Week 7 NFL Picks Consensus Reports: Who’s Wrong?

Jason Lake

Sunday, October 19, 2014 2:02 PM UTC

Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014 2:02 PM UTC

Strange things are happening with the NFL odds. Underdogs are getting plenty of late attention as we prepare for Week 7; people are even betting on the Tennessee Titans and the Minnesota Vikings. Really.

Jason’s record after Week 6: 21-22 ATS, 5-10-1 Totals
Profit: minus-13.99 units


So which would you rather fight to the death: 100 duck-sized horses, or one horse-sized duck? That’s easy: the 100 tiny horses. They won’t be able to run very quickly when they’re that small. They won’t climb well, either. And maybe most importantly, they won’t scare the holy crap out of you. A horse-sized duck? Unless we’re equipped with a giant bottle of honey-peppercorn sauce, no thank you.

Bad segue alert: Betting on the NFL is a lot like that. You can try to butt heads with the handful of sharps and their giant pocketbooks, or you can match wits with the legions of casual bettors making their smaller bets. We’re advocating the latter strategy. Our expanded consensus reports reveal which teams are receiving the lower average bets and which ones are attracting the high rollers; combine that with our standard reports, where you can see the changes in consensus from the open to the weekend, and you can do a pretty good job of sorting out the sharps from the squares.

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Tennessee
It’s not always that easy to separate signal from noise when you make your NFL picks. Aside from the bet sizing and the timing, we generally expect casual bettors to throw their weight behind the favorites. But the data isn’t complying this week. Consider the Tennessee Titans (2-4 SU, 1-4-1 ATS). They opened as 4-point road dogs against Washington (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS), and the original consensus was 64 percent on the home side. By Friday night, Tennessee was getting 51 percent support at +7 (–135).

Well, it is Washington we’re talking about here. Neither team is getting much respect nor much action in terms of raw dollars; as we go to press, the average bet on each side is $31. That’s rather parsimonious. Also, if you happened to look at the BTP contest “Best Bets” column at press time, Tennessee and Washington were even at 5-5. Not much to choose between the two.

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The Other Williams Wall
The bet size is even smaller for the Minnesota Vikings (2-4 SU and ATS). They’re only getting an average of $28 for their matchup against the Buffalo Bills (3-3 SU and ATS), but in this case, Buffalo appears to be getting tons of sharp betting action at $399 a pop. Story checks out: The Bills had 97 percent consensus at the open as a 4-point home fave, slipping to 55 percent by Friday with the NFL Odds moving to Buffalo –5.

Unusual to be seeing a team like the Vikings getting some love from the public. Is there some other reason behind these betting patterns? Perhaps Thursday’s hamstring injury to WR Marquise Goodwin (hamstring), which means Mike Williams will have to be brought back into the fold? Unlikely. Maybe people just find it really, really hard to take Kyle Orton seriously. Fine with us.

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Cheesy Comestibles
For a more classic sharp/square dynamic, we go to Wisconsin, where the Green Bay Packers (4-2 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) are seeing an uptick in action for their game against the Carolina Panthers (3-2-1 SU, 4-2 ATS). Carolina started the week with an early surge to 61 percent consensus at +7.5 (–130), but Green Bay gradually moved up to 42 percent by Friday night, with more sure to come.

It’s pretty safe to say the Packers are the public team in this contest. The expanded consensus figures show Green Bay with an average bet size of $31. The Panthers? $159. Carolina is also showing three $1,000-plus bets to zero for the Packers. It’s always nice to get more than seven points when you’re betting on a team with as much quality as the Panthers – even if Carolina has its flaws. May all your half-points be this magical.

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