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Top Bets to Make Before the Start of the 2020 NFL Season

by September 9, 2020

Finding genuine value without in-season data can be difficult, so the best approach is to work with what we have historically to find a balance. It’s not just a matter of knowing what result is likely, but how likely said result and how big or small the variable range is.

I have set up these bets below on a budget of $350 as a sample of how to scale them. This is especially important when betting Super Bowl Futures because you must temper the longshot payouts to cover your favored teams. To start, let’s look at some Team Win Total bets, some Super Bowl Futures, and lastly, a juicy Parlay to kick-off your season.

Bet $1, win $100 if Patrick Mahomes scores a touchdown against the Texans >> 

Team Win Totals

Atlanta Falcons
Win Total Under 7.5 (+100): $10

Chicago Bears
Win Total Over 7 (-160): $10

Houston Texans
Win Total Over 7.5 (-120): $10

Los Angeles Chargers
Win Total Over 7 (-130): $10

New York Giants
Win Total Over 6 (+100): $10

New York Jets
Win Total Over 6.5 (+110): $10

Las Vegas Raiders
Win Total Under 7.5 (-125): $10

Philadelphia Eagles
Win Total Under 9.5 (-105): $10


Bet Breakdown
These bets are a perfect storm because the number that Vegas has provided us with sits in a “Goldilocks Zone.” This means that the calculated range of win totals are 100 percent above or below the provided number, which is as close to a “guarantee” as you can hope for when doing these types of predictions. Of course, the ranges that I use to justify these bets are wrong about 10-to-15 percent of the time. An example of this is that I have surmised an 87.5 percent chance that the New York Giants will finish between 6.5 and 11.5 wins — because Vegas is offering 6, the over helps me to take 100 percent advantage of that 87.5 percent.

Optional Win Total Bets

Pittsburgh Steelers
Win Total Under 9 (-140): $10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Win Total Under 9.5 (+110): $10


Bet Breakdown
I would classify these as a healthy gamble, but they are technically within striking distance of the aforementioned “Goldilocks Zone,” hence their inclusion, even though they are dipping their toe slightly into outliersville. You may end up cashing a ticket on these, and $20 isn’t a huge investment, so these should act primarily as an icing bet with an emphasis on the larger list above.

Super Bowl Futures 

Houston Texans
Super Bowl Winner (+7000): $10

Kansas City Chiefs
Super Bowl Winner (+650): $108

Los Angeles Rams
Super Bowl Winner (+6000): $12

Minnesota Vikings
Super Bowl Winner (+2500): $28

New England Patriots
Super Bowl Winner (+2500): $28

Tennessee Titans
Super Bowl Winner (+3300): $21


Bet Breakdown
These six teams come directly from my algorithm I designed in college that reverse engineers the most relevant data by both variable weight and combination to accurately pick every Super Bowl winner since the year 2000. However, there is a caveat here, as my algorithm requires in-season team performance and personnel data in order to be accurate, so this is really just an artifact of an uncertain future — patiently awaiting Week 4 results to mature. This doesn’t mean that we can’t get lucky, hoping that no teams are added/removed by Week 5, so we can take full advantage of expanded odds now.

Week 1 Moneyline Bets ($43 @ +840)

3-Team Parlay
Chicago Bears (+140)
Cincinnati Bengals (+160)
New Orleans Saints (-180)


Bet Breakdown
I don’t have much to offer in terms of justification for this bet, but some of the upside for these teams outweighs my concerns with them — namely, I think that the linebackers and special teams units are the under-the-radar play here. I think that the Bucs, Chargers, and Lions have less to offer and are bigger anomalies of their own to manage before we even begin worrying about if Trubisky, Burrow, or Brees can figure it out. Yes, I know, Tom Brady. But do you really think Brees can’t keep up against that weak Bucs secondary?

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Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our Sports Betting 101 Section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced sports betting strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

Spencer Weston is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Spencer, check out his archive and follow him @westonpicks.

NFL, Picks