FOX sports betting analyst
Most every fall football weekend, NFL Sunday is the main course, with Campus Saturdays as the appetizer.
But this weekend, entry comes early, with the Week 10 college football odds board offering Tennessee at Georgia. The Vols are No. 1 in the just-released College Football Playoff rankings, while Georgia is No. 3. Let’s break down this week’s fantastic slate of games.
Below are more on this SEC clash, other college football Week 10 odds nuggets and some NFL Week 9 odds gems.
Rocky peak between the hedges
Tennessee is having a stellar season so far, going 8-0 straight up (SU) and a solid 7-1 against the spread (ATS). So those betting on the Vols are certainly cashing in on tickets. The biggest win came on October 15th, a thrilling 52-49 win against Alabama. And as underdogs at home with 8.5 points, no more and no less.
Fast forward to this week, and the top-ranked flights are similar underdogs, getting 8 points. But this time, it’s on the road against the defending national champion Bulldogs.
There’s no doubt that this matchup will have plenty of money betting on it for Saturday’s 3:30 pm ET kickoff. But Neil Fitzroy, risk manager and oddsmaker at The SuperBook, said on Wednesday night that there is some silence.
“There’s nothing. We opened Georgia -8, and we’re still -8. So far there’s just little things between the straight bets,” Fitzroy said. “Tennessee is getting 64% of [spread] tickets The public probably likes Tennessee. But the sensible guys and market movers aren’t showing their hands yet.
“I’m sure the money will flow into this game on Friday and Saturday.”
Opinion is much more defined on DraftKings, as three weeks ago Tennessee-Georgia is starting to look a lot like Alabama-Tennessee. In the Tide-Vols matchup, spread and moneyline bettors were all over the home dog Vols and it paid off.
Less than 72 hours before Vols-Bulldogs tipoff, DraftKings is seeing tickets handed out and money beyond 7-1 on the road for Tennessee. And at the money line, the odds are 3-1 and the money is over 9-1 on the Vols to pull off another upset.
Remember the Titans?
You remember it, right? The Titans were the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs last season. Tennessee was then unceremoniously dumped 19-16 by eventual AFC champion Cincinnati.
The Titans lost their first two games this season.
But since then, Tennessee (5-2 SU and ATS) has won and swept five straight. That’s definitely how you want to play when you have to go to Kansas City for a Sunday night matchup.
The Chiefs are 5-2 SU / 3-4 ATS, but oddsmakers clearly believe KC is head and shoulders – and upper torso – above Tennessee. WynnBet opened the Chiefs as 11-point favorites, moved to -12 on Monday afternoon and then -12.5 on Tuesday afternoon.
“Tennessee is coming off a relatively easy division win against the lowly Texans. Kansas City could be sleepy after the bye week,” WynnBet trader John Manica said. “However, the featured bet came on the Chiefs at -12, taking our price to -12.5, where the market is.”
The Titans, with rookie Malik Willis at QB, beat the Texans 17-10 last week. Willis did very little, but it didn’t take long because Derrick Henry threw for 219 yards and two touchdowns. Starting QB Ryan Tannehill (ankle) expects to return this week, but that’s not yet determined. And this is also putting most punters on hold.
“The real action has yet to come in this contest as I expect the sharpshooters to take a bigger stand later in the week when Tannehill’s health has been further resolved,” Manica said. “He is listed as questionable and participated on a limited basis [Wednesday’s] practice I expect a flood of action from Tennessee if Tannehill is announced as the starter.”
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where are they now
Back in January, you may remember that the Los Angeles Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave us a thrilling NFC Divisional Round playoff game. (And you might actually remember the game that followed that spectacular Sunday: Bills vs. Chiefs.) The Rams came away from Tampa with a 30-27 victory and eventually went on to win the Super Bowl.
But this season, the Rams and Bucs look nothing like those teams. LA is 3-4 SU/2-5 ATS, while Tampa Bay is 3-5 SU/2-6 ATS. And Tom Brady & Co. they have not been able to cover the six consecutive weeks.
The Rams and Bucs meet again on Sunday at 4:25 PM ET, and professional bettors are already on the ball.
“Although both teams haven’t looked their best recently, the sharps have taken an early position in this game,” Manica said. “We were +3 (-105) on the Rams on Tuesday, and a reputable source took that price. Then, about an hour later, another prominent player bet us +3 (-115) on the Rams. That got us . to move the key number to Bucs -2.5 (-120), where we are currently. There has been little interest in the Bucs at this price.”
More sharp sides
A professional bettor is intrigued by a pair of home underdogs in the NFL Week 9 odds market: Washington and New Orleans. The Commanders (4-4 SU and ATS) host the surging Minnesota Vikings (6-1 SU, 3-4 ATS), while the Saints (3-5 SU and ATS) meet the Baltimore Ravens (5-3 SU , 3-). 4-1 ATS) on Monday Night Football.
“I’m Washington +3.5. The Chiefs have the No. 2 run defense in the league. And in my opinion, Minnesota just isn’t the same team on the road, especially under center,” he said. “Also, the QB change has inspired the commanders.”
Carson Wentz is on injured reserve with a finger injury. In his absence, Taylor Heinicke has helped Washington win two straight (the Chiefs have won three straight overall) heading into Sunday’s opener at 1pm ET on FOX.
As for the Saints, the oddsmaker got the best of the number, as New Orleans is currently +2.5.
“I took New Orleans +3.5 earlier. That number is gone,” he said. “I believe [Ravens tight end] Mark Andrews sits, and the Saints have new life because of it [bad] division.”
Andrews (shoulder/ankle) was hurt in Baltimore’s Week 8 win Thursday night at Tampa Bay. It is questionable to play against New Orleans.
And as far as NFC South betting goes, no team is above .500, with Atlanta currently in first place at 4-4 SU.
College Football Rocks on FOX
Back on campus, Texas Christian is 8-0 SU and one of the best teams to cover in college football, going 6-1-1 ATS. But the Horned Frogs are ranked No. 7 in the early College Football Playoff rankings.
That means TCU not only needs to win, but will need help to have any chance of making the four-team tournament.
In Saturday’s Big Noon game on FOX, TCU is a 9.5-point home favorite against Texas Tech (4-4 SU and ATS). On DraftKings, the Horned Frogs are receiving 75% of early bird tickets in the point spread. However, the money spread in points is much closer, with only 53% of the cash going to home favorite TCU.
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Supporting the package
Green Bay has been downright ugly this season, sitting at 3-5 SU and ATS thus far. Aaron Rodgers & Co. they have lost four in a row on the field. The only saving grace was that the Packers covered as 10.5-point underdogs in their 27-17 Week 8 loss at Buffalo. That snapped a four-game ATS skid.
In Week 9, Green Bay looks to get back on the road against Detroit (1-6 SU, 3-4 ATS). It’s Sunday at 1pm ET on FOX.
For all the Packers’ woes, public/recreational bettors may still have a little in the tank for A-Rodg.
“Green Bay hasn’t been able to get a win in four weeks, and it took them over 60 minutes to put away the Patriots a long time ago to get their last win,” WynnBet’s Manica said, referring to an overtime home win in October. 2. “The lowly Lions sold a bit this week, trading one of their best offensive weapons to [tight end] TJ Hockenson. The action in this divisional game has been small but uneven for the Packers in the ticket count.”
So it will be a typical week for Manica and other oddsmakers, rooting for Detroit, which is a 3.5-point underdog.
“The crowd is going to see Rodgers put up some small numbers against the worst team in the NFL,” Manica said. “Being from Detroit, just when you think the Lions can’t win, usually the opposite happens. I expect a public support of the Packers, with the sharpshooters taking on the Lions in what could be set up as classic professional opinion vs. public opinion.”
I like high stakes and I can’t lie
No major bets have been reported yet for this weekend’s college or NFL games. But one bettor at Caesars Sports had a good night Monday. And it capped off a big NFL weekend for the biggest players.
The bettor had a pair of $110,000 bets on the Bengals-Browns game:
- Browns +3.5 and Cleveland pulled out 32-13, a $100,000 win for the customer
- Less than 47.5, which barely came up, but nonetheless for another $100,000 cashout
This was after the same customer went 2-1 on three bets over $110,000 in NFL Week 9:
- Cowboys -9.5 vs. Bears (win)
- Seahawks -3 vs. Giants (win)
- Bucs +1.5 vs. Ravens (loss)
So for the week, the big bettor ended up with $290,000. That will help in a bad economy, not that this punter has any financial worries. Here’s hoping you have similar success, though probably on a much smaller scale, this weekend.
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He is based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys playing golf in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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