with the likes of Chad Henne under center. I like the Chiefs, and I like the Chiefs big here. I believe they come out the gates on fire, putting the league on notice that the former Super Bowl champions are poised to make a run at a their second Super Bowl title in three years. Buck the trends and bet on the best quarterback and head coach combo in the league, especially when the media - and even the public - are on the other side.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -6