Fade the Public Betting Trends Week 14

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.

This week is a tough one and the public backing really feels like the ‘right’ play in many games this week. We call out the ones that have some potential for an upset, but this may be the week to ‘follow the trend’ in some cases.

NEW YORK GIANTS AT WASHINGTON

Public Trend – 70% of the public bets favor New York

Fresh off their upset win against Chicago at home, the public is all over Eli Manning and the Giants as they head into Washington, where they are pulling people out of the stands to play quarterback at this point. Washington is also playing on a short week after giving up 14 points to the Eagles in the 4th quarter on Monday night. The Giants are a surprising 6-3-1 against the spread over their last 10 games, and are 5-1 ATS on the road. Washington’s offense has been banged up at just about every position and they are fading fast as the season winds down. They are averaging less than 20 points and just 323 total yards of offense per game.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

This has classic ‘over-reaction’ written all over it. The Giants played well at home against a good team who had a backup quarterback under center. Washington collapsed on Monday night and are on their third quarterback in the last few weeks. But the Giants are just 4-8 on the season, and average just 22 points per game on offense. They are good against the spread, but so is Washington, who is 6-4 ATS over their last 10 games and 4-2 at home. Jamison Crowder and Chris Thompson are both healthy, and back into the start lineup, giving Washington a little more stability. Adrian Peterson also continues to perform at a high level and Washington still has a reasonable chance to make the playoffs if they can turn things around. With the line moving almost 5 points in their direction, a great contrarian play might be to back the home dog against a weak division opponent.

CAROLINA PANTHERS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS

Public Trend – 59% of the public bets favor Carolina

Note: Other sites show the public receiving as much as 63% of the public money.

Carolina is struggling, but they are still in the hunt for a wild card playoff spot while Cleveland is playing for pride. Cam Newton had a rough game last week against Tampa Bay, but the four interceptions he threw were the exception, not the norm. They’re still averaging more than 25 points per game and Cleveland is allowing 26 points per game on defense, so expect the Panthers hope to bounce back this week.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

The Panthers are in a serious nose-dive, and have dropped their last four games in a row. They are 1-5 against the spread on the road this season while Tampa is 4-2 at home ATS. The line has moved a bit on this, but Cleveland is still a home dog, and that has been great for people looking to make contrarian plays. Cleveland continues to improve on offense and even though Baker Mayfield has three interceptions last week, he still had almost 400 yards passing in a losing effort. The weather for this game is projected to be clear but cold, and that should favor the home dog Browns here. Taking the Browns and the points.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

Public Trend – 65% of the public bets favor New Orleans

The Saints took a tough loss last Thursday against Dallas, but they are still one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now. They’re 9-1 against the spread over their last 10 games and they are 5-1 on the road this year. They are averaging almost 35 points per game for the season, and their defense is allowing less than 23 points per game for the season as well. Tampa Bay is just 3-6-1 against the spread over their last 10 games and they are just 3-3 at home. The defense is improving, but they are still averaging almost 30 points allowed per game. With DeSean Jackson on the sidelines this week, expect Mike Evans to draw most of the coverage his way, limiting the Tampa passing game.

Why you may want to fade the trend.

Tampa Bay may be out of the playoff hunt, but they are still scrappy and do not go quietly. Last week against the Panthers, their defense fired up – notching four interceptions and four sacks against Cam Newton in a true ‘bend but don’t break’ manner. Most people expect the Saints to come in fired up after thinking about their loss for the last 10 days, so the money is flowing toward the Saints and the line is moving toward Tampa. The Bucs average almost 27 points per game and giving them a two-score lead with the point spread may be enough for them to cover against the Saints at home.

* graphics and numbers are from covers.com.