NFL Handicapping – Football Trends To Watch in September

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By Marc Lawrence  of Playbook.com   The pig is finally in the air. That means it is now September and with it an array of NFL handicapping team trends are suddenly in play for fans and ‘players’ alike.

Listed below are some of the best and worst team performances during the opening month of September.  Team breakdowns include records at home, away, as a favorite, as an underdog, and in division games.  All results are ATS (Against The Spread) unless noted otherwise.

Remember, as the late, great Howard Cosell once said, “What’s right isn’t always popular.  What’s popular isn’t always right.”
Play accordingly.

HOME TEAMS

Keep an eye on (Good): Detroit has been notorious fast starters for years and is 29-16 ATS on a field where Eminem calls home. The lone home game will not be easy, facing Denver.

Baltimore is still a respectable 28-16 ATS at home, but is not as strong under coach John Harbaugh. Let’s see if they flex their muscles against Cincinnati on the 27th of the month.
Keep an eye on (Bad): Arizona is just 14-23 ATS in the desert this month and has home games against New Orleans in Week 1 and San Francisco in Week 3. Definitely worth watching.
The New York Jets have Ryan Fitzpatrick as their signal caller for now. Cleveland is in New Jersey for the season lid-lifter and Philadelphia two weeks later as the Flyboys try and improve on 18-28 ATS mark the first month of the season at home.
Cincinnati is a miserable 15-25 ATS this month and probably fortunately just has San Diego in Week 2 on the banks of the Ohio River.
Washington RedskinsWashington has been laboring at home for years and is 16-27 ATS before the home crowd. Having Miami and St. Louis the first two weeks, we will find out quickly if Robert Griffin III is really is among the best quarterbacks in the NFL as he recently proclaimed, or whether Kirk Cousins is really the answer. (Looks like Cousins is to the Redskins coaches)
AWAY TEAMS 
Keep an eye on (Good):Kansas City is money on the road to begin the season at 30-17 ATS and has two chances to better that record: In the opener at Houston and the Week 3 Monday nighter at Lambeau.

Dallas was 8-0 and 7-1 ATS last season in away outings, which helped build a recent 29-16 ATS mark. That makes the Week 2 battle at Philly worth waiting for.

Keep an eye on (Bad): It has never made sense why a franchise as consistently good as Pittsburgh struggles early on the road and is a dismal 15-29 ATS. They might catch a bit of a break being in New England for Game 1 of the season. Seventeen days later they will be in St. Louis.

Speaking of the Rams, they are only marginally better at 15-28 ATS, but found a home team as bad as they are in Washington, leaving football bettors to choose the lesser of two evils.

FAVORITES

Keep an eye on (Good): Seattle is a rock solid 29-16 ATS favorite, however, like usual will be tested at St. Louis in the opener. Two weeks later they will likely have an easier time facing Jay Cutler and the Bears.

Bad: With the Cardinals a lousy home team, it stands to reason they would be a mediocre favorite. At 7-18 ATS in September, this is as bad as it gets, so let’s see of the Saints and Niners can expose them again as frauds in that role.
If you have too much money, we have a perfect solution… bet Carolina as favorites this month. The Panthers are 8-18 and should be favored in all three games in September!

St. Louis fits the bill also at 12-25 ATS, however, we know they will not be a favorite against Seattle in the first contest and chances are will not being handing out points at the Redskins or home to Pittsburgh. Watch the numbers and keep this in mind.

UNDERDOGS

Good: The Dallas Cowboys thrive in this role at a sensational 26-12 against the number. Their Week 2 showdown at Philly will be their lone chance to improve on record.

Keep an eye on (Good): With road games at Houston and Green Bay, Kansas City will be an underdog and seeking to improve on 27-17 ATS. In between those contests is a home date with rival Denver and based on the past two years in this matchup at Arrowhead, the Chiefs might actually not be favored until their fifth contest.

Bad: We already mentioned the Steelers slow starts and they are 10-21 ATS when catching points this month. They are underdogs at New England, with a Week 3 nonconference clash at St. Louis to be determined later.

DIVISION 

Good: The Chiefs home opener will on Thursday night against Denver on the 17th and K.C. is a dandy 23-11 ATS in that role.

Keep an eye on (Bad): With New England’s quarterback situation settled with Tom Brady back, we’ll see whether the added weight and the bull eye of being defending Super Bowl champs weighs on the Pats disappointing 16-24 ATS vs. the AFC East.

Cincinnati is a fairly disheartening 13-20 ATS against the AFC North early on, and its first division confrontation of 2015 will be at Baltimore.
I’ll be back next month with our review of NFL trends for October.  Good luck this month.
Contributions from Doug Upstone of www.vegasproinsidersdaily.com.

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