Fade the Public Betting Trends Week 9

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 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.

CLEVELAND BROWNS VS. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Public Trend – 77% of the public bets favor Kansas City

Kansas City has the #3 offense in the league averaging more than 425 yards and over 36 points per game. Kansas City is 7-1 ATS and 4-0 ATS on the road. Cleveland has improved a lot over last season, but their team is still struggling. Their defense is ranked 27th in the league, allowing more than 414 yards and more than 26 points per game. Their offense is also struggling, averaging just over 324 yards just over 21 points per game. They’re also coming off an embarrassing 33-18 blowout against division rival Pittsburgh.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

Despite their struggles, Cleveland is actually 5-3 against the spread and 3-1 at home. They fired Hue Jackson this week, who was just 3-36-1 as Cleveland’s coach over the three seasons. Gregg Williams isn’t Bill Belichick, but he should be an improvement over Jackson and the Browns will come out and play hard for their home crowd and new coach. The Chiefs are favored by more than a touchdown in this game, and will probably still win the game, but Cleveland is tough and the Chiefs give up a lot of yards (432.4) and points (25.6) per game. The Browns are going to be fired up for this game and the home crowd will be as well. Cleveland+8 looks like a great value play against the crowd.

BALTIMORE RAVENS VS. PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Public Trend – 62% of the public bets favor Pittsburgh

After a slow start this season, the Steelers are on fire, winning four of their last five games, including a 33-18 blowout of division rival Cleveland last week. Their averaging over 418 yards and over 29 points per game this season. They are 4-3 against the spread and 2-1 against the spread on the road. The Ravens are coming off a tough 36-21 loss to the Carolina Panthers last week. It’s their second loss in a row and they have averaged just over 20 points per game in those contests. They are averaging just over 24 points per game and just over 379 yards per game for the season.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

The Ravens have the best defense in the league, allowing just only 293 yards per game and 17 points per game. They are 2-1 against the spread at home and need this win to keep pace with the first place Steelers. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger struggles on the road and the Ravens always give him trouble. The Ravens have played four of their last five games on the road and are finally home heading into a bye week. The Ravens are underrated on offense and have played pretty well at points this season. Their defense is rock solid and is still he best in the league despite allowing 36 points to Carolina last week. This is going to be a knock-down, drag out game against a tough division rival in a must-win situation for the Ravens. They have a chance to pull off the win straight up and when you add the 3 points that Vegas is giving them, they look like an attractive bet this week.

BUFFALO BILLS VS CHICAGO BEARS

Public Trend – 54% of the public bets favor Chicago

*Note – other sites list Chicago as having as much as 66% of the public betting

Buffalo is the doormat of the league. Their offense is ranked 31st in the league, scoring just 246 yards per game and just over 10 pointer per game this season. Nathan Peterman is back under center and his struggles this season are well documented. A guy with just 108 passing yards in three games is not something to get excited about. He’s facing a Chicago defense that has been tough this season, allowing just 329 yards per game (7th in the league) and less than 21 points per game. Their rushing defense is ranked 3rd, allowing 90 yards per game and is the only unit in the league to not allow a rushing touchdown.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

The Bills are 3-5 against the spread this season, and have played well at points, even in games when they are double-digit underdogs. The Bears are just 4-3 against the spread this season and are 1-2 against the spread on the road. Chicago beat the Jets last week by 14, but the game was much closer than the score indicates. Before that they had back to back losses to Miami and New England. Five of Chicago’s seven games have been decided by less than 10 points this season and the line has moved to Buffalo +10 this week. The weather forecast for this game is in the low 40s. Chicago, on the road, in the cold, against a scrappy Buffalo team and spotting them 10 points? Seems like Buffalo is a bigger value play than the public is giving them credit for.

* graphics and numbers are from covers.com.