When the 2020 NFL schedule was released on May 7, the network spent three hours discussing the matchups. As usual, they avoided the betting aspect completely but that’s where we come in. After taking time to digest the schedule, it was time to run some data.
Super Bowl Winners and Losers
Kansas City hosts Houston for the TNF kickoff party and then plays back-to-back road games at LA Chargers and Baltimore. The Chiefs’ current win streak is at nine-straight SU/ATS, and who can forget that comeback win over the Texans?
82 total points were scored and the TNF total in Week 1 is 54.5 points. The record when playoff combatants meet following such a barnburner is 26-16 O/U (62%). And while Week 1 games only averaged 45.7 points, this hasn’t been “live” since 2013. The Niners toppled the Packers 34-28 in that rematch. Could this be another shootout to start the season?
KC makes a long trek to the west coast in Week 2, offset by an extra few days rest. Furthermore, HC Andy Reid and the Chiefs have won more than three quarters of their divisional matchups since 2013, going 32-20 SU and 28-13-1 ATS.
Divisional Dominance (2013-19)
That .762 win percentage (WP) is tied with New England for best divisional mark over that span (playoffs included). The .683 ATS WP ranks first overall. SDQL data provided by SportsDatabase.com.
1. Chiefs: 32-10 SU and 28-13-1 ATS (68%)
2. Cowboys: 30-12 SU and 27-15 ATS (64%)
3. Colts: 29-14 SU and 26-15-2 ATS (63%)
4. Bengals: 19-24 SU and 25-17-1 ATS (60%)
5. Seahawks: 26-16-1 SU and 24-18-1 ATS (57%)
Week 3’s game in Baltimore will be big for KC and it’s a Monday nighter. New England is on-deck but with Tom Brady gone, the Pats aren’t nearly the same kind of look-ahead they’ve been the past 20 years. Unless the Pats are 3-0 at that point…
The 2020 NFL schedule for San Fran starts with a home game vs. Arizona. Each of their 2019 matchups were close, and each went to the Niners. With a year of experience, you can bet that QB Kyler Murray will be out for revenge. They also added WR DeAndre Hopkins to the mix and first round pick Isaiah Simmons out of Clemson to help shore up the defense.
Early line on the Cards at Niners = San Fran -8 and O/U 46.5 points.
2020 NFL Schedule Highlight: Brady vs. Brees
The hottest ticket on Sunday’s card is the Bucs vs. the Saints. The acquisition of Brady and Gronk has sent Tampa’s Season Win Total on a one-way trip towards double-digit land. In fact, our charts show that the Bucs rank 4th overall for projected improvement.
Four teams expected to improve by more than 2.5 games in 2020:
*(Last year’s straight up wins in parentheses)
1. Bengals (2): +3.6 wins
2. Lions (3): +3.6 wins
3. Chargers (5): +2.9 wins
4. Buccaneers (7): +2.6 wins
Drew Brees and Sean Payton are not fazed by their divisional rivals. In the past decade, Brees has a 12-2 ATS record laying -7 or less in divisional home games. He has engineered an unreal 31.6 PPG average, too. Use the following SDQL text for a readout:
Saints:D Brees:PY>0 and H and DIV and week<17 and season>2010 and line>=-7
AFC North Odds Favor Ravens
League MVP — and fantasy football superstar — Lamar Jackson, opens his season vs. Baker Mayfield and the Browns. After notching a 113 passer rating, Jackson will have a lot of wood to chop and current odds favor his Ravens by -9 points.
HC John Harbaugh is 8-1 SU when hosting his first divisional matchup of the season as big chalk but only 3-5-1 ATS. Contrast that with a 10-5 SU/ATS record when laying -7 or less, and this line is intimidating. We’ll be keeping an eye on team totals for this matchup.
Note: Early NFL odds show the Ravens as favorites in 14 of their first 15 matchups. 5 Dimes has Baltimore -180 to win the division.
After Baltimore, Cleveland’s early NFL schedule sees them in Cinci for Week 2. To top it all off, it’s a Thursday nighter. This is a very difficult spot for the Browns but the total is worth circling.
Thursday teams off Baltimore are 1-4 ATS and 4-1 O/U in divisional play since 2016. These five games averaged 52.4 total points. Click for SDQL.
Since realignment, Cinci and Cleveland are 18-17-1 O/U and the games averaged 43.8 points. The current total is 46 but the past five meetings saw 49.4 PPG, going 4-0-1 O/U. System bettors will also note that TNF divisional totals in this range are 21-11 O/U in the first two months. That’s a 66% “Over” record to work with and these two will be ready to let loose.
The ‘New’ New England: 2020 Strength of Schedule
Miami at New England is a divisional matchup we’ll be watching closely. The current line is Pats -6.5 and the Pats are 9-3-1 ATS at home laying -8 or less in the first divisional meeting of the season, but there’s something different about them this year…
Trendworthy: The 2020 NFL schedule features nine divisional matchups in Week 1. Check the SDQL Trend Mart for a 68% ATS system that is “live” on five of these games!
QB Jarrett Stidham is expected to be under center in Week 1 and talk about having some big shoes to fill! Here are some of the streaks that Stidham will try and maintain. Note: All of these are the longest in NFL history.
11-straight divisional titles and playoffs appearances (two records)
17-straight 10+ win seasons (12.5 avg. wins per season)
16-straight seasons as a top 10 scoring offense
The Pats play three of their first five at home and then have a Week 6 bye. The two road dates are in Seattle and Kansas City so ask anyone other than Bill Belichick, and a 3-2 start will be considered a success.
After the break, things get considerably more difficult for New England. Niners, Bills, Ravens, Texans — even the Cardinals will be a handful by Week 12! The Pats’ first half strength of schedule ranks 7th most difficult and the full season is 13th overall.
Will they be favored in a lot of the matchups? Likely, as long as The Hood is in charge, but while we can’t say how good this Pats team is going to be, we know for sure that every team they face will be bringing their A-game. In fact, other than Week 7, when New England is off a bye and at home vs. a San Fran team who are off a divisional game vs. LA, the Pats don’t get much in terms of an advantage until Week 16-17.
At that stage, New England finishes with Buffalo and the Jets in back-to-back home games. Buffalo hosts the Fish in Week 17 with a nice advantage in cold weather, so that Week 16 matchup vs. the Pats could be where this division is decided. Above all, it’s a Monday nighter. So who you grabbin’ as your QB2, Stidham or Josh Allen?