Caesars Sportsbook NFL Week 1 Odds & Trends

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

STEEL AWAY: The Super Bowl runner-up Bengals are 7-point home favorites today over the Steelers in the first-ever opening week meeting between the two AFC North rivals. Cincinnati swept the season series in 2021, outscoring Pittsburgh, 65-20, the Bengals’ largest single-season combined margin of victory in the 52-season history of the rivalry. This will be just the third time in the last 30 years that the Bengals are favored by more than 5 points over the Steelers. The last time it happened was 2013, a 20-10 win and cover by the Bengals as 7-point favorites. But Mike Tomlin relishes the underdog role. Since he took over in 2007, the Steelers have the NFL’s best record when getting points (36-35) and second-best cover record (43-25-3), behind only the Patriots (20-11-2). Still, the betting public believes in the Bengals, who have reeled in 56% of the spread bets and 65% of the dollars wagered.

NITTY GRITTY: Fresh off his star turn on Hard Knocks, Dan Campbell will try to turn covers into actual victories this season, beginning today when his Lions (+5.5) entertain the Eagles at Ford Field. Despite going 3-13-1 SU last season, Detroit was an impressive 11-6 ATS, the best cover record for a team with three or fewer wins over the past 35 seasons. The only other team over that span with a cover percentage over .500 was the 2001 Lions (8-7-1 ATS, 2-14 SU). Last season Philadelphia was 6-1 SU and 4-2-1 ATS as a favorite, losing only to the Giants while laying 4 points Week 12. Caesars Sportsbook bettors aren’t buying the Lions hype, bestowing 66% of the spread tickets and 81% of the money on the Eagles.

GRAND OPENINGS: Arizona will try to end a long home losing skid today as 6.5-point underdogs against Kansas City, who is riding a substantial Week 1 winning streak. The Cardinals lost each of their final five home games of 2021 despite being favored in each game. That’s the longest active home losing streak in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have won seven straight Week 1 games (5-2 ATS), the longest current run in the league. The Chiefs have scored more than 30 points in their last six season openers, the longest streak in NFL history.  (Next-longest: Mike Ditka’s Bears, five consecutive years, from 1984 to 1988.) Patrick Mahomes started the last four of those games, firing 13 touchdown passes with no INTs and a 133.7 passer rating.  He is the only player in NFL history to throw three or more TD passes in each of four straight openers (2018 – four; 2019 – three; 2020 – three; 2021 – three).  And that rating is the highest in NFL history in Week 1 (min: 100 attempts) by a margin of more than 25 points; Brian Griese is next at 107.1. For this tilt, Kansas City has received 85% of the handle (largest for today’s games) and 64% of the tickets on spread bets.

HALF BAKED: The Browns will try to end the longest Week 1 winless streak in NFL history today against a quarterback responsible for some of that misery. Cleveland, who is 0-16-1 SU and 5-12 ATS in its last 17 season openers, travels to Carolina today, where they will face former QB Baker Mayfield in a game that is currently a pick ‘em. The public thinks the Browns’ dubious record will be extended today with the Panthers hauling in 79% of the spread bets and 74% of the dollars wagered.

SEPTEMBER SWOON: The Jets (+6.5) are pinning their hopes of finally winning a game in September on Joe Flacco, who will face the Ravens—a team he led to Super Bowl glory for the first time. New York has lost their last 12 September games (1-11 ATS)—the longest current losing streak for any NFL team in any calendar month and one shy of tying the longest September losing skid in league history (13 in a row by the St. Louis Rams from 2007-10). The Ravens are 9-2 SU and ATS all-time against the Jets and 10-4 SU and ATS in Week 1 under John Harbaugh. Considering all that, it is no wonder the public is backing Baltimore, who has received 86% of the spread tickets (most in any game today) and 57% of the handle.

‘BOYS WONDER: Sunday Night Football kicks off with a repeat of the Opening Game from last season when Tampa Bay won (31-29) but failed to cover against Dallas as 9-point favorites. The Bucs are 2.5-point road favorites tonight with bettors giving a slight edge to the Cowboys, who have secured 52% of the spread bets and 53% of the dollars wagered. Tom Brady has had his way with the ‘Boys over his illustrious career, winning all six starts. He is undefeated in his career against three other teams he has faced at least twice: 10-0 versus Atlanta (including Super Bowl LI), 6-0 versus Minnesota and 4-0 versus Tampa Bay. The Cowboys were an NFL-best 13-4 ATS in 2021 and were favored in every home game last season. Dating back to 2017, they have covered seven straight home games when getting points – winning six outright – while averaged 17 points per game more than the opposition.