Fade the Public Betting Trends Week 4

Taking a second look at the more popular betting trends.

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 this week seems to home underdogs, and while historically ‘home dogs’ cover about 50% of the time, the public is very hot and heavy for a couple of the favorites. If last week taught us anything, it’s that this season has plenty of surprises and the favorites don’t always come out on top.

SEATTLE SEAHAWKS AT ARIZONA CARDINALS

Public Trend – 70% of the public bets favor Seattle

The Cardinals are still winless, and they have made the decision to give rookie quarterback Josh Rosen his first start. Their offense is ranked dead last in the NFL, averaging just 190 yards per game. They have scored just 20 points this season and are 21 points behind Dallas for the lowest PF totals in the league. The Seahawks are the 8th ranked passing defense in the league, allowing just 215 yards per game through the air. They are tied with Miami for a league-best seven interceptions so far this season.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

The Cardinals lead for most of the game against Chicago last week before the Bears narrowly pulled out a victory against a team that they were expected to beat by almost a touchdown. The Seahawks are 0-2 on the road and were beaten soundly in week 2 when the faced those same Bears in Chicago. Josh Rosen may be a rookie, but he can’t do much worse than Sam Bradford who has looked terrible through the first three games of the season. David Johnson showed signs of life last week and he’ll be facing a defense that gave up 138 yards from scrimmage to Ezekiel Elliott last week and 188 yards from scrimmage to the Denver backfield back in week 1. Larry Fitzgerald has been nursing a hamstring injury, but he was back at practice on Thursday and should play this weekend. That’s good news for a rookie QB who is going to need all the help he can get. If the crowd gets behind Rosen and the Cardinals get out to an early lead, they can lean on David Johnson and possible grind out a win or at least cover the spread at home.

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES AT TENNESSEE TITANS

Public Trend – 62% of the public bets favor Philadelphia

Philadelphia is the defending Super Bowl champs and Carson Wentz is back at the helm. They struggled last week against Indianapolis, but the constant rain and wet field was a factor. Running back Jay Ajayi is healthy, fully practiced yesterday and is expected to play this weekend. Their defense is ranked 8th in the league, giving up just 314 yards per game. The Eagles are #1 in rushing yards allowed, with opponents averaging just 61 yards per game against them. The Titan’s offense is ranked 28th in the league, averaging just 284 yards per game. They are averaging less than 17 points per game and have given up more points than they’ve scored despite having a winning record. Marcus Mariota is back under center, but he has just 203 passing yards so far this season. Both Dion Lewis (3.7 YPC) and Derrick Henry (3.0) are averaging under 4 yards per carry. The Titan’s leading receiver to date is Corey Davis who has just 13 receptions for 151 yards.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

Despite their 2-1 record, the Eagles have struggled this season. They are averaging less than 20 points per game on offense, and the only rank 19th in total offense, averaging just 341 yards per game. Alshon Jeffry is back at practice but has not been cleared for contact yet. That means their passing game still goes through Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz. Their passing offense is only averaging 223 yards per game and has a league-low two passing touchdowns so far this season. The Titans held Jacksonville to a pair of field goals on the road last week and have been close in every game they played this season. They are 2-1 against the spread, and 1-0 at home. The line has moved a bit in Tennessee’s favor, and they are now +3.5 at home. This game should be a close one and the points could make a difference here.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT DENVER BRONCOS

Public Trend – 63% of the public bets favor Kansas City

Kansas City is the hottest team in the league, and their offense is averaging almost 400 yards per game. They’ve scored 118 points so far this season, and Patrick Mahomes has 13 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Chiefs are 2-0 against the spread on the road and 3-0 against the spread for the season. The Broncos may be 2-1, but they’ve given up nine more points than they’ve scored this season. Their passing defense ranks 12th in the league, giving up 262 yards per game and they’ve allowed 5 touchdowns through the air. The Denver passing offense has just three touchdowns compared with five interceptions and is averaging just 238 passing yard per game. They are 0-2 against the spread this season and 0-1 at home.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

Denver is one of the toughest places to play in the league and both of their wins have come in front of the home crowd. By Contrast, the Chiefs are playing their 3rd road game in four weeks, and although they have been successful on the road, the strain may be catching up with them, especially in the high altitude of Denver. While the KC offense is lights out, the defense is very soft. They’ve given up over 30 points per game through the first three weeks and are allowing a league worst 374 yards per game. Their passing defense is giving up eight yards per attempt and they have allowed eight passing touchdowns compared with just 1 interception. The line continues to move toward the Broncos as the money keeps piling up on the side of the red-hot Chiefs. Is this the week that it finally catches up with them? I think this game is going to be a lot closer than people expect, especially with the Broncos getting almost 5 points at home.

* graphics and numbers are from covers.com.