As we enter the sixth week of the NFL season, the top teams and players are beginning to emerge. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have established themselves as the MVP front runners while the Packers and Patriots have been leaps and bounds better than their competition. In fact, many sportsbooks have begun speculating about a potential undefeated season.
BetOnline lists the odds of any NFL team going 16-0 at +700 & the odds of any team going 19-0 at +1200. Still 5 undefeated teams remaining.
— Sports Insights (@SportsInsights) October 13, 2015
5Dimes has posted a number of undefeated props, with New England listed at +750 to go 16-0 and +1250 to go 19-0. Green Bay is listed at +1500 to go 16-0 and +3400 to go 19-0. This is particularly interesting since the Packers (+310) have better odds of winning the Super Bowl than the Patriots (+340). Effectively oddsmakers are saying that Green Bay has the superior team, but New England has the easier schedule.
This week both teams are double-digit favorites with New England receiving 92% of spread bets — tied for the most lopsided game in our database. The two previous teams to receive such overwhelming public support were both during the 2003 NFL season:
- Tennessee Titans (-7) at Atlanta Falcons (11/23/03)
- Miami Dolphins (-6) at San Diego Chargers (10/27/03)
This week we will examine line movement from three of the most interesting games, while comparing public betting trends from our seven contributing books and the Las Vegas based William Hill sportsbook.
Arizona Cardinals at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday at 1:00 PM eastern)
The Cardinals have been one of the league’s most improved team this season, posting a 4-1 record and a two game lead in the NFC West. This performance has given Arizona the best odds (-140) of winning their division, the third best odds of winning the NFC (+650), and the sixth best odds (+1435) of winning the Super Bowl at 5Dimes.
Playing against a Steelers team that is starting Michael Vick in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger, the Cardinals opened as a 3-point favorite at CRIS and have received 85% of spread bets at our contributing sportsbooks. Over at William Hill, Arizona has received 91% of all tickets and 85% of total dollars wagered.
This universally lopsided public betting has moved the Cardinals from -3 to -3.5 in Sunday’s showdown. That half-point line move is particularly interesting since three is the most common margin of victory in the NFL.
The Steelers currently fit out 80/20 betting rule, but there was a contracting bet signal which should give bettors pause. There were steam moves triggered on Arizona -3 at both CRIS and Pinnacle — two of the sharpest offshore sportsbooks. For that reason we would suggest that bettors lay off this game entirely.
The screenshot below displays the betting trends breakdown at six of our seven contributing books:
San Diego Chargers at Green Bay Packers (Sunday at 4:25 PM eastern)
In one of the more interesting games this week, the Packers opened as 9.5-point favorites at CRIS and have received 75% of spread bets. In Las Vegas, the Packers have received 93% of total tickets and 99% of total dollars at the William Hill sportsbook. With so much public support, both books have moved Green Bay from -9.5 to -10.5 which is significant for a number of reasons.
Double-digit underdogs have performed exceptionally well, posting a 219-188 ATS record (53.8%) since the start of the 2003 season. When that team is coming off a loss of at least 4-points that record improves to 143-108 ATS (57.0%). Bettors may also be interested to know that Philip Rivers has gone 3-0 ATS as a double-digit ‘dog.
At the time of publication, there had not been any profitable bet signals triggered on either team. This would seem to indicate that public perception is solely responsible for this 1-point line move. We’ll gladly take that free point and recommend that contrarian bettors take San Diego +10.5 this weekend.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (Monday at 8:30 PM eastern)
This week’s Monday night game features a showdown of NFC East rivals with the Eagles hosting the Giants. Philadelphia opened as a 4.5-point favorite at CRIS but have only received 28% of spread bets. This is fairly unusual since only 19.2% of all regular season favorites (572 of 2975) have seen the favorite receive less than 50% of spread bets. Going one step further, only 2.1% of all favorites (62 of 2975) of all regular season favorites have received less than 30% of spread bets.
There figures are actually quite different than public betting in Las Vegas. At the William Hill sportsbook, the Eagles have received 58% of total tickets, yet 93% of total dollars are on the Giants. This would indicate that public bettors are split, but Vegas sharps are hammering the Giants.
Unfortunately, we have not tracked any profitable bet signals on either side which makes it difficult to pinpoint sharp money. That said there are a handful of trends which indicate that New York could be offering value.
Since 2003, underdogs have gone 583-552 ATS (51.4%) in divisional games. This is a trend we have observed across all major sports since the familiarity between teams favors the side getting points. It’s also noteworthy that the underdogs from the NFC East (80-63, +13.58 units) have been more profitable than any other division.
Historically favorites have performed well in Monday night games, but the figures from William Hill are our best indicator that sharp money likes the Giants +4 in this matchup.
The screenshot below shows how the line and betting trends have moved since opening on Tuesday morning:
These numbers are subject to change before kickoff, so bettors should be sure to visit our free NFL odds page for the latest lines, injuries, public betting trends and more.
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David Solar is the Content Manager for Sports Insights and can be reached directly at David@sportsinsights.com
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