It’s been a season of history when it comes to betting lines. Back in Week 2, the Patriots became as favorites of more than 16 points on the road. The Dolphins before their bye as the biggest cumulative underdog ever. Now the Patriots will potentially be involved in another bit of history on Thursday night.
The Patriots are 16.5-point favorites in their matchup with the Giants to open Week 6 on Thursday. Only six times has a team been favored by at least 14 points on a Thursday, and none of those favorites topped 15 points. So as long as the Pats close as favorites of 15.5 points or more, they’ll be the biggest Thursday night favorite ever when the game kicks off.
How does this help you as a bettor? Well, let’s check out those six lopsided lines. Five came with the big favorite at home, including the most recent instance with the Seahawks favored by 15 against the Rams in 2016. Five of the six huge favorites covered, with the only miss coming by the 2011 Steelers in a 14-3 win over the Browns. And five of the six went under the total, with the only miss coming by the lone road favorite in our sample, as the 2007 Colts won 31-13 in Atlanta to finish just over the total of 42.5.
Yes, we’re dealing with a small sample size, but that six-game sample has been remarkably consistent, with just one close outlier against each the favorite and the under. Oddly enough, in the five games that did go under the total, the road team scored just three points on the nose. Would anyone be surprised if we had another 30-3 type game on our hands with these teams? I sure wouldn’t.
Each week, I break down what you need to know about each game from a betting angle before you lock in your picks. I’ll talk about big line moves, teasers and parlays to consider and more.
If you want to know which sides I like, you can find that info at the SportsLine link below, where all my rated plays appear during the season along with my five SuperContest picks each week and plenty of great analysis from a fantastic collection of experts. You can also check out where all our CBS Sports staff lands on each game each week right here.
Over at SportsLine, I’ve hit 58% of the time in my last 57 picks, and I’ll be posting plenty of picks for Week 6 over the next few days. Join now and use promo code WHITE for $1 on your first month and you can get mine and every SportsLine expert’s picks throughout the year, as well as my SuperContest picks each Saturday.
Big line moves (lookaheads)
Lookaheads are lines that are posted for matchups before the previous week’s games. Analyzing the biggest movers is beneficial for smart bettors, who have a chance to examine those moves to determine whether there’s value in playing against a potential overreaction.
The Bucs were riding high last week after a big upset of the Rams, but the loss to the Saints caused their London game to swing toward the Panthers, who just keep winning with backup quarterback Kyle Allen. Another poor showing from the Browns has installed the Seahawks as road favorites for the Week 6 matchup between the two teams, while the Titans fell flat against the Bills thanks largely to poor kicking and are now nearly field goal underdogs against a Broncos team that just earned its first win. The Chiefs fell as massive favorites and suffered several injuries in the game, and with that their line has dropped significantly this week for a game against a Texans team that just dropped 53 on the Falcons.
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Where DVOA disagrees with line
Part of my research each week is calculating the DVOA (or DAVE, which is partially reflective of preseason projections) as tracked by Football Outsiders and seeing where the metric has a significant disagreement with the market. Now that defensive adjustments have been included following Week 4, I’ll include that analysis here.
We have two games that qualify this week. The Niners are one of the best teams in history through their first four games, per DVOA, though obviously the market isn’t valuing them on that level. If you were to value them by what Football Outsiders says and factor in the Rams’ poor home-field, the line should be 49ers -3. The actual true value of the line is likely somewhere in the middle.
The Cardinals popped up in this section last week as being a great value against the Cardinals, as DAVE had Arizona as the better team. This time around, the same metric does say Atlanta is the better team, but not by nearly enough of justify a line of Falcons -2.5. The DAVE ratings suggest this line should be a pick ’em.
Fading the public
Seahawks -1 at Browns
Falcons -2.5 at Cardinals
If 80% of the action or more is on one side of a line, you want to be thinking about taking the other side, a practice commonly known as fading the public. If the consensus thinks it has a game figured out, that should be flashing warning signs for you. All betting trends data is from Sports Insights as of Tuesday night.
We’ve got two teams that qualify this week, with everyone all over the Seahawks after the Browns laid another dud in primetime. The Seahawks are just 25th in adjusted sack rate on the defensive line, which in theory should take some pressure off Cleveland’s struggling offensive line. The Falcons are still drawing plenty of trust despite looking terrible over the last few weeks, as the public does not see them on the same level of bad as the Cardinals.
Sides that come close to hitting the 80% mark are Saints +1.5 and Patriots -16.5.
Underdog parlay of the week
49ers +175 at Rams
Dolphins +155 vs. Redskins
There aren’t a lot of great options this week. Based on our DVOA section above, there’s great value using the 49ers in a moneyline parlay this week. As for the second team, I’m perfectly fine grabbing a short ‘dog you like such as the Titans or Cardinals, but if we want to go with a bit more of a longshot, how about the Dolphins? Yes, they’re atrocious, but this Washington team doesn’t look much better. Why can’t Miami load up against the run and win this game at home?
We cashed in this space last week with a +750 moneyline parlay of the Cardinals and Broncos. Congrats if you followed!
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Teaser of the week
Saints +7.5 at Jaguars
Titans +8.5 at Broncos
We have a nice group of teams to tease up this week, and I’m going to do it with a Saints team that has continued to roll with Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback and a Titans team that hasn’t given up more than 20 points this year and is facing a 1-4 team coming off its first win. The Jaguars are playing a lot of close games with Gardner Minshew at quarterback, so it’s hard to see them winning by more than a touchdown against a great New Orleans team. You can also throw the Cardinals +8.5 or the Chargers -1 in for a three-teamer that pays out +150 if you want to chase a better payout.
The teaser of the week is just 2-3 this year after a 12-5 run in 2018, but we easily cashed last week with the Patriots and Cardinals.