Earlier this week, VSiN studied early betting action in Week 1 of SEC football. Today, we’ll move to the NFL to get caught up with the New Orleans Saints and the NFC South.
The Saints open their season as part of the annual ESPN Monday night doubleheader. New Orleans is currently either -6.5 or -7 at home against the Houston Texans depending on the shop. Some books opened that as high as Saints -8.5 or -9. Sharps (professional bettors) see Houston as at least a wildcard contender in the AFC…and happily took anything higher than +7.
Markets consider the Atlanta Falcons second in line behind New Orleans in the NFC South. Atlanta has a tough opener in Minnesota against the Vikings. The Falcons are currently +4 in that one (down from +4.5 in many spots). Because home field advantage is usually worth three points in the NFL, we can assume that the sum of market expertise sees the Vikings as the slightly superior side in neutral field Power Ratings.
Carolina opens the season as a three-point home underdog to the Los Angeles Rams, who are currently co-favorites with the Saints to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. That suggests New Orleans would be a road favorite over the Panthers too.
Tampa Bay is expected to bring up the rear in the NFC South. They catch a break out of the gate with a home game vs. San Francisco (which is better than visiting Minnesota or hosting the Rams!). The Buccaneers opened at -2.5, but have been bet down to -1 or pick-em depending on the sports book.
Let’s see what’s been happening with Regular Season Win totals. These are popular propositions that allow you to bet Over or Under a posted victory total through the 16-game slate (playoff victories won’t help your bet!). Numbers today are from the Westgate in Las Vegas.
▪ New Orleans 10.5 (Over +110, Under -130)
If you’re new to money lines, that +110 by the “Over” means that you’d bet $100 to win $110 (or anything in that ratio) that the Saints would win 11 or more. If you want to bet the Under, you’d have to risk $130 to win $100 (etc…) that they’ll manage only 10 wins or less. This one opened at -110 either way. So, early money has been coming in on the Under. If you’re a big Saints fans, an Over bet is one way to “root” through the season without having to sweat game-by-game point spreads.
▪ Atlanta 8.5 (Over -130, Under +110)
The Falcons are two games back, though the Over is now the betting favorite (this also opened -110 both ways). That tightens the window somewhat. Atlanta is expected to at least compete for a wildcard.
▪ Carolina 7.5 (Over -140, Under +120)
This is down from an opener of eight (where the Under was shaded to -120). Sharps liked hitting Under eight on the Panthers because it would take nine wins to beat the bet.
▪ Tampa Bay 6.5 (Over even, Under -120)
This is where the prop opened. Tampa Bay isn’t currently seen as a threat to play .500 ball, let alone reach the playoffs.
Expectations should stand fairly pat unless there’s a major injury during training camp or the exhibition slate.
Where do the Saints stand amongst top Super Bowl contenders? They’re currently second behind the New England Patriots when you factor in money line shading, one of only six teams projected to make a run at double-digit victories.
▪ Highest Win Projections: New England 11 (Over -150, Under -130), New Orleans 10.5 (Over +110, Under -130), Kansas City 10.5 (Over +120, Under -140), L.A. Rams 10.5 (Over +120, Under -140), Philadelphia 10 (Over +100, Under -120), Indianapolis 10 (Over +120, Under -140).
▪ Lowest Win Projections: Arizona 5 (Over -130, Under +110), Miami 5 (Over +100, Under -120), New York Giants 6 (Over +110, Under -130), Cincinnati 6 (Over -120, Under +100), Oakland 6 (Over -120, Under +100).
VSiN will keep you apprised of NFL market developments through the summer.
A quick look for bettors at marquee Major League TV attractions the next few days as the championship chase continues to heat up…
▪ Saturday: Washington at Atlanta (FS1, 6:20 p.m.).
▪ Sunday: Colorado at the New York Yankees (TBS, 12:05 p.m.), Washington at Atlanta (ESPN, 6 p.m.).
▪ Monday: Boston at Tampa Bay (ESPN, 6 p.m.).
▪ Wednesday: N.Y. Yankees at Minnesota (ESPN, 7 p.m.).