If the Internet is right – and it always is – public bettors aren't nearly as interested in putting the New England Patriots in their NFL picks as you might believe.
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 11: 17-11 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 12-17 Total
Numbers are wonderful things. They've captured our imagination ever since we starting using bones for tally markers. People with synesthesia see colors when they think of numbers – some can even taste them. Now, if we could only do a better job of interpreting what these damned squiggles are supposed to mean. Someone somewhere in the world is getting hoodwinked as you read this, perhaps by usurious credit card rates, or a graph that may as well have been lifted straight from the pages of How to Lie with Statistics.
It doesn't take much to throw people off. If you were to go on the Interwebs right now and look at the public money charts for the NFL picks, you might be surprised to see the New England Patriots in the middle of the table at No.18, wedged in between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings. What what?! Aren't the Patriots supposed to be about as public as public teams get? Does this mean Spygate and Deflategate and TomBrady's Hatgate have finally sullied New England's reputation beyond repair?
Those are some interesting hats, but no. Don't forget, the Patriots took the bye in Week 4, before coming back this past Sunday to beat the Dallas Cowboys and improve to 4-0 (3-1 ATS). You can expect plenty of public action on New England for this Sunday's game (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) against the Indianapolis Colts, too.
Or can you? Despite struggling to reach the pay window, and despite Andrew Luck missing the past two games with shoulder issues, Indianapolis (3-2 SU, 1-4 ATS) is No. 4 on the public money charts as we go to press. Recreational bettors love them Colts. We'll see how the betting patterns shake out this week with Indy getting seven points at home. For now, we know the sharps are on New England like a limpet on a rock face.
Losing Is a Disease
Meanwhile, the other four undefeated teams are getting tons of public action – yes, even the Atlanta Falcons (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS), who have moved all the way up to No. 5 in public money. That's ahead of the No. 8 Cincinnati Bengals (5-0 SU, 4-0-1 ATS), but behind the No. 2 Green Bay Packers (5-0 SU and ATS) and the No. 3 Denver Broncos (5-0 SU, 4-1 ATS).
Seems about right. Atlanta and Cincinnati fit the profile of “small-market” teams with mostly regional fan bases; they don't have the same national brand recognition as the Packers and Broncos, although that will change over time if they keep winning. Just look at the No. 1 team on the public charts, the Arizona Cardinals (4-1 SU and ATS). Victory is the best disinfectant.