Behind The Betting Lines 10/15/2004

by T.B
Courtesy of
10/15/2004 1:22PM EST

Behind The Lines    Vol. 7

You would think after 22  years of being involved in this business in one capacity or another, I would know enough not to go against certain unalienable truths.  The first, and pretty much the Golden Rule:  Don’t Count Your Money Until The Final Whistle!

Last night Louisville was up 31-14 halfway through the 3rd quarter.  All year I’ve been saying Miami is only as good as its defense and last night the defense wasn’t there.  The game was not lopsided, in fact checking the Sports Insights graph right before kickoff  the game was bet almost right down the middle with 51% of the Straight action on Louisville.

But when a team like Miami is going down, and you’re going to break up all the teasers?  You know that’s a good sign for the weekend and half of your Saturday junk would probably grade out as a loser.  Customers have to reload and start all over again.  I even went so far as to discuss same with a colleague (who also should have known better).

So what happens?  Miami comes back to win 41-38 and with a spread of  9.5 that went down to 8.5 just about every teaser on the board is a winner.  Only the 6 pt. teasers on Miami at the opening number were losers.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.

The other rule I went against last week: When a line is “obviously” wrong, bet the other side.   For instance this week New England is laying 4 at home against Seattle.  They’ve won 19 in a row, 2 out of the last 3 Super Bowls, they’re playing at home and they’re only giving 4?  The local Boston bookies must be crying right now.  But going by our above rule, the money SHOULD be on Seattle.

Last week the Rule applied to the Tennessee @ Georgia game.  Georgia was coming off a huge win over LSU, Tennessee coming off a bad loss at home against Auburn.  The line was screaming, “Bet Tennessee! Bet Tennessee!”  But I tried to put personal analysis into that game instead of just going with a theory that’s been proven true time and time again over the past 2 decades.  Lesson learned.

As far as how the books did last weekend, they breathed a huge sigh of relief.  Saturdays have been fairly successful and last week was no different.  Sunday started out with 2 big early games hitting, Detroit and the Giants.

However the ‘swing’ game was New England.  The ‘swing’ game is the game that can turn your day into a Monster or it puts you right back down again and the rest of the day is a dogfight.  The line opened New England – 13 and closed at – 11.5.  Down 14 points, Miami had 1st and Goal inside the New England 1 yd. line with under three minutes to go in the game and couldn’t score.  Wannstedt and the offensive coordinator should have been fired on the plane ride home.

But the 4 o’clock games came up big, especially San Diego and the huge comeback win by St. Louis.  Tack on the Tennessee blowout on Monday night and all in all a good weekend.  Now onto this weekend:

Carolina @ Philadelphia – Sun. 1 PM EST (Fox)

Depending on where you look the opener in this one was Philly -8, although in some newspapers have it listed as -7.5.  Regardless it is now up to -9 at most places.  Looking at our Sports Insights betting graphs we see there are 70% of the Straight bets on Philadelphia, 70% of the Parlays and Teasers are on Philadelphia and a ridiculous 86% of the Total money is on the Over, which now stands at 41.5.

This tells us that after a few weeks, the public has gone back to the old standby: Favorite to the Over.  Doesn’t matter what year it is, which favorites are involved, but if you’re behind the lineboard week after week, you’re rooting for ‘Dogs and Under.

Be careful about jumping on the bandwagon here and be sure to keep checking Sports Insights for the late line moves.  After the way Carolina defense manhandled the heavily favored Eagles in last year’s NFC Championship, this is a prime spot for some Smart Money to come in on the Panthers and you could see a line move against the money.

Pittsburgh @ Dallas – Sun. 4:15 PM EST (CBS)

Let’s look at a game  that screams, “DANGER!”  according to Golden Rule # 2 mentioned above.  Pittsburgh is 4-1 overall, 3-0 with Roethlisberger as the starting QB.  Dallas is 2-2 and looked bad last week at home against the Giants.  So of course the line is Dallas -3.  And of course the public is saying thank you Mr. Linesman for this very generous gift.  They’re saying this to the tune of 85% of the Straight bets and 83% of the ‘Junk.’

Heck even Parcells came out this week and said Roethlisberger is the the next Dan Marino.  Think there might be a little psychological seed being planted there?  This is also a game where 86% of the Total bets are on the Over.

The key in betting this game is patience.  As much as the books hate to move off the number 3, you could see this one go in either direction right before kickoff.  If the action continues to pour in on the Steelers a few places may get nervous about the size of their decision and go to 3.5.  On the other hand a few Wiseguys may pound Dallas late.

Teaser Of The Week

We are going to stick with the Golden Rule logic this week.  Our first selection is Indianapolis.  What, they’re not playing this week?  Oh well, the our first selection is Kansas City, giving 2 on the road against Jacksonville.

Two weeks ago, Jacksonville was the darling of the league.  They lose a tough one to Indy, then didn’t show up last week.  So now they return home and they’re GETTING points against a team with one win?  Why?  My heart says Jacksonville because that’s what my wallet is going to need, but my head says KC.  The second team is Seattle.  Bumping up a team that should be undefeated to + 11 is too good of an opportunity to pass up.  As always, enjoy the games this weekend … T.B.