We know you are busy with last-minute holiday shopping but Week 16 is must-watch with games that will have a meaningful impact on the playoff picture. To get you ready for another NFL weekend, here are some trends to know:
There is incredible power in understanding how teams, players, leagues and markets have reacted to various scenarios. Using Bet Labs massive database of proprietary sports betting information, you can easily build and explore data-driven betting systems. Our database goes back to 2003, the trends include all games in that time frame unless otherwise mentioned.
Teams Off a Loss are Good Bets
Seattle’s 42-7 loss on Sunday to the Los Angeles Rams was a complete disaster. The depleted Legion of Boom gave up 40-plus points for the first time since 2010 and the Russell Wilson-led offense managed just 149 yards (lowest total since 2013). The ugly defeat dealt a crushing blow to the Seahawks’ playoff chances but the good news for bettors is that Pete Carroll’s team is now undervalued.
Since 2003, all teams coming off a loss late in the regular season (December-January) have gone 557-529-29 (51.3%) ATS. The win rate improves as we look at teams coming off increasingly big losses.
Casual bettors often overreact to recent results and bookmakers will shade the lines in anticipation of public perception. This leads to teams that lost their previous game being undervalued in their next matchup. It is a small sample of course, but teams that got rolled by 35 or more points have gone 20-8-1 (71.4%) ATS in their next game. If the team is an underdog the ATS record jumps to 16-4-1 (80.0%). Seattle is a 5-point underdog in Dallas on Sunday. Less than 40% of spread tickets are on the Seahawks.
If Rodgers Sits, We All Lose
The Green Bay Packers have been eliminated from the playoffs. The loss to Carolina, plus a win by Atlanta, ends a run of eight straight postseason appearances. The last time the Cheeseheads didn’t play meaningful football in January was in 2008, Aaron Rodgers’ first season as a starting quarterback.
Rodgers wasn’t his best in the loss on Sunday throwing three interceptions for the first time since 2009. In his first game since breaking his collarbone, the two-time MVP was sacked three times and took seven hits. Rodgers’ status is up in the air for Saturday’s game against the Vikings. If the gunslinger sits, we all lose.
Rodgers has been lights-out against division opponents: 37-18 (67.3%) ATS, including postseason contests. Sure, Minnesota is a different beast having won 11 games and currently occupying the No. 2 seed in the NFC but against Carolina, Rodgers threw three touchdowns and scrambled six times for 43 yards. He still has it and it would be fair to assume the quarterback would only get better the further removed from his surgery. Here are additional trends that point to the Pack if Rodgers plays.
Aaron Rodgers is a covering machine
- In division games: 37-18 (67.3%) ATS
- Getting <50% of bets: 13-7-1 ATS
- Against good teams (.500 or better record): 54-35-3 (60.7%) ATS
- Off a loss: 28-17-1 (62.2%) ATS
- After failing to cover: 34-19-1 (64.2%) ATS
The Answer Is Not Tom Brady
If you ask an NFL betting question, the answer is usually Tom Brady. Which quarterback is the best after a loss? The five-time Super Bowl champ is 34-12 ATS, No. 1 in our database since 2003. Who is the most profitable starter after failing to cover the previous game? Again Brady, he is 54-33-3 (62.1%) ATS. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $2,006 just betting Brady after an ATS loss. We all know Brady is good. He is a massive favorite to win a third MVP but what you might not know is that the future Hall of Famer struggles as a big favorite, just like everyone else (almost).
The Patriots opened as 12.5-point favorites over the Bills in Week 16. First, favorites of 10 or more points are 230-257-10 (47.2%) ATS. In division games, teams favored by 10 or more points have gone 80-107-5 (42.8%) ATS. Brady is the 5th-least profitable quarterback in our database as a double-digit favorite: 27-31 ATS, -4.88 units.
New England is coming off a marquee win over a potential AFC Championship game opponent. Not only did the Pats win, but they also covered against Pittsburgh. Recreational bettors want to run it back. At the time of publication, more than 60% of spread tickets are eating the chalk but as Matthew Freedman notes in his Week 16 Vegas Outliers, Buffalo is a bad matchup for TB12.
The Bills have held opponents below their Vegas expectations in 10 games (tied with Chargers for best in the NFL) and are limiting opposing passers to the fourth-fewest fantasy points this season. A bad matchup and a big number make Brady and the Patriots a fade.
Once More Unto the Breach
The marquee matchup of Week 16 is Bears-Browns. Jokes. Chicago is 4-10 and Cleveland is winless but this game doesn’t lack storylines. The biggest question is whether or not Hue Jackson and the Browns can end their futility? This is possibly the team’s last opportunity for a win with a trip to Pittsburgh looming in Week 17. Da Bears are 7-point favorites at home where Mitch Trubisky & Co. have been sneaky good (4-2-1 ATS in 2017). Cleveland on the other hand is 3-11 ATS this season including 1-5 ATS on the road.
Bettors are fading the Browns with more than 60% of spread bets coming in on the Bears. Is the chalk the right bet or does the big winless underdog have value?
Get the Pro System pick for this game. A $100 bettor would have returned a profit of $7,325 following this betting strategy since 2003.