NFL Divisional Playoff Leans

Tennessee -3 vs. Baltimore - Strong
Carolina -9.5 vs. Arizona - Moderate
Pittsburgh -6 vs. San Diego - Weak
NY Giants -4 vs. Philly - Weak

Tenny will almost certainly be a play and I have a difficult time seeing Carolina missing the card, Carib numbers notwithstanding. Unless something changes, Sunday will be quiet.


jwsherjr said...

How weird is it that all of your leans are favorites. I'm going to have a tough time laying some chalk this weekend.

am19psu said...

I feel very uncomfortable with it. Here is a thought experiment I might post about:

1. NFL playoff games generate more action than any other game all year, leading up to the Super Bowl

2. Books will be less willing to expose themselves with such large action, i.e. happier to take the rake versus setting trap lines.

If those are true, then I would conclude there is more value available on a split action dog, since the books know that favorites attract more action by nature.

That said, I have a hard time believing that Ten -3 and especially Car -9.5 were set to attract split action.

I'm happy to hear other opinions on it, though.

jwsherjr said...

I'm definitely leaning to Carolina. Tennessee seems like a pretty fair line based on the Football Outsiders stats and my own opinion of the two teams.

moneyline said...

I like your list. If forced to decide right now, Tenny would be my only play.

Try thinking of the Tennessee line this way:

Let's say that the books know, based on all the info that they undoubtedly possess, that Baltimore as underdog is going to be much more attractive to bettors than Tennessee as a favorite.

They don't want to be exposed in this big of a spot, so what do they do?

They shrink the price on Tennessee to increase the # of dollars that are wagered on the Titans.

I'm not saying that is definitely what is happening in this case, but it is certainly possible.

It is not unreasonable to think that the "true" line for this game is somewhere between Tenny -3.5 and Tenny -4.5

jwsherjr said...

I certainly don't know the inside workings of books, but the more I thought about it, I think the books setting up trap lines makes more sense in these situations. Yeah they may lose more money over the course of one weekend or a playoff season, but over the course of many seasons wouldn't the books make more by taking a stand against public teams?

JP said...

the problem is that books can't set traps whenever they want. Sometimes there is no situation for them to exploit(or it is too small) and they receive a higher expected value keeping the split as small as possible.

reiterating: thinking out loud.

Eric said...

ML, I remember reading something you wrote about the divisional rounds last year that really stuck with me. It boiled down to:

-People were used to betting on 'good' teams against 'bad' teams all year.

-Divisional playoffs normally pit two well regarded teams against each other.

-Public sides with taking the points because both teams are perceived as 'good' (equal).

Maybe there's little chance for the oddsmakers to avoid that bias.

*Also thinking out loud*

Sham said...

Baltimore is the most public side in my opinion this weekend. I'm not so sure about Arizona only because everyone knows how atrocious they were on the road this year down the stretch. I don't think a home win over an Atlanta squad changes all that.