The MLB regular season is winding down and we’re about to see some teams fall into the “must win” category. That almost always results in odds makers sending out inflated prices to back those teams and even with football taking center stage, plenty of recreational bettors are tying up cross-sport parlays.
Speaking of football, we have a week of results in CFB and odds makers know that many conclusions will be drawn without much data to support them. The betting public historically over-reacts to those results that were furthest from expectations, in this case the point-spread. Odds makers compensate for this bias by adjusting the lines even when their power-rating don’t support it, simply to take advantage of perception. After taking a look at lines for week 2 in CFB, it’s obvious the odds makers have done it again.
Remember that “public money” outweighs “sharp money” in most football match-ups so odds makers try to protect the books by attempting to have bettors take the worst of it when the betting action is one-sided.
Finally, we embark on week 1 of the 2011 NFL regular season this week and it’s the one week that lines have been up for months in most cases. The early money was almost ALL sharp since most recreational bettors don’t like to tie up their bankrolls months in advance. But we’ll see plenty of line-moves as we approach kick-off because the betting public has yet to speak. When they do, most wise guys will look to take advantage of the adjustments they force by dropping some “late steam” on the books.
My advice…throw the preseason stats away and forget what happened except in the case of injuries especially this season where teams had so much less time to get ready. What we saw from the best teams was nothing more than glorified practices, while younger teams tried to instill a winning attitude. Conclusions drawn from 4 weeks of preseason results can be very dangerous when trying to isolate value in week 1.
With that said, let’s take a close look at the MLB, CFB, & NFL betting markets to see which teams are being over/under valued in the week ahead…
TOP “5” OVER-VALUED TEAMS :
1.) RANGERS & ANGELS
You can group these teams together because BOTH find themselves in “must win” situations each and every night. Except for those times they meet, odds makers will look to protect the books by inflating the price. Knowing most wise guys will look to take the value with their opponents, books ultimately limit their exposure cause by recreational bettors. This over-inflation should continue until one team takes control and the other is eliminated from post-season play.
They came in under the radar in 2010 and really performed well ATS so bettors came into this season looking to recapture that feeling of cashing a ticket with the Cardinal. In week 1 they covered the number by 24 pts and more importantly received a ton of action from bettors. I expect odds makers to do a much better job this season for books by charging a HUGE premium to bet them.
3.) SOUTH CAROLINA
They had to come from behind to beat E Carolina in week 1 and almost covered as heavy chalk but fell short by the hook against the opening number. The Golden Nugget opened them -1 vs. Georgia in week 2 when they offered their “GOY” lines and immediately got bet AGAINST. By the time the Hilton put their “GOY” lines up, SC was a 2.5pt DOG. Now after only 1 game for both teams, the Gamecocks are 3 pt road favs. That’s the definition of “over-reacting” !!
4.) DETROIT LIONS
This isn’t the first time the Lions went 4-0 in the preseason and we all know how well that worked out for them the last time. Bettors think history won’t repeat itself because this version is much improved, even betting them Over on “season wins”. They produced the best results ATS in 2010 but won only 6 games SU. But NOT many bettors cashed tickets on them and it may be too late to jump on board. The data supports a regression after they improved by over 8 pts per game defensively and over 6 pts per game offensively when compared to their average the previous 2 season. Plus, after finishing -18 in TO ratio in 2009 they finished +4 in 2010. The problem with that is they were LUCKY by going +6 on “fumbles” without any fundamental reasons.
5.) PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
They’ll remain on this list because of the “dream team” label that hasn’t yet been earned on the field. Now a favorite to win the SB it appears anything less will be deemed a failure. Personally, that’s a lot of pressure on a team with so many new parts that haven’t played together very long and a QB that hasn’t proven to have “big game” winning ability. Regardless how the season turns out, odds makers are preparing for books to receive plenty of public money each week on Philly. This assures us they’ll be tagged with a premium in almost every game, meaning they’ll really need to play above expectations to do well ATS.
TOP “5” UNDER-VALUED TEAMS :
1.) TB RAYS
They had made the over-valued list a while back when it appeared the season was all but lost. Looking at the standings going into this week, there is still some hope for a postseason appearance. Though it may be a long-shot, this is a talented team that can be extremely dangerous when playing with motivation. With all the attention on the Yanks & Red Sox in the AL East, the Rays will offer up a lot of value especially with games against Boston and Texas on tap.
2.) NOTRE DAME
The wise guys cashed by going against the Irish in week 1 but the public lost big backing them which resulted in books turning a profit. It’s no secret this is a “public” team that’s had a premium attached for decades. But I stated above that odds makers know that recreational bettors over-react to lopsided results and none was more lopsided than the Irish losing SU at HOME as 11 pt favs. With their next game being on the road in the “Big House” odds makers knew they’d have to send them out discounted to try and attract 2-way betting action. That’s exactly what they did and the wise guys jumped all over Dame in week 2.
They really helped the books out in week 1 when they won by only 4pts at home after going off as 24pt favs. After winning the National Championship in 2010 their stock had dropped tremendously coming into this season. They have lost Cam Newton and a long list of key players from that squad so a down year was definitely expected. But once again the “spread” is always the great equalizer when wagering and I expect another knee-jerk reaction from bettors. That’s supported by the fact the Golden Nugget opened them up as 1pt dogs at home in week 2 back in July but books put them out at +6.5 on Monday !!
4.) BUFFALO BILLS
Even though they won only 4 games SU in 2010 they showed a profit ATS. Not much of an improvement is expected when looking at their season win total of 5 but my data expects they’ll do well again ATS. After having a +3 TO ratio in 2009 they dropped to -17 in 2010 for worst in the NFL. But they finished -7 on fumbles and I expect better “luck” this season with historical data showing fumbles should be a 50/50 proposition. Also their defense allowed over 5.5 pts more than their 2008 + 2009 average and I see a progression ahead. With few bettors looking to back the Bills on a weekly basis, they’ll be sent out at a huge discount again this year.
5.) CINCINNATI BENGALS
After winning only 4 games last year their season win total for 2011 opened up at almost DOUBLE (7.5). Sure the wise guys steamed the Under but it still reflects more wins SU than 2010. It doesn’t look like that will be the case after a dismal preseason but I stated above that you should toss those stats in the trash. Instead, I prefer to focus on their 6.5 pts more allowed per game in 2010 when compared to 2009 and I think they’ll improve on that. If they can limit their TO’s and have better results on fumbles, they will do well ATS because their opponents will come with an inflated price.
Always remember that ATS is what matters when betting into point-spreads so you have to be willing to set your feelings aside about how a team may fair SU.
MLB = 75% SHARP / 25% PUBLIC
With CFB and NFL on the docket most recreational bettors are using MLB for parlays only and the line-moves on “steam” reflects that sharp money dominates the market at this time. When more weekday prime-time FB games are on, this ratio will get even more unbalanced.
CFB = 65% PUBLIC / 35% SHARP
If not for totals and added games, the public money would be even more overwhelming but with so many match-ups there are games that attract mostly sharp money. Still there’s such a huge influx of recreational bettors that overall, that money is heavier.
NFL = 75% PUBLIC / 25% SHARP
This ratio will continue to tip to the public side as the season progresses until around week 10-12 when so many recreational bettors are on payment-plans with their books or have a limited bankroll left. Since it’s week 1 and these lines have been up for months, the majority of money booked has come from sharps since the public don’t want to tie up their bankrolls until game-day. But when game-day gets here the line-moves will support the fact public money outweighs sharp money and has the power to influence the market. When it’s all said and done and you add the SNF and MNF match-ups, this ratio may even end up heavier on the public side.
Thanks again for all your support and best of luck ahead, Vegas-Runner.