The Hall of Fame Game opened as a pick’em betting matchup but is now a game firmly cornered in the Colts’ camp. Find out why the NFL lines moved and where the angles for profit are to be had.
Hall of Fame Game Preview
The Packers and Colts collide for the highly anticipated preseason showdown encapsulated by the Hall of Fame Game honours. A game that opened as a pick'em matchup but began moving conspicuously in one particular direction as news trickled from both camps and the markets took stock. That directions is due AFC South, towards the Indianapolis Colts.
Colts Betting Odds
As it is, the game hangs on a 3-point spread with a -110 juice across most NFL betting platforms with the Colts to the good. It's worth noting that 5Dimes and Pinnacle hang the game on a 2.5-point line but the juice is higher for the Colts at -120. Bettors must weigh in carefully before deciding where to bet – if the extra half point trumps the juice or vice versa.
The Colts are also favoured in money line betting markets to win straight up at -150 NFL Odds, a price available with Westgate and bet365. A slightly better price of -145 is trading at 5Dimes, for those bettors looking to bank on the Colts coming through on these market expectations. The total meanwhile hovers at 34, marking a drop from an opening line of 36.
Why the NFL Lines Moved So?
So why the significant move on the NFL Odds board, you may be wondering. Well, word is Aaron Rodgers may not take to the field on Sunday and second-string quarterback Brett Hundley may also miss the game. The pair didn't participate in Thursday's practice with the latter nursing an ankle injury.
In the context of football betting that is big news because it means an unknown and undrafted Joe Callahan or Marquise Williams is likely to start for the Packers. Impossible for markets to not take stock.
Packers Betting Odds
As such, the Packers are found trading at +130 NFL odds to win straight up (or thereabouts depending on your choice sportsbook) and they are matched at +3 (-110) to cover the spread. As mentioned above, 5Dimes and Pinnacle hang the game on a 2.5-point spread where the juice is +110 and +107, respectively. Those looking to back the Packers to cover might find those prices rather tempting.
Question is whether the loss of the half-point is worth the risk. It does leave the watered down Packers with less wiggle room. As well, in juxtaposition the announcement by Chuck Pagano is that his starters, including Andrew Luck, will play on Sunday's primetime extravaganza. On paper, that's an edge to the Colts, you'd think.
Betting Analysis and Discerning Thoughts
Games aren't played on paper, but on the field. Granted the advantage does appear to be with the Colts. However, they are notorious for subpar preseason performances. In their last nine preseason accounts they've gone 1-8 SU and 2-7 against the spread (going back to 2013). The UNDER is 8-3 in their last 11 accounts.
By comparison, the Packers are 5-2 SU and ATS in their last seven preseason accounts and the total has gone OVER in five of their last six. It's also worth mentioning the little added incentive the Packers might have on the day: Brett Favre's induction to the Hall of Fame.
NFL betting trends currently show that the Packers are taking more action than the Colts are against the spread (53.8% of the market is on the Packers to cover) and although the Colts edge the Packers in straight up betting markets that edge is ever so slight (just 50.7% takers for the Colts, which is barely an edge).
Certain NFL data does show that books typically do well in the preseason even though odds makers insist handicapping preseason lines is a difficult task on account of the many unknown variables, line ups, players and so on. Since 2003, favourites have gone 88-88 ATS in the first week of the preseason. That said where favourites received more than 50% of spread bets, value was found going against the public.
The current breakdown of bets in both spread and straight up betting markets suggests betting the Colts might be the smart NFL pick – assuming the game falls in line with the aforementioned stats. However, there's still lots of time before kick-off and there's sure to be late money coming down the wire as late bettors and sharp bettors weigh in. It might be prudent to wait and see what happens over the course of the next 24 hours and see which way the betting pours in before placing your final NFL picks.
As well, the report is Aaron Rodgers is ‘unlikely' to play not ‘ruled out.' It's reasonable to assume that his absence is therefore not a sure thing. On the flipside, Andrew Luck may be slated to start but it's wholly unlikely that he'll play the entire 60 minutes. Think you the Colts will risk their precious $72 million football bauble for the entire game? Brazenly flirt with another unnecessary injury to Luck that could thrust their season into a tailspin for a second straight year?
So the final thought is that the NFL betting outlook on this game is an overreaction to the news that Rodgers will be wearing a headset and Luck a helmet. Realistically, though, it's more likely that we're going to see the Colts' starters frolic on the field for the better part of a quarter at best. Meaning that this game is sure to be more even than it currently stands on the NFL Odds Board, harking back to the pick'em line that opened for this game.