Why are the sharps not so keen on the New England Patriots this week? It might have something to do with those 10 points the Pats are laying on the NFL odds board.
Jason's 2015 record as of Oct. 21: 21-15 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 14-23 Total
The sky is falling over Foxborough. After the New England Patriots failed to cover last week, it seems the football betting cognoscenti are running away from the Pats as quickly as possible, and into the arms of the New York Jets. Our consensus reports at press time show 70 percent of bettors still on the Jets this week, after 100 percent of first responders loaded up on New York at the open.
Not all that shocking, really. Sharp bettors love their double-digit underdogs, and the Jets are still available at +10 (–125), although +9 at the standard –110 vigorish is the more common line on our NFL odds board. Even so, that's more than enough points for New York to qualify for our feature NFL betting trend for Week 7. According to Walter Cherepinsky, divisional dogs of seven points or more are 163-148 ATS (52.4 percent) since 2002.
You might remember this trend from last year heading into Week 6, where we identified the Oakland Raiders (+7.5 at home) as worthy candidates against their divisional rivals, the San Diego Chargers. Final score: San Diego 31, Oakland 28. The Raiders had some other things going for them; they were coming off a bye week, and interim head coach Tony Sparano had that bye week to prepare for his Oakland debut after replacing Dennis Allen.
A Division Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand
It's these extra things that you need to look for when you're making your NFL picks. Just by itself, our featured betting trend is a break-even proposition at 52.4 percent, once you factor in the standard –110 vigorish. Actually, that ATS record was current going into the new season. Have there been any games like this in 2015? Let's take a look...
Week 1: Giants 26, Cowboys 27 (NYG +7)
Week 2: Buccaneers 26, Saints 19 (TB +9)
Week 3: Saints 22, Panthers 27 (NO +9.5)
Week 3: 49ers 7, Cardinals 47 (ARZ –7)
Week 4: Rams 24, Cardinals 22 (STL +7)
According to my painstaking research, that's... let's see, carry the one... 4-1 ATS for this trend in 2015. Not bad. We definitely had a long list of reasons to support the Buccaneers in Week 2, and the consensus numbers were on our side. This time around, we've got a matchup with a Patriots team (5-0 SU, 3-2 ATS) that's performing at a much higher level than the Saints, but our consensus reports still say the Jets (4-1 SU and ATS) are the sharp pick.
Mind you, not everyone is abandoning the Patriots; our first expanded consensus figures show New England with a higher average bet size at $78 to New York's $74, even though 68 percent of the action is on the Jets. Hmmmm. Check back later this week and we'll try to sort it all out.