The Tim Tebow Effect

  • Kyle Orton is out, Tim Tebow is in. That sentence is music to the ears of Broncos fans everywhere. Denver has struggled to a 1-4 record and last week’s bye gave the coaches the opportunity to install Timmy Ra-Ra as the teams’ starting quarterback.

According to Sports Insights’ NFL Betting Trends data, the largest percentage of spread wagers the Broncos have received in a single game this season was 58% in their Week 1 loss to Oakland.

Since then, the percentage of spread bets on Denver has decreased every week, bottoming out at 22% in Week 5.

However, with Tebow now running the show, the Broncos have received 74% of spread wagers for this week’s game against the Dolphins.

That is a 52% increase from their most recent game and a 16% increase from their previous season high in Week 1.

The graph below illustrates how Denver’s spread betting percentages have fluctuated throughout the season. Please note that Week 6 was the Broncos’ bye week and therefore is not included.

Whether the current betting trends are a vote against the Dolphins or an influx of newly disposable billboard money from Broncos fans, the public has jumped on Denver for the first time this season.

For the record, this is a very small sample and there’s a good chance we’ll see an overreaction in the betting trends next week based on Tebow’s performance Sunday, but it doesn’t mean there isn’t value being created for this week’s game.

As our NFL Marketwatch readers know, we consider games with 65% or more spread bets on one team as “lopsided-bet” games. These are games we analyze for contrarian value and opportunities to Bet Against the Public.

Miami opened as a 3-point favorite at Pinnacle and, at the time of publication, the one-sided betting has moved the line down to -1. More square money is likely to come down on Tebow as the week goes on, so it’ll be interesting to see how the line moves and whether there is enough value to include this game as a NFL Square Play Sunday.