Week 3 saw seven underdogs win outright (Cleveland covered without the win). Conversely, of the eight favorites that won, seven also covered the spread. … This goes to show that in order to extract the most value possible bettors need to either take underdogs and the moneyline or favorites minus the points. Let’s take a look at some Week 4 matchups under the Vegas lines microscope…
Broncos @ Buccaneers (Denver -3, over/under 43)
Tampa Bay is my best bet of the year so far, and the only game I’m personally wagering on this week. My reasoning: this is the second straight road game for Denver and second straight home game for Tampa. Prototypical trap game for the Broncos here, coming off a hard fought win at Cincinnati. This point spread of Denver -3 is inflated both ways after two straight bad losses for the Bucs and Denver covering in all three of their games. Contrarian play: the Broncos are the most heavily bet side this week with 79 percent of the tickets. Reverse line movement: Even with heavy public action on Denver, this line hasn’t moved at all in most books and has actually moved toward Tampa slightly in the sharpest books (Westgate, Pinnacle), suggesting the big bets have been on the Bucs. Jameis Winston can throw games away like no other, but I have more faith in a Trevor Siemian regression, as he has been quite lucky to this point.
Line Movements: As mentioned above, the side hasn’t moved much even with heavy Denver action. I suspect you will be able to find some Denver -3.5’s on Sunday morning when most of the public makes their bets. The total has dropped from 44.5 to 43, suggesting early action on the under
Fantasy Aces Values: Charles Sims ($4,700): Jeremy Hill showed the Broncos can be run on with 97 yards and two TDs last week. Sheer volume alone makes Sims a nice value play. Tampa Bay D/ST: A live dog at a minimum price, the Buccaneers have a good shot at picking Siemian off multiple times.
My play: Tampa Bay +3
Colts @ Jaguars (in London) Indianapolis -2, over/under 49
Every year the Jags get their “home” game in Wembley and there’s a 50/50 shot a coach gets fired after said game. The Jaguars are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball; their 0-3 record suggests a change is coming. With betting odds on Bradley the first to get the axe ranging from 5/1 to 12/1, I’d be pretty excited if I held one of those tickets.
For the first time I can remember, the Colts will not be getting a bye the week after a London game. If there ever were a situational travel/fatigue game to bet on, it’s the Bears next weekend at Indy.
My pick: Colts -2.5
Panthers @ Falcons (Carolina -3, over/under 50.5)
Is this another Super Bowl loser hangover? With the Panthers possibly being on the verge of 1-3, this is a key game in an extremely tough spot. The Falcons are a hot team, coming off a huge Monday Night road win, and will have a clear home field advantage at the Georgia Dome. Vegas is still treating the Panthers like a 15-win team. Their one loss in the 2015 regular season was, of course, at Atlanta.
Aces Values: Matt Ryan ($6,600): Ride the hot streak of fantasy’s #1 QB. Devonta Freeman ($4,900): The gap between he and Tevin Coleman ($4,550) is closing, suggesting the hate has gone too far for Freeman. These two backs will likely rotate good fantasy performances. Here’s to Week 4 being Freeman’s turn. Mohamed Sanu ($4,400): Frustratingly put up a dud (due to injury) in last weeks win where the Falcons put up 45 points. When healthy, he will be a solid option at home this season, single covered in plus matchups. Kelvin Benjamin ($5,200). Even against Desmond Trufant, look for Cam Newton to force-feed Benjamin the ball after a zero-catch effort last week.
My play: Falcons +3
Saints @ Chargers (San Diego -4, over/under 53.5)
The highest over/under this week is no surprise. The Saints have that perfect blend of elite offense and abysmal defense. No matter how much Vegas inflates Saints totals, the under is never safe. Naturally, the highest bet total this week is this game to go over. Of course, based on principle alone, my contrarian ways will have no other choice but to take the value with the under. Even if this game does fall under the inflated total, there will be plenty of fantasy goodness to go around.
Aces Values: Philip Rivers ($6,800) is $800 less than Drew Brees, but the Chargers are favored by four? Plenty of stacking opportunities here with Rivers and his receivers. Melvin Gordon ($5,100) is the tenth-highest priced RB on the board and should easily return a top-10 performance this week. Willie Snead ($4,700): With Jason Verrett likely on Brandin Cooks most of the game, a well-rested Snead is always a good bet to catch a touchdown, and at the very least some nice garbage time stats. Tyrell Williams ($4,350): House Tyrell and Rivers are a great, reasonably priced stack for tournaments.
My play: Under 53.5
Last weeks ATS record: 3-3
Year-to-date ATS record: 9-7