2016 NFL Week 9 Line Moves That Matter

Every week in this space we highlight the most interesting line moves at the market-setting offshore sportsbooks — typically Bookmaker and Pinnacle — which take the highest limits and therefore attract the sharpest bettors. By contrasting the opening and current lines with the public betting trends from our seven contributing offshore sportsbooks, we’re able to determine how public betting has affected the line.

We are also proud to announce that in addition to our public betting percentages, we now offer real money percentages, which reflect the percentage of total dollars wagered at one of the sharper offshore sportsbooks. This allows bettors to easily monitor all the factors influencing line movement.

It’s important to know which side is receiving the majority of tickets, but it’s far more crucial to understand which side is receiving a majority of the money since books are far more likely to adjust their lines if they have significant liability on one side.

By waiting until public money has artificially inflated the line, bettors can often capitalize on public perception and find additional line value. That’s why I wanted to examine three games where public money was responsible for moving the line at least a half-point.

Using the data available to Sportsbook Insider subscribers, I have examined the latest trends to determine what’s driving line movement in the most interesting Week 9 matchups.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday at 1:00 PM eastern)

In this showdown between NFC North rivals, the Minnesota Vikings opened as 6-point favorites at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook. Clearly bettors are being affected by the Vikings surprising loss to the Bears in Monday night’s nationally televised game, as they are receiving their lowest level of public support since Week 2 against the Packers.

At the time of publication, Minnesota was receiving just 25% of spread tickets and 30% of spread dollars wagered.

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min-line

It’s extremely rare for the majority of public bettors to back the underdog — especially at this level. Since the start of the 2003 season, the majority of spread tickets have taken the underdog in just 19.18% of all regular season games. Over that same time, the underdog has received at least 75% of spread tickets on 19 occasions. That’s less than 1% of all games!

With the majority of bettors taking the road underdog, the Vikings have dropped from -6 to -5.5 at Pinnacle. That’s particularly noteworthy since “6” is the fourth most common margin of victory for NFL bettors.

Bettors may also notice an “+” icon on the line graph which indicates an injury update for a key player — in this case Vikings running back Jerick McKinnon. The third-year back is dealing with a foot injury, but he was upgraded from questionable to probable on Tuesday morning. Despite the line move occuring at the same time as this injury update, the two are not correlated. Very few running backs are capable of moving the line outside a handful or Pro Bowl caliber players.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (Sunday at 1:00 PM eastern)

In another divisional rivalry game, the Giants opened as 3-point home favorites at Pinnacle, but once again the majority of bettors are backing the underdog. According to our public betting trends, the Eagles have received 68% of spread tickets and 69% of spread dollars. They have also received 76% of teaser bets, which is typically an excellent indicator of square money.

With more than two-thirds of bettors taking the road underdog, the Giants dropped from -3 to -2.5 at Pinnacle. That’s a very meaningful move since roughly 15% of all games have been determined by exactly three points.

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nyg-lineIt’s fairly shocking to see bettors loading up on Philadelphia considering the majority of casual bettors typically overreact of recent results. The Giants have won consecutive games over the Rams and Ravens while the Eagles lost last week against the Cowboys. Carson Wentz, who at one point emerged as the Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite, has seemingly regressed in the past month. That drop off can easily be seen through his Rookie of the Year odds.

Some sportsbooks have already moved to Giants -2, so it will be interesting to see whether public money continues to move the line at Pinnacle. This is currently the third most heavily bet game on Sunday, and public money has a larger effect in games with increased volume.

New Orleans Saints at San Francisco 49ers (Sunday at 4:05 PM eastern)

Although it’s not the most thrilling game, there has been some interesting line movement in this matchup. The Saints opened as 3-point road favorites and have received 87% of spread tickets and 73% of total dollars wagered. In fact, the Saints are currently receiving the highest ticket percentage of any Week 9 game, which is amazing when you consider the Cleveland Browns are playing the Dallas Cowboys.

With New Orleans receiving nearly 9 of every 10 bets, the Saints have moved from -3 to -3.5 at Pinnacle.

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no-lineThe Saints used to be one of the league’s most popular picks on a weekly basis, but they haven’t received at least 80% of spread bets in over two years. The Saints ticket percentage will likely drop slightly before kickoff, but this would qualify as the second highest ticket percentage recorded on the Saints in our database.

It’s also worth noting that there’s been fascinating line movement on this game’s total. According to our public betting trends, 69% of tickets and 91% of total dollars wagered have taken the over. With most of the money taking the over, the total has increased from 51 to 52 at Pinnacle.

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ou-graphBettors should know there’s roughly three times more money bet on the spread as opposed to the total, which is why we don’t typically advocate betting against the public on the total. Sportsbooks understand that bettors overwhelmingly take the over, so it’s only games with this level of potential liability where public money will inflate the total.

Since 2003, the majority of bettors have taken the over in 86.7% of all regular season games. At least two-thirds of bettors have taken the over in roughly half of all regular season games.

Interested in checking out our new money percentages and line charts for every Week 9 game? Sign up now for a 4-day trial of Sportsbook Insider Pro. 

Pro subscribers have access to real-time odds, public betting trends, money percentages, bet signals (including steam moves and reverse line movement alerts), injury alerts, value meter, line watcher, line predictor, and many other unique features.  We have already released one NFL Best Bet for Week 9, with several additional plays coming in the upcoming days:

  • Dallas Cowboys at Cleveland Browns

Have any questions for the staff at Sports Insights? Make sure to utilize our live chat or call us directly at 877-838-2853.

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David Solar

David Solar has been the Content Manager at Sports Insights for over four years. He specializes in sports betting analytics and has created several popular data-driven betting systems. He can be reached directly at david@sportsinsights.com or on twitter at @TheDavidSolar.

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