NFL Game of the Week: San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs
Last week in this space we examined the line movement and sharp money indicators for Sunday’s battle between the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints. Our analysis showed that public money had been artificially inflating the Panthers line, which created value on the Saints. We also explained how the Saints fit more than four of our most profitable betting systems — all of which can be found in the Bet Labs Think Tank.
Although a late touchdown pass from Cam Newton to Jerricho Cotchery helped Carolina remain undefeated, they were unable to cover the 7-point spread. This week’s featured game doesn’t feature the same level of contrarian value, however, we have observed number of excellent sharp money indicators.
The Chiefs opened as a 10.5-point favorite at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook and public betting has been evenly split. At the time of publication, the Chiefs were receiving 49% of spread bets at our contributing offshore sportsbooks, but the line had moved from KC -10.5 to -10.
We also spoke with Ryan Oakes from the William Hill sportsbook, who reported similarly balanced public betting. At the time of publication, 64% of tickets were taking the Chiefs but 57% of total dollars wagered were on the Chargers. Although this doesn’t quite fit the profile of “Pros vs Joes,” it is an excellent indicator that sharp money is leaning towards the Chargers.
In addition to this line movement, the Chargers fit the criteria for a number of profitable betting systems. For starters, our research shows that double-digit underdogs have gone 223-193 ATS (53.6%) including a 94-69 ATS record (57.7%) in divisional games.
We have consistently re-iterated the importance of buying on bad news and selling on good news. Since square bettors typically overreact to recent events, one of the easiest ways to take advantage of public perception is by taking teams following a loss or fading teams following a win.
Kansas City has won their past six games, including a 14-point win last Sunday against the Raiders. That’s excellent news for contrarian bettors, since it’s been highly lucrative to bet against teams who won their previous game by at least 7-points.
These sharp money indicators and betting system matches clearly show that San Diego is offering value, but there are even more reasons to like the Chargers this weekend. In an analysis of the top late season betting trends we found that Philip Rivers had gone 31-20 ATS in December and January — the fifth best mark in our database.
Public betting on the over/under has also been fairly even, yet the total has dropped from 46.5 to 45 at Pinnacle. The screenshot below, available to our Sportsbook Insider Pro members, charts the movement in more detail.
As you can see, the total dropped 1.5-points almost immediately after opening. At 8:05 PM eastern, Pinnacle opened the over/under at 46.5. Less than five minutes later it had already moved to 45. That would seem to indicate that early sharp money loved the under, and historically we have found that divisional games have been consistently low-scoring due to the familiarity between teams.
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.