They might not be wrong to do so, but we expect recreational bettors to load up on the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers for their Week 3 NFL picks.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 20: 10-4 ATS; 0-1 ML (–1.00 units); 5-3 Total
Staying one step ahead of the betting public is just good business. By using the old “sharp early, square late” rubric, not only can we solidify our contrarian NFL picks, we can also time our wagers to take advantage of the line movement that occurs when the public overbets their favorite teams. Every half-point counts.
Not everyone agrees with this approach. Betting patterns aren't quite as easy to read these days, now that we're all glued to the Internet and the workweek isn't a fixed entity like it used to be. We even whiffed completely on the public's approach with the New Orleans Saints this past week; the Saints moved from –10 to –9.5 for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It didn't end up costing us anything, as Tampa Bay won outright, 26-19. But it does serve as a reminder to watch our step.
There are also certain teams that continue to outperform expectations, even when the masses are on their side. Let's take a moment to revisit our Top 5 public teams going into 2015:
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
Green Bay Packers
Of these five teams, the Patriots and Packers have been profitable for many years now. There's a correlation between head coaches and their ATS records from one year to the next; New England's Bill Belichick (185-144-8 ATS lifetime) and Green Bay's Mike McCarthy (91-64-4 ATS) might be the two best coaches in the league. Indianapolis is 24-18-2 ATS under Chuck Pagano, but he's only been around for two full seasons, so buyer beware.
We definitely expect the public to jump on the Patriots and Packers again for Week 3. These are two of the biggest favorites on NFL odds at press time. The Pats are laying 13.5 points at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars at 5Dimes, while Green Bay is a 7-point home fave for the next episode of Monday Night Football (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN) versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Recreational bettors love their home favorites – the bigger, the better.
If these were any other two teams, we might recommend fading both New England and Green Bay. We don't have enough data yet to produce a report on the Chiefs-Packers game, but early bettors are already giving the Jaguars 55 percent consensus. The “classic” approach would be to wait until closer to kick-off and try to get the Jags at +14 or better, where they're 6-3 ATS lifetime, including a 23-16 loss to the Patriots (–14 away) in 2012. So how do you feel about fading Belichick and the Pats?