As we get ready for Sunday’s games to kick off, it’s time to take one more look at the NFL odds and see which teams the sharps have their eyes on. Apparently the Miami Dolphins might be on the Week 10 menu.
Jason’s record after Week 9: 26-36 ATS, 10-14-1 Totals
Profit: minus-34.81 units
Sometimes it pays to be late. We’re usually focussed on grabbing those early NFL odds when they’re nice and soft, but there are certain times when it’s better to wait until the weekend rolls around. The formula’s usually the same: You get a public team that you want to fade, but the odds are coming up short of a magic number like three or seven. Maybe if you wait long enough, the public will put enough money in the market to move the NFL lines in your favor.
Let’s take the classic case of the Miami Dolphins (5-3 SU and ATS). They opened early as 2-point road dogs for Sunday’s matchup with the Detroit Lions (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS), then were made widely available at +2.5. In theory, we’d expect the Lions to get more public action as the week rolls on – they’re the favorites, and they lead the NFC North. Detroit also has nationally recognized “skill” players in QB Matthew Stafford, WR Calvin Johnson and RB Reggie Bush. Miami has… um, a sound machine?
Your Inner Fish
Well, according to the efficiency stats at Football Outsiders, Miami has the third-best team in the NFL. That’s based largely on the No. 2-ranked Dolphins defense, which includes the most fearsome pass rush in the league today. Quick: How many of their defensive linemen can you name? If you at least came up with three-time Pro Bowl LE Cameron Wake, you’re ahead of most people.
Detroit has an awesome defense as well, No. 1 in the nation in efficiency, but the offense has been struggling at No. 25 overall. We can blame that partly on Johnson and Bush having been injured – they’ll both be back in action this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS). Even so, Detroit’s problems on offense appear to run much deeper, and we expect the betting public to be overly optimistic about the Lions when they make their NFL picks.
Our Viewers Need Proof
All well and good, but do the numbers back up the theory? Let’s go to the consensus reports, where the early lean was on Miami at up to 55 percent. Then the Lions started picking up steam; as we go to press, 61 percent of bettors are on Detroit. Our expanded consensus figures show 54 percent of the monies wagered has fallen on the home side. The average bet size on Miami is still larger, $57 to $44.
This is all good stuff here. We’ve got a definite swing toward the Lions, but with smaller bets – typical of public action. If things continue to unfold from there as we anticipate, perhaps the books will oblige us by moving the line to Miami +3 in order to balance the action. Lo and behold, there are some select locations on our Week 10 NFL odds board where you can get the Fish and the field goal. It’ll cost a small premium in vigorish, but maybe that’ll be rolled back by kick-off, too.
The Figgie and the Damage Done
Here’s another spot: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-7 SU, 3-5 ATS) are hosting the Atlanta Falcons (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS) in a battle for the NFC South basement. Tampa Bay had a limited opening as a 1.5-point home dog, but this Sunday afternoon tilt (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) turned into a pick ‘em before moving all the way to Tampa +2.5 as we go to press. Again, it looks like the sharps are waiting for +3 before jumping on the Buccaneers bandwagon. They just might get it, too.
By using the same basic “line reading” techniques, you can anticipate where the sharps are putting (or waiting to put) their money, and you can use that info to your advantage when you make your NFL picks. Good hunting this week, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.