NFL Marketwatch Week 17 2011-12

Daniel Fabrizio

The NFL Marketwatch column is written by Daniel Fabrizio, founder and president of, with the goal of  providing sports betting enthusiasts unprecedented insight into the NFL point spread market. The column takes an academic and contrarian view of the sports marketplace, as detailed in this article published in the Wall Street Journal, entitled, “A Contrarian’s Guide to Football Betting. is a leader in the sports information industry and has published a popular and best-selling Sports Investing series of books as well as articles comparing the Sports Marketplace to the Financial Markets and Contrarian Sports Investing: Why It Works.

The column is normally published every Saturday morning. Readers can sign-up to receive an advance copy of the NFL Marketwatch, which is distributed via email on Saturday mornings. Sign-up to Receive the Early Edition of the NFL Sports Marketwatch

NFL Marketwatch Performance


Recap of Last Week’s “Game to Watch” (11-5 = 68.8%)

Our Christmas Eve selection, a rare favorite, the Detroit Lions -2.5, easily covered the spread — improving Sports Insights’ NFL Marketwatch to 11-5 for the season.  As we near the end of the NFL season, we look for value on large home underdogs .  Home teams did, indeed, perform well against the spread last week, and we will be looking for the same this week. Since its inception more than six years ago, Sports Insights’ popular NFL Marketwatch column has produced a winning percentage of about 57%.  

Sports Insights’ NFL Best Bets and NFL Marketwatch have combined for about a (60%) record this season.  Last season, Sports Insights’ contrarian methods of Betting Against the Public, including Square PlaysBest Bets, and Marketwatch had a solid NFL season — and produced a combined winning percentage of about 55%, with NFL Squares at 57%.  Check out the Blog for timely betting trends reports, plus original analysis on featured games and strategies.

View Last Week’s Column

Tracking Public Performance

The public started horribly early in the holiday weekend, but had a very strong finish in the last few games of the weekend.  The public lost many of the early games over the weekend, including New England, Baltimore, Denver, and Houston — all of whom did not cover the spread.  However, on the heavier-bet games such as Sunday and Monday Night Football, the public did well.  New Orleans, Green Bay and Philadelphia all won heavily-bet and lopsided-bet games for “Joe Public.”  The public was 6-6 on lopsided-bet games — defined as games with 65% or more of the bets on one team.  This brings the public to a cumulative 70-69 (50.4%) record in lopsided-bet games this year.  Over the past six seasons, the public has been correct only about 48% of the time against the spread in “lopsided-bet” games.

San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams

Sports Insights’ team of analysts scanned the board several times looking for a play this week.  This game has all the makings of an ugly play — but it also fits many of the parameters our researchers have discovered over the years.  Our readers probably already know that this week’s NFL Marketwatch column is selecting the heavy underdog St. Louis Rams.  The betting public is getting down on the NFC West Division Champion San Francisco 49ers at a rate of 78% over the basement-dwelling Rams.

Some contrarian sports investors may have been looking for even more lopsided-betting action in this game, but we’ll take the “value” that we can get.  We’ll “bet against the Public” and stay with the contrarian methods and stomach-churning types of plays that have led us to a winning NFL season this year.

The line history graph below, which is available to all Premium and All-Pro members, shows that the line has held firm despite the public backing the 49ers all week:

Here are some specific reasons why we like this play:

  • This is a divisional rivalry , so St. Louis should be able to “get up” for this game.
  • Near the end of the NFL season, we like the “home team betting bias” as highlighted by academic research
  • Most of the season, we have discussed the bias of home teams receiving 7 or more points.  The Rams fall into this category this week.
  • This is a very ugly play, so the “pit in our stomach” weirdly gives us some comfort as to the contrarian value.
  • The double-digit point spread is a great “equalizer.”
  • Although the San Francisco 49ers sport an impressive 12-3 record, they are just 3-2 over their last 5 games.
  • The 49ers are known for a great defense (best in the NFL, ranked by points against), but the San Francisco offense is average.  This could make a double-digit point spread difficult to cover.

The latest line is generally available at St. Louis +10.5.  At the time of this article, if you shop around for the best line , the public book, Bodog, has edged the line up to +11.  The continued barrage of bets on St. Louis may push the combination of point spread and odds — even higher.  Happy New Year!

St. Louis Rams +11 (Bodog)

If the NFL Marketwatch has helped you improve your handicapping skills and bottom line, then try Sports Insights’ Premium Pro Membership.  It should be another exciting NFL weekend. Keep NFL Marketwatch picks handy and your browser pointed to for the latest Real Time OddsNFL Betting Trends and NFL Betting System Picks. I’ll be back next Saturday with the new edition of NFL Marketwatch. Enjoy the games!

Daniel Fabrizio