Betting Lessons From The First Two Weeks Of NFL Action
While there are only two weeks in the books, here is an interesting thing to note. Only seven teams have won both of their games. Those seven teams are the Las Vegas Raiders, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Bucs, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Rams. Of note: five of these teams are located on the West Coast.
Is this an indication of parity around the league? Perhaps. However, it really is too early to figure out which teams are going to emerge as the league’s powerhouses.
To no one’s surprise is the fact defending Super Bowl Champ Tampa Bay has already established itself as the top offense in the league, averaging 39.5 PPG. After all, the offense is led by the legendary QB Tom Brady, who is looking to secure his eighth Super Bowl ring.
At the age of 44, most NFL QBs have retired and taken a place in the broadcast booth. In the case of Brady, some analysts are wondering if maybe he is still at the top of his game. To start off this season, he has completed 65% of his passes for 655 yards and an amazing 9 TDs against two interceptions. He leads an explosive offense, and bettors should be keeping their eyes on the over/under when Tamps Bay plays against weak pass defenses.
Other offenses of note are the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Raves who are averaging over 30 PPG. Of course, both teams have also allowed over 30 PPG, which accounts for the fact both teams have one loss. Still, these are two offensive juggernauts worth watching early in the season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Carolina Panthers have only allowed 21 total points over two games. It’s worth noting that the team’s two wins came against the lowly New York Jets and the New Orleans Saints now playing without retired All-Pro QB Drew Brees. Is the defense that good? Maybe. The problem the Panthers face is the lack of a strong offense. This may signal the team will be involved in a lot of games that will go under the total.
Regardless, a Thursday night win over the Houston Texans by 24 to 9 in their third game indicates it could be a strong season for the Panthers.
NFL: A Passing League?
When looking at totals from a betting perspective, passing teams seem to get involved in more overs. Conversely, rushing teams tend to keep totals low.
After week two, only one running back has rushed for over 200 yards. That would be Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans, who has rushed for 240 total yards or 120 YPG. The league’s #3 rusher is Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson at just under 100 YPG. This is definitely a trend worth watching.
The reality is the league lacks real star power at running back. That could have everything to do with the fact teams have been putting a lot of emphasis on the QB position in the last two drafts. In fact, three QBs went in the first ten picks in both 2020 and 2021. Five of six of these draft picks are currently starting, which is leading to a lot of sloppy offensive football.
Until the cream starts rising to the top, bettors should put a lot of focus on betting over/under the total. If the NFL is committed to the passing game with clock stoppages and longer plays, it might take bookmakers a few weeks to hone in on the right totals.
And for those looking a little further down the road, Super Bowl futures betting may draw your interest. At odds of +500 to repeat, the Tampa Bay Bucs look enticing as long as Brady stays healthy. Which isn’t a bad bet considering he hasn’t missed a game since 2008.