Rovell: Sharps and Squares on Different Sides in Both NFC Wild Card Games

Rovell: Sharps and Squares on Different Sides in Both NFC Wild Card Games article feature image

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images. Pictured: Drew Brees

Sunday, 11:45 a.m. ET: An interesting note from PointsBet’s Matt Chaprales, who said that they are starting to get hit with a steady wave of Vikings money.

“Vikings liability is beginning to mount,” Chaprales said this morning. “The public has pounded the moneyline all week to the tune of 85% of the tickets and 70% of the money. And we’ve seen a wave of Vikings money on the side this morning, including sharp action. Big decision looming.”

As for the late game, Chaprales said the market has been all over the place.

“The line has been a roller coaster, with Seattle opening as 1-point favorites before moving up to -2 thanks to early one-sided action. But it’s since done a one-eighty to Eagles -1, and we’re Philly heavy on both the side and moneyline. The total has seen some sharp interest on the under, too.”

Sunday, 10:30 a.m. ET: Saturday was a good day for the sportsbooks thanks to Tennessee’s outright upset of the Patriots. Will it be more of the same on Sunday?

According to Jeff Sherman of the Westgate SuperBook, they are hoping for the Vikings to cover against the Saints (-7.5) and the Eagles (PK) to do the same against the Seahawks.

While the market for Vikings-Saints has remained relatively stable all week, with public money balancing out sharp bets on the Vikings, the line for Seahawks at Eagles started to move last night, with the Eagles flipping to a short favorite at some sportsbooks this morning.

“It went from Seattle -1.5 to pick ’em last night,” Sherman said. “We did open Philadelphia at -1, so we are good needing Philadelphia at this point.”

Sherman also said they’ve taken significant wagers on all four sides, including a $33,000 bet on the Vikings (+8), a $20,000 punt on the Saints (-7.5), a $22,000 play on Eagles (PK) and a $20,000 wager on Seahawks (-1.5). Jimmy Vaccaro tweeted out that the South Point Sportsbook took a $61,600 bet on Minnesota (+8).

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In a contrast to the two-way action that most sportsbooks reported for yesterday’s games, the market-splits for Sunday are pretty dramatic. According to our market-wide data, 67% of the bets are on the Saints and a whopping 78% of the tickets are on the Seahawks. DraftKings reports similar numbers with 76% of the bets and 71% of the money backing Seattle. The public has spoken, but what about the smart money?

“Sharps are on the Eagles,” Tony DiTommaso, director of risk trading for CG Technology, told the Action Network. “All of the casual plays are on the Seahawks, though.”

Sherman noted a similar pattern saying that the sharps are on the Vikings and Eagles while the casuals are on the Saints and Seahawks.

11:25 p.m. ET: Pretty much anytime the Patriots lose, it’s good for sportsbooks, given the mountain of public support that tends to follow the team. That was especially true tonight, as big bets piled on New England to cover the 4.5-point spread against Tennessee and to win outright.

The Pats did neither of those things, falling to the Titans, 20-13. As a result, Tony DiTommaso, the director of risk trading for CG Technology, told The Action Network it was “one of the best playoff days we’ve had in a long time.”

It makes sense: CG Technology took multiple huge wagers on New England prior to kick, including $100,000 on the moneyline and another $77,000 on Patriots -5.

The book also won $100,000 from a customer who had the Bills moneyline in the first game. Add it all up — along with all of the parlays and teasers blown to smithereens by the Patriots losing outright — and you get a great result for sportsbooks.

Jeff Sherman from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, which took a $54,000 Patriots bet on Sunday, echoed DiTommaso from CG, calling the Patriots loss a “very solid result for us.”

8:13 p.m. ET: Earlier today, one bettor at CG Technology in Vegas placed $155,000 worth of bets on the Buffalo Bills against the Houston Texans. The first — $55,000 to win $50,000 on the Bills +0.5 in the first half — covered easily with Buffalo up 16-0 at the break.

The second wager — $100,000 to win $120,000 on Buffalo’s moneyline — was a little dicier. The Texans scored 19 unanswered to pull ahead by three points late. A failed fourth-down conversion from Houston, which would’ve ended the game if the Texans converted, opened the door for a miracle from Buffalo.

The Bills drove down the field and converted a last-second field to force overtime. But after trading empty possessions, Houston ended up winning in overtime, costing this bettor his $100,000 moneyline bet. After winning $50,000 on the first half, he ended up losing $50,000 in total.

7:08 p.m. ET: About an hour before kickoff of Saturday’s late wild card game between the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots, a few huge bet came into CG Technology in Vegas. One bettor put $100,000 on the Patriots’ moneyline. The wager would profit $44,000 (-225 odds) if New England goes on to win.

Meanwhile, another bettor at CG put $77,000 to win $70,000 on the Patriots -5.

1:55 p.m. ET: Two huge bets just came into CG Technology in Vegas — both from the same bettor. This client wagered $100,000 to win $120,000 on the Buffalo Bills to win outright against the Houston Texans on Saturday afternoon. In addition, he also bet $55,000 to win $50,000 on the Bills +0.5 in the first half.

If both wagers cash, this bettor would take home $170,000 in profit.

Saturday morning: Both AFC Wild Card showdowns seem to be developing a similar pattern.

According to Jeff Sherman at the Westgate SuperBook, sharp money has come in on the Texans (-2.5) and Titans (+5), while the public is getting behind the Bills and Patriots.

As it stands right now, Sherman says they need the Bills the most on Saturday. He also remarked that the most optimal outcome in the late game would be Patriots by 1-4 points, but they need Tennessee to cover more than the Pats.

As for big bets, the Westgate took a $33,000 wager (to win $30,000) on Houston (-2.5) and a $54,136 bet (to win $49,214) on the Patriots (-5).

After early support for the Titans, the public is all over the Patriots at PointsBet.

“We opened at Patriots -5.5 and early action was all Titans, which dropped the number as low as -4,” PointsBet’s Matt Chaprales said. “That was a resistance point for both the public and pros, and it’s been nothing but Patriots money throughout the day. Currently, we’re staring at more than 65% of the tickets and 75% of the money on New England. There are a few sizable bets on the over, as well.”

The Bills are also getting public love, according to Chaprales.

“Sharp money grabbed the Bills +3 when it was available,” Chaprales said. “Since then, it’s been steady action on the Bills moneyline. Overall, Buffalo is accounting for about 55% of the money on the side and nearly 75% on the moneyline, both at significant volume.”

Here’s the market report from FanDuel (11 a.m. ET):

  • Bills vs. Texans (-2.5): 51% of the spread bets and 58% of the money on Houston; 72% of the moneyline bets and 66% of the money on Bills (+125).
  • Titans vs. Patriots (-5): 54% of the spread bets and money on the Patriots; 69% of the moneyline bets and 55% of the money on Patriots (-210).

DraftKings, meanwhile, has seen 53% of the spread money come in on the Texans -3.

Friday afternoon: The love for the Seattle Seahawks against the Philadelphia Eagles this week is reaching historic heights. According to our Bet Labs database, the Seahawks are getting 84% of the bets, making them the most popular side in a playoff game since 2003.

We asked around at individual sportsbooks to see if there were any outliers. It seems like they are all waiting for Eagles money to show up.

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The Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas says they need Philadelphia more than any other team this weekend, especially after taking two five-figure bets, one at $10,000 and one at $20,000, on the Seahawks (-1.5).

“I could see this going up to -2, but if it hits -2.5, the sharps are going to be all over it,” said the SuperBook’s Eric Osterman. “There is a sharp opinion that the Eagles should actually be the favorite in this game.”

Osterman also says the Seahawks are the book’s biggest parlay liability — followed by the Texans and the Saints.

A whopping 87% of the money is on Seattle at William Hill and 40% of the entire NFL handle is on Seahawks-Eagles. Even FanDuel and DraftKings, the two biggest players in New Jersey, are seeing very little support for the nearby Birds. DraftKings reports 78% of the money is on Seattle. FanDuel has it at 75%.

The other lopsided game is Vikings at Saints (-7.5). New Orleans is getting the majority of the support across the market. Seventy-three percent of the money at William Hill and FanDuel has come in on the Saints, while DraftKings reports their number at 77%.

That being said, casual bettors like to go after the bigger moneylines in these games and PointsBet Matt Chaprales says that’s happening here. The Vikings (+310) are attracting the majority of support in that market.

Vikings-Saints also features the highest Over/Under this weekend by a considerable margin. The high total (50) isn’t scaring bettors as 95% of the money at William Hill has taken the Over.

The two AFC Wild Card games tell a very different story. That is plenty interesting considering one of the games is taking place in New England.

“If the game kicked off today, we’d actually need the Patriots,” Osterman said. “That won’t be the case by game time as the public hits the Patriots hard in the playoffs.”

According to our market-wide data, the Patriots are getting 51% of the bets against the Titans.

After the Eagles, the SuperBook needs the Bills (+2.5) the most. Osterman said they took a $33,000 bet on the Texans as 2.5-point favorites, but noted that it’s been public money that’s come in on Deshaun Watson and company.

“We’ve taken very little on the Bills,” Osterman said.

Buffalo hasn’t won a playoff game in 24 years (December 30, 1995).

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