Hello, Field Gulls friends. It's time to take a look the top plays of the week in the NFL betting markets. These might not be the sexiest picks on the planet, but a sharp bettor doesn't follow Joe Q. Public off of a cliff. He does his homework and zigs while others zag and isn't afraid to take the nastiest side on the board. I also know you all live in Vegas so this information is very useful to you. Very. /wink
- Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers (+3)
Speaking of nasty, let’s start with the public perception of the San Francisco 49ers. It’s been commonly known around these parts that the 49ers had the Worst Offseason Ever™. And the public has acted accordingly in the betting markets, moving the opening line of their game against the Minnesota Vikings from -4 in favor of the Niners all the way to a +3 dog.
Think about this for a minute; home team, Monday Night Football, getting three points. This dream isn’t going to last long so if you have the means you might want to lay down on that line right this second. Given 3 points at home, the 49ers would be 11-3-2 over the last two seasons. On Monday Night Football they’ve won their last six straight.
Let’s just say that the public has a tendency to overshoot either way in the betting markets, just like the on Wall Street, and right now 70% of public money is on the Vikings and the sports books don’t care. Betting System: Home Underdog.
- Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills (Ov. 45)
Another betting line that has been moving is the O/U total of the game between the Colts and Bills at Buffalo. After opening at 47 points, this game has been bet all the way down to 45 points with 67% of money wagered on the Under.
The public must not think highly of "T-Mobile" Tyrod Taylor and the Bills offense. But how many points can Indianapolis realistically throw up in this game? I think with Andre Johnson in tow, the number is close to or will exceed 28 – the Colts haven’t had a big target #1 receiver in about ten years and Mr. Luck should be able to take advantage.
On the flippity-flip, Marcell Dareus will be sitting out this game for the Bucks, which will help keep the pressure off of the Colt's QB. The Colts will score in the upper 20’s, as they always do, and the Bills will score enough for this new line of 45 to be a good Over candidate. Betting System: Against the Grain (aka Gluten Free).
- Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos (Un. 49)
Now finally it’s time to get systematic, with offensive systems that is. Gary Kubiak brings his run-first offense to the Denver Broncos this year, which should help get the final mileage out of Peyton Manning as he rides off into the sunset. The Broncos averaged 30.1 points per game last year, which blows away the offensive output of Kubiak’s previous squad, the Houston Texans, who averaged only 23.3 points per game.
With Peyton being openly encouraged not to audible as much this year, expect Kubiak’s system to really effect the scoring that Denver will put up. They might be as efficient on offense, but they will take longer doing it.
You would think that someone looking at trends might miss that this system change is worth a touchdown less, but the betting markets have picked it up. The O/U total on this game opened at 52 points and has been bet all the way down to 49. The reason for this is that the media has been drooling over the Denver defense this preseason, even going as far as saying they could be as good as Seattle’s. Say what?
One thing though, Baltimore is starting the same five offensive lineman in consecutive seasons for the first time in 20 years. All of us here at Field Gulls know what kind of luxury that would be. Given ample time, Joe Flacco will find his mediocre receivers and be more productive than his WR depth would indicate. Taking over 49 points in this game would be prudent. Or tease it down to 43 points and pair it with another play. Betting System: I’m Going to Hit the Brakes and He’ll Fly Right By.
As always, do your due diligence and be aware that a sports book is a public market attempting to get one half of the money on each side of a line. Public perception will skew the true line that will give you a 50/50 chance at either outcome. Take advantage!