No surprise that the betting public is all-in on the top two conference seeds. Yet the sharps are even more willing to eat chalk with their Week 16 NFL picks.
Jason's 2015 record as of Dec. 26: 49-48-3 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 25-32-1 Total
When is a square pick not a square pick? When it's a sharp pick, of course. Take a gander at our Week 16 NFL odds board, and you'll see not one, not two, not three, but four double-digit underdogs. Surely all the pro handicappers will be pounding those puppies while the betting public overvalues the big favorites, as the betting public is wont to do.
Don't call me surely. Our expanded consensus reports tell the tale: The four favorites in question are getting a mixed response from recreational bettors, while most sharps appear quite content to put some chalk in their NFL picks. Meanwhile, sharps and squares alike are getting their groove on for the Carolina Panthers and the New England Patriots. What what?!
Travel Weary Capricorn
Let's start with the four favorites in question:
The betting public may like Big Chalk, but some of these double-digit faves are more popular than others. The Lions (44 percent) and Seahawks (46 percent) aren't even pulling in a majority of bettors at press time. The Chiefs? A mere 52 percent. It isn't until you get to the Steelers that you find a healthy 65 percent of bettors laying wood on the favorites. We shouldn't be too surprised; of these four teams, the Steelers are easily the most popular, while the other three have largely regional fan bases.
And perhaps we shouldn't be surprised, either, that the sharps are keen on all four of these double-digit faves. This is the time of year where road teams with nothing to play for tend to come up short. As per Richard Borghesi's academic studies, this is a great situation for late-season home dogs, but the same logic can be applied to the faves: Lack of motivation plus travel (plus bad weather where available) equals profit. The Ravens? They're starting one of Jimmy Clausen/Matt Schaub/Ryan Mallett at quarterback, and Pittsburgh (9-5 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) is trying to clinch a playoff spot.
You Can Win 'Em All
We know the Panthers (14-0 SU, 10-4 ATS) are motivated. Their undefeated season is on the line this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) at the Georgia Dome, where the Atlanta Falcons are 7-point favorites as we go to press. Our consensus reports show 62.5 percent of bettors laying 72.5 percent of the monies wagered on Carolina. The Falcons (7-7 SU, 5-9 ATS) can still make the playoffs, though, so don't expect them to roll over just yet.
And then you have the defending champs. Despite their ever-growing list of injuries, the Patriots (12-2 SU, 7-5-2 ATS) have won back-to-back games SU and ATS, and they're 3-point road faves this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) versus the New York Jets. Our surveys show 64 percent of Wagers Placed and 78 percent of the Amount Wagered landing on New England. Again, the Jets (9-5 SU, 7-5-2 ATS) are still in the playoff hunt, so tread carefully if you're thinking of investing some of that holiday bonus on the Pats.