Now that we are three weeks into the season, the cream is slowly rising to the top. I am getting a sense of who the real contenders are and which teams are still just pretenders. Don’t be fooled by public image or how good a team “is supposed to be.” I can’t let my heart get in the way when I’m placing a bet. I must look at the facts and the data, compare projected outcomes, and bet accordingly.
I want you betting the games this Sunday with a specific plan, not just throwing a bunch of money against the wall hoping some of it sticks. Consider my advice as your starting point to your betting plans for the week. I don’t bet with my heart. Picking only my favorite teams will just burn a hole into my wallet. I need to look for specific information and trends that will lead me to finding my spots.
When making a bet in the NFL, be aware of what the line opened at and what the line is at the time you place your bet. When I see a significant shift in a line, what do I do? I like to take a step back and gather the information as to why this happened. We have a perfect example this week.
The first of the two heated, divisional battles between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens this year takes place in Baltimore this Sunday. The Steelers opened as a one-point road favorite. By Thursday afternoon this thing has swelled up to Steelers having to lay three points! The over/under opened at 45 and is all the way down to 42! So, what does all this crazy line movement actually mean? Why did it happen?
It means the public is panicking after the Ravens’ abysmal performance this past weekend. Hey, the Steelers didn’t look too great last week either after falling on the road to Chicago in overtime. But the Bears were hungry, playing at home, and trying to get their first win after an amateurish effort against Tampa Bay in Week 2. This was a typical trap game for the Steelers, as all the sharp money was on the Bears last week.
The Ravens on the other hand, YUCK! In front of over 84,000 fans in London, the Ravens barely even showed up against a depleted Jacksonville Jaguar squad. The 44-7 complete beatdown laid on by the Jags made everybody hit the reset button on the Baltimore Ravens and their 2-0 start. Let’s be real here, they beat the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, who at a combined 0-6 this season and have looked entirely inept on the field.
The Ravens didn’t just regress and come back to Earth, they looked downright awful. News alert everyone- Joe Flacco is not a quality starting quarterback in this league anymore. He hasn’t been for a last few years. His line of 8-18 for 28 yards with two interceptions and no touchdowns left even head coach John Harbaugh, Flacco’s biggest supporter scratching his head.
The Ravens only points of the game came with three minutes left in the game after Flacco was replaced by backup Ryan Mallet.
Take everything above into consideration, and the public just doesn’t trust the Ravens. This is evident as 67% of the bets in this game have come pouring in on Pittsburgh. This accounts for the line to balloon from one to three points. As you know, lines are caused to move when the money is coming in heavy on one particular side. When the Ravens look as bad as they did and the Steelers are hungry to rebound, I understand why this occurred.
The question is, when I see significant line movement, how does that affect which side I choose? My best advice, is too be weary when the public is heavy on one side. Believe me, the average fan betting games isn’t better at predicting outcomes than the oddsmakers. When something seems too good to be true, be cautious. It generally is.
With all that being said, what I say next may sound crazy. I’m sure you were getting ready to open betting site app and pound the Steelers. But wait…
I look to the Ravens bouncing back and performing well this Sunday. After being embarrassed a week ago, the culture in that locker room is one filled with leaders who take pride in what they do. After getting punched in the mouth in obliterating fashion last weekend, I don’t expect the Ravens to let it happen again. With the extra couple of points we can now get because the general public panicked, Ravens should have an excellent chance at covering this Sunday, if not winning the game outright.
The extra couple points are significantly important because the line is now at 3 points. If it drops back to Steelers -2.5, I wouldn’t be as excited about the Ravens. Because so many games end with a three-point margin, the difference between -2.5 and -3 is huge. Expecting the Ravens to show up for this game, I’m not saying you absolutely cannot bet the Ravens at +2.5. But try your mightiest to get the full three points.
The movement of the over/under from 45 to 42, well that’s fairly straightforward. Since the start of the 2010 season, Pittsburgh and Baltimore have played against each other 14 times during the regular season. The total has surpassed 43 points just twice in those 14 contests.
It is common for divisional opponents to score less points against each other due to the familiarity of the schemes and plays. The more you know and the more experience you have with someone’s offensive strategies, the more likely you can come up with a defensive game plan to stop them.
Be careful however, as the total dropping from 45 points to 42 points this Sunday means one thing- the bettors have been pounding the under on their mobile apps and in the sportsbooks since the line was released. Keeping theme with my theory above about being cautious when the public is heavy, you guessed it. I’m taking the over.
Despite everything I said about the history between the teams, this does not outweigh the actual line set by the oddsmakers. I don’t want to risk my money on what I think I may have seen on television. I like the over simply because the public has been betting the under.
This strategy of going against the public may turn out to be valuable for you. Don’t be afraid to try it out!
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