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Insider report: How the public is betting Tennesee-Georgia, Packers-Lions

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Mostly every fall football weekend, Sunday NFL is the main course, with Saturdays on campus as the appetizer.

But this weekend, the entrée arrives early, with the college football Week 10 odds board serving up Tennessee at Georgia. The Vols are No. 1 in the just-released College Football Playoff rankings, while Georgia is No. 3. Let’s break down this week’s terrific slate of games.

Following is more on that SEC clash, other college football Week 10 odds nuggets and some NFL Week 9 odds gems.

Rocky Top Between the Hedges

Tennessee is having a stellar season so far, at 8-0 straight up (SU) and a rock-solid 7-1 against the spread (ATS). So those betting on the Vols are certainly cashing tickets. The biggest win came on Oct. 15, a riveting 52-49 victory against Alabama. And as 8.5-point home underdogs, no less.

Fast-forward to this week, and the top-ranked Vols are similar underdogs, catching 8 points. But this time, it’s on the road against the defending national champion Bulldogs.

There’s no doubt this matchup will have a ton of money bet on it by kickoff Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. But Neil Fitzroy, risk manager and oddsmaker at The SuperBook, said late Wednesday night, it’s a little quiet.

“Nothing to it. We opened Georgia -8, and we’re still at -8. Only small stuff so far among the straight bets,” Fitzroy said. “Tennessee is getting 64% of [spread] tickets. The public probably likes Tennessee. But sharp guys and market movers aren’t showing their hands yet.

“I’m sure the money will pour in on that game Friday and Saturday.”

Opinion is much more defined at DraftKings, as Tennessee-Georgia begins to look a lot like Alabama-Tennessee three weeks ago. In the Tide-Vols matchup, spread and moneyline bettors were all over the home ‘dog Vols and made it pay off.

Less than 72 hours before the Vols-Bulldogs kickoff, DraftKings is seeing spread tickets and money running beyond 7-1 on road pup Tennessee. And on the moneyline, ticket count is 3-1 and money 9-1 on the Vols to nab another outright upset.

Remember the Titans?

You remember, right? The Titans were the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs last season. Then Tennessee was unceremoniously dumped 19-16 by eventual AFC champion Cincinnati.

The Titans then lost their first two games this season.

But since then, Tennessee (5-2 SU and ATS) has won and covered five in a row. That’s definitely how you want to be playing when you have to go to Kansas City for a Sunday night showdown.

The Chiefs are 5-2 SU/3-4 ATS, but oddsmakers clearly believe K.C. is head-and-shoulders – and upper torso – above Tennessee. WynnBet opened the Chiefs as 11-point favorites, went to -12 Monday afternoon, then to -12.5 Tuesday afternoon.

“Tennessee is coming off a relatively easy division win against the lowly Texans. Kansas City could be sleepy coming off the bye week,” WynnBet trader John Manica said. “However, the bet of note came on the Chiefs at -12, taking our price to -12.5, where the market stands.”

The Titans, with rookie Malik Willis at QB, beat the Texans 17-10 last week. Willis did very little, but little was required because Derrick Henry ran wild for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Starting QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) hopes to return this week, but that’s not yet determined. And that’s putting most bettors on hold, too.

“The real action hasn’t come in on this contest yet, as I expect the sharps to take a bigger stance later in the week when Tannehill’s health has been sorted further,” Manica said. “He is listed as questionable and participated in a limited fashion in [Wednesday’s] practice. I expect a flood of Tennessee action if Tannehill is announced the starter.”

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Where Are They Now?

In January, you might recall that the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave us a thrilling NFC Divisional Round playoff game. (And you really might recall the game that followed on that spectacular Sunday: Bills vs. Chiefs.) The Rams got out of Tampa with a 30-27 victory and ultimately won the Super Bowl.

But this season, the Rams and Bucs look nothing like those teams. L.A. is 3-4 SU/2-5 ATS, while Tampa Bay is 3-5 SU/2-6 ATS. And Tom Brady & Co. have failed to cover the number six straight weeks.

The Rams and Bucs meet again Sunday at 4:25 p.m. ET, and professional bettors have already weighed in.

“Even though both teams haven’t looked their best recently, the sharps have taken an early stand on this game,” Manica said. “We were at +3 (-105) Tuesday on the Rams, and a respectable source took that price. Then, about an hour later, another player of note bet us at +3 (-115) on the Rams. That caused us to move off the key number to Bucs -2.5 (-120), where we are currently. There has been little interest on the Bucs at that price.”

More Sharp Sides

One professional bettor is intrigued by a pair of home underdogs in the NFL Week 9 odds market: Washington and New Orleans. The Commanders (4-4 SU and ATS) host the surging Minnesota Vikings (6-1 SU, 3-4 ATS), while the Saints (3-5 SU and ATS) meet the Baltimore Ravens (5-3 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) on Monday Night Football.

“I’m on Washington +3.5. The Commanders have the No. 2 run defense in the league. And in my opinion, Minnesota isn’t the same team on the road, especially under center,” he said. “Also, the QB change has inspired the Commanders.”

Carson Wentz is on injured reserve with a finger injury. In his absence, Taylor Heinicke has helped Washington win two in a row – the Commanders have won three straight overall – heading into Sunday’s 1 p.m. ET kickoff on FOX.

As for the Saints, the sharp bettor got the best of the number, as New Orleans is currently +2.5.

“I took New Orleans +3.5 early. That number is gone,” he said. “I believe [Ravens tight end] Mark Andrews sits, and the Saints have new life because of this [bad] division.”

Andrews (shoulder/ankle) was hurt in Baltimore’s Week 8 Thursday night win at Tampa Bay. He’s questionable to play against New Orleans.

And to the bettor’s point on the NFC South, no team is above .500, with Atlanta currently in first place at 4-4 SU.

College Football Rocks on FOX

Back on campus, Texas Christian is 8-0 SU and one of the best spread-covering teams in college football, at 6-1-1 ATS. But the Horned Frogs sit No. 7 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings.

That means not only does TCU need to win out, but it’s going to need some help to have any chance of making the four-team tournament.

In Saturday’s Big Noon on FOX matchup, TCU is a 9.5-point home favorite against Texas Tech (4-4 SU and ATS). At DraftKings, the Horned Frogs are getting 75% of early tickets on the point spread. However, point-spread money is much closer, with just 53% of cash on the home favorite TCU.

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Backing the Pack

Green Bay has been downright ugly this season, sitting at 3-5 SU and ATS so far. Aaron Rodgers & Co. have dropped four in a row on the field. About the only saving grace was that the Packers covered as 10.5-point underdogs in their 27-17 Week 8 loss at Buffalo. That snapped a four-game ATS skid.

In Week 9, Green Bay aims to get back on track on the road against cellar-dwelling Detroit (1-6 SU, 3-4 ATS). It’s a 1 p.m. ET Sunday kickoff on FOX.

Despite all the Packers’ woes, public/recreational bettors might still have a little in the tank for A-Rodg.

“Green Bay has not been able to put together a win in four weeks, and they needed more than 60 minutes to put away the Patriots a long time ago for their last win,” WynnBet’s Manica said, alluding to an overtime home victory on Oct. 2. “The lowly Lions did some selling this week, trading away one of their best offensive weapons in [tight end] T.J. Hockenson. The action on this division game has been small but lopsided on the Packers in ticket count.”

So it’ll be a typical week for Manica and other oddsmakers, rooting for Detroit, which is a 3.5-point home ‘dog.

“The public will see Rodgers laying a small number against the worst team in the NFL,” Manica said. “Being from Detroit, just when you think the Lions can’t win, generally the opposite happens. I expect a public backing of the Packers, with the sharps taking the Lions in what could shape up as the classic professional opinion against the public.”

I Like Big Bets and I Cannot Lie

There haven’t been any major wagers reported yet for this weekend’s NFL or college games. But one bettor at Caesars Sports had a nice Monday night. And it capped a big NFL weekend for the high-roller.

The bettor had a pair of $110,000 bets on the Bengals-Browns game:

  • Browns +3.5, and Cleveland rolled 32-13, a $100,000 win for the customer
  • Under 47.5, which barely got there, but got there nonetheless, for another $100K cashout

That was after the same customer went 2-1 on three more $110,000 bets in NFL Week 9:

So for the week, the big bettor finished up $290,000. That’ll help in a crummy economy – not that this bettor has any money worries whatsoever. Here’s hoping you have similar success, though surely at a much smaller scale, this weekend.

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.


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