The 3 Most Popular NFL Bets for Week 1
Betting NFL games can be a blast. Whether you take the time to analyze each line and cash in big, or you do it for the fun -- share your bets with friends and tilt with one another in a group chat. Either way, having another layer of interest in your weekly football-watching is great. A lot of times, whether you like or not, you're not alone, either.
And that's where numberFire's oddsFire tool comes in. oddsFire breaks down the differences in betting odds, lines and totals across a number of sportsbooks, but it also shows us what percentage of total bets and money is being laid on any line at FanDuel Sportsbook. Using oddsFire, you can then decide if you would like to align yourself with the betting public -- and enjoy the sweat together -- or go against the grain to capitalize on an over-hyped situation.
In this weekly article, we're here to dive into the three lines (one spread, one moneyline, one over/under) getting the most love, with the goal of deciding whether the numbers support or contradict the public's heavy investment.
This line shouldn't come as much of a surprise for those who have been plugged into the offseason hype and betting odds.
The visiting Indianapolis Colts are among the top 10 teams in championship betting odds and are a very popular pick to win Super Bowl 55. After going 7-9 a season ago, they have since upgraded to veteran Philip Rivers behind center and added to their offensive weapons by drafting Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr.
Since opening as seven-point favorites, Indy has been bet up by half a point and are the favored line at -115 on the return. At FanDuel, 82% of the bets and 88% of the money is on Frank Reich and company. But should it?
According to Killer Sports, the Reich-led Colts are 1-2-1 against the spread when facing the Jags. However, not once were they favored by more than 3.5 points, so let's expand our sample size. In the eight matchups the Colts have been favored by at least four Indianapolis is 3-5 with the points, yet they have covered in two of the five they have been favored by a touchdown or more. In fact, they have won by an average of 12.8 points behind a 38-6 blowout over the Carolina Panthers last year.
This is more iffy than the public leads on, but you can feel confident laying the points.
In another season-opening divisional matchup, the Green Bay Packers are 2.5-point road underdogs to the rival Minnesota Vikings. In the event of a straight-up win, they will also bring back $116 for every $100 bet on the side of Aaron Rodgers and the boys of Lambeau.
There is much more than Rodgers behind the betting public's love for the Packers, too. They're into another season under second-year coach Matt LaFleur, and all he did was lead the Pack to a 13-3 record with two wins against the Vikings in 2019. That included three straight wins to open the season, in addition to a 23-10 road win in Minnesota in Week 16. As road 'dogs, they tallied a 3-2 record against the spread and straight up, including that win over the purple and gold.
As if the Packers needed it, they received a boost Wednesday when the Vikings decided to move star pass-rusher Danielle Hunter to the IR. Rodgers should have an easier time navigating the pocket and dicing up an iffy Vikings secondary on his way to fulfilling the public's belief in him to open up the new year.
There is a ton of fanfare and drama around this NFC South showdown at the Superdome. In his first year out of Foxborough, Tom Brady and his new squad, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, square off against a New Orleans Saints team that finished 13-3 with a playoff appearance in 2019. But since that, this Saints squad has seen controversy surround its quarterback, Drew Brees, and an unknown arrived in what might be a contract dispute with its star running back, Alvin Kamara.
Although there are a lot of storylines to keep track of, don't ignore the sheer firepower this game offers. Brees and Kamara are joined by Michael Thomas, free agent pickup Emmanuel Sanders and reliable tight end Jared Cook, while Brady is flanked by the likes of Rob Gronkowski, Chris Godwin and Mike Evans on the outside (although Evans is dealing with a hamstring issue), and Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones in the backfield.
Our models project each of these two teams to end the year in the top 10 defensively, but we could very well see them among the top three to five offensive units by year's end.
On a macro level, projected high-scoring affairs did not disappoint last year. In the 102 games sporting an over/under of 49 or more, the over hit at a 57.1% rate, including four pushes. In the six such games involving the Saints the over hit in four of six. In the eight Bruce Arians' Bucs were a part of, the over won out in seven of eight, totaling an average of 63.1 points between them and their opponents.
If those trends stick, football fans should be happy to reap the benefits of a high-powered game and a satisfying return on the over.