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Week 1 NFL Betting Theories

It’s a week when smart and lucky bettors get off to a huge start and unwise and unlucky ones can suffer an 0-4 opening weekend.

The first week of NFL offers terrific profit opportunity, but it is also fraught with handicapping pitfalls, even moreso in 2011 with the compressed free agency and training camps.

As a rule of thumb, you are looking for value in Week 1 NFL betting. An underachieving team from last year that did well in the preseason may be indicative of a team ready to win impressively. Do the Detroit Lions fall into that category? [ See 2011 NFL preseasons standings ]

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The Lions were 6-10 last season (12-4 ATS), but were aggressive this summer and rolled to a tidy 4-0 preseason mark, outscoring foes 114-47 in the process. They opened as 3-point underdogs in Tampa Bay but bettors at 5Dimes pushed the line even.

Detroit has owned the Buccaneers, going 7-1 ATS in the past 8 meetings and they seem primed to start the season well.

Another value team in Week 1 is Atlanta. Not because they underachieved in 2010 – if anything they overachieved at 13-3 – but because an 0-4 preseason will weigh on bettors’ minds. They are small favorites in Chicago, but this is an explosive team that can easily defeat the Bears.

One trend working in their favor is the 10-2 ATS in their past 12 season openers. Another is the 9-3 ATS angle the past 12 times they have been favored. [ Matchup Report ]

Looking for a couple of impressive preseason teams to fade in Week 1? Try the Washington Redskins. They were 3-1 in the preseason and host the Giants as 3-point underdogs. The Skins have been dominated at home by the Giants, losing five in a row and clearly more than three points better than Washington.

We expect the Giants vs Redskins line to move higher in favor of the Giants.

Also check out the Rams, a 4-0 preseason team who have a very tough home test in Week 1, hosting the Super Bowl-contender Eagles. The spread has been bet up to -5.5 at Bovada if you like the Rams, while most online sportsbooks have them at +4.5. [ Matchup Report ]

But this is a trap situation in St. Louis, who are not a 4-0 team. The Eagles are 8-1-1 ATS the past 10 meetings with the Rams and St. Louis has been a money pit in season openers, going  1-8-1 ATS past 10 years.

Check out some Week 1 NFL trends:

Falcons
10-2 ATS past 12 season openers
9-3 ATS past 12 games as a favourite
1-7 SU past 8 September road games
UNDER is 11-2 past 13 Sept road games

Ravens
6-2 ATS past 8 Week 1 games at home
1-5-1 ATS past 7 vs Steelers
Won 8 in a row SU at home in September

Bills
6-1 ATS past 7 season openers

Panthers
UNDER is 10-2-1 past 13 Week 1 games
5-1 ATS past 6 seasons openers on the road

Bears
UNDER is 15-4 past 19 games as underdog
Played 6 straight Week 1 UNDERs

Bengals
1-11 ATS past 12 games as underdog

Browns
1-9-1 ATS past 11 season opening games
UNDER is 8-2-1 past 11 Week 1 games

Broncos
7-3 ATS past 10 season openers
UNDER is 6-2 past 8 Week 1 matches

Lions
7-1 ATS past 8 vs Tampa Bay

Texans
OVER is 10-2 past 12 meetings vs Colts

Colts
10-3-1 ATS past 14 September road games
5-1-1 ATS past 7 season openers on the road

Jaguars
1-6 ATS past 7 September home games
9-2 ATS past 11 Week 1 games
6-1 ATS past 7 Week 1 games when at home
UNDER is 5-1 past 6 meetings with Titans

Chiefs
2-7 ATS past 9 vs Bills
UNDER is 8-1 past 9 vs Bills

Dolphins
0-7 ATS past 7 September home games
1-5-1 ATS past 7 Week 1 games

Patriots
OVER is 7-1 past 8 Week 1 games when on road

Giants
5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS past 5 trips to Washington

Jets
Lost 8 in a row SU vs NFC East teams dating to 2003

Raiders
8-2 ATS past 10 games vs Broncos

Eagles
8-1-1 ATS past 10 games vs Rams

Seahawks
1-7 ATS past 8 September road games

Rams
1-8-1 ATS past 10 season openers

Titans
11-3 ATS past 14 September games
9-3 ATS past 12 September road games
6-2 ATS past 8 season openers
UNDER is 5-1 past 6 season openers