The last two weeks have been brutal for public bettors. If you’ve been betting the same side as the majority of NFL gamblers out there, your bankroll might be tapping out for mercy.
The point of this weekly column is to remind you of some gambling fundamentals that might help you turn around a losing streak. It also can serve as a reminder for what to include in your weekly prep that hopefully will help you place more winning wagers.
This week, the lesson is pretty basic. But like watching the ball into your glove in baseball, it’s still very important.
Another huge week for the books
After Week 4 wiped out the public and made the books a ton of money, Week 5 had a similar result with several public-backed teams not covering the spread.
The biggest loss of Sunday for gamblers was the Bears losing outright to the Raiders in London. The public loss was the most painful in the Hoosier state where 93% of the money was on Chicago -5 at Caesars sportsbooks in Indiana, according to Director of Trading Jeff Davis. That was a consistent theme around the country for that game as well.
At CG sportsbooks in Las Vegas, Director of Risk Tony DiTommaso reported needing the Colts on Sunday Night Football as everything on the day was riding on the outcome of Indy +11 at Kansas City. The Colts went into Arrowhead and beat the Chiefs 19-13.
The Mirage in Vegas needed the Broncos to cover a 6-point line after Covers.com reported a $55,000 wager on the Chargers and public came in hard on L.A. Denver won the game outright for its first win of the season
Daily practice reports matter
Last week, we talked in this space about following what the books need when you are having a rough run but it’s not something you should ALWAYS do. It’s useful information that you should add to your handicapping process. However, injury news is something you HAVE to pay attention to every week.
We are into the part of the season where players are starting to get banged up and injuries can start to mount for teams. If you listened to the Jets all week, star QB Sam Darnold was going to play against the Eagles after being diagnosed with mono a few weeks earlier. New York was catching 14-points from Philly but if Darnold had been scratched from the game, the line probably would have approached 17 or more. Luke Falk wasn’t taking many of the reps in practice, so if you took the points early in the week, you probably felt like Darnold was getting the start.
However, Darnold did not play and Falk threw for 120 yards and two interceptions in a 31-6 blowout loss on the road. Falk has no business as a starting quarterback in the NFL and the Jets were never in the game.
The exact opposite situation happened with the Buffalo Bills and their QB Josh Allen who was in the concussion protocol after a hit he took in the game against the Patriots. The Titans were at home and only were three-point favorites over the 3-1 Bills.
Buffalo all week was preparing for the back-up QB Matt Barkley to play but on Friday, Allen was cleared from the protocol. If you had taken the Titans before the news broke as some did — expecting to see a reserve signal-caller under center — you were not pleased to see Allen throw for 219 yards and two touchdowns in a 14-7 outright victory for the Bills on the road. If Allen was going to play all along, the line for the game might have been closer to a pick’em.
There is a school of thought that believes taking the first line that the sportsbook releases presents an opportunity for the best line of the week. However, it’s not something you should do with any injury concerns for key players in the game. The most obvious is the quarterback, but star skill players, left tackles, and defensive stars also need to be monitored each week before you take a position on a game.
Pay attention to the injury reports from week-to-week so you aren’t getting caught with key player injury impacting your bet.