Beating the Odds: Week 1

An in-depth analysis of the week's best bets and survivor pool selections.


In the first iteration of the Beating the Odds article for the 2020 NFL season, it is important to establish a few key concepts that will come up repeatedly throughout the season. First and foremost, all bets will be recommended with an accompanying unit amount, typically somewhere between 0.5 and 2.0 units. One unit should equate to approximately one-percent of your allotted bankroll that you use for wagering across various sports. Arguably the most important aspect of being a winning sports bettor is proper bankroll management. By wagering in accordance with the recommended unit amounts-- totaling to a small percentage of your bankroll each week- this will ensure that you are never risking more than you can afford to lose. Additionally, the sports betting market is just that, a market. Markets typically tend towards efficiency, especially when the market price- or betting line in this case- is established by many players risking large sums of money to establish the price. Historically, the most accurate estimate of what the true price, or most accurate pregame projection of a game, is determined by the closing line of the game. The betting limits for games increase as more information, in the form of wagers, becomes available to bookmakers later in the week. Subsequently, the betting line movements leading up to kickoff ultimately move the betting line into the most efficient place. Using the closing line, calculating closing line value becomes a fantastic measurement of a sound process in sports betting. Beating the closing line, or betting on a game at a better number than the game closes at, is extremely difficult, but also typically leads to sustainable long-term success. One hypothetical example of beating the closing line would be betting on the Kansas City Chiefs at -4 on Friday afternoon when the line closes at -5.5. Here, the most efficient number is deemed to be -5.5, leaving the bettor with 1.5 points of closing value. Another hypothetical example, conversely, would be betting on the Carolina Panthers at +7 on Friday afternoon when the line closes at +4 at kickoff. In this example, there would be 3 points of closing line value for the wager on Carolina. As previously stated, consistently registering bets with positive closing line value is a great signal of a bettor who should find success in the future. This season, closing line value will be tracked for all recommended wagers, along with the win-loss and profit-loss totals. Now, without further adieu, let’s dive into this slate of games as we welcome the long-awaited return of professional football this weekend.

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