If the global betting market is any indication, sports talk radio and every other pundit this week have been exaggerating a divisive NFL topic.
The Indianapolis Colts stunned the football world by hiring Jeff Saturday as interim head coach, despite the fact that the former Colts center has no college or professional coaching experience. The decision was widely condemned and mocked.
Following the announcement, however, sharp bettors backed Indy, who plays the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. After opening at 6.5, the Raiders are now 4.5-point favorites. Las Vegas has its own issues, including a worse record, but they do have a veteran quarterback in Derek Carr, as opposed to the Colts’ 24-year-old Sam Ehlinger.
“If they announce their only NFL-quality quarterback on their roster is named the starter,” BetMGM vice president of trading Jason Scott told ESPN, referring to veteran quarterback Matt Ryan. “Saturday could be the best head coach on the sideline for all we know.”
This is what makes this situation so intriguing. We’re all aware of the league’s complexities and applaud wizards like Bill Belichick, as well as younger offensive minds like Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan, and Mike McDaniel. However, the betting community has yet to react negatively to Parks Frazier, a new head coach and brand-new playcaller who has never held this position in any capacity.
“It doesn’t matter with this team; they already stink,” SuperBook head football oddsmaker Ed Salmons told ESPN. And, while nothing is that simple or binary, it may be unfair to assume that an inexperienced coach will result in a drop-off. This season, Indy is 0-9 against the first-half point spread, which I would argue is a clear indication of an underprepared team.
This season, the Raiders have already tied an NFL record by blowing three 17-point leads. The bright side is that they have the talent to build those leads, whereas Indy is lucky to score three goals in any game. Ehlinger should not be starting in the NFL, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index, by a margin of 13.1 points. So I’m laying the points regardless of who is coaching.
The figures you must be aware of
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Seattle Seahawks (-2.5, 45)
9:30 a.m. on Sunday ET at the Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany
As I mentioned last week, the betting market still believes in Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, despite the fact that they have the lowest cover percentage in the NFL (2-6-1 ATS). In fact, Tampa is 0-6-1 against the spread in its last seven games. Perhaps a change of scenery will end this streak, as the Bucs face the Seattle Seahawks as 2.5-point favorites in Munich, Germany.
Sharp money arrived on Tampa Bay once more, briefly reducing the point spread to three points. This prompted another reputable wager, this time on the Seahawks, lowering the line to 2.5 points. As previously stated, three is the most important number in NFL handicapping, which is why professional bettors are so determined to find the correct line. Since the extra-point distance was reintroduced in 2015, 14% of games have been decided by three points or less. The next most common victory margin is seven points (9%).
I admire Tampa’s defense, but I’m not sure why they’re favored. Despite Brady’s late-game heroics last week, the offense is a disaster. I have high regard for Seattle, and the coaching staff has placed Geno Smith in an impressive position, and he has delivered. Give me the Seattle Seahawks. To be honest, the betting market can be wrong. If the Buccaneers lose, they will become only the second team in Super Bowl history to have a losing record after 10 games despite being favored in each one.
Buffalo Bills vs. Minnesota Vikings (-6.5, 44.5)
1:05 p.m. on Sunday ET, Orchard Park, New York, Highmark Stadium
When an MVP betting favorite’s status for a game is uncertain, the betting market will undoubtedly notice. The Buffalo Bills were 8.5-point home favorites over the Minnesota Vikings at the start of the week. When a reputable wager was placed on the underdog, the point spread began to shrink. Around the same time, news of Josh Allen’s right elbow injury broke. Oddsmakers began to lower the line even further on Friday, and a respected bettor even bet the Vikings +3.5, giving one oddsmaker confidence that Allen would not play. After all, in these cases, smart money usually represents reliable information.
Even though Allen had only practiced once this week, the winds began to shift on Saturday. Because the Bills did not activate third-string quarterback Matt Barkley, the game will feature only two quarterbacks. That means Allen and backup Case Keenum will be available. While the star quarterback is officially listed as questionable, the point spread has returned to 6.5.
Report by Sharp
The line movement surrounding the Vikings-Bills game was heavily influenced by wise men. They also shifted the market on other games. As always, it is critical to remind everyone that the numbers they obtain are rarely still available. Furthermore, we occasionally see two-way professional money on a specific game.
According to my sources, the sharpest wagers for this NFL card are: Texans +7 and +6.5, Browns +3.5, Colts +6.5, Rams -3, Jaguars/Chiefs over 50.5, Cowboys/Packers over 43, and 49ers -7.