NFL first touchdown scorer: What we learned in Week 14 and targets for Week 15


Which teams and players should I bet for first touchdown scorer in Week 15?

Have you ever seen that viral video of the two kids going absolutely nuts when they open up a Nintendo 64 on a perfect 1990s Christmas morning? (If not, check it out, it’s hilarious.) Well, that was me this past Sunday when my phone lit up with a notification: “TOUCHDOWN: J. Williams – Lions 7, Vikings 0.” I thought my guy, Lions running back Jamaal Willliams, had done it again and scored his sixth first TD of the season! Alas, I quickly turned into a kid who got new underwear from grandma, as my trusty VSiN Final Countdown host, Stormy Buonantony, informed me that it wasn’t Jamaal Williams, it was Jameson Williams, the rookie wide receiver who snagged his first career touchdown.

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But, that’s how this market goes. There’s a ton of luck involved in predicting first touchdowns. I managed to come out profitable despite only winning one of these bets this past week. Not a great ratio (1/7), but, more importantly, my theory was proven correct. So, I’m going to stick to the plan: find game mismatches based on which teams score first most often and which teams don’t. Of last week’s 13 games, eight teams with better first TD records scored the game’s first TD, three didn’t and two games featured both teams with identical 6/12 records. We’ll look at Week 15 mismatches in a moment. (Or you can take a look at the updated tracker I put together if you want to see what each team has been up to.)

I also noticed some trends about a handful of teams. First, the Patriots continue to find the end zone with people we aren’t expecting, which is why I went with “any other Patriots player" (+800) against the Cardinals on Monday Night Football. New England’s first TD has been scored by NINE different players in their 13 games this season. Thankfully, my book didn’t have rookie RB Kevin Harris (4 total yards on the season entering the game) as an option, so I cashed this one. “Any other” might be the way to go with this Pats squad.

In a similar vein, the Ravens are extremely good at scoring first, but are also doing it with a variety of players. They’ve found the end zone first 10 times this season, which is tied with the Browns for most in the league. But the problem is that no player on the team has scored first more than twice! Devin Duvernay, Mark Andrews, J.K. Dobbins, Kenyan Drake and Gus Edwards all have two each. So, despite their success rate in this market, they just aren’t bettable for me this week as they take on the equally super-successful Browns.

The hottest team in the NFL at scoring first RIGHT NOW? The Dallas Cowboys. They have scored the game’s first touchdown in seven straight and nine of their 13 games this season. Tony Pollard (+600 at DraftKings) got his first of the season against the Texans on Sunday, keeping their trend of RBs scoring first going strong. Dallas has succeeded first with Pollard or Ezekiel Elliott six times this season. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Here’s the update on the best teams at scoring first:

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Stephanie hails from Massachusetts and has been a die-hard Boston sports fan since she was 10. She attended the University of Massachusetts Amherst, so it goes without saying college sports are of no interest to her. She joined VSiN in 2019, producing nearly every show on the network at one point or another. You may have heard hosts refer to her as “Producer Steph” but she refuses to speak on air, which she says is her “literal nightmare.” She became a writer for accidentally, summarizing some thoughts on the NFL First Touchdown market with expectations of a real writer turning it into an article. But look at her now, her own author bio on!