Our first expanded consensus reports are out for the 2015 regular season, and if early money is sharp money, the sharps have the Minnesota Vikings in their NFL picks.
Earlier this week, we looked at the five most public teams going into the 2015 NFL regular season, hoping to find someone to fade for Week 1. It's usually the most direct way to the bank, but at this strange point in NFL betting history, the public teams have been doing very well against the spread. No worries – we'll eventually find some overvalued teams as the season wears on.
Meanwhile, there are other ways to skin a pig. Instead of fading recreational bettors, we can mimic the sharp bettors by using the consensus reports to see where the early action has been falling. The Week 1 NFL odds have been out for a while, so this is going to be a little less reliable than usual, but we can still expect most “squares” to hold off with their NFL picks until closer to game-time. So without further ado, let's get to the numbers.
It's Over 900
Without a doubt, the Minnesota Vikings have been drawing the most early action for Week 1. That's largely because they're playing the San Francisco 49ers this Monday (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN), and the 49ers have had an absolutely brutal offseason. But the Vikings themselves are a rising commodity with young Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. They might be worth following in Week 1 against just about anyone.
Fortunately for us, it's not just anyone, it's San Francisco. Our expanded consensus reports at press time show about two-third of bettors on the Vikings as 2.5-point road faves, with over 95 percent of the action falling on Minnesota's side. That works out to an average bet size of $937 dollars on the Vikes, compared to $88 on the Niners. Not only is early money sharp money, but big bet sizes usually point to smarter bettors, as well.
The Lions in Late Summer
In terms of sheer volume, the Green Bay Packers are next on the list. They're laying seven points on the road against the Chicago Bears this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX), and our reports again show early bettors pounding the Packers at a 2:1 ratio, with nearly 74 percent of the action landing on Green Bay. Hard to argue, given Packers coach Mike McCarthy's 89-64-4 ATS record in the regular season and playoffs.
When it comes to bet size, though, it's the Detroit Lions getting... um... the lion's share of the action. They're 2.5-point road dogs this Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX) versus the San Diego Chargers, and despite 53 percent of bettors picking San Diego, over 63 percent of the money is on Detroit, for an average bet of $341. Have people made too much of the Lions losing DT Ndamukong Suh to free agency? We're not sure how healthy DT Haloti Ngata (hamstring) will be this week in Suh's place, but the Chargers offensive line is in a state of flux, so the timing might be right for Detroit to take advantage. At least the sharps seem to think so.