NFL Marketwatch Week 16 2008-09

Sports MarketWatch
NFL Week 16 – Early Moves
12/19/2008 11:01 AM EST
by Daniel Fabrizio

Welcome to this week’s edition  of the Sports MarketWatch, where Daniel Fabrizio, founder of, 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 16

Recapping Last Week

Christmas came early for the sportsbooks in NFL Week 15.  All sportsbooks reported a profitable Sunday retaining anywhere between 3%-6%of their handle.  Pretty much every single big game except New England vs. Oakland went the way of the sportsbooks.  Houston stunning Tennessee and Cincy pounding Washington were the huge 1pm games for the sportsbooks. analysis shows that in games with over 65% of the action on one side, the Public got hammered, going 1-6, making the Public 51-66 = 43.5% for the season. Games to Watch analysis continued its positive momentum, going 2-0-1, making it 24-20-2 = 54.5% for the season.  Let’s see what the Sports Marketplace has in store for us this week — as we hope to continue our forward progress.  Happy holidays!

View Last Week’s Column:

We anticipate that Pittsburgh, Philly, New Orleans and Houston will be the most “lopsided-bet” games of the week.  Visit to view live wagering statistics from seven online sportsbooks.

NFL Week 16 Sports MarketWatchGames to Watch (24-20 = 54.5%)

Miami Dolphins vs. Kansas City Chiefs

The Miami Dolphins stay relatively close to the elite NFL teams and beat the teams they “should.”  What a turnaround from a year ago!  The Dolphins continue to surprise most people and win.  Or is it a surprise??!  This week, a big 67% of all bets (including teasers and parlays) are taking the Dolphins over the KC Chiefs.  It looks like the Public is jumping on the Dolphins’ bandwagon.  In addition, the “betting Public” typically overvalues the motivational value of teams positioning themselves for the playoffs.

Although the Dolphins have been winning, a quick scan shows that three of their more recent wins have been by a total of 11 points.  One of our offshore contacts, a sportsbook risk manager, told us that some “early big money” on the Chiefs drove the line down.  Even with an overwhelming number of bets landing on the Dolphins, the line has moved from KC +4 down to KC +3.5.  That is a huge move off of the “key 4” number.  SportsInsights’ (SIs) analytical tools confirm the existence of “Smart Money” moving the line in the direction opposite of the Public’s betting.  Let’s take the side of “Smart money” and “Bet Against the Public” on the home dog.

Years ago, SIs published the results of academic research over a long 20-year period that showed a bias for home underdogs to cover the spread — late in the NFL season — and into the playoffs.  SportsInsights’ research shows that this bias continues to work.  You can still grab KC +4 at SIA.  Most books have moved down to +3.5 so grab the +4 soon.

Kansas City Chiefs +4 (SIA)

New York Jets vs Seattle Seahawks

A few weeks ago, the Jets were touted as one of the best of the AFC.  That “aura or shine” is still on the Jets as they are tied for first place in the AFC East at 9-5.  The Jets play the lowly 3-11 Seattle Seahawks this game, in what looks like an “easy” game for a potential playoff-bound team.  Or is it such an easy pick?  The “Big Money” doesn’t think so.

Early “Sharp money” pushed the line towards the Seahawks, even though a big 70% of bets are landing on the visiting favorite Jets.  The Jets opened as 5.5 point favorites at CRIS but the line has moved down to 4 at most books.  The “Smart money” has seen a Jets team struggle at 3-2 over their last five games as they drive towards the playoffs.  This is NOT the performance you would expect to see from an elite NFL team.  We’ll “Bet Against the Public” and join the “Big Money.”  Bodog and SIA still have Seattle +4.5.

Seattle Seahawks +4.5  (SIA)

Houston Texans vs Oakland Raiders

The Houston Texans have been playing great football, putting together a four-game winning streak, capped by its huge win against Tennessee last week.  The “hot money” is all over Houston as they take slim playoff aspirations to Oakland against the lowly 3-11 Raiders.

We like the Raiders at home, plus the touchdown for several reasons.

  • The Raiders are a big home dog, late in the season.
  • Any playoff hopes that Houston may have are overvalued by the Public.
  • The Public loves Houston in this game, to the tune of almost 90%.  Fade the Public.
  • CRIS opened at Oakland +7.5 but the current line everywhere is +7, even with most bets on Houston.  Go with “Smart money.”
  • Oakland has lost three games in a row, the last two by a combined 83-33.  Ouch.  Buy low!
  • Houston has reeled off four wins in a row.  Sell high!

You should be able to grab Oakland +7 at low vig right now.  The line may hop back up to +7.5 if you wait closer to game-time as the Public continues to pound Houston.

Oakland Raiders +7

So, here’s a wrap-up of analysis for this week’s Games to Watch:

Games to Watch (24-20 = 54.5%)

Kansas City Chiefs +4 SIA
Seattle Seahawks +4.5 SIA
Oakland Raiders +7

It should be another exciting NFL Weekend.  Keep Sports MarketWatch picks handy and your browser pointed to 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