It wasn’t a perfect week last week for the Public Action Report. In fact, going 2-3 is a long way from perfect. The brightest spot from the report is that the Seahawks stood out as a pick against the Cowboys as underdogs, and they cruised to a convincing 20-point win. It’s interesting to note that Seattle shows up on the report again this week, so the public clearly doesn’t like that team as much as smart money seems to. In the first two weeks the Report has now gone 6-7 ATS, so it is taking a while to warm up as it has in the past. The NFL traditionally has been particularly slow early on, but so far we are at 3-2 ATS there, so that’s a bright note.
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This week we have four games that fit the criteria. It’s rare to see just one game from the college ranks, but three from the NFL certainly helps to offset that disappointment. We won’t dwell on the criteria since we have spent a lot of time looking at it the last two weeks. Basically, though, we are looking for games in which the betting public has a strong opinion on a game that isn’t shared by either smart money or the oddsmakers and sportsbooks.
Cal (+16) at USC (Saturday, Sept. 22, 6 p.m. ET)
The Trojans opened as 17-point favorites, but the line fell to 16.5 very quickly and has since fallen to 16 in several places. That has happened despite the fact that three quarters of bets have been on the Trojans. That means that Cal is worth a look. Cal is coming off a very good effort in a loss to Ohio State, while USC lost in shocking fashion to Stanford last week and coach Kiffin is under attack both for the loss and his ridiculous behavior towards the media. It’s interesting to note that USC has yet to cover a spread this year, so they are struggling to live up to hype-fueled public expectations. Even after the bad loss last week the public is still loyal to the Trojans here, so it’s not surprising that smart money is seeing value in betting against an inflated line.
Miami Dolphins (+2.5) vs. New York Jets (Sunday, Sept. 23, 1 p.m. ET)
The public still has a bad case of Tebow-mania, so it’s no surprise that nearly three quarters of bettors have backed the Jets in this one. Despite that, the game opened at the key number of three and has fallen to 2.5 — and even lower in some cases. That points us clearly to the Dolphins. The Jets have not been consistent, and they were not good last week. Miami, meanwhile, is coming off a dominating performance at home, and though they aren’t a great team are clearly better than a lot of people think.
Oakland Raiders (+3.5) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Sept. 23, 4 p.m. ET)
This line opened as high as five, and was widely at 4.5. Now it has fallen a full point to 3.5. That move is significant because the Steelers have drawn a whopping 85 percent of the action in this one. When the line moves against action that one-sided it is worth taking note, and in this case we are taking note of the Raiders. Oakland has been terrible so far this year, but have more potential than they have exhibited and are against a Pittsburgh team that has struggled with consistency.
Seattle Seahawks (+3) vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday, Sept. 23, 8:30 p.m. ET)
It’s rare to see a Monday night game on this report, so when it happens it is of particular interest. When the line opened the Packers were favored by as much as 4.5 points, but now it has fallen to three. Nearly 80 percent of bets have been on the road team here, so the move in this game is significant — especially since the most significant key number is involved. That means we should be looking at the Seahawks. It’s no mystery why the public is behind the Packers — they love Aaron Rodgers, and they love passing. Seattle, meanwhile isn’t flashy and Russell Wilson hasn’t put up big passing numbers because of the team focus on the run. Defensively, though, Seattle is sound. If they can dictate the pace in this game then it could be interesting, and that must be what smart bettors are looking at here. Last year Green Bay seemed immortal, but this year they have shown more than a few flashes of mortality. Seattle, meanwhile, has work to do but is clearly on the rise.
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