Bettors Beware! Public Money to Skew Week 1 NFL Odds

Jordan Sharp

Monday, September 1, 2014 5:13 PM GMT

The start of the NFL regular season is only a few hours away, and with the season closing in, it’s time to start locking in our Week 1 NFL picks. After a long preseason, there are some teams that are very overvalued, not only in Week 1, but also likely for the season.

49ers vs. Cowboys
The 49ers have had a rough offseason. Their defense has been decimated by injury and suspension alike, and they look like a team with high expectations, but a high probability of failure too. In Week 1 they are -4 ½ road favorites against the Dallas Cowboys, and even though Dallas probably won’t be very good this year either, in this game, the Niners are pretty overvalued. Dallas is the biggest home underdog in Week 1 along with the Dolphins, and it looks as if the Niners are big public favorites.

According to the Sportsbook Review Consensus page, the Niners currently are taking nearly 63% of the wagers and money being placed on this game, and in no way do they deserve this kind of backing. San Francisco didn’t look great early on in the preseason, and Colin Kaepernick was a big reason why. His new contract is a big one, and if he plays badly this season with all of the weapons at his disposal, the Niners may have blindly backed him too much also. This team was only 30th in the NFL in passing last season, and Kaepernick regressed a lot in his completion percentage index and his passer-rating index.

Along with being cautious while making your NFL picks with the Niners for Week 1 on the road in Dallas, you may want to temper the expectations for their season as well. If Kaepernick struggles, this defense is going to break a lot, especially against their tough schedule. The Niners have seven games against playoff teams from last season, and their complete schedule is against teams with a combined record of 149-112 from 2013.

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Bengals vs. Ravens
This game doesn’t have much blind public backing, but it does present some interesting NFL Odds scenarios for Week 1 of the season. The wagers placed on this game are pretty even according to the Consensus page, but a deeper look into the actual money being placed on this game, and you can tell than the sharps are on one side of this game.

The NFL Odds have the Ravens as -2 home favorites right now, and this line has moved all over the place this summer. It could be because according to the data, 93% of all of the money being wagered on this game is going to the Ravens. The average bet size on the Ravens is over 13 times higher than the average size of a wager on the Bengals, however still, the amount of wagers placed are split evenly.

This screams that a small number of public bettors are backing the Bengals, while the big money is all over Baltimore. If you’re one to follow the big money guys in the casino to see whom they wager on, this information is telling to step back on the Bengals if you’re high on them in Week 1. 

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