NFL Week 14 – Early Moves
12/05/2008 11:01 AM EST
by Daniel Fabrizio
Welcome to this week’s edition of the Sports MarketWatch, where Daniel Fabrizio, founder of SportsInsights.com, gives sports fans unprecedented insight into the NFL point-spread market. If you ever wanted to know what was really happening on the sportsbook side, you now have an all-access pass with Sports MarketWatch!
Every week he speaks directly with the line managers at some of the sports betting industry’s largest sportsbooks about which games the public is chasing and the Sharps are pounding. Dan takes a look at what’s in store for this week in the NFL.
Sports MarketWatch – NFL Week 14
Recapping Last Week
NFL Week 13 finally stopped the bleeding for the sportsbooks. November was a tough month for the books but it ended on a positive note. The New York Jets losing big against a resurgent Denver Bronco squad and San Fran winning outright in Buffalo were huge games for the sportsbooks. All sportsbooks reported a positive weekend, retaining anywhere from 1% to 3% of their handle.
SportsInsights.com analysis shows that in games with over 65% of the action on one side, the Public went 2-4, making the Public 44-55 = 44.4% for the season. SportsInsights.com Games to Watch analysis continued its downward spiral, posting yet another 1-2 record, making it 19-19-1 = 50.0% for the season. We’ve slowly given back all of our profits. This has been one of the toughest stretches for the “Games to Watch” column since it was first published over 5 years ago. We’re coming out swinging this week by offering four plays.
View Last Week’s Column:
NFL WEEK 14
We anticipate that Tennessee, the New York Jets, Arizona, and the New England Patriots will be the most “lopsided-bet” games of the week. Visit SportsInsights.com to view live wagering statistics from seven online sportsbooks.
NFL Week 14 Sports MarketWatch – Games to Watch (18-18 = 50.0%)
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Chicago Bears
After three weeks in a row — on the road (!!) — many people are picking the Chicago Bears to give a strong performance at home against the 4-8 Jacksonville Jaguars. The Bears are 6-6 but still have playoff aspirations. The Bears were beaten up on the road last week by Minny (34-14) and three weeks ago by Tennessee (21-14). In between these losses, the Bears easily handled a weak St. Louis team 27-3.
Which Bear team will show up this Sunday? The Public is betting on a strong Bear team, with SportsInsights reporting that more than 80% of bets are landing on Chicago. Although Jax sits in last place with their 4-8 record, they are not as weak as St. Louis. Early “Sharp” money has been on the Jaguars — with the opening line moving from Chicago -7 down to Chicago -6.5 (even with the Public getting almost all of their bets down on Chicago). Our readers know that we like to go with the “Smart money” and “bet against the Public.”
Jacksonville Jaguars +6.5
Houston Texans vs. Green Bay Packers
Early in the season, the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre dominated the NFL news headlines. All looked well for Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers — and the Jets and Favre early in the season. Both teams looked like they were playoff-bound. The Jets still look strong — but the Packers have been slumping badly lately.
Even so, early-season excitement is hard to extinguish — and the Public still loves Green Bay. The Public loves GB in this match-up over a mediocre Houston Texan team. Three out of every four bets are landing on the home favorite Packers. Similar to the Jax selection above, SportsInsights’ sports marketplace tools show that “smart money” has been taking the Houston Texans. Even though a large majority of bets is coming down on GB, the line has actually decreased from the GB -6.5 opener to the current -6. Some 5.5’s are popping up — so we would advise grabbing Houston +6 while you can.
Houston Texans +6
New York Jets vs. San Francisco 49ers
Before last week’s surprising loss to Denver, some people had the Jets and Giants as two of the best teams in the NFL. Many people are shrugging off last week’s loss — and still think the Jets are one of the league’s elite teams. Indeed, almost 90% of all bets are taking the visiting Jets as slight favorites over the 49ers. Three-and-a-half points doesn’t seem like much, right? Especially for one of the league’s best teams against a 4-8 team that is just 2-4 at home! That’s what most bettors think.
This game falls into the “Pepto Bismol” category. We say “Bet against the public” and take the “ugliest-looking” game on the board. Take your shot of Pepto and know that “contrarian value” is on your side in the long-run. The overwhelming number of bets on the Jets has pushed the line up to SF +4. We like that extra value on the “key-four” number.
San Francisco 49ers +4
Tampa Bay Bucs vs. Carolina Panthers
Our offshore contacts circled this game because “sharp money” on Carolina is causing the line to increase slightly. The line opened at Carolina -3 -104 at Pinnacle. Even though the majority of bets is taking TB Bucs, the line has actually moved in the other direction. It’s actually now MORE expensive (-3 -115) to bet on Carolina even with the majority of the Public betting on TB.
We’ll join the “smart money” as usual — and grab the -3 now — in case the “big money” drives the line up to -3.5. This should be a great game — and we’ll take Carolina at home in what should be — a great game.
So, here’s a wrap-up of SportsInsights.com analysis for this week’s Games to Watch:
Games to Watch (18-18 = 50.0%)
- Jacksonville Jaguars +6.5
- Houston Texans +6
- San Francisco 49ers +4
- Carolina -3
It should be another exciting NFL Weekend. Keep Sports MarketWatch picks handy and your browser pointed to SportsInsights.com for the latest real-time updates, using our exclusive Sports Investing tools. I’ll be back next Friday with the new edition of the Sports MarketWatch.
Enjoy the games!
- Daniel Fabrizio