As sports gambling becomes more mainstream, more and more people are looking for insight on what games to bet on and what lines to take. One approach is to look at the ‘popular’ lines, where people follow the crowd and bet on the games that everyone else is betting. This ‘Go with the Flow’ mentality can provide a sense of security because if a lot of other people are doing it, there must be something there.
But sometimes the public can have it wrong. Sometimes the flow of the water actually leads to a waterfall. Sometimes, it’s better to go against the flow – or maybe even avoid the flow completely. In this series, we’ll look at some of those situations, and give you our thoughts behind why it might be good to fade the public trend, and look for other opportunities.
The Theme for this week is overreaction. A lot of the betting trends this week reflect what people saw last weekend, not considering that it was just the first week of the season.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Public Trend – 67% of the public bets favor Kansas City
The Steelers are without Le'Veon Bell, probably for a good chunk of the season. Despite being a 3.5-point favorite against a team that didn’t win a game in 2017, the Steelers only managed a tie against a hated division rival. Even worse, they completely collapsed in the 4th quarter, giving up 14 points in the final seven minutes of regulation, allowing the Browns to tie it up. Kansas City scored three touchdowns in the second half last week against a decent San Diego team, winning the game by 10 points despite being a 3.5-point underdog at the start. Patrick Mahomes put up 256 yards passing and four passing TDS with no interceptions in his first start, and the Chiefs quickly showed they will be a contender again this season.
Why you may want to fade the trend.
The shock of being without Bell has worn off for Pittsburgh. James Conner put up almost 200 yards from scrimmage in relief and Ben Roethlisberger had 335 yards passing in the loss. Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster combined for 212 receiving yards and a TD. Granted they had the entire overtime period to pad their stats, but the Steelers played a decent game given all the distractions. Now they’re at home and they are embarrassed having let the Browns come back and take away the win from them. The Chiefs looked great in their home opener, but now they’re on the road in a hostile environment against a team that will be ready for them. They are primed for a let down and the Steelers are primed for a bounce-back.
The Vegas line opened at -4.5 for Pittsburgh and moved up to -5.5 before sliding back to -4.5 where it currently sits. The Over/Under however, has steadily climbed from 49.5 to 53.5. Despite Vegas expecting this game to be an even bigger shoot-out, the line remains the Steelers as the favorite. The weather for this game looks to be high 70’s and no rain – perfect weather for an upset.
DETROIT LIONS AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Public Trend – 69% of the public bets favor San Francisco
The Lions completely imploded against the Jets on Monday Night when most people expected them to cruise to an easy win. The Jets put up 31 points in 12 minutes and the Lions went from an easy win to a blow-out loss. Now they must go on the road, after a short week of practice to a west coast team that’s looking to smack them around even more. The 49ers suffered a tough defeat against the Vikings on the road, but that was to be expected because the Vikings are favored to win the NFC. The Vikings have a LOT more offensive talent than the Lions do, and the 49ers still held them to just 24 points in their home arena. The 49ers have an extra day to prepare and will be ready to pick up where the Jets left off Monday night.
Why you may want to fade the trend.
Despite the final score, the Lions essentially had one bad quarter against the Jets on Monday night. They came out of the locker room at half-time and tied the game up at 17 before the wheels came off the wagon. It was a terrible quarter to be sure, but are they really a full touchdown worse than the 49ers this season? Matthew Stafford isn’t going to throw four interceptions every week. The east coast team traveling west isn’t as tough on a team as a west coast team traveling east. If the Lions can forget about that one bad quarter, they should be able to keep this game close.
The line on this game opened favoring the 49ers by 4 points. As the money continued to flow toward the 49ers, the line moved to -6, but it didn’t reverse the trend. The public seems content to believe that one bad quarter means Detroit is going to be blown out again this week.
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT NEW YORK JETS
Public Trend – 65% of the public bets favor The Jets
Despite being a seven-point underdog, the Jets went into Detroit on Monday night and unloaded on the Lions. Their defense was solid, holding Detroit to just 39 rushing yards and forcing five interceptions on 52 passing attempts. Rookie Sam Darnold opened the game by throwing a pick-six, but he settled down and performed pretty well finishing with just under 200 yards passing and 2 passing TDS. They also ripped off 169 rushing yards and even added a punt return for a TD to pour gas on the fire. The Dolphins won their opener as well, but they were home and still struggled against a poor Tennessee Team who were missing their starting quarterback for much of the game. Take away a 75-yard bomb to Kenny Stills in the 4th quarter, and Miami had just 275 yards of total offense. Now they’re on the road against a division rival who is fresh off a big prime-time win.
Why you may want to fade the trend.
The Dolphins get their best receiver DeVante Parker back this week. He missed week 1 due to a broken finger, and he’ll be a welcome addition to the Miami offense. The Miami-Tennessee game was interrupted twice due to lightning and took over seven hours to finish. The weather for this weekend’s game is near perfect, and that should allow the Dolphins to get a consistent flow to their offense. Despite their blowout win, the Jets gave up 14 receptions for 193 receiving yards and a TD to the top Detroit receivers. With Parker and Kenny Stills on the field, the Dolphins should be able to put up some decent numbers as well. The Jets are due for a letdown after the big prime time win. They’re also playing on a short week of practice, after being on the road for their Monday night win. Rookie Sam Darnold is still a rookie Quarterback and prone to rookie mistakes. The Dolphins picked off Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbart three times last week and will give Darnold a lot more trouble than he faced in Detroit.
The line for this game opened at even, but when the Jets put 31 points on Detroit in 12 minutes, the line suddenly moved to -3. The over-under didn’t move though, which seems odd since Vegas is suddenly expecting the Jets to score three more points and people continue to put money on them. This will be a knockdown, drag out fight between two division rivals who both want to start the season 2-0. It should be a close game and the extra points could be trouble for all the people expecting the Jets to be the same team they saw dismantle the Lions on Monday night.
* graphics and numbers are from covers.com.