NFL's Early Season Division Tank Job

by Tom Stryker

With our System of the Week checking in off a tough loss on the War Eagle in college football last Saturday, we’ll flip over to the NFL on Sunday armed with a September situation that has been money in the bank over the years.
 
As stated before, with the help of my pro football database, the same one that was featured in the December 13th, 2010, issue of the ESPN Insider magazine, I’ve been able to isolate and profit from a number of early season technical sets that have performed very well.
 
This particular situation was discovered when I was researching how well teams did in their first NFL division game.  There’s not much to it.  But it certainly packs a nice financial punch.  Take a look at what I like to call the NFL’s Early Season Division Tank Job.
 
Since 1980, PLAY AGAINST any game three division favorite or underdog of +6.5 or less provided they check in off a straight up road loss and opened the regular season with back-to-back non-division games.

 41-Year ATS Record = 33-8 ATS for 80.4 percent
 
This Week’s Play’s = LA CHARGERS & PITTSBURGH

 Off a pair of non-division battles and a straight up road loss, the knee-jerk reaction would likely be to play on this specific team thinking they would be motivated to bounce back especially if they are lined up against a division opponent.  In reality, the exact opposite happens.  
 
Kansas City enters its game against Los Angeles off a non-division home win over Cleveland and a non-division road loss at Baltimore.  Meanwhile, Cincinnati checks into its battle against Pittsburgh off a non-division home win over Minnesota and a non-division road loss at Chicago.  The means the Chiefs and Bengals fit this negative wagering situation perfectly.
 
There is one tighener that can be added to the general system that really makes it pop.  As long as out “play against” side did not lose to the Las Vegas pointspread by double-digits in their last game – so a line differential of -9 or less – this situation drops to a jaw-dropping 2-24 ATS!  Both Kansas City and Cincinnati apply.
 
Good luck with the Bolts and Men of Steel on Sunday! 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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