Why Public Money On Ravens Is A Bad Sign For Baltimore Bettors

New England Patriots v Baltimore Ravens
Why Public Money On Ravens Is A Bad Sign For Baltimore Bettors

With their 41-28 beat down of the Texans yesterday, Tom Brady became the winningest quarterback in postseason history and the New England Patriots set up yet another showdown with the Baltimore Ravens. These two teams have a storied history and their matchups over the past few years have made for must-see television.

In January of 2010, the two teams met in the divisional round of the playoffs with Baltimore listed as a 4-point road dog. The Ravens got on top early and cruised to a 33-14 victory. The next season, Baltimore was a 3-point dog in New England, but this time the Ravens were unable to emerge victorious — losing by a score of 23-20.

However, perhaps the most entertaining game was last season when these two teams met in the AFC Championship. After a gritty, back-and-forth battle, the Ravens found themselves down just three points in the final moments. A dropped pass by Baltimore’s Lee Evans cost the Ravens a win, and Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal in the waning seconds that would have sent the game into overtime, helping New England escape with yet another victory.

These teams met most recently in week 3 of the current season, this time with the game being played at M&T Stadium. The Ravens, who closed as 2.5-point favorites, out-gained the Pats by over 100 yards and kicked a 27-yard field goal as time expired to walk away with a 31-30 triumph.

Considering Baltimore’s past success against New England, many fans must have been surprised to see the Patriots open as a 7.5-point favorite at the market-setting Pinnacle sportsbook. In fact, in early betting Ray Lewis and company have received 64% of spread bets according to our NFL Playoffs betting trends. This makes them an extremely trendy, public underdog.

This lopsided public betting also reminds me of an old saying: “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Using our BetLabs software, we determined that similar trendy dogs have been woeful for bettors and fruitful for sportsbooks.

Since 2004, favorites of 8 or more points receiving 50% or less of spread bets have gone 39-28 (58.2%) ATS with +9.71 units earned and a +14.5% return on investment (ROI).

NFL Playoffs Betting Trends

If early line movement is any indication, the wise guys must agree with fading these trendy public dogs. The Patriots have already moved from -7.5 to -9.5 at Pinnacle despite receiving just one-third of spread wagers. This is an example of reverse line movement, which signifies that sharp money has come down on the home favorite.

We saw similar line movement in the NCAA Football National Championship game between Alabama and Notre Dame, where the Fighting Irish received two-thirds of public bets, yet moved from 7.5 to 10 point underdogs at most books. Because Notre Dame was ranked number one in the country (and also has an extremely broad and loyal fan base) the public was more than happy to take the points. Ultimately though, that sharp money was dead-on as the Crimson Tide easily cruised to a 42-14 win.

What are your thoughts on Sunday’s AFC Championship game? We invite you to leave your analysis in the comments section below.

David Solar

David was the Content Manager at Sports Insights. He has since moved on to greener pastures.

  • mike Simmons
    01/14/2013 at 1:58 pm

    Was hoping public would be on Pats.

    • chris
      01/20/2013 at 4:00 am

      best teams by far are sf and ne. why is it so hard to not know that. ml on both or possible tease cant loose

  • Stefan
    01/14/2013 at 4:24 pm

    -Underdogs have a +ROI late in the season after December…when playing at home. BAL is away.
    -NEP are 3-3 vs playoff teams this year. However they’re 3-1 at home vs playoff teams.
    -When NEP representing <40% we have got to suspect a trapline here.

    So there is only one question…

    "At +9 Is BAL priced Too Good To Be True?"

    Based on the history between these 2 teams, being completely neck and neck ATS with very close games every time…PLUS NEP's extensive injury list…I have to say YES. BAL is priced too good to be true.

    The play is NEP -9.

  • jim
    01/14/2013 at 4:44 pm

    Laying off this one. If there was a gun to my head I would take the Ravens + 9 1/2 . If the ducks don’t all line up, why pull the trigger. Lots of NBA to make some $ on.

  • Todd
    01/14/2013 at 11:20 pm

    Hello Players – I hope you listened to what I said about the Ravens last week. I have now gone 3 and O on the site. I only speak up when I think it will help. Check out my post back on the S.F, Chicago game. I said the world is about to find out about Colin Kaepernick.

    It does not matter what the “smart money” is doing or if this looks like a “trap game”. Take the RAVENS and the points. This is not the Texans who are just happy to win 1 game. This is Ray Lewis, and ED Reed. Look for Boldin and Smith to have huge games. They will be to physical for the DB’s of New England. Good luck !

  • mean Gene
    01/18/2013 at 3:08 pm

    you gotta love Atlanta to cover that 3.5… that seems like stealing to me..

    • PJ
      01/18/2013 at 3:22 pm

      If you’re a Falcons bettor, there are +4’s, +4.5’s and even a +5 at Bovada out there.

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