Last week, we had some success with the column. We talked about two teams: Indianapolis and Houston, where you either won outright or pushed, depending on the number you got. In Houston’s case, you needed a little luck (Nick Chubb running out of bounds short of the goal line) but you were also within the number for almost the entire 60 minutes, so maybe luck is in the eye of the bettor. In Indy’s case, the Titans’ punt team having an F- type of performance certainly helped as well.
Here are a couple teams I’m looking to bet early in Week 11 with the spread at the time the article was published:
Denver Broncos (+2.5 -105) vs. Miami Dolphins
I really think I’ve got Miami’s rating pretty close in my numbers. I don’t think I am that far off after another upgrade against the Los Angeles Chargers. Tua and their defense are both playing great, but Miami is also as efficient in high-leverage situations as they can ever be. It seems unsustainable.
Their red-zone production is incredible, and they are literally converting every opposing mistake into touchdowns, while at the same time getting fortunate the other team is dropping potential interceptions. All that being said, I make this game Denver -0.9, which is the root of the handicap. I think the love for Miami and Tua pushes this number to Dolphins -3, which is my buy point (there are already -2.5 -115’s and -120’s in the market). We would then take Denver +3.
I get it. No one wants to bet Denver. Drew Lock just had a miserable game (that we won money on, if you listened to “You Better You Bet.”) But hopefully being at home (they were at Atlanta and at Vegas last two weeks) and cutting down on turnovers (-5 turnover margin vs. Vegas, almost all of it Lock’s fault) can create a more favorable game for us. In the end, this bet is almost entirely about the number. Wait for +3 or higher.
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Philadelphia Eagles (+3.5) at Cleveland Browns
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more disappointing performance than Philly at the New York Giants on Sunday. The Eagles had already beaten New York once this year, were off a bye, and seemingly getting healthier. But Carson Wentz really struggled, the Eagles went 0-9 on 3rd down, and they lost the rematch to the feisty Giants.
Whatever good will Philly had engendered from the win over the Ben DiNucci led Dallas Cowboys has quickly been squandered. But this is a number that is very appealing. There were mostly -3’s on the board at open and this has been bet out to where +3.5 -112 and -114 are available. I have a feeling by the time you’re reading this, it may be 3.5 -110. But either way, my buy point on the game is Philadelphia +3.5.
Although my number is very similar from a raw rating standpoint (about CLE -4), there is a specific subset of teams I am always looking to fade in the “meat” of the season. Basically, I'm talking about weeks 3-13, because after week 13 teams start to quit, or occasionally resting players, and the games behave differently once we get into the holiday season.
This subset teams are what I call “fraudulent home favorites.” In other words, home favorites who aren’t very good. By playing at home, the line in these games is stretched out beyond -3 typically (even though home-field advantage is debatable at this point) and these are teams at small numbers bettors like to bet out to -3 and beyond. We invent reasons why we like them.
Last week, Cleveland was this team too. “How could they ever fail to cover vs. Houston? They’re off a bye. They’ll run the ball for a million!” Well, they ran the ball for a million, and failed to cover vs. the Texans, who played within the number for about 95% of the game.
Now, you have a similar set-up with Philly, who looked as bad as ever last week. You also have the presence of one of the angles I brought up last week: teams that score 0-16, and are home favorites the next game (this is another variation of the “bad home favorite” angle). Cleveland was this last week, and both Cleveland and Houston (by virtue of their windy gross performance) apply this week as well.
Teams that score 0-16 and then are home favorites the next week are now 1-7 ATS this season, and 90-127-8 ATS the last 10 seasons. It’s such an easy concept (didn’t score a lot, but still getting credit) and yet, it’s been extremely effective. Look for the Eagles +3.5 or higher.
Those are a couple teams I am looking at this week. There are a few more on the radar once the markets fully open, but for those you’ll have to listen to the show! “You Better You Bet,” Monday-Friday 4p-8p ET on the Radio.com app.
Follow Ken Barkley on Twitter @LockyLockerson.