Who is the biggest favorite in Week 1? It depends on the sportsbook. The most likely teams to finish with the biggest spread to start the season are the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills. At 5Dimes, the Pats are -10.5 at home against Kansas City and the Bills are 10-point favorites vs. the Jets.
It is easy to understand why the Patriots are such big favorites. As defending champions, they are a public team that garners a ton of bets regardless of the line, Tom Freakin’ Brady plays quarterback and there is a Hall of Fame coach on the sidelines.
Buffalo is more interesting. The Bills (175/1 to win the Super Bowl, 5Dimes) didn’t even know who their starting quarterback would be until Tuesday. Playing the Jets, a team with the lowest win total in football, is the primary reason for the big spread.
Which team will have the bigger spread at kickoff? It is hard to say but what we do know is that the big Week 1 favorite burns bettors.
Since 2003, the biggest favorite in the opening game of the season is 4-10 ATS.
It is a small sample but it speaks to an underlying truth: we don’t know as much as we think in Week 1. Much of our expectations for the upcoming season are based on what has already happened. We know how players and teams have performed in the past but that isn’t always indicative of future success.
The biggest favorites aren’t the only teams to struggle. All favorites of 7 or more points in Week 1 have gone 15-23 ATS. In Weeks 1-3, favorites of a touchdown or greater have gone 63-80 (44%) ATS, -16.9 units.
Casual bettors are backing the Patriots (65% of tickets) and Bills (55% of tickets) in Week 1. These double-digit favorites might win but could struggle to cover the spread.
Biggest Week 1 Favorites Since 2003
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