Road teams will dominate betting this weekend if a computer prediction service proves accurate for NFL Week 1 games.
The OddsShark.com computer, whose results alternated between laudable and laughable in 2012, has road teams going 12-4 ATS, including upset wins by the Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and Minnesota Vikings.
That streak will not include the Baltimore Ravens, who open their Super Bowl defense on NBC tonight. They are 7.5-point underdogs in Denver and the computer says the Broncos will get revenge for January’s playoff upset loss.
“We feed it as much stats and data as possible in hopes it will produce accurate results, but it gets a little malnourished in the offseason with no games and no stats, so it acts erratically early each season,” joked Jack Randall, an analyst at OddsShark.com. “If you have ever seen a hungry person get light-headed and behave oddly, that’s how the computer acts.”
(More from OddsShark: Why the Chargers will win the Super Bowl)
Despite its perennial Week 1 wooziness, it has made sensible predictions, such as a 40-20 rout by the New England Patriots over the host Buffalo Bills. If true, it would be the 19th win in 20 tries for the Pats, who would also improve on their 7-1-1 ATS run in nine seasons if they can cover the 10-point spread.
And it made oddball predictions like a 10-7 result for the host Jaguars over the Kansas City Chiefs. That prediction would perpetuate Jacksonville’s reputation as the best Week 1 bet in football. They are 12-2 ATS the past 14 seasons and 8-1 ATS when the opening week is played at home.
Overall, the computer has eight favorites and eight underdogs covering in Week 1, with eight games going OVER the total, and eight games staying UNDER the total. If that 50-50 breakdown sounds similar to coin toss odds, it is.
The highest scoring game will take place in Buffalo, where the aforementioned Patriots and Bills could combine for more than 60 points. The Falcons and Saints also should put up plenty of points in their NFC South clash in the Superdome.
Look for an easy cover from the Seattle Seahawks, predicted by the computer to beat the host Carolina Panthers by 11 points. The computer also likes Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins to cruise past the Philadelphia Eagles in Philly coach Chip Kelly’s debut. They have dominated division foes lately (12-2 ATS past 14 games within the NFC East).
Close, low-scoring games are expected between the Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears, the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, the Arizona Cardinals and St. Louis Rams and the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.
COMPUTER WEEK 1 NFL SCORE PREDICTIONS (odds from OddsShark.com)
Baltimore 27 - Denver 35.6 (-7.5 DEN, 49.5 O)
Minnesota 25.9 - Detroit 19.9 (-2.5 MIN, 47 U)
Cincinnati 25.7 - Chicago 27.4 (-4 CIN, 45 O)
Oakland 13.5 - Indianapolis 21.2 (-7 IND, 49 U)
Seattle 32 - Carolina 21.1 (+3.5 SEA, 45.5 O)
Atlanta 33 - New Orleans 26 (-2 ATL, 54 O)
Kansas City 7.5 - Jacksonville 9 (PK JAC, 39.5 U)
New England 40.2 - Buffalo 20.4 (+5 NE, 53 O)
Miami 18.1 - Cleveland 15.8 (+1.5 MIA, 41 U)
Tampa Bay 22.2 - NY Jets 16.6 (-2.5 TB, 41.5 U)
Tennessee 13.9 - Pittsburgh 24 (-6.5 PIT, 43.5 U)
Arizona 12.9 - St. Louis 16.5 (-4 ARI, 40 U)
Green Bay 28.5 - San Francisco 30.2 (-4.5 GB, 50.5 O)
NY Giants 29.5 - Dallas 22.7 (-3 NYG, 49 O)
Philadelphia 13.9 - Washington 27.2 (-6.5 WAS, 51 U)
Houston 27.9 - San Diego 22.6 (+2.5 HOU, 46 O)
KEY: Road Score - Home Score (HomeLineCover, Total OU)