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Picking NFL winners Against the Spread (ATS) is a great way to dive deeper into the game and explore the trends behind the oddsmakers’ lines. Understanding spreads and how certain teams perform ATS will give you an edge to beat your friends in your survivor pool. In this series, we profile two divisions per week and offer up free tips, or identify survivor traps, in each team’s 2023 schedule.
The NFC East was a pretty safe place to invest in survivor pool picks in 2022. Overall, the division went 43-31-1 ATS (57%). The Giants were money across the board. Dallas was most reliable as a home favorite, while Philadelphia surprisingly struggled ATS an away team, and Washington muddled along.
2022 Record ATS
New York Giants
There are not many holes in the NY Giants’ armor as an ATS team. They were 74% overall and a stunning 11-3 (79%) as an underdog. The Giants were also a perfect 5-0 ATS in nonconference games. Weird fact: The Giants did not play a single road game as a favorite in ‘22. Survivor’s Rule: When the Giants are an underdog against a nonconference opponent, pick them. That sets up their October 15th visit to the Bills as a prime spot to pick the NY Giants in your survivor pool.
Dallas was 58% overall ATS in 2022, with most of their success coming as a favorite (62%) and/or in home games (67%). Interesting trend: After each loss ATS in ‘22, Dallas won ATS in their next game, to go a perfect 5-0 on the season. But, after a win, Dallas was only 6-7 ATS (46%). Survivor’s rule: Pick Dallas to win ATS any week after they lose ATS, but do not pick them any week after they win ATS.
Philadelphia was a great football team that was tricky to bet ATS in 2022. Just 50% overall, the Eagles were 73% ATS at home but just 25% as an away team. They were only a ‘dog once all season and they lost ATS that week. Weird facts: 1) After an ATS loss, the Eagles were 0-3 ATS the following week; 2) The Eagles were 2-5 (29%) as an away favorite in ‘22. Survivor’s Rules: 1) When the Eagles are at home, pick them ATS. When they are away, do not pick them; 2) When they lose ATS one week, do not pick them to win ATS the following week.
The Commanders’ ATS performance in 2022 was about as underwhelming as their on-field performance. Just 50% or slightly better overall, home, away, as a ‘dog and as a favorite, Washington is a tough team to rely upon in your survivor pool. Interesting trend: After a win ATS, the Commanders were 4-2-1 (67%) ATS the following week. Survivor’s Rule. Avoid the Commanders if you can but in a pinch pick them the week after they have an ATS win.
The AFC East was one of the toughest divisions to pick in 2022. Overall, the division was 33-35-2 ATS (47%), and the only team with a winning record ATS at home was Miami. New England was a bad underdog but a decent favorite. The Jets and Bills were just middling.
2022 Record ATS
Never being an underdog last year put a lot of pressure on the Bills to perform, but plenty of pool players got burned by this team’s inconsistent performance ATS. Buffalo was just 3-6 as a home favorite but improved to 4-3-1 in away games. Buffalo was the weakest ATS in division games. Survivor’s Rule: Pick Buffalo ATS in away games but not against divisional opponents.
New England Patriots
New England’s topline figures overall, at home and away are middling, but things get a little more interesting when you look at their performance as an underdog or favorite. As a ‘dog, the Pats were an atrocious 2-7 last season, but as a favorite, they went a solid 5-2-1. Survivor’s Rule: Look to pick New England when they are a road favorite in a non-conference game, such as on November 5th when they are scheduled to visit the Washington Commanders.
New York Jets
The Jets were slightly better as an away underdog (57%) than they were anything else in 2022, but all bets are off in NY based on the arrival of Aaron Rodgers, whose presence will change betting lines in ‘23. A favorite in just five games in 2023, the Jets could be favored in as many by just the halfway point of this season. We really don’t know how the Jets will respond in this context. Survivor’s Rule; Avoid picking the NY Jets in your survivor pool early in the season until we see how Rodgers affects things.
The Dolphins were a little better than average ATS in 2022 (56%) and best as an away underdog and home favorite, when they went 4-2 (67%) in each category. Weird fact: Miami was 2-0 with a rest disadvantage in ‘22. Survivor Rule: The Dolphins were a beast at 9-4 ATS in conference games — so, look for them as a home favorite or road underdog in conference games.
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