Jason the Contrarian: Fade the Saints, Follow the Bengals

sanits bengals

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 9:12 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018 9:12 PM UTC

The New Orleans Saints have crushed the NFL odds this year. But that only gives the Cincinnati Bengals more betting value for Sunday’s matchup in the Queen City.

Jason’s 2018-19 NFL picks record through Week 9: 5-8 ATS, 2-4 Totals

New Orleans (7-1, 6-2 ATS) at Cincinnati (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)Free NFL Pick: Bengals ATSBest Line Offered: Bookmaker

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Crom! We finally have a no-brainer here at the home office in Cimmeria; after three weeks of defaulting to the UNDER (with some success at 2-1), we’ve been handed an easy Contrarian pick against the spread on the Week 10 NFL odds board. There’s no question who the public team is for Sunday’s game between the New Orleans Saints (7-1 SU, 6-2 ATS) and the Cincinnati Bengals (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS).

That would be the Saints, in case you’re new around here. Squeezing a profit margin out of your NFL picks without fading the public is like trying to spear a mountain beast from across the ocean. We’re counting on casual bettors to overbet the Saints and move the lines far enough before Sunday’s kick-off to make the Bengals worth a shot. And it’s already happening, if the early consensus reports are accurate.

The Saint in Iron

Figuring all this out on a Tuesday is still problematic, mind you. The early (and presumably sharp) action has been on New Orleans; the Saints opened as 4.5-point favorites, but they’re up to –5 at press time, raking in 66.52 percent of bettors with 79.89 percent of the amount wagered. It’s entirely possible that both the wiseguys and the simple townfolk – in their thatched-roof cottages – are going to unload on the Big Easy.

At least we’re already starting to see some of that profit margin we need. FiveThirtyEight project the Bengals as 4-point home dogs, so getting them at +5 is a step in the right direction. We need to see more movement to make this pick viable, though. As a rule of thumb, we want a 2-point gap between the projections and the actual odds; the single point between +4 and +5 doesn’t move the needle much. No magick numbers were crossed here.

The Orange Citadel

The good news is, we’re dealing with a Saints team that isn’t as good as the media (including the NFL itself, as you can see below) is pumping them up to be. Football Outsiders had them ranked eighth overall in terms of efficiency heading into Week 9, wedged in between the Denver Broncos (!) and the Baltimore Ravens. That ranking should rise after last week’s win over the then-No. 2 Los Angeles Rams, but still.

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NFL Week 10 Power Rankings:

1. @Saints
2. @Patriots
3. @Chiefs
4. @RamsNFL
5-32. https://t.co/x6OGsQ2R1Y (via @HarrisonNFL) pic.twitter.com/djCuaFbA6O

— NFL (@NFL) November 6, 2018
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The Bengals, meanwhile, were ranked No. 17 overall through Week 8, and they’ll probably stay there coming off the bye in Week 9. Getting that time to rest and recuperate is a godsend, more valuable than most bettors appreciate. Plus, they’ll be playing outdoors at Paul Brown Stadium in November. The weather forecast doesn’t look too gloomy – mostly cloudy with temperatures in the low 40s at kick-off – but that’s still not ideal for the domed-home Saints. Consider a small wager on Cincinnati if the lines keep moving, and may the prolate spheroid be with you, fellow traveler.

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