Jason’s record on his final weekly NFL picks for the complete 2012 regular season:
51-38-3 ATS (–1.96 units vig)
10-6 ML (+5.82 units)
18-17-1 Totals (–1.71 units vig)
Profit: 16.15 units
The weekend isn’t here yet, so I’m not going to give the betting public too much credit for its willingness to back the Vikings in Saturday’s contest (8:00 p.m. ET, NBC). But I salute whoever is among the 62 percent of bettors on Minnesota according to Wednesday afternoon’s consensus reports. I also shake my fist at you a bit, because now the Vikings are down from +9 to +7.5 on the NFL odds board.
Yup, I was on Minnesota (10-6 SU, 8-7-1 ATS) when the first NFL betting lines came out for the Wild Card game. But it wasn’t like trumpets were playing and angels were flying overhead with wads of hundred-dollar bills. Green Bay (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS) is a very good team that could very will win the Super Bowl again. If I’m going to keep recommending the Vikings for Saturday, this pointspread might want to start moving in the other direction, which I vaguely suspect it will.
The Packers are still the public favorites between these two teams, although the gap has closed considerably over the past month. Which is why I say vaguely. There was a similar situation in Week 16 where I presumed the San Francisco 49ers would get the weekend bump from the betting public, but it was the Seattle Seahawks moving from +1 to –2.5 instead. Very sharp. Maybe all those square bettors were waiting for the playoffs and they’ll insta-click on the Packers once the workweek is over.
Minnesota still has football betting value at +7.5. That might be 1.5 points smaller than before, but it’s about as cheap as 1.5 points can get. The fair price for buying your way up from +7.5 to +9 would only be about 10 cents. There’s kind of a dead zone between the magic numbers of seven and 10; only 1.44 percent of games over the past 10 NFL season ended with a margin of victory of nine points, easily the smallest for any margin from one to 11 inclusive.
This means you’re going to find some bargains on the NFL betting lines no matter which team you like this week. The Vikings are out there at +7.5 (–103), and +8, and +8.5 (–115), and +9 (–130), and +9.5 (–138). That’s 35 cents difference from +7.5 to +9.5 where the fair price would be about 12 cents. You’ll certainly want Minnesota at +7.5 (–103) given the choice, or Green Bay –9.5 (+118).
There’s always the chance that the line moves even further, below that magic number seven. In which case, I’d start thinking about hedging my bet by taking the Packers and maybe getting a middle out of it. As I said, there are many things to like about Green Bay, especially that 8-3 ATS record since Week 5. And they went 3-0 SU and ATS at Lambeau Field in December. That’s including a 23-14 win over the Vikings (+7). Hey, a nine-point margin of victory, what do you know.
Like I said, Green Bay is good. Better than Minnesota by any credible measurement. But more than a converted touchdown better? I’ll wager a small amount against that for my pick.
NFL Picks: Take the Vikings +7.5 (–103) at Sport Bet