Jason’s 2018-19 NFL picks record : 8-13 ATS, 0-2 ML (minus-2.90 units), 4-8 Totals
The Philadelphia Eagles are the gift that keeps on giving. Earlier this week, we said the defending Super Bowl champions were the best NFL pick for the Wild Card round, just dripping with value for Sunday’s game (4:40 p.m. ET, NBC) against the Chicago Bears. The sharps agree; as we go to press, Philadelphia have drawn the most money of the eight teams in action this week.
And yet, much to our delight, the Eagles have moved from +5.5 to +6.5 on the NFL odds board. How is this possible? Well, the Bears do look like the public team in this matchup, and the public tends to pile on closer to kick-off, so maybe the books are trying to get some more Philly money while they can and limit their exposure – or maybe they’re counting on casual fans to support Chicago without paying much attention to the price. It could be both, of course. Watch out for false binary choices.
Do Not Feed the Bears
The 12-4 Bears (both SU and ATS) aren’t your prototypical public team, mind you. They’re all about defense, and according to the public money charts on the interwebs, they’ve drawn very little interest from bettors this year. That explains in part why they were able to keep beating the spread as the season went on.
Nevertheless, the expanded consensus reports suggest the public is indeed leaning toward Chicago for Sunday’s matchup. The Bears are pulling in 53.74 percent of bettors at press time, but 57.07 percent of the amount wagered is on Philadelphia. The average bet on the Eagles: $120.19, a healthy dose higher than the home faves at $77.83 – which still happens to be the second-largest bet size for Wild-Card Weekend.
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
There’s another line move of note for Saturday’s game (4:35 p.m. ET, ABC) between the Indianapolis Colts and the Houston Texans. The Colts opened as 2.5-point road dogs; they’re now priced at +1, drawing 57.02 percent of bettors and 51.83 percent of the amount wagered. Mind you, FiveThirtyEight project the Texans at –1.5, so there might not be a sharp side in this contest.
The same can be said for the other two Wild-Card spreads, which haven’t moved much since the open. In fact, we did say it – check out our Contrarian round-up of the four games on this week’s schedule for more information. Did you mash UNDER 49 for Saturday’s Colts-Texans tilt? Good, because the total for that game is back down to 48 at most books. It’s also too late to pick OVER 42.5 for the other Saturday game (8:15 p.m. ET, FOX) between the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys; the lowest total you’ll find at press time is 43. Timing is everything, folks. Shop smart, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.