It’s been a crazy season to say the least. The sharps are loading up on big favorites in Week 16, something that used to be the mark of square bettors. Even double-digit NFL odds aren’t stopping them.
Jason’s record after Week 15: 36-50-1 ATS, 18-26-1 Totals
Sweet baby corn, can we start the playoffs already? Little about the 2014 NFL regular season has made much sense from a betting perspective. The latest blow: Home dogs went 1-4 ATS in Week 15, the time of year when they traditionally pick up betting value. This was in a week where the UNDER went 13-3 – at least that made sense in a vacuum, although both our UNDER picks here at the home office came up empty.
You can tell how upside-down things have become by looking at the Week 16 NFL odds board. We’ve got some massive favorites in action, and for the most part, the sharps are joining the chalkeater parade. They’re even pounding double-digit faves like they were value NFL picks. At this point, who are we to argue?
The biggest chalk on the board can be found with the two teams who many believe will end up playing in the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots opened as 10-point road favorites (+100) against the New York Jets, who are playing out the string after a horrible season. Our consensus reports show 97 percent of early bettors were on the Patriots. That leveled off to 67 percent as we go to press, with the Pats picking up some steam at –11.5 (+115).
Behind Door No. 2 are the Green Bay Packers, who opened as 10.5-point road faves (–105) against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before matching New England at –11.5 (+115). We’ve had a steady supermajority behind Green Bay since the open; at press time, the Packers are pulling in 68 percent support, despite losing to the Buffalo Bills (+3.5 at home) in Week 15. Green Bay is now 1-3 ATS in its past four games, while Tampa Bay has covered two out of three.
We might have some more double-digit home dogs before the week is over. The Seattle Seahawks are on a four-game winning streak at 3-0-1 ATS after settling for a push in last week’s 17-7 win against the visiting San Francisco 49ers. This Sunday at The U, the Seahawks get another crack at the Arizona Cardinals, who will be starting Ryan Lindley at quarterback in place of the injured Drew Stanton. Seattle opened at –7.5 (–105) before moving as high as –9.5 (+105) at press time; the early consensus has been on the defending champions at 60 percent and above.
Thanks to the magic of vigorish, the Philadelphia Eagles were briefly 10-point road favorites (+100) at select locations in their Saturday matchup with Washington. The Eagles opened at –8.5 with the standard –110 juice and remain there as we go to press, but there’s room to move up after the early-bird sharps started pounding Philly at an 86-percent clip. This is despite back-to-back losses to Seattle and the Dallas Cowboys.
Given the way the 2014 season has played out, it’s understandable if the sharps want to get in early on these four massive favorites. Three of the home dogs in question are playing for whatever pride they can salvage, while the Cardinals have already clinched at least a playoff spot and are starting a quarterback in Lindley who was dead last on the DVOA charts in 2012.
Compare and contrast to the Miami Dolphins, who opened as 7-point favorites (–105) against the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota is a live dog at 6-8 SU and 9-5 ATS, covering four straight and seven of its last eight. Miami has dropped the cash in three straight games. Naturally, the sharps are on the Vikings at 61 percent as we go to press, creeping up from 56 percent at the open. Scandinavians have been known to devour their fair share of Fish.