With the exception of Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, all teams in the NFL have now played a quarter of their NFL schedule. All have survived, some have thrived, and some probably wish they could start over again. For bettors, there have surely been some highs and some lows — hopefully more of the former.
Here’s a look back at the highs and lows of the first quarter of the season:
Houston (4-0 ATS)
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If Houston has done much wrong yet, I sure haven’t seen it. They have won their four games by an average of 17.5 points. Two of those wins were on the road. The only potential issue is that only Denver is a potential playoff team that they have faced. Still, they have been so dominant that they will be tough against better teams. Clearly the best betting team of the first quarter.
Arizona (3-1 ATS)
If you say you saw this one coming then you are a liar. The undefeated Cardinals are just a single point away from having covered all four spreads. I don’t see it lasting for long, but then I really didn’t see them getting this far.
Atlanta (3-1 ATS)
The Falcons aren’t particularly exciting in my eyes, but they are taking care of business. Matt Ryan looks the best he has in his career. The one game they didn’t cover was perhaps the most impressive. They were trailing late in the game at home against Carolina, but they showed the toughness to bounce back and get the win. That tenacity will be handy later on.
Detroit (0-4 ATS)
Last year the Lions were a playoff team that looked like they were on the rise. This year they can’t get out of their own way, and they are the worst betting team in the league. The issues are many, and they add up to a team that just isn’t very good right now. The one thing to keep in mind with the team, though, is that they failed to cover one spread by a single point, and another by half a point. A few good breaks, then, and they would be 2-2 ATS. That’s a sign that they aren’t hopeless.
New Orleans (1-3 ATS)
The Saints have obviously been the biggest disappointment of the season, and there are few people who truly predicted just how much of an impact the bounty scandal would end up having on the team. All four losses have been by eight or fewer points, though, so sooner or later they are going to get some luck and win one.
Green Bay (1-3 ATS)
Last year the Packers were so good they seemed immortal. This year just isn’t the same. Even if you want to call them a 3-1 team because they got cheated in Seattle, they are still a long way from where they were — and where they can be.
Tampa Bay (3-1 ATS)
Tampa Bay was absolutely brutal late last year, and they went through big offseason changes. Therefore, it was easy to doubt them — which the public obviously has. While they are just 1-3 in the standings they comfortably covered their first three games. Unless they start winning a lot of games there is a good chance the public will keep underestimating them, and they’ll continue to deliver.
Cleveland (2-1-1 ATS)
The Browns are lousy. We knew that coming into the season, and they have lived up to expectations. Despite their lack of scoreboard success, though, they have done an admirable job of providing value for bettors.
New York Jets (2-2 ATS)
The Jets can’t decide what kind of team they are going to be. In odd-numbered games they have been sound. They blew out Buffalo in the opener, and in Game 3 they showed a lot of intensity to beat the Dolphins on the road in overtime. In even-numbered games, though, they have been a disaster. They lost without much of a fight at Pittsburgh in Week 2, and they played the worst game any team has played in Week 4 at home against the Niners. Consistency is a bettor’s best friend, so the Jets are pretty much the enemy of profits.
Philadelphia (0-3-1 ATS)
There is nothing I hate more than a team that wins games but doesn’t cover spreads. The Eagles are 3-1, but they have been so underwhelming in victory that they have yet to cover a spread.
Seattle 14, Green Bay 12
This game stands out as the obvious choice, and your emotion will differ depending upon what side you were on. I had taken Seattle and the three points, so the-call-that-rocked-the-world was like a gift from heaven for me. I feel a bit dirty about it because it was obviously a terrible call, but a profit is a profit, and I know there will be bad beats that I’m on the wrong side of plenty of times.
Arizona 20, New England 18
When you bet on football you will inevitably come across games that make you feel like you don’t know anything about anything. This was that game for me. There is no way in which this result made sense. New England was coming off a dominating win in their opener, and were returning home where they are very tough to beat. They were against an Arizona team that should have been hopelessly outmatched. This one seemed so lopsided that it wasn’t even interesting. Not only did it cost me on the bet, but the stupid game killed my survivor pool as well.
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