Bookmakers have reported record breaking figures being wagered on “season win totals” and other “future” bets in the NFL and CFB since the lock-out ended. To their delight, the heavy volume carried over into week 1 of the preseason as plenty of recreational bettors are back and looking for action.
Let’s not forget that many of these bettors haven’t visited their books since the end of the NBA Playoffs and for some, it’s been even longer. Like March Madness, the football season brings out a ton of bettors that don’t seek action on a regular basis. Therefore, the betting market is saturated with a lot more unsophisticated bettors and those who simply want entertainment.
This means that odds makers must factor in the biases of these bettors, especially since this is one of those times throughout the year where “public money” will be more significant than “wise guy” money. To compensate, odds makers put a lot more weight on “perception” and are willing to offer more “fair lines” than they do “true lines.
The goal of the “fair line” is to create balanced action, while the objective of the “true line” is to split the results. Information and efficient handicapping is what is needed to find value in true lines, but for fair lines it takes a deeper understanding of value and how perception influences price.
Now let’s look at those teams that the betting market will be “over/under” valuing in the week ahead based on perception more than anything else. Since odds makers will be factoring it into prices they send out for NFL games more than MLB at this time, that’s the betting market we’ll focus on more.
5 MOST “OVER-VALUED” TEAMS :
1.) DETROIT TIGERS
Since we’re only using 1 MLB team for each list, I’ll zero in on the team that I believe odds makers will over-value most…The perception is they will win the AL Central and they receive much more public money nightly than the teams chasing them…BUT, they have the worst run-differential of the 3 top teams in their division at -17...With important home games against the Twins and Indians on tap this week, expect odds makers to charge a heavy premium to back them.
2.) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
No team in the AFC has received more hype coming into the season and based on their odds to win the Super Bowl, no team in the entire NFL is expected to have a better year…Last season they went 14-2 SU and 67% ATS which really cost books since they receive so much support from bettors…It’s obvious odds makers will be forced to inflate their lines even more in 2011 and after winning their 1st preseason game by 35 pts, they’ll put a rush on it.
3.) DETROIT LIONS
Not a team that’s been “over-valued” much in recent years but the perception is they’ll be much improved this season…In fact, the Over on their season win total has received both sharp and public money…They received a lot of betting action last week against the Bengals and came through with a 34-3 blowout win…I expect those bettors to come right back with them against the Browns this week, especially as the dog…But I believe odds makers have shaded that line to reflect the perception and expected public action.
4.) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
With all the hype surrounding this so called “dream team”, I expect the Eagles to make this list plenty in the coming months…They were one of the most heavily bet sides in week 1 of the preseason and came through for their backers with a SU/ATS win…This week they meet the Steelers who are almost always a heavily bet public team…But their philosophy on winning preseason games keeps a lot of recreational bettors away and books expect the Eagles will get a lot of action…Wiseguys have already attempted to get ahead of the market by grabbing the points, but from what I’ve gathered it seems to be a try for a “middle” when books are forced to adjust late for that public money.
5.) ST LOUIS RAMS
Not since the “greatest show on turf” glory days has much been expected…But with a stud at QB and a weak division many believe they’ll continue to improve…They were the biggest favorite in week 1 against the Colts and received the most “teaser” action on game-day…Bettors were rewarded with a one-sided 33-10 victory and with a home game on deck, books expect them to come right back with the Rams this week…Odds makers sent them out inflated and the betting syndicates went against them immediately, not even waiting for public pressure to force an adjustment which may have given them an even better price.
5 MOST “UNDER-VALUED” TEAMS :
1.) ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
They’ve received very little acknowledgement for a great season so far and even less attention from bettors at the window…That’s the reason only “1” team has made their backers more money this year…They have a 2.5 game lead in the NL West and are the only team in the division with a positive run-differential…They have a winning record at home and on the road and with a road trip on deck that takes them to Philly and Atlanta, it’s obvious they’ll be offered at a discount AGAIN this week.
2.) CINCINNATI BENGALS
Odds makers may have sent out a handful of teams with a lower season win total, but NO team has received more steam on the UNDER than they have…After opening at 7 ½ wins, sharp money has forced the books to adjust that figure down to as low as 5 ½…Bettors faded them against the Lions in week 1 and were rewarded when the Bengals got outscored by 31 pts…Books expect this exercise to be repeated throughout the upcoming season so expect odds makers to try and protect them by sending them out at a huge discount to entice sharps into helping them achieve some balance…Don’t ever forget that with enough points, even the worst teams can end up being the best bets on the board.
3.) JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
After finishing 2010 with a .500 SU record, odds makers expect less from them in 2011...Their season win total is “6” and after a blow-out loss in week 1 against the Patriots, books don’t expect public bettors to be in any rush to back them…More importantly, bettors cashed in by fading them last week and that fond memory will have them looking to do the same again this week…Odds makers are well aware of this and will look to protect the books by trying to make them the “value” side…Since the line hovers around the key number of “3”, be careful when drawing conclusions on what the sharps are doing because many times they’ll be looking to work a middle and not necessarily taking a true position.
4.) BUFFALO BILLS
The only team that LESS is expected from when looking at season win totals are the Panthers who managed only 2 wins in 2010...They won only 4 games last season but actually had a winning record ATS after being offered at a huge discount throughout…That discount will once again be offered especially after putting up only 3 pts in game 1 of the preseason…This week they travel cross country to face the Broncos and wise guys have already grabbed the extra points with the Bills.
5.) INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
They probably won’t make this list much during the regular season, at least not this side of it…But with bettors being confident that this team isn’t interested in winning preseason games, they’ll look to fade them until the regular season kicks off…It’s obvious the objective of “established” teams is to stay healthy and simply evaluate back-ups…But when offered as dogs, they don’t have to WIN for backers to cash a ticket…Expect more effort from those teams that got man-handled in their previous game, which many times will cash a ticket when coupled with value.
Actual money wagered and NOT the ticket count.
MLB MARKET = 75% SHARP / 25% PUBLIC
NFLX MARKET = 55% PUBLIC
and Growing / 45% SHARP
Thanks again for all your support and best of luck ahead, Vegas-Runner.