As noted last week, the blog is being pared down to just an analysis of PUBLIC PERCEPTION, and how it creates betting value!
The blog last week absolutely hammered the misaligned perceptions in about 10 games, and, not surprisingly, led to a perfect 5-0 sweep on my card. I hope you guys used the info properly, as well!
2) CFB -- CFB GAME OF THE WEEK -- 3-0 CFB Sweep Last Week, and 3 Straight CFB GOW Winners (Arizona over Iowa, Cal covering in Arizona, and Oregon trouncing Stanford). Just 15 bucks for a GOW! ADD the CFB GOW to CART
3) MLB -- Postseason Stuff. Stay tuned.
4) NBA -- NBA Preseason Betting Guide Coming Soon!
Week 4 Recap and Lessons Learned: This one was easy.
Follow your numbers. A simple lesson, but one that bears repeating. We did it in week 1, and went 5-0. In week 2 we overthought things; in week 3 we underthought things. In week 4, we spent just the right amount of time going over the angles, and not surprisingly, the success was monstrous.
Also, week 4 showed definitively that perception absolutely dictates the lines, and if you are out there trying to learn how to handicap, don't spend 25 hours learning the 4th string scat-back. Spend those 25 hours studying how the media portrays teams and players, and listen to the average Joes talk sports. Then, look at the lines, and notice how those tens of thousands of small bets, each placed by a person swayed by perception and final scores from the previous week can create 2-4 points of value.
Sure, you're not going to hit a perfect 5-0 every time, but consistently putting your money on a 2-3 point value (especially with a key number), it's like betting on a 60% long term winner, and those are going to connect in the long term...and often the short term, as well.
What did you guys learn?
Sports Wagering: NFL
Denver Broncos @ Baltimore Ravens (-7) with a total of 39;
Remember, we're JUST looking at perception, so the writeups will be shorter from last week forward. In this game, we're dealing with two teams that are each slightly overrated off their week 4 performances. Denver picked up an outright road win over the previously overrated Titans, and Baltimore knocked off the undefeated Steelers. As a result, this line is pretty fair. The Baltimore side might be inflated by a point, so you'd be getting a key number taking 7 with Denver, but in terms of pure line value, there isn't a ton. You'd have to turn to other factors outside of public perception when betting on a game off two teams that each picked up outright road wins the previous week.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Buffalo Bills (-1) with a total of 40;
Not surprisingly, based on the week 4 results, this line's first move was to a Pick, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Jacksonville the small road favorite by Tuesday. Why? Perception. The Jaguars have already received a ton of positive publicity, and we're only 7 hours removed from their home win over the Colts as of the time I type this paragraph. Fact is, Jacksonville still isn't a good team, but they were hugely underrated off two blowout losses, and played Indianapolis tough once again, just the way they always do. Buffalo might be the best value in football thanks to another dismal performance in week 4, getting creamed at home by the surging NY Jets. From a perception standpoint, folks now think the Jaguars are a viable club, and this line is already off by probably 2 full points at just the opening number, and moving to more than that. Also, no team in the NFL is playing better than the Jets right now, so I wouldn't think too much of Buffalo getting waxed by Rex Ryan's boys. Buffalo is bad, there's no denying that, but from a value spot, perception has moved this line by at least 2, and rising.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts (-7.5) with a total of 43.5;
The undefeated Chiefs, off a "bye" week, get to tackle the Colts, off that tough loss in Jacksonville. We've seen how well Indy's offense plays at home, but that defense isn't stopping anyone, and that's going to make it tough to cover more than a TD. In terms of perception, the Colts are ALMOST the value play, despite being the "public" team that they are. The loss to Jacksonville is going to sour a few bettors on Indy, and Kansas City has cashed quite a few tickets in their quick 3-0 start. The "bye" week throws a wrinkle into things, since the public usually can't remember farther back than 1 week, and with that in mind, I believe this line is within a point of where it should be. I think a lot of people are going to see 3-0 and figure catching over a TD is a gift from the gambling gods, but I think this line is nearly spot on, and Indianapolis is indeed going to take this one by 7-10.
St. Louis Rams @ Detroit Lions (-3) with a total of 42;
I must admit, I was kind of hoping Detroit would get blasted out of Wisconsin this last week, because this line would have dropped to -1.5 or -2, and we'd have a very nice play on an up-and-coming Lions team that continues to fight tooth and nail, but continues to come up a score short. Instead, this line is only a "fall number" worth of perception value on the home team, as folks can get Detroit at just a FG, instead of, say, -3.5. But hey, it's something, and the Rams very strong play at home over the last 2 weeks is definitely starting to get some attention. Here's the concern with making a perception analysis in a game with the 2 worst teams in football over the past few years. Really, no matter how much they win or how strong they look, they're still not going to draw a ton of attention. So, while the Rams back-to-back home upsets of Washington and Seattle should create some value going against them, they're still the Rams, and they're still playing a strong all-around game than people realize. Small line value on Detroit, but momentum might be stronger than perception in this one.
Atlanta Falcons (-3) @ Cleveland Browns with a total of 41.5;
You folks know I hate road favorites, but believe it or not, this line is closer to fair than folks might tell you. The Falcons are coming off a thoroughly unimpressive home performance against the 49ers, and while they did steal a win in the final seconds, all the folks that bet Atlanta off their 2 tremendous wins (home blowout of Arizona, road upset of the Saints) are going to be a tiny bit turned off this week. Meanwhile, Cleveland was doing a great job of hanging tough with teams for the first 3 weeks, then came through with the big home upset of the Cincinnati Bengals, who definitely got exposed for being mistake-prone. So, right now, Cleveland is more popular than usual, and Atlanta is a little less popular than usual. That's not going to change that Atlanta is the more public team just because of all the superstars on offense, but those tiny fluctuations in popularity are keeping this line at a FG. A week ago, this line might have been -3.5 or -4, and without the FG, Cleveland is too tough for me to back. Meanwhile, a "low importance" game like this one might be another lull for Atlanta, and this one very well might be decided by a FG. Situationals and matchup numbers might tell you to make a play on one side or the other, but perception alone isn't enough.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Cincinnati Bengals (-7) with a total of 38.5;
I will admit, on a weekly basis there's a game that just doesn't make a ton of sense on a perception analysis, and this might be that game. With Tampa coming off their "bye" that doesn't really help the situation. They should be pretty well prepared for Cincinnati's offense, and probably watched closely what the Browns did this last week, but in terms of pure perception, Cincinnati's stock plummeted this last week, and that might have made Tampa just a shade outside the juicy range of public perception line value. Tampa Bay got spanked going into their "bye", so there should have been some value on that side, but with Cincinnati costing a ton of bettors a ton of bets this last weekend, this line is hovering at a TD instead of, say, -8, or even -7.5. Those small changes can mean a ton around key numbers like 3 and 7, and this game is another example of two teams off two ugly losses, so this game sort of becomes a "watch and learn" and hope that someone looks exceptionally good or bad, so we can fade or back them next week.
Chicago Bears @ Carolina Panthers with a total of N/A;
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Washington Redskins with a total of 43.5;
Letdown spot for Washington is the first thing that pops into my head. Obviously, if Washington beat up on Philadelphia on the Sunday Night National game or on Monday Night, the line value on Green Bay would be significantly higher, but as it is, I believe there's still a tiny bit of value on the road team. Green Bay played that ugly, mistake-filled game on Monday Night against the Bears, and followed that up with this past weekend's rather uninspired effort against a Lions team that, maybe, they took for granted. The Packers rapidly went from invincible to looking a tad vulnerable, and I expect them to take this game pretty seriously, just to get some more positive mojo working. Washington, meanwhile, got a monster divisional road win over Donovan McNabb's old team, and everyone is going to be hearing about it all week. This line could very well come down, and I would put that on perception, and not "early sharp money." Being able to tell the difference is key, so keep an eye on this line for some movement. As it stands, this line is a solid point lower than it would have been a week ago, and if it crosses 3 all the way, perception might set things up for you.
New York Giants @ Houston Texans (-3.5) with a total of 48.5;
Two teams that covered, so you guys know what that means. If there's a ton of value blended in this game, it's not because of public perception. The public largely still respects the Texans, and they probably should. Houston can score, and the Giants, despite showing some signs of life last week, still have a long way to go. But again, let's remain focused on analyzing perception. I believe this line is just a hair inflated, and that's the half point up over a FG. If this one sneaks under a FG, the Texans might go back to being the better side, but as it stands, getting that key number makes the Giants just the tiny perception value play. Not even remotely close to enough for me to consider this game as a play unless the line does something insane, and I do not foresee that occurring.
New Orleans Saints (-7.5) @ Arizona Cardinals with a total of 46;
I'm actually kind of glad that the Saints played poorly last week, because otherwise, I might be more tempted to back the Cardinals on line value, and backing the Cardinals right now is like licking a razor blade. Arizona comes home off a 31-point drubbing at the hands of an angry San Diego Chargers team, so the immediate thought is that there should be an absolute heaping pile of value on such a terribly regarded club. Fortunately for us, the Saints looked rather lame this past week, as well, and really, all season. The Saints pushed in week 1, but failed to cover in week 2 against the Niners, lost to the Falcons at home, and then barely beat the Panthers this most recent Sunday, the team that looked the worst of any in the League through the first 3 weeks of the year. So, while an opponent that played better in week 4 might have earned an additional 1.5 points of line value on perception, the Saints 0-3-1 ATS mark so far has actually brought this line out within a point of where it should be. If you can still get +7.5, you're getting a nice key number with the pathetic Cardinals, but with the Saints only overvalued a little, taking a shot with an undrafted rookie QB (Arizona bailed on Derek Anderson already) is a hair risky.
San Diego Chargers (-5) @ Oakland Raiders with a total of 44;
Perception mismatch here. The Chargers, like the Seahawks, have been a tale of two teams thus far, getting out-"bigplayed" on the road, and severely out-"bigplaying" opponents at home. A quick look at offensive numbers shows that San Diego can definitely move the ball, but key turnovers and Special Teams lapses in Kansas City and Seattle gave San Diego its two setbacks, while forcing turnovers at home has led to two blowout wins. San Diego is overvalued by at least a point, maybe 1.5. Oakland is a little undervalued off this last weekend's effort, too. They were catching only 3 or 3.5 to the Houston Texans, so to see this line a full 2 points higher is just laughable. The Texans are at least as good as San Diego, if not better, and thanks to a 7-point win, the Raiders are once again the ugly silver-and-black stepchild that no one wants to back. And, just like that, Oakland backers are not only getting the FG, they're getting 2 points on top of that, and barring an early-week sharp move, this line could definitely get up to 6 just because of San Diego's fireworks barrage on Arizona this last Sunday.
Tennessee Titans @ Dallas Cowboys (-7) with a total of 41;
Dealing with yet another "bye" week always messes up the carpet, but with Dallas, we can almost always assume the public is going to ride them to the tune of, at the very least, a fair line, usually value on the other side. Here, Dallas comes off a big statement win in Houston prior to the "bye" and I believe that win is going to be enough to get all those Dallas naysayers right back on the bandwagon. Sweet. Tennessee is coming off a lackluster home effort against the Denver Broncos, who simply took it to the Titans, and never let Chris Johnson break free for a single big run. It's pretty clear...stop CJ, and you can probably stop Tennesee. And to Dallas's credit, they do have a solid defense. But, let's face it, 7 points is too many. This line should probably be at 5.5 or 6, so Titans-backers are looking at about a point of value, as well as the second most important key number in football. Is it enough? That's your call, though my personal feeling is that if Dallas can cover this one, the exponential growth of public money on the 'Boys will create a ton of value the next time they hit the road.
Philadelphia Eagles @ San Francisco 49ers with a total of N/A;
Minnesota Vikings @ New York Jets (-5.5) with a total of 36.5;
This game is the first Monday Night action with a home favorite since, maybe, that very first one, though you could argue the line flopping about the midpoint sort of renders that null and void. In any case, this is a game of big time hype. The Jets did a ton of talking, started the year a little slow, but have looked like the strongest, most well-rounded team in the NFL over the last 3 weeks, posting a decisive home win over the Pats, an impressive road win over the Fins, and then beating the daylights out of an overmatched Bills club on Sunday. The Vikings, meanwhile, have Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson, so they're always going to be seeing a decent share of the tickets. They haven't looked good so far in 2010, though, and despite barely covering against the Lions in week 3, you could argue that the luster is off this team. And, as we know, that means it's time to start looking at perception as a value tool. The Jets are probably overvalued by about 2 to 2.5 points, but the Vikings are also overvalued by about a point. Put that together, there remains about 1.5 points of value on the Vikings side. And, with the week off, I would think that Favre gets a little more comfortable with his team, and the Vikings defense can spend some time keying in on the Jets particular schemes.