Oddsmakers Overrate Need in NFL

Tony Salinas: Oddsmakers Overrate"Need"in NFL

If you're like most bettors, you try to jump on NFL teams who"need to win"late in the regular season. Oddsmakers know this...and try to outsmart you by adding points to the line whenever a contender is facing a non-contender. As a result, you'll often GET THE BEST OF IT by taking the ugly underdog and the points in those games.

Here are some examples from last weekend where non-contenders covered against contenders:

  • Cleveland (+14) lost at Pittsburgh 14-3
  • Indianapolis (+16.5) lost at Baltimore 24-10
  • Minnesota (+10) lost at Detroit 34-28
  • Washington (+7.5) lost to New England 34-27
  • Arizona (+3) beat San Francisco 21-19

Only one underdog was able to win outright. But, Washington got close to forcing overtime at New England before a late turnover in the red zone killed them. Minnesota had the same thing happen at Detroit. Those five teams you see listed on the left aren't going to the playoffs. The five teams you see on the right are going to be there (as long as Detroit doesn't collapse). Yet, those five teams on the right couldn't cover inflated lines even though they all needed to win in terms of either seed position or just qualifying for the postseason.

Yes, there were a couple of"need to win"teams who won and cashed tickets.

  • New York Jets (-10) beat Kansas City 37-10
  • Atlanta (-3) beat Carolina 31-23

That's just two though....two out of seven. John Q. Public sees the Jets score and thinks that contenders always crush pretenders. Don't you make that mistake. Sometimes there will be blowouts. If you're going 5-2 on your bets, it really doesn't matter if one of the losses was a blowout.

I can't say that I'm going to be betting every single ugly dog this Sunday in the NFL. I prefer to focus on those I think have the best chance to hang tough for 60 minutes. Here are the non-contender dogs who are on the card today against contending favorites:

Washington (+7) at NY Giants
Kansas City (+14) vs. Green Bay
Minnesota (+7) vs. New Orleans
Carolina (+6) at Houston
Indianapolis (+6.5) vs. Tennessee
St. Louis (+6.5) vs. Cincinnati

You can see why I made this a theme this week. We're going to have several games EVERY week like this over the final three weekends of the season. I should also note that Philadelphia is actually a non-contending favorite over a contender...laying three points at home to the New York Jets.

I may or may not be taking some of those dogs...and I could easily be on one or more of those favorites if I like the personnel matchup and the price. For choosing the best"ugly"dogs, I'm asking myself:

  • Can I trust this defense to stop or at least slow down the opposing favorite?

  • Can I trust my quarterback to get enough points on the board to hang within the number?

  • Has this dog been showing in recent games that they're still battling? Or, have they been laying down and taking a beating?

  • Is the opposing favorite coming off a big game, or a series of big games that may have drained them physically and emotionally?

Vegas oddsmakers do make adjustments for the"need to win"dynamic. They add 1-2 points as a general rule. Sometimes that's not enough. Sometimes, those are phantom points that shouldn't even be there in the first place. It's your job as handicappers to make the right calls in either direction.

You can purchase my top NFL plays Sunday morning here at this website. I'm obviously looking at some of those games or I wouldn't be talking about them. I'm also considering line value in big TV games like New England-Denver, Detroit-Oakland, and Baltimore-San Diego. I'm an action heavy player, so online clients only get the exact same games I'm betting the BIGGEST myself. 

I've been a HIGH ROLLER out here in Las Vegas for more than three decades. You can imagine how much money my biggest plays have made over those many years!

If you have any questions about my service, or you want to talk about combination packages with basketball, call my office at 1-888-536-8880. The hoops schedule will pick up this week now that final exams are over...with big TV games every night this week.

Stop taking the worst of it by falling into traps set by the linesmakers. Start GETTING THE BEST OF IT with TONY SALINAS!

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