Whose debut are you more excited to see Monday night? Chip Kelly, or Robert Griffin III? I don’t have the official Zogby poll numbers in front of me, but I get the impression that people want to see Griffin. The NFL lines look like they have my back on this one. Washington opened at –230 on the moneyline back in May, moved to –175 after early action on Philadelphia, then ticked back up to –185 earlier this week.
It could just be random noise. Action on the moneyline is quite small compared to what you see with NFL point spreads. As a result, the prices on the ML market are a little softer and more likely to vary from one online sportsbook to another. It’s not a major difference in variance between moneyline and ATS, but for Monday night’s matchup (6:55 p.m. ET, ESPN), you can get Philadelphia anywhere between +150 and +171 as we go to press.
Also, see whats happened since the Odds Opened for this Game.
Now for some betting voodoo to take in befor eplacing your NFL picks. According to the Wizard of Odds, if you look at the estimated chances of any team winning by a certain number of points, +150 would be very close to the fair moneyline price (+148) for a game where the spread is +3. At the other end, +171 is just a shade better (by three cents) than +4. But if you look at the spreads on our NFL odds board at press time, they cover a slightly narrower range from +3 (+105) to +4.
Pennies from Heaven
You know what that means: market inefficiency. If you’re thinking about taking Philadelphia as an underdog, you should go after those three cents and play the Eagles on the moneyline. If you’re thinking about taking Washington as a favorite, you have a choice between your best ATS line of –3 (–105), or your best moneyline or –173. In this case, you should take Washington –3 (–105). That’s worth 30 cents right there according to fair prices.
As it happens, I’m picking Philadelphia +171. And as is often the case when the NFL point spread is dancing around a field goal, the underdogs are getting more support on the moneyline (54 percent according to our consensus reports), while the favorites are the preferred team ATS (59 percent). This will distort the football betting market that much further. Tiny differences, yes, but sports betting is all about small margins. Take them where you can.
I’ve already recommended Philadelphia as my ATS pick for Monday night. Every once in a blue moon, you can find enough difference between the ATS and the ML markets to effectively play a “reverse middle.” You might recall I pulled this stunt in Week 13 last year when I picked Washington +145 and the New York Giants –3 (+106) at the same time.
We’ve got an even bigger gap this time. If you were feeling really frisky, you could reverse middle Philly +171 with Washington –3 (–105). There would be times where you lost both bets, when Washington prevailed by one or two points. And there would be times when you would get a loss and a push (I messed up this point last year, but the play was still profitable on paper). However, the extra cash you’d squeeze out when Philadelphia won or Washington covered would be worth it in the long run. In theory.NFL Pick: Take the Eagles +171 at Matchbook