NFL Public Action Betting Report: Wild Card Edition
by Trevor Whenham - 1/7/2011
With only four games on tap in the NFL this weekend, you can be sure that the public will be throwing money heavily on to all of the games. Any time the public gets particularly heavily involved there is a lot to potentially be learned from looking at the line movement and betting distribution. Here’s a look at each of the four games:
New Orleans Saints (-10) at Seattle Seahawks (Saturday, Jan. 8, 4:30 p.m. EST) - This NFL point spread opened at 10 or 10.5, depending on the book, and is creeping upwards. That’s not at all surprising -- the Seahawks are a historically bad playoff team, the Saints are the popular defending champions with the all-World quarterback, and Seattle may or may not have their starting QB available. About two thirds of bets have come in on the Saints, and the line has shown signs of increasing as a result.
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It’s surprising, in a sense, that there is as much action on the Seahawks as there is. One likely explanation is that Seattle would probably only have been favored by seven or 7.5 points if Hasselbeck was sure to go, so there is a nice bonus available if you liked the Seahawks at that price.
The total opened at 45.5 and has been moving solidly downwards -- it can be found at 44. There is nothing going on with this game that is out of the ordinary..
New York Jets (+2.5) at Indianapolis Colts (Saturday, Jan. 8, 8 p.m. EST) - The line movement here is much more interesting that the earlier game. The Colts opened as three-point favorites -- the standard home field advantage in the NFL -- and has since fallen to 2.5 in most outlets.
What makes that remarkable is that the Colts -- one of the most public teams in the league - is drawing more than 60 percent of all bets. You’d expect the line to stay pat given that action - especially since it started on the key number of three -- so the line movement leads us to believe that smart money has been very active on the Jets, and that there isn’t likely to be a lot of smart action back on the Colts.
A line move like this is a powerful indicator, and would suggest that the Jets are, at the least, worth a close look. The total opened at 44.5 and has been rock solid at that level. If it does move at all it won’t be significant.
Baltimore Ravens (-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, Jan. 9, 1 p.m. EST) - The game opened at 2.5 in some spots, but it didn’t last there long -- most books opened it at the key number of three. Today (Friday) the first book broke through and set it at 3.5, none have followed along as of mid-afternoon.
There is a good chance that it will move eventually, though, given the bet distribution -- the public is deeply in love with the Ravens. More than 80 percent of all bets have been on the Ravens.
Perhaps because the public sees this one as the most clear-cut of the four games it is also the most popular by far -- the other three games have drawn similar amount of bets, and this game has drawn almost a third more. That means that the Ravens are, by far, the most heavily bet team in this round.
The total opened at 41.5 and is inching downwards -- it can be found widely at 40.5.
Green Bay Packers (+2.5) at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Jan. 9, 4:30 p.m. EST) - There is somewhat more variation in this game than others. The line opened at either 2.5 or three, depending upon the outlet, and it hasn’t significantly moved from those opening levels.
The Packers are drawing a majority of the bets, but it isn’t significant -- just over 55 percent. This game is perhaps the closest of the four, and the line that approximates home field advantage, the lack of dramatic movement, and the approximately balanced action are all indicators of that.
It’s noteworthy that despite the popularity of the Packers and the coverage of Michal Vick this is the least bet of the four games so far. I suspect that won’t be the case by kickoff, though. The total opened at 46.5 and can be found there and at 46.
Allen Eastman is known as one of the premier NFL handicappers in the nation and his clients have earned $4,000 in the last seven weeks. He has a hot card of NFL picks for the Wild Card round, and that includes a 6-Unit Game of the Month for the Baltimore/Kansas City game on Sunday.
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