The bigger the underdog, the more America roots for them and the more sportsbooks love them.
Underdogs are a popular betting pastime for NFL fans and nothing feels better than a longshot payout.
So as the regular season kicks off with four games featuring major point spreads (and two more that have been bet down to smaller numbers), underdog bettors and bookies are licking their chops. Week 1 has been historically kind to the 'dogs and harsh on the chalk, especially to home favorites.
Home chalk of 9 points or more since 1991 are 4-14 against the spread, according to the NFL odds database at OddsShark.com. That’s just four win in 18 tries.
When the big favorite is on the road (7 points or more), the numbers aren’t as bad (5-8 ATS) but still a money-losing proposition.
In total, betting big Week 1 underdogs is a 22-9 ATS bargain in recent years.
Only seven times since 2000 has a Week 1 home team been an underdog of 7 points or more, yet it happens twice more in 2012.
Cleveland opened as +9 underdogs to the visiting Philadelphia Eagles . Despite crashing and burning a year ago and losing stud offensive tackle Jason Peters to injury, the Eagles get a lot of love from the public. Even with a whopping 9 points to cover on the road, nearly 70 percent of the early betting action was on the Eagles.
The Browns have been in this situation twice before in 1999 and 2000 and got hammered each time. So history hasn't smiled on the Dawgs in this position. The Eagles destroyed the Rams 31-13 as road favorites in Week 1 last season.
Tennessee is +8 at home to the New England Patriots, a team that has been a double-digit Week 1 favorite three times since 2006. They failed to cover all three times (the Bills in 2006 and 2009 and the Chiefs in 2008).
The Pats have won four straight against the Titans and outscored them 99-23 in the past two games.
Miami is a 13.5-point underdog at Houston, where the Dolphins go looking for their first career win in seven tries against the Texans (0-6 SU, 2-4 ATS). This game opened a few weeks ago at -6.5 and has been hammered all the way to -13.5.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Indianapolis is +11 at Chicago, and the irony is delicious in this game. The Bears were 11-point underdogs at Indy to start the 2008 regular season and they stomped Peyton Manning’s Colts 29-13.
It was a small measure of revenge for losing the Super Bowl a few months earlier, but at least the victory made Bears bettors happy. Chicago had been a solid chalk bet, winning 10 in a row SU before losing their final two games in 2011.
The Saints might yet end up being double-digit home favorites. They were at -10 but money on Washington pushed it down to -8.5 at many shops tracked by OddsShark.com. And the same could happen in Detroit, if late money comes back in on the Lions. They had been -10 against the St. Louis Rams but that spread had been bet down to -7.5.
See the latest football odds at NBCSports.
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