The Baltimore Ravens went into Cleveland on Sunday with an impressive 10-4 record. Their opponents, the Browns, were at a woeful 5-9. So when the line opened with the Ravens favored by just 3.5 points, bettors at Bodog were all over the road favorites.
In fact, bettors were so enthusiastic about Baltimore that we were forced to move the line to -4, and only then did we start seeing two-sided action, particularly from the sharps, who typically love their home underdogs.
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But the public kept betting the Ravens heavily, and by kick-off it was our biggest decision of the early games. Obviously, we went into the game cheering for the Browns.
Unfortunately for the book, the Ravens were able to capitalize on numerous Cleveland turnovers and pull out a 20-10 victory, easily covering the spread and handing us a big loss.
Also unfortunately for the book, it wasn’t our only big loss of the day. In a very similar scenario, the Indianapolis Colts (-4) went into Oakland as a road favorite, and once again the public was all over it.
Indy had just defeated Tennessee and Jacksonville after dropping three straight, so momentum was definitely a factor for the public. Peyton Manning had also played extremely well against the Titans and Jags, providing bettors all the more reason to get behind the Colts.
But the book and a good number of sharps were quite happy to be on the home dog Raiders. After all, Austin Collie wouldn’t be suiting up for the Colts, taking away Manning’s favorite target, and Oakland came into the game with one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, a tough challenge for Indy’s much-maligned run defense.
Alas, the Colts were able to overcome an early deficit after allowing Jacoby Ford to return the opening kick for a touchdown. And thanks to three Manning TDs, Indianapolis won 31-26, covering the spread by a point and handing the players another profitable win.
I’ll be curious to see how the betting goes in Week 17 when we’ll be posting a few more road favorites. Pittsburgh will be favored in Cleveland; the Giants will be favored in Washington; San Diego will be favored in Denver; and St. Louis could be a small favorite in Seattle with the NFC West title on the line.
Hopefully for the book’s sake the home dogs will bounce back and come up big for us. Although I’m sure the players were just fine with how things went in Week 16.
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