There are a ton of trends floating around during NFL season. Most of them are straight up junk. Dig deep enough though and you’ll find trends that are diamonds in the rough and can be used to pick winners.
A respected handicapper DM’d me last year on Twitter during the playoffs to ask me about a trend I was hyping up but wasn’t posting publicly, so I told him “Road favorites are 6-15 ATS in Wild Card Weekend history and I’m on the Vikings +6 vs Seattle and the Bengals +3 vs Pittsburgh.”
I figured we’d have good dialogue and start talking a little business after that but instead he goes “Trends mean absolutely nothing.”
I didn’t listen to him. Bengals & Vikings both cashed for me & my clients. Road favorites are now 7-17 ATS after a 1-2 ATS showing this year (Chiefs -3 @ Houston was the lone cover but I passed on that play).
There’s the mentality of “throw trends out the window” and then the mentality of “use trends only when they have value.”
Road favorites on Wild Card history not covering 71.5% of the time is significant. It’s time tested and has logical backing that some teams in the playoffs are overhyped, especially with the media having fewer teams to talk about and shining certain teams in certain lights over and over again the whole week.
Now, trends shouldn’t be played blindly. They should only be used as a supplement to the handicapping process. There’s a reason I recommended the Bengals & Vikings and not the Chiefs. It helped knowing that Ben Roethlisberger had a 5:9 TD:INT ratio on the road for the season. It also helped to know that Minnesota’s defensive line could destroy Seattle’s offensive line (which they did). The Chiefs were a sharp road team and had some mismatches for Houston so it wasn’t a play. Adding insult to the road favorites’ injury, the Steelers and Seahawks were overhyped by the media all season long and inflated their spreads whereas the Chiefs flew under the radar most of the year because of a 1-5 start. I’m convinced that if the Chiefs received the same media attention as Steeler Nation and the Seahawks that the Chiefs would have been -6 vs Houston.
But forget Wild Card weekend, that’s just one case. Matt Ryan is 8-0 ATS in his career in home season openers. Pretty significant to know that the franchise quarterback for Atlanta has covered in EVERY SINGLE FIRST HOME GAME of the year. But again you can’t play it blindly. Last year the Falcons won outright at +3 vs the Eagles in Week 1 at home. Why was it a good play? The Eagles were wildly overhyped in the preseason, Falcons were an unknown to the public(not me), and it was a home Monday Night Football primetime game with a new head coach getting 3 points. No brainer. Falcons win 26-24.
What’s a bad trend?
“The Jets were 1-4 ATS as favorites last year.” – Washington Post, Week 1, 2015
…The Jets didn’t have Todd Bowles coaching, Fitzpatrick as QB, or Decker and Marshall receiving when they went 1-4 as favorites. Dumb trend. Jets won 31-10 as 3.5 point favorites vs the Browns in Week 1.
“Jaguars are 12-4 ATS in home openers.” – Washington Post, Week 1, 2015
….Ok but Gus Bradley and Blake Bortles have only been here a few years so why the fuck would anything from 16 years ago have significance?
Jaguars lost straight-up & ATS 20-9 in Week 1.
Trends are like salesmen. Most lie and are deceptive but some are honest & good at what they do. You can’t just “throw trends out the window” just because that’s what people say.