This column appears courtesy of SBGGlobal.eu
Last season’s NFL kickoff game was the epitome of a sportsbook online trend in which the winner of the previous Super Bowl is the favorite to win their season-opening game whereas the loser is not. Not every kickoff game is a rematch of the previous Super Bowl, but last season’s was, and many a gambling man felt sure that the Carolina Panthers would exact some measure of revenge on the Denver Broncos. And they came close too; much, much, much closer than their previous encounter, as a matter fact. However, the Broncos pulled the quote-unquote upset, though in the end neither team ended up amounting to much for the rest of the season.
Since 2000, only two Super Bowl-winning teams have lost their next season-opening games. And, interestingly, this occurred in back-to-back years – years, it might be added, in which the Super Bowl winner losing was not the only thing out of the norm. In 2012 the NFL kickoff was held on a Wednesday as opposed to the usual Thursday; Super Bowl XLVI winner the New York Giants lost 17-24 to the Dallas Cowboys. And in 2013 the defending Super Bowl champions played on road due to scheduling conflict with Major League Baseball; Super Bowl XLVII champions the Baltimore Ravens lost 27-49 to the Broncos.
Sportsbook trends for Super Bowl winner/loser in Week 1 since 2000
- Winner is 14-2 straight-up and 10-4-2 against the spread. The over/under is 8-8.
- Loser is 5-11 SU and 2-14 ATS. O/U is 7-9
It’s safe to say that the Patriots are bound to continue that winning trend. In fact, the Pats have never lost their next regular season game following a Super Bowl appearance, whether they won or lost. Generally speaking, the Patriots are one of only three teams that have won 10 opening games in a row – a streak that ended in 2014 against the Miami Dolphins. The following year, with a last minute inclusion of Tom Brady, they beat the Steelers. And in 2016 they defeated the Cardinals without Brady. Not to take anything away from the Kansas City Chiefs, but the Pats are favored to win the NFL kickoff even without Julian Edelman.
On the other hand, the 2017 Atlanta Falcons are more likely to join the 2006 Seahawks, 2008 Patriots, 2012 Patriots, 2013 49ers, and 2014 Broncos than they are the 2000 Titans, 2001 Giants, 2002 Rams, 2003 Raiders, 2004 Panthers, 2005 Eagles, 2007 Bears, 2009 Cardinals, 2010 Colts, 2011 Steelers, 2015 Seahawks, and 2016 Panthers. The Falcons kickoff their 2017 season against the lowly Chicago Bears. It is to be expected, though, that the Dirty Birds learned their lesson from last year’s opener, where they lost to a second-tier team with fledgling quarterback; namely the Bucs and Jameis Winston. By the same token, the Bears should take a page out of Tampa Bay’s book and start rookie Mitch Trubisky over Mike Glennon (Winston’s erstwhile backup).
As for the total, it could go either way for the Super Bowl winner, while it slightly favors the under for the loser.