Last week, I went 5-3 for a net win of $340.
My positive results stemmed largely from the continuation of an unusual phenomenon this season, which is the unusually high percentage of covers by road teams.
Visitors continue to cover at a blistering pace. In week #7, road teams went 9-5 ATS, which adds to a remarkable 61-41-2 overall ATS mark for the visitors. Home teams are struggling badly straight up, as well — going just 45-58-1 overall. I don’t ever recall seeing road teams producing such disproportionate results. This is a surprise since the home field advantage is generally considered to be worth about 3 points in the NFL. Not so, this season.
Will we eventually see if things will even out, the statistical certainty commonly referred to as “return to the mean.” Things do usually average out with more time and/or increased sample size. Might it be possible for road dogs to continue covering at this rate? Probably not. However, although opinions are subjective, I don’t see evidence of oddsmakers (or the betting public) making noteworthy adjustments to how home versus away is weighed into the line. Consider that this week, 12 of 13 home teams are favored. Road teams still aren’t getting enough respect, perhaps.
Accordingly, I’m quite tempted to play every road dogs this week. Not sure why the public hasn’t caught on to this unusual trend. Perhaps few bettors are aware of the success of road teams or there’s still a consensus that the 62 percent rate of covers (to date) is a statistical abnormality well within the margins of variance.
We’ll see what happens. But this is something definitely worth considering when handicapping games going forward.
Now, on to Week #8.
2019 NFL WAGERING RECORD
Wins — Losses — Pushes 22 — 28 — 0
Starting Bankroll: $ 8,296.
Current Bankroll: $6,491. (- $1,800.)
Last Week’s Results: 5 — 3 — 0 (+ $340.)
THIS WEEK’S WAGERS: This week, I’ve made four wagers. I’m laying $1,130. to win $1,000. Here are the plays:
NY Giants / Detroit OVER 49 — Laying $330 to win $300
Oakland / Houston OVER 51.5 — Laying $330 to win $300
Teaser: Tampa Bay +8.5 / Indianapolis +1 — Laying $360 to win $300
NY Jets + 6.5 — Laying $110 to win $100
THOUGHTS ON ALL GAMES:
NYG at DET with the home team laying -6.5 with a total of 49 to 49.5. Indications are this line may close at DET -7 (movement on Saturday night in favor of DET). I like the OVER given the way both defenses have been surrendering yards and lots of points lately. DET last four games have produced 51, 64, 55, and 72 points, respectively. Meanwhile, NYG offense has been average at best, but some lack of production the past month was due to RB injury (Barkley), now resolved. NYG defense has surrendered 27 or more points in 6 of 7 games this season. Look for the defensive lapses from both teams to continue.
TEN is laying -2.5 to TB with a total at 45. This is a ripe number to tease up from +2.5 to +8.5, especially given TEN’s offensive inconsistencies. TEN starting QB Tannehill this week after benching Mariota prior to last game. TEN was fortunate to win the game, due to controversial call and a goal-line stand in final seconds. I feel confident taking the visitor getting more than a touchdown, which has shown plenty of offensive firepower averaging 28 points per game. Trouble has been the erratic play of QB Winston and a horrid defense. I expect the bye week will significantly help the Bucs here, at least to keep this within the margins.
Line on LAC-CHI dropped from -4.5 to -3.5. CHI was badly exposed last week in getting routed at home by NOR (minus Brees) and looked even worse in the loss to OAK )in London). Bears’ offense seems to have no solution at QB, no matter who starts. For this reason, it’s tempting to take the dog, especially getting more than a FG. However, LAC have started their last two games in dreadful fashion, falling behind badly in both games (PIT and TEN). This reveals serious problems with preparation, in my view. CHI defense should step up and make a difference. Total at 41 seems like it could play UNDER.
SEA and ATL field two defenses with serious flaws, especially the Falcons who have been horrific. Total at 51 looked to be playable as an OVER in the dome, but QB Shaub goes under center this week (latest report Ryan is out) and that creates too many question marks. SEA lays -8 on the road here to what is proving to be one of the worst 3 or 4 teams in the NFL. Word is, ATL coach needs a win here heading into the bye week to save his job. Lots of intangibles, so I’m staying off the game.
NYJ are coming off a terrible MNF loss, getting destroyed at home, but then playing against NWE can do that to teams. Clearly, NYJ aren’t as bad as that woeful effort since they upset DAL the previous week. Looking for a rebound, I jumped on NYJ +6.5 expecting the line would move down, perhaps to -6. But I was wrong since line instead moved to -7 in a few spots. Not sure what the reasoning is behind betting on JAX, given the rash of defensive injuries they will face in the games — a CB, and two starting LBs. Defense was supposed to be strength of this team, but they’ve been up and down all year. JAX QB Minshew has not played well the past few games. I expect a closer game than the line indicates.
BUF continues to amaze at 5-1 and how hosts PHI laying only -2. Sign of a good team is having an off week and still winning, which the Bills managed to do last week in a game that was closer than expected. Home for another week, look for a better effort from BUF here versus an opponent that won’t be taken lightly. It’s really hard to figure out what’s wrong with the Eagles and understand why they are so poorly prepared in so many games. PHI wads badly outcoached and outplayed in DAL last week. A road game against another very good defense doesn’t seem to be the recipe for recovery. I suspect this total at 41 could be a nice OVER play since Eagles defense simply isn’t played well, giving up 75 points in last two games. In fact, Eagles are getting roasted, surrendering 24+ in 6 of 7 games this season. Lean OVER.
The LAR should destroy CIN laying -12. But I don’t trust the Rams. Wiping out ATL showed me nothing in the previous game because that’s ATL. CIN is almost as bad, but there’s a big difference here laying double digits. I can’t back the Rams until I see more consistency. Meanwhile, important to remember the awful Bengals are 3-1 ATS on the road this year. They seem to play much better away than at home. I’d be very wary of betting the Rams in this spot.
ARZ is the surprise of the league at .500, winners of three straight. Have to love the job the new regime in doing in Phoenix. But that Cinderella story should end this week, at least temporarily as NOR will be back to near full strength. Brees reportedly taking snaps and might start (now listed as probable). Not that it matters since NOR is playing lights out right now, with defense leading the way. The Superdome will be a very tough place to play for the visitors. I won’t lay the -12, but would be wary of taking points. ARZ defense is certainly vulnerable to being lit up and blown out in the game. Important Note: If ARZ falls behind early, they could mail it in and get routed. Keep in mind ARZ hosts rival SFO on Thursday night next week, so ARZ unlikely to go all out in a game once they realize defeat is likely so as to save themselves for their biggest home game of the season four days from now.
I think points are going to be easy in the OAK-HOU game, with two experienced QBs, playmakers on both offenses, and susceptible defenses. 51.5 is a high number. But the way this game plays out, I think it’s more likely to go OVER. OAK playing its fifth straight non-home game (one game was in London). OAK defense was shredded in GB last week and not gets HOU coming off a loss. HOU building any kind of lead will force OAK to throw more, and then the fireworks begin. OAK has played four straight OVERS. HOU has played three straight OVERS. Why would the points stop flowing now? Another point: OAK offensive line now back to full strength for the first time all season. Giving QB Carr time will likely help Raiders with points.
SFO laying -4.5 to CAR, as line has moved in Panthers direction. Two surprise teams. Best unit on the field is probably the SFO defense which is playing phenomenal, just 10 points given up in last three games. In fact, 49ers are second only to NWE in points allowed. Laying -4.5 seems reasonable here, but CAR is also coming off the bye. With an extra week to prepare and rest, I don’t want to fade a team on a four-game winning streak. Two teams playing very good football at the moment. I’ll watch as a spectator rather than as a bettor.
DEN is getting +5.5 at INDY. Broncos are horrid offensively, so it’s hard to foresee how they’ll fix things in a road game playing back to back at home after beating KC and HOU in previous two games. Clearly, a step down in class for the Colts here. There’s some chance the favored Colts take DEN lightly, as they did perhaps in the inexplicable home loss to OAK a month ago. That glaring inconsistency keeps me off the Colts laying -5.5. But I do think they are significantly better than the opponent and worth teasing down to +1 (teased with TB). I can’t see DEN fixing their offensive problems in a week based on watching that team’s sideline the previous game. There is no leadership from QB Flacco, who is starting yet again this week. I suppose they’ve invested too much in the acquisition and now must play him longer than his play merits.
NWE, statistically one of the best 7-0 teams in NFL history, is laying -10.5 to CLE coming off a bye, and desperate to reboot their season. Believers in the Browns will look to this spot as a chance to regain some confidence after a floundering 2-4 start. One expects CLE to be well focused while this is just another game for NWE coming off a MNF win and a short prep week. Tempting to play CLE here getting the hook on the 10, but I can’t bet against these Patriots the way they’re steamrolling opponents. Pass.
GB at KC is one of the more intriguing matchups this week, where the Packers are laying -5 to the host, minus injured QB Mahones. Line shifted 8 points due to MVP’s injury, which seems about right. KC is probably the right side here getting points at home and in a circle the wagons game versus opponent not to be taken lightly. No opinion on the total (47).
MIA at PIT is another wreck of a MNF game, presumably only of interest to bettors. Not sure PIT deserves to be laying -14 to anyone right now. MIA showed some spark in last week’s 10-point loss at BUF, which covered. Probably a play on MIA or nothing here. Total at 43.5 might be a little high.
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Season Record To-Date: 58-49-1
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