NFL Marketwatch Week 4 2011-12

9/30/2011 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-selling Sports Investing series of books as well as recent 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 NFL Action

The NFL Marketwatch “Game to Watch” selection was a winner again last week, bring this season’s record to 2-1 (66.7%).  The Indianapolis Colts were the “value” play — and late in the game, the Colts appeared like they might also be an outright winner (versus the Steelers).  The Pittsburgh Steelers ultimately won 23-20, but the Colts easily covered the double-digit spread.  Since its inception more than six years ago, Sports Insights’ popular NFL Marketwatch column has produced a winning percentage of about 57%.  

Sports Insights’ Square Plays and Best Bets have gotten off to a combined 12-4 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, with Square Plays and NFL MarketWatch producing a combined winning percentage of about 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

The betting public underperformed last week, going 4-6 in lopsided-bet games (with one push).  This brings the public’s cumulative record for the season to 13-13 (50.0%) in lopsided-bet games.  New England and Pittsburgh’s under-performance were big surprises that helped drag the public’s performance lower.  After a tough previous week, the sportsbooks more than made up for it with these big surprises.  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 — over the past six seasons.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New Orleans Saints

At the time of this writing, the Jacksonville-New Orleans game is the heaviest-bet game of the week.  In addition, this match-up is one of the most lopsided-bet games of the week, with about 90% of the bets (including teasers and parlays) taking the favored Saints.  Interestingly, even with almost every bet taking the favorite, the point spread decreased!  CRIS opened the game with the visiting Saints favored by 8 points.  Even with a huge majority of bets taking the Saints, the point spread is now generally available at Saints -7 or -6.5 (or Jaguars +7 or +6.5).  Sports Insights’ analysts have monitored this game since Monday and our readers know that we like this kind of market action because it means that “big, smart money” has taken the Jaguars — overwhelming the more popular, but smaller, bets on the Saints. 

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.

Jacksonville is a competitive team that stays in a lot of games.  On the other hand, sports fans remember the Saints’ Super Bowl Championship from two seasons ago — and they still like the Saints.  The Saints remain one of the NFL’s stronger teams — and can still blow out many teams — but in match-ups like this, more often than not, the data suggests that the home underdog will cover the point spread.  

Some additional quick facts on this game:

  • Jacksonville has managed to score just 29 points in 3 games this season.  However, the Jaguars have yielded a respectable 62 points against.  
  • The Jaguars are a live home dog receiving a touchdown’s worth of points.
  • The season is just three games old — and the Saints have been putting a lot of points (102) on the board, but they have also been giving up a lot of points (88).  This means that they have scored more than 30 points per game on average — but have also yielded about 30 points against.

We’ll “bet against the Public” and follow the “smart money” in this game.  Take the Jacksonville Jaguars plus the touchdown.  Note that if you shop around, you can still grab Jacksonville +7.5 at Bodog.

Jacksonville Jaguars +7.5 (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