Welcome back to the Playoff Edition of the NFL Joes vs. Pros breakdown. If you are interested in who the “sharp” money is on, or if games have reverse line movement, this is the place to be. If you have been following this column through the season, you should be up nicely, as the plays finished 17-9 for the year. If you read yesterday’s column, you saw that I finished 1-0-1, with the Colts winning outright and the Cowboys pushing (brutal).
This post should not be the end all be all for your wagers, but just another tool to consider while you are putting your card together. Sports Insights is where I get my percentages from.
Before we jump into it, some general betting terms to know:
Joes: Who the general public is overwhelming betting on. Around 60% or higher is a good baseline.
Pros: Sharps, Wiseguys, Syndicates, big bettors, whatever you want to call them. Basically, who the big money is on in the game.
Reverse Line Movement (RLM): When the majority of bets are on one side, but the line moves in the opposite direction. Usually an indicator of “smart” money.
Chargers at Ravens (-2.5) — Over/ Under 43
This game will come down to Philip Rivers vs. the Ravens defense.
JOES VS. PROS TAKE:
There is currently 74% of bets on the Chargers, which means the public is loving LA. While the public is on LAC, some of the heavier bets have come in on Baltimore, making this a classic Joes vs. Pros kind of game. The Chargers are also the “trendiest dog” this weekend, which usually spells trouble in the gambling world. This game has bounced around from Ravens -2.5 to -3 in most books.
The Chargers are the largest publicly backed team of the weekend, but I think they will be in for a rude awakening. Look for the Ravens to dominate both lines of scrimmage, and get pressure on Philip Rivers all game long just like they did the last time these two teams faced off. John Harbaugh is a terrific coach that is putting Lamar Jackson in perfect situations to succeed. The Chargers are also missing key components on the defensive side of the ball with Jatavis Brown, Brandon Mebane, Denzel Perryman all out today. The Ravens are a tough team to go against if u can not tackle. I’ll lay the points.
Eagles at Bears (-6.5) — Over/ Under 41.5
JOES VS. PROS TAKE:
The bets and money are pretty split in this game, as it looks like 52% of bets are on the Eagles, while 53% of the money is on the Bears. No real sharp action here either way…a real toss-up.
I can see the Eagles winning this game straight up, or the Bears blowing them out. For my sake (Bears fan), I hope it is the latter. Chicago’s defense, led by Khalil Mack, will be the best unit on the field. Having Eddie Jackson back will help tremendously, especially against Foles and his deep throws. The Bears do lack playoff experience, but so did the Eagles last year before they went on their Super Bowl run. Can coach Nagy and Mitch handle the playoff pressure? Nagy has found the mismatches all year long and has put Trubisky in great situations to succeed through the season, so I am going with that. The Eagles secondary is decimated due to injuries, and their linebackers are slow. Look for Tarik Cohen to have a monster game. I don’t see the Bears losing at home, as Soldier Field should be rocking since this crowd has waited for a home playoff game since 2010. The cover will come down to Cody Parkey. As long as he is not participating in the #birdboxchallenge today at Soldier Field, I see the Bears covering late.
I also spoke with Jason Simbal, VP of Risk Management at CG Technology, who had the following to say about this weekend’s games.
Biggest needs: Texans on Saturday and the Bears to win by 1-6 points, because everyone is either on the Bears -6 or Eagles ML.
Sharps took the Seahawks/ Cowboys over (line has moved from 41.5 to 43.5)