NFL Marketwatch Week 3 2011-12

9/23/2011 11:01 AM EST
By 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-sellingSports Investing series of books as well as recent articles on:  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

Recap of Last Week’s NFL Action

Our NFL Marketwatch selection last week was definitely an “ugly pick”:  the lowly Carolina Panthers against the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers.  The Panthers stayed in the game with the Packers — and even led at halftime.  Carolina covered the double-digit point spread — and brought NFL Marketwatch record to 1-1 (50.0%) for the season.  Since inception, Sports Insights’ popular NFL Marketwatch column has produced a winning percentage of just under 57%.  

Sports Insights’ Square Plays and Best Bets have gotten off to a combined 8-2 record this season. Last season, Sports Insights’ contrarian methods of Betting Against the Public, including Square PlaysBest Bets,  and MarketWatch had a solid season last year, with Square Plays and NFL MarketWatch producing a combined winning percentage of just under 55%.  NFL Squares ended the 2010 regular season 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

Last week was difficult for the sportsbooks — and it got worse on Monday Night when the 7-point favorites, and heavily-bet Giants — beat the Rams 28-16.  The public went 5-3 in Week 2, bringing their cumulative record for the season to 9-7 (56.3%).  Other big “public wins” included the Jets and Steelers.  Other teams the public liked — Baltimore and Green Bay — failed to cover, and helped to prevent last week from being a bloodbath for the sportsbooks.   Overall, in “lopsided-bet” games, which are defined as games having 65% or more bets on one team, the public has been correct only about 47% of the time, against the spread.

Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Peyton Manning is potentially out for the season.  But does this mean the Indianapolis Colts are “done” for the season as well?  The way the media is talking — many sports fans think the Colts are “in deep trouble.”  Their 0-2 start does not help matters.  As a result, the “betting public” is taking the Steelers at a rate of about 90% when factoring in teasers and parlays.  This extreme lopsided betting action had our analysts circle this game early in the week.  We also spoke with one of our offshore contacts who said that “betting has been relatively moderate, but some of our larger bettors are taking the Colts +11, driving the line down a bit… to +10.5.”  Currently, some sportsbooks are down to Colts +10.  The action of the “bigger bets” overwhelmed the large percentage of bets on the Steelers.  We will “bet against the public” and follow the lead of the “bigger and smarter money.”

The line history graph below, which is available to all Premium and Premium Pro members, shows how the NFL Betting Trends have affected line movement for this game at Pinnacle.

Before the season started, many analysts listed both the Steelers and Colts among the elite teams, just a notch below Green Bay and New England.  With the Colts at home, the Colts would have been a slight favorite.  Much of the media is talking about Peyton Manning and how much he means to the Colts.  Peyton Manning is definitely a superstar and one of the best quarterbacks of our time.  However, how much is one player worth in terms of point spread?  With the Colts starting 0-2 and potentially demoralized, this is tough to tell.  However, going from a slight favorite to a double-digit underdog is a large move.  

Here are some other reasons why we like the Indianapolis Colts plus the points this week:

  • The Colts are coming into this game at 0-2, with the media talking about Peyton Manning non-stop.  We see this as an opportunity to take the Colts and “buy low.”
  • The Steelers are coming off a convincing 24-0 win over the Seahawks.  We’re hopefully selling the Steelers at a high.
  • The Colts are a double-digit underdog at home!

We also like this play because “injury reactions” are normally over-reactions.  And in the case of Peyton Manning, there appears to be a large “bubble” of over-reaction. We’ll take the Colts and the double-digit points at home.

Indianapolis Colts +11.5 (SIA)

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