How To Evaluate Double-Digit Point Spreads

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Screen_Shot_2019-09-12_at_11.18.09_PMPoint Spread Weekly for Week 2 of the NFL season is out . . .
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Want to know more? Scroll down to find out what’s inside this week’s issue.

Dave Tuley’s ATS report . . .
Buccaneers beat Panthers 20-14 on TNF to kick off NFL Week 2. Bucs did it as 6.5-point road underdogs & +250 on money line (stayed well Under betting total of 48); dogs improve to 10-6-1 ATS on young season; road teams 11-5-1 ATS; Overs dip to 9-8.

MLB: road teams went 12-3 Thursday (road favorites were 9-2 while road dogs also fared well at 3-1); faves were 10-5 overall with the biggest upset by the A’s +250 in 3-2 road win at Astros/Verlander to move into top AL wild-card spot; Overs went 8-7.

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Josh Appelbaum’s market insights . . .
In football, no player is more important both on the field and to the point spread than the starting quarterback. They touch the ball every single snap and have the greatest impact on the outcome of the game. Quarterbacks are similar to starting pitchers in baseball and goaltenders in hockey.

This obvious fact was hammered home Thursday when New York Jets head coach Adam Gase unexpectedly announced that star second-year quarterback Sam Darnold is out indefinitely and will miss Monday Night’s showdown with the Cleveland Browns due to illness (mononucleosis). To make matters worse, running back Le’Veon Bell is also questionable with a shoulder injury.

With Trevor Siemian starting in place of Darnold, the Jets moved from a 2.5-point home dog to a 6.5-point dog. The line briefly reached 7 before some Jets’ buyback showed up and dropped it back down to 6.5. Reading between the lines, the oddsmakers are suggesting that Darnold is worth roughly 4 points to the spread. The total fell from 46 to 44. Darnold’s illness is also a big hit to bettors who took the Jets over win total this season (7.5).

The other big news from Thursday was Tampa Bay’s 20-14 upset victory over Carolina. The Bucs came up huge for contrarian bettors, wiseguys and the sportsbooks. As we noted in yesterday’s newsletter, the public was all over Cam Newton and Co. at home, but a sharp line freeze and reverse line move on Tampa (opened at +6.5, briefly touched +7 and then fell back down to +6.5 despite heavy Panthers betting) signaled wiseguy action in their favor. The Bucs closed +250 on the moneyline. With Tampa’s win and cover, divisional dogs are now 5-1 ATS on the young season. Sharps also cashed on the Under, as it opened at 50.5, got steamed down to 48 and won easily with a total of 34 combined points scored.

Bettors thirsty for more action won’t have to wait until this weekend to sweat their next football game, as we are treated to a Friday Night Lights tripleheader on the college gridiron. Here is a quick look at where the smart money is falling for each matchup tonight.

6 p.m. ET: North Carolina (2-0) at Wake Forest (2-0)
Despite being unranked, both teams are off to a solid start through two weeks. The Tar Heels have beaten South Carolina and Miami-Florida outright as 12.5-point dogs and 5-point dogs, respectively. The Demon Deacons edged Utah State 38-35 and crushed Rice 41-21, but failed to cover in both instances (0-1-1). This ACC showdown opened with Wake listed as 3.5-point home favorites. The betting public sees North Carolina off to a great start but also loves short favorites at home. As a result, they’re relatively split on this spread. But sharps have sided with UNC. Wiseguys got down hard on UNC with the hook (+3.5) early, causing the line to fall to 3. It has even briefly dipped to 2.5 at some books, signaling further liability on the Heels. Since 2005, short road dogs getting 4 points or fewer have gone 54% ATS (+63.08 units, 5.2% ROI) according to Bet Labs Sports. If it’s a conference game in September the system improves to 58.5% ATS (13.9% ROI). Smart money is also expecting a higher scoring game. We’ve seen the total rise from 64.5 to 66.5 since opening.

7:30 p.m. ET: Kansas (1-1) at Boston College (2-0)
This middle game in tonight’s 3-game slate is shaping up to be a contrarian bettor’s dream as it will end up being one of the most heavily bet and most lopsided games of the night. The public is down on Les Miles and Kansas (who just lost 12-7 at home vs Coastal Carolina) and sees an easy blowout victory and cover for undefeated Boston College at home. The line opened with Boston College listed as an 18.5-point favorite and heavy chalk betting has pushed the number up to 21.5. Once the line hit this high water mark, sharps pounced on the Jayhawks at an inflated +21.5. By waiting, savvy pros extracted 3 points of additional value on Kansas simply due to public bias moving the number. The line has since settled back down to 20.5. Sharps have also taken a stand on the total. It opened at 53 and has since fallen to 51, signaling pro money on a lower scoring game at Alumni Stadium.

9:15 p.m. ET: Washington State (2-0, ranked 20th overall) vs. Houston (1-1)
Washington State has absolutely demolished their first two opponents so far, outscoring New Mexico State and Northern Colorado by a combined 117-24 margin. Meanwhile, Houston rebounded from a 49-31 loss to Oklahoma with 37-17 victory over Prairie View last week. This is technically a neutral site game (played at the Texans NRG stadium), but is a de-facto home game for Houston. The line opened at Washington State -6.5 and heavy betting from both sharps and squares pushed the spread up to -10. That’s when we saw Houston buyback hit the market at +10, dropping the line back down to 9.5 where is rests now. The most interesting play here is the total. It opened at a high 75. The public sees an easy over with Mike Leach’s relentless high-scoring attack, however, we’ve seen this line fall to 73.5. This is a classic sharp contrarian play, with heavy wiseguy under money causing the total to drop despite casual bettors pounding the over. History is on the side of the pros. Since 2005, non-conference unders in neutral site games have gone under 55.3% of the time with a 7.2% ROI.

Jeff Fogle on the NFL . . .
Handicapping college football during this slowly-evolving “juggernaut” era will involve a lot of garbage-time analysis. With somewhere between zero and a few blockbusters on weekly schedules, bettors will be looking for possible value in games involving double-digit point spreads. Jeff gives you some tips on how best to evaluate these big spreads.

Ron Flatter on horse racing . . .
Two horseplayers – a legendary comedian and a track analyst – are the guests on the Ron Flatter Racing Pod. Show-business icon Shecky Greene discusses a lifetime of betting on races – something he still does every day in Las Vegas. Toronto media personality Jason Portuondo handicaps Saturday’s Woodbine Mile. There is also Twitter feedback, a discussion of the controversy over Justify’s positive drug test before his Triple Crown last year and a comment on the likelihood that Nevada will not offer Breeders’ Cup futures betting this fall.

Ron’s column: Horseplayers will not have futures bets at their disposal this fall in Nevada. And because of a regulation little-known to the public, they may be a thing of the past for the Kentucky Derby.

Bonus column: Trainer Bob Baffert is defending himself after The New York Times reported that his Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test the month before last year’s Kentucky Derby. He is getting support from California’s chief racing veterinarian Dr. Rick Arthur.

Subscribers-Only Features

Point Spread Weekly: What did we learn in Week 1

By Steve Makinen

Our cover story is dedicated to the NFL as we have TONS of reaction to the Week 1 results. Dave Tuley, Matt Youmans, Josh Appelbaum and myself help you with some strategies for taking those Week 1 results and turning them into Week 2 profits. Plus Bruce Marshall shares The Gold Sheet’s NFL trends for all 16 games.

We also cover the third full week of college football. Besides our usual picks, matchups, trends and stats, my feature article concludes our 3-part Stability Mismatch series with a look at the final six games in 2019 that qualify for this unique time-proven winning system.

I am thrilled to be heading out to Las Vegas myself this weekend for the NASCAR South Point 400 and will be spending the weekend at the fantastic South Point Hotel & Casino. If you happen to be in town, I surely will be hanging around the sportsbook & the VSiN studios. Stop by and say hi if you happen to catch me. I love meeting our loyal readers.

I have my weekly race simulation ready for the NASCAR playoffs’ first race. In addition, I have put together an article projecting the entire 10-event race to the title, offering up some predictions for the proceedings as well.

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