When the NFL odds are giving you two touchdowns or more, it’s hard to say no. The sharps are already lining up around the corner to bet on the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders this week.
Jason’s record after Week 7: 22-29 ATS, 7-11-1 Totals
Profit: minus-29.68 units
The Oakland Raiders have yet to win a game this year. The Jacksonville Jaguars are 1-7. They are undoubtedly two of the worst teams in football, but a lot of people are going to be betting on them this week. Sharp people. According to our consensus reports, the Raiders (+16.5, –125 away) opened as a unanimous NFL pick for Sunday’s game against the defending Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks. The Jaguars (+14, –140 away) were also pulling in 100 percent support for their tilt with the Cincinnati Bengals.
You may have noticed the extra vigorish on both those opening lines. As we go to press, most of our featured online sportsbooks have published their NFL odds for Week 9, and the prevailing lines at the standard –110 vig are Oakland +15 and Jacksonville +12.5. How much of that difference is because of the juice, and how much is because of the early sharp action? The answers after the break.
It’s So Noisy at the Fair
Longtime readers of this space (hey there) will know about the “fair prices” at Wizard of Odds. In theory, all we need to do to answer the above question is add up the prices for all the half-points that make up the line movement. First, the Raiders:
Line Move Fair Price
16.5 to 16 4.5
16 to 15.5 4.5
15.5 to 15 2.9
Let’s see, carry the one… that adds up to nearly 12 cents, which just about covers the 15-cent difference in juice between the two Oakland lines. So we can conclude that the early action on Da Raiders hasn’t moved these football odds very much. In theory. Now let’s do the same for Jacksonville:
Line Move Fair Price
14 to 13.5 9.9
13.5 to 13 5.4
13 to 12.5 5.4
Interesting. Even with the higher “fair price” that comes with buying away from the Magic No. 14, we’re still coming up about nine cents short of making up for the 30-cent difference in vigorish. What the deuce?! Actually, this is where our theory falls apart: People are willing to pay a premium in juice to move onto or away from magic numbers like 14. A lot of people don’t even pay attention to these things. Don’t be one of those people.
Juice, Juice, Juice
Having said all that, there was enough early action on the Jaguars (2-6 ATS) to prompt a number of online sportsbooks to move the spread to +11.5; that’s another six cents or so, by the way. We’d expect similar movement with the Raiders (3-4 ATS), who have already cashed in once this year as 14-point puppies versus the New England Patriots, losing 19-6 in Foxborough back in Week 3.
The sharps don’t just have the biggest underdogs in their sights this week. The San Diego Chargers have opened with 97 percent consensus as 1-point road dogs (+105) against the Miami Dolphins. At press time, the Philadelphia Eagles were also getting 97 percent support in their matchup against the Houston Texans (+1, +105 at home). And for Monday Night Football, the Indianapolis Colts are the preferred choice for early NFL picks of 96 percent of bettors at –3 (–120).
Not every game is this cut-and-dried. Take the NFC West battle at the Field of Jeans between the St. Louis Rams and the San Francisco 49ers; despite getting 10 points (albeit at an inflated –125 vigorish), early bettors were divided 50/50 over whether to pick the Rams in this one. Seems that not every double-digit dog goes to sharp heaven, after all. Then again, sharps aren’t as likely to pay that premium on juice, either. Every penny counts.