NFL Marketwatch Week 5 2008-09

Sports MarketWatch
NFL Week 5 – Early Moves
10/03/2008 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 5

Recapping Last Week

After a huge Week 3, the sportsbooks gave back most of their profits in Week 4.  All sportsbooks reported losing anywhere from 1%-5% of their handle.  “Oakland and St. Louis failing to cover after leading in the 4th quarter really hurt us,” reported JC, head lineman at Skybook.  The only bright spots on the weekend were a winless KC pounding Denver and Chicago beating Philly in the Sunday Night game. analysis shows that in games with over 65% of the action on one side, the Public rebounded — posting a 4-3 record, making the Public 14-19 for the season. Games to Watch analysis stumbled, going 1-2 last weekend and 7-5 = 58.3% for the season. We were one quarter from going 3-0. This week we look to get back to our winning ways.

View Last Week’s Column:

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We anticipate Indy, Chicago, NY Giants, New England, and New Orleans to be the most “lopsided-bet” games of the week. Visit to view LIVE wagering statistics from multiple online sportsbooks.

NFL Week 4 Sports MarketWatchGames to Watch (7-5 = 58.1%)


405 Indianapolis Colts vs. 406 Houston Texans

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  Or, have they?  The Indy Colts have stumbled out of the gate this year, going just 1-2, after being one of the NFL’s elite teams the past few years.  However, with a spread of just -3 over the Houston Texans, the Colts are collecting a huge 80% of all bets.  The powerhouse days of the Colts are engrained in many bettors’ brains and the three points don’t seem like much.

To some, this game looks like a “trap.”  It seems too easy to take the Colts -3.  However, these are normally the games that have value going the other way.  We’ll “bet against the public” and take a solid Houston Texan team at home. Amazingly enough, even with the Public pounding the Colts, the line has edged slightly in the direction of the Texans!  The line opened at Houston +3.5 at CRIS (or +3 with “plus vig” at Pinnacle) — but is currently more centered at +3.  This gives us comfort in knowing that “big, smart money” is on Houston, as well.

The Texans had to play their first three games on the road but come home to friendlier ground, where they were a solid 6-2 last year.  Overall, the Texans were a very competitive team in 2007 and we look for them to get back on track.  We’ll grab one of the scariest-looking-games on the board and take a live home dog against a wounded former champ, plus the points.  If you shop around, you can find +3.5.

Houston Texans +3.5 (SIA)

421 Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. 422 Denver Broncos

When we were discussing the games with our offshore contacts, the Tampa Bay-Denver game came up immediately.  Our friends alerted us to “early sharp money” immediately pushing the line from TB +4.5 all the way down to TB +3 at some books.  That’s a huge move right near the key-three number.  This is particularly noteworthy because’s betting percentages show that three out of every four bets are landing on Denver!  Some “big money” took TB and drove the line down.

We’ll join the Sharps and “bet against the public.”  Many bettors love the Broncos at Mile High — but 3.5 points between two of the early playoff contenders looks like a lot of points.  As a side-note, Denver was 7-9 last year, while Tampa Bay was a playoff team via their division-leading 9-7 record.  You can still get Tampa Bay +3.5 at some books.

Tampa Bay Bucs +3

413 Washington Redskins vs. 414 Philadelphia Eagles

You don’t often see us give points — let alone six — but the Philadelphia Eagles get the pick this week.  The Philadelphia Eagles stand at the bottom of the fierce NFC East Division, with a 2-2 record.  The two losses were for a combined eight points, on the road, at Dallas and at Chicago.  Not too shabby.  On top of that, Philly lost last week, in a showcase game on Sunday Night Football.  We’ll “buy” the Eagles off of their disappointing loss last week and a misleading 2-2 record.

On the other hand, we’ll “sell” the Washington Redskins at a relative high, after beating the powerhouse Cowboys, in Dallas.  The Redskins have put together a three game winning streak, and the public is jumping on Washington.  We’ll grab the contrarian value and “buy low, sell high.”  The selling pressure has lightened the line to Philly -5.5, at decent vig, at Tradesports.

Philadelphia Eagles -6

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

Games to Watch (7-5 = 58.1%)

Houston Texans +3.5
Tampa Bay Bucs +3
Philadelphia Eagles -6

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