NFL Week 1 By the Numbers
Week 1 of the 2018 National Football League season is in the books and what an opening week it was. Quarterbacks stole the headlines, both the young and old, with a couple teams getting bit by the injury bug early. The largest point spread saw the dog win straight up, while second line totals had the most convincing trend. Here’s how I saw NFL Week 1 and the betting numbers shake out.
Week 1 is different from any other week in the NFL because lines have been released for 5 or more months. There were some significant line moves, with the Bills/Ravens seeing a 6-point change and a 4-point change in the Steelers/Browns matchup. For purposes of this article, we are using the closing lines.
Four games closed at PK, with the opening favorite losing 2 of 3 (1 game opened and closed at PK (WAS/ARI). The Week 1 ATS record is a dead heat at 5-5-2, but worth noting is the fact that three of those dogs that won ATS also won straight up. This includes the Tampa Bay Buccaneers huge upset win as the biggest dog of the week at +10.5 over the New Orleans Saints.
The OVER had a slight edge at 9-7. The total had a couple interesting storylines including in Cleveland where the total was set at 41, with the tie game finishing at 42. The aforementioned TB/NO game had a total of 50, and with 48 points on their own, the Bucs almost went over all by themselves. The Jets did take care of the total, scoring 48 points in a game that had a total of 44.
Second half lines were very intriguing, with 7 closing at PK. Is it just me, or has anyone seen that many PK lines at the half? The games that did have a line, the favorite went 5-4. Oddsmakers still did not have much faith in the Jets quick start, who were up 17-10 at the half. Despite the lead, the Lions came out of the locker room after the break as a 6-point favorite. The Jets ended up destroying that by 30 points.
The half time totals had the only convincing record at 10-6. Were teams feeling out defenses in the opening half, making adjustments at halftime, or will this be a trend throughout the season? It is something I will be watching closely as the season progresses.
Before I let you go, let’s talk storylines, because it is all we have until Week 2 kicks off. QBs really did steal the show, including 35-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 417-yard day, connecting with his receivers for 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also added another 36 yards on the ground with a TD. How many started him in fantasy?
Young QBs Sam Darnold and Patrick Mahomes also had great days in essentially their first starts. It was actually Darnold’s first start, while Mahomes started a meaningless game in Week 17 last season when Andy Reid was resting his starters. Mahomes went 15 for 27 with 256 yards, 4 TDs and no INT’s.
Darnold helped lead his team to a Week 1 win over the Lions as a 7.5-point road dog going 16/21, 189 yards and two touchdowns after throwing a pick-six on his first ever pass attempt in the NFL. He showed great poise, and gave Jet fans reason to be optimistic for the first time in a long time.
The Atlanta Falcons had the worst week as far as injuries, losing perhaps their top 2 defensive players. Safety Keanu Neal is done for the year with a torn ACL, while Deion Jones was put on IR-designated to return with a foot injury. The Tennessee Titans also had some tough luck, losing #1 TE Delanie Walker for the season with QB Marcus Mariota not being able to finish the game with an elbow injury and OT Taylor Lewan in the concussion protocol after receiving a vicious hit. Mariota is questionable for Week 2.
Other notable injuries include Doug Baldwin, Greg Olsen, DeSean Jackson, Leonard Fournette, Randy Gregory and Jeremy Hill.
One last note coming out of Week 1 is the success, or lack thereof, of the new coaches. Seven coaches opened the season on the sidelines after not being there last year, and they were a collective 0-7. Nobody ever said coaching in the NFL is easy.
So there you have NFL Week 1 by the numbers. I will bring the numbers to you every week, also providing you with the news and notes you need to stay current in the ever-changing NFL.
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