Early Money on Home Favorites in NFL Wild-Card Round

Jaguars Defense

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, January 3, 2018 2:56 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018 2:56 PM UTC

The early line movement in the NFL's wild-card round has been all upward and for the home favorites. Point spreads have moved 1 and, for three of these hosts, 2 points.

NFL Playoffs: Wild-Card Round

The team playing this weekend that had the most money wagered on it as of Tuesday night was the Los Angeles Rams, with 85 percent of the amount wagered on Saturday's NFC game against the visiting Atlanta Falcons (15 percent). The Rams opened at -4½ (-115, BetOnline) on Sunday night and were bet up to as high as -6½ (-105, 5Dimes, Bookmaker) in two days.

Another team getting plenty of action offshore are the Kansas City Chiefs, who went from opening 7-point home favorites to as high as -9 (+100, BetOnline). An overwhelming 72.37 percent of the actual amount wagered was on the Chiefs, who host the Tennessee Titans in Saturday's AFC game. The Jacksonville Jaguars also had a 2-point move upward -- from -7 to as high as -9 (Bookmaker, BetOnline) -- for Sunday's AFC game against the visiting Buffalo Bills.

NFL Saturday: Titans vs. Chiefs

It has been heavy Chiefs money early and, as all NFL bettors know all too well, there’s a huge difference — in both laying the points and/or taking them — between the key numbers of 7 and 9, where sharp and public money has driven this number early in the week. But will it breach (K.C. minus) 10? Expected late money on the Chiefs should come early Saturday but expect some buyback at 10 on the Titans should this point spread keep rising, and even 9½ should get some friction. There has been little movement on the total.

In the Moneyline market, Kansas City opened at -335 and jumped as high as 165 cents, with bettors fading Tennessee to win SU. Some of the more powerful trends show Tennessee to be 0-5 ATS in its last five Saturday games and 8-20 ATS in its last 28 on the road, but the road team is 7-1 ATS in the last eight games of this series. The Titans are 5-1 ATS in their past six games at Arrowhead Stadium, while the Chiefs are 1-8 ATS in their last nine playoff games and 0-5 ATS in their last five home playoff games, but 5-0 ATS in their last five overall.

NFL Saturday: Falcons vs. Rams

The Rams led the NFL in scoring at 29.9 points per game (they were last in the league last season at 14 ppg) as Head Coach Sean McVay breathed life into a young team that exceeded expectations.

Even with a 2-point move, it’s hard not to see this point spread reaching 7, but 7½ seems like a high point where the sides market might see a quick Falcons buyback with that extra half-point off the key number being so huge. And it’s hard to see the total staying put or moving down, meaning over money should move it back to its original 49 at least but probably not over 50 despite expected public money on the over from Wednesday to kickoff. Why? Perceptions are that both teams will be throwing the football a lot.

NFL Sunday: Bills vs. Jaguars

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Free NFL Pick: Bills-Jaguars Under 39½ (-105)Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

The Jaguars, led by the NFL's stingiest defense at 17.7 points per game allowed, have gotten the logical early money. With bettors perhaps thinking the Bills snuck into this postseason and don't have the offense to score enough, the total has been wagered down from 40 to 39½). RB LeSean McCoy is reportedly expected to be a game-time decision for the Bills, who are the longest shot of the 12 postseason teams to win the Super Bowl.

Expect more under money and possibly more Jaguars money, driving this point spread up to (Jaguars minus) 9 almost everywhere by kickoff ... but will it get to 10? With a fairly even consensus split in wagers placed, amount wagered and average bet size, this one will likely stay in the 8½- to 9-point range. Points could be scarce in this one as both defenses are good.

NFL Sunday: Panthers vs. Saints

The Saints won both NFC South regular-season meetings, 34-13 and 31-21, covering ATS by 26 points in Carolina and by 4 points in The Big Easy. The early and perceived sharp money is on the dynamic Saints over the visiting Panthers, who looked choppy against Atlanta in Week 17.

One thing observed while watching the most recent Saints home game is how loud and helpful the crowd was, so expect the Superdome throng to be extremely electric and worth more than the obligatory three points in this situation. It seems the Saints will be able to shoot for five touchdowns (35 points) in this spot, while Carolina will be hard-pressed to score three TDs and 2 field goals (27 points). Slight leans to the Saints laying less than 7 and over 48.

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