NFL Betting: Taking Advantage of Late Season Motivational Factors in the NFL
As the NFL regular season winds down, teams have different motivations based on their standings. If you disregard this situational factor, you risk betting on a “trap” game. Which teams are the most likely to underachieve? The obvious answer is the team that has already qualified for the playoffs and benefits little from a win.
However, remember that the line already reflects this factor – the Bears (12-2) are only 4½ point favorites over the Lions (2-12) at Pinnacle Sportsbook. Estimating the line using traditional power rankings (like Sagarin ratings), you would expect the Bears to be favored by about 20 points. The difference – in this case, about 16 points – is how much worse Chicago will play by bringing its “B-game” to Ford Field.
We initially opened the Raiders at +1 (-104) on Sunday. After getting blanked by St. Louis 20-0 in Oakland, the spread quickly climbed to +6.5 as Chiefs backers outnumbered Raiders backers by a 3-to-1 margin. Although no coach ever tries to lose, the 2-12 Raiders may be better off losing out – they are currently tied with Detroit for the #1 draft pick next year. As always, the sharps got the early number, taking the Chiefs -1 and now the sharper players are passing on both sides at +6.5.
The Lions opened at +7 (-104) at Pinnacle Sportsbetting, but it drifted down across the market due to the Bears playing a meaningless game. The Chicago Bears “Chalk Talk” discussed the likelihood of resting players with minor injuries. Despite the downward line movement, we received five times as many bets on the Bears as the Lions.
The Eagles were all but forgotten with the loss of Donovan McNabb earlier this year. Since then, Jeff Garcia has led Philadelphia to three consecutive wins in four starts. As a result, the Eagles are a front-runner in the wild card hunt and a division title is even possible. In this NFC East battle, the Eagles opened at +7.5 (-104), but were quickly bet down. The sharps and public alike backed the Eagles by a 5-to-2 margin. The wise guys have continued to bet the Eagles, even at +7.
We opened Hawaii as a 10-point favorite, relying on their large “home field” advantage when playing in Honolulu. Although the Sun Devils finished 7-5, all of its losses were to Pac-10 opponents and four of those were ranked in the top 25. Hawaii finished 10-3, but played an easier schedule and went 0-2 against teams in the top 25. As always, the sharps took the best numbers on Arizona State, betting them as low as +7.5.
by: Staci Richards – theSpread.com – Email Us
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