Consensus & Sharp Bets: Take Packers With Your NFL Picks vs Lions

Nikki Adams

Thursday, December 3, 2015 12:54 AM GMT

Despite reverse line movement on the Packers, SBR consensus betting reveals the public is buying what the Packers are selling as the 3-point road faves. Is the public right or is there contrarian value on the home dogs?

Detroit Lions +3 Home Dogs
Week 13 of the NFL betting season kicks off with the NFC North rivalry between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. The Lions are enjoying a mini-resurgence. After going 1-7 SU to start the season, they are riding a three-game winning streak to improve to 4-7 SU and ATS. For the season, they are sporting an average 5.3-losing margin and a negative 2.5-point differential against the spread on average.

Over the course of the current three-game winning streak however – which includes a stunning 18-16 win over the Packers at Lambeau as the double-digit underdogs or thereabouts depending on your sportsbook of choice – they are 3-0 SU and ATS with 12.7 winning margin on average and plus 15.8 differential against the spread on average. Those aren’t stats to sniff at.

 

Green Bay Packers -3 Road Faves
By comparison, the Packers are trending negatively by the stats. Although they are a positive 7-4 SU on the season they are just 6-5 ATS with a 4.3-point winning margin on average and a negative 1.4-point differential against the spread on average. Most concerning is form in recent weeks, which includes just one win in their last five games and a 1-4 ATS mark as well, underscored by an average 3.2-point losing margin and negative 7.5-point differential against the spread on average. Yikes.

Clearly, these two sides are going in opposite directions. The Lions will attempt to sweep the series over the Packers at home and if the NFL betting trends in recent weeks are any indication, they look to be a solid NFL pick to pull off the feat.

However, the Packers did come close to winning the game at Lambeau over the Lions. In fact, it was a boggled field goal attempt in the dying seconds of the game that denied the Packers the home win. Let’s face it, the game was hardly dominated by either side as evinced by the narrow 18-16 score line.

 

Consensus Betting: Public Heavy on Packers
Nobody that has watched the NFL in recent weeks can claim to be under any illusions about the current form of these two outfits. The Green Bay Packers have conspicuously taken a turn for the worse, winning just one of their last five games, all while going 1-4 ATS to boot. The Lions, on the other hand, appear to be coming out of the coma they were in at the start of the season behind a three-game winning streak that has them improving to 4-7 SU and ATS on the season.

In spite of the contrasting fortunes of these two outfits, the public betting trends at SBR is heavy on Green Bay drawing 64% of early NFL betting. Breaking those numbers down further into actual money, the Packers have 77.70% of the money while the Lions have 22.30% of the money.

 

Chart 1: SBR Consensus Betting Trends Packers vs. Lions

 

On the surface, it appears odds makers are showing the Lions respect against the Packers with the current reduced NFL betting line trading on the NFL odds board. Only early bettors aren’t buying it in the rush to pound the Packers on their NFL picks.

The reasoning for the public’s NFL betting impetus, in all likelihood, is found in preconceived notions. The notion the Packers would lose to the Bears and Lions in succession is unimaginable, not to mention the idea the Lions would sweep the series. After all, the Packers are supposed to be the toast of the NFC North.

Then there is the notion the Packers must be hungry now, desperate to win and get back on track in the playoff race –they are currently second behind the Vikings in the table, which doesn’t sit well with them nor line up with preseason NFL betting markets.

These are some of the guiding notions that make up public perceptions and are sure to have the public happily pounding the Packers to turn things around this week.

 

Reverse Line Movement Contradicts Public Betting Trends
What’s interesting about this matchup is the line hasn’t budged since odds makers opened with the Packers as the 3-point road faves on Sunday. What’s more, going back a week, it’s even more interesting that the line moved against the Packers from -6 to -3, all while consensus betting trends point to heavy public support. Typically, when a favorite receives as much attention as the Packers have the line should move in favor of the favorite and not against it.

Advanced Lines from Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook had the Packers installed as the 6-point road faves last week, ahead of week 12 NFL betting. However, following week 12’s debacle at Lambeau to the Bears – on the night they honoured Brett Favre, no less – and, in turn, the Lions’ monstrous 45-14 win over the Eagles at home (covering as the 3-point home chalk by a whopping 28 points), the NFL betting lines were reduced to a field goal across the board, albeit with the Packers still to the good. 

That reverse line movement (Packers down from -6 to -3) is rather fascinating for several reasons. Reverse line movements can be an indicator of sharp money – sharp bettors and wise guys crushing on the home underdogs in early NFL betting markets. That’s usually one of the reasons why NFL lines move against a favorite, despite overwhelming public support as the Packers clearly are receiving.

If there was sharp money at the onset, when the Lions were trading as the 6-point home dogs, it’s not readily visible anymore, drowned out as it is by public bettors pounding the Packers as the nominal road favorites. However, there are two additional indicators that stand out here a) the line isn’t budging even though the volume of wagers and the amount wagered on the Packers continues to swell and b) odds makers appear to be luring more such bets by offering attractive juice on the Packers – for instance, 5Dimes and Pinnacle are offering the Packers at-3 with +100 money line odds.

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Does the Public Have it Right or the Sharp Bettors?
Form and Team NFL trends don’t line up with consensus betting on this game, which is a good indication that public perception is running on emotion rather than tangible stats. That doesn’t mean they are wrong though.

By the same token, sharp bettors were down with the Lions early on, which played a part in the reverse line movement. But that doesn’t mean they are right either.

Last week, the Colts experienced similar such reverse line movement on the NFL odds board, shrinking from -3.5 home chalk over the Bucs to 2.5-points or thereabouts. Consensus betting was all over the Colts, but clearly sharp money came down on the Bucs as the road underdogs, following their huge win over the Eagles in which Jameis Winston had his best game yet. Tale told, the public got it right as the Colts defeated the Bucs 25-12, handily covering the -2.5-point closing spread.

So the Packers appear to be struggling right now but they could easily turn things around. The Lions have perked up of late, but NFL bettors must seriously consider the viability of this resurgence? For how long can they sustain it, really? It wasn’t a long time ago when they were the laughingstock of the league with the worst record. Are they really changed or is this just a hologram.

Fact is the Packers have more at stake here than the Lions do in the broad spectrum of the season. In no uncertain way, this is a must-win game. Two weeks ago, faced with a similar task, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers delivered the goods in Minnesota with a big win, all while trading as the road underdogs. They could very well do the exact same here, proving the public right.

Consider that during the course of this season, underdogs received 20% or less of the bets are just 4-3 ATS. The reverse line movement, therefore, presents an excellent opportunity to buy low on the Packers, with a tempting juice to boot.

NFL Picks: Packers -3 (+102) at Pinnacle