Every week we analyze the sports betting marketplace to pinpoint which games the public are chasing and which the sharps are pounding.
Overall Record: 6-4 (60%)
The goal of this weekly column is to highlight games that offer true line value. Often if a line looks too good to be true, there is a reason. You’ll occasionally need the worst teams on the board to come through. We typically buy on bad news and sell on good.
Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (7-8) – 12/30 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Two of the league’s most entertaining quarterbacks will be squaring off on Sunday when Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers travel to New Orleans to take on Drew Brees and the high-octane Saints offense in this NFC South matchup. Both teams have posted disappointing seasons, but will look to end the season on a positive note.
Since starting the season 2-8, the Panthers are 4-1 and finally look like the team many analysts believed they were prior to the season. Newton, the 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year, has been the main catalyst for the late-season surge, tallying 1,540 total yards (1,227 passing, 313 rushing) and 14 touchdowns over the past five games.
While Newton’s recent performance has breathed life back into the offense, linebacker Luke Kuechly has been key on the defensive side of the ball. The first-year player from Boston College leads the league with 151 total tackles and has emerged as the front-runner for Defensive Rookie of the Year.
For New Orleans, last week’s 34-31 win on national television over playoff-contending Dallas was marked as the lone bright spot for the Saints’ tumultuous season. Quarterback Drew Brees threw for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns, while marching the Saints down the field en route to Garrett Hartley’s game winning 20-yard field goal in overtime.
The Saints began the season 0-4 and immediately saw their title aspirations wash away. Still, after winning their past two games the Saints still have the ability to end on a high note, as a victory on Sunday would push the team to .500 (8-8) for the season.
New Orleans opened as a 4-point favorite at market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook and, according to our NFL Betting Trends, are receiving 74% of spread bets and 74% of parlay wagers. This lop-sided betting has moved the line a full-point to -5.
The table below shows a breakdown of the NFL point spread betting percentages from our seven contributing sportsbooks.
There doesn’t seem to be a consensus on the line for this game with Carolina ranging from a 4.5 to 6-point underdog, which once again underscores the importance of shopping for the best line. As always we’re going to fade the public, take the value created by square bettors and bet the road dog in this NFC South matchup.
The chart below shows the changes in spread betting percentages and line movement since this game opened at Pinnacle.
Game to Watch:
Carolina Panthers +6 (Bovada)
It should be another exciting week of NFL Football action. Keep Marketwatch handy and your browser pointed to SportsInsights.com for the latest real-time updates on NFL point spreads.
Enjoy the games!