Jason’s 2018-19 NFL picks record through the Divisional Round: 10-14 ATS, 0-2 ML (minus-2.90 units), 7-9 Totals
Lordy, these NFL lines are still pretty tight for Sunday’s Final Four games. But there is definitely something going on with the NFC title matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and the New Orleans Saints. In Monday’s preview, we suggested the Rams might be the sharp pick, based in part on the early betting patterns. Now that we’re heading into the weekend, the tide has turned; the big money is on the Saints, bigly.
That’s according to the expanded consensus reports. At press time, Los Angeles have slightly more bettors on their side at 50.70 percent, but New Orleans is pulling in 65.13 percent of the amount wagered, for a healthy average bet of $219 – nearly twice the size of the Rams at $114 per ticket. Well now.
Price Check on Gumbo
Even more curious, the price on the Saints is actually dropping on the NFL odds board. It’s hard to tell with the point spreads, since the books are dancing around New Orleans –3 at various levels of vigorish, with the occasional –3.5 on the menu. But on the moneyline, New Orleans have dipped from as high as –185 back on Monday to –165 at press time.
There’s only one way I can interpret this: The books want your Saints money. There are probably myriad reasons why the numbers are what they are, but sticking with first betting principles, if they’re lowering the price, they want you to buy. I know we keep saying that big money is sharp money, but early money is also sharp money, and that money was on the Rams. Hmmmph.
What’s the Word on the Street?
Maybe a little journalism will solve this. Reports from Las Vegas say that the sharps were indeed laying wood on the Rams earlier this week at +3.5 (+100), which is no longer on the board; the lowest vigorish we’re seeing for that spread right now is –115. Good to know we were on the right track with our preview.
As for the AFC title game, where we played devil’s advocate for the New England Patriots (on a 2-5 ATS slide in the Conference round) as a possible NFL pick at +3… yeah, the sharps don’t seem to be buying that, either. The consensus figures show the Kansas City Chiefs with 55.73 percent of bettors and 60.92 percent of the monies wagered; the average bet is $156 on the Chiefs and $126 on the Patriots. The buzz from Vegas is that the sharps hammered K.C. on the moneyline when they were available at –150. They’re up to –160 at press time, so once again, you snooze, you lose. At least we’ve got what should be two very entertaining football games to look forward to. Enjoy the action, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.