100 Things NFL/NCAA Bettors Need to Know – High on Bears, Coaches, Overs and Unders


chicago bears 14

100 Things NFL Bettors Should Know – Bettors high on Bears
Follow The Linemakers on Twitter

With Jared Allen joining Bears, Vegas is booking action on team’s win totals, futures odds.
By: Larry Hartstein
Training camp is a month away, but bettors already have had their say on Vegas’ opening NFL numbers.

Sports books are taking action on Super Bowl futures, conference and division winners, regular-season win totals and specific matchups Weeks 1 through 16.

Ten weeks from the Packers and Seahawks opening the season on Thursday, Sept. 4 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, we introduce a series, “100 Things NFL Bettors Should Know.” Here is the first of the 10-part series with 10 things you should know before you start placing your pro football bets.
1. A survey of multiple sports books shows bettors believe the Bears, Rams, Jaguars and Titans were undervalued in the opening numbers. On the flip side, players considered the Panthers, Falcons and Chiefs to be overvalued.
2. The public was right about Seattle last year, and it has jumped on board again. In 2013, MGM Resorts opened the Seahawks as 12-to-1 to win it all and they were immediately bet down to 6-to-1 before eventually being shortened to 4-to-1.

This year, MGM Resorts opened the defending champs at 8-to-1 and they were instantly bet down to 4-to-1. The book has written the most tickets on the Seahawks, followed by the Packers (6-to-1), Broncos (9-to-2) and Bears (8-to-1).

William Hill sports books report the Seahawks have drawn the most money, the Packers the most tickets.

“(The Packers) had every bad break in the world last year,” director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told The Linemakers on Sporting News. “They’ve got a healthy Aaron Rodgers now, and they’re not in the strongest division.”

Green Bay has fallen from 18-to-1 to 8-to-1 at William Hill.
3. Everyone loves the Bears. They opened at 20-to-1 at MGM Resorts to win the Super Bowl, and got slashed by more than half. Their win total rose from 8 (OVER -120) to 8 (OVER -150) at the Wynn. At the LVH SuperBook, they went from 7-to-2 to win the NFC North to 3-to-1.

“They were a good team last year, and their defense has gotten better,” said MGM Resorts book manager Jeff Stoneback. “They’re kind of like the team every year that’s just on the verge. People expect them to keep going up the ladder. They’re kind of the ‘it’ team.”

The Bears spent four of their first five draft picks on defense and made a serious upgrade when they signed defensive end Jared Allen to replace Julius Peppers. With Marc Trestman’s offense returning intact except for Josh McCown, the season could hinge on Jay Cutler’s ability to avoid injury.
4. Seven of eight division winners are favored to repeat, according to the latest LVH odds. The exception is the NFC South, where the Saints (6-to-5) are expected to usurp the Panthers. That makes sense because the division never has had a repeat winner since its creation in 2002.

The Eagles (3-to-2), Packers (2-to-3), Seahawks (11-to-10), Patriots (1-to-3), Bengals (8-to-5), Colts (2-to-3) and Broncos (1-to-4) all are favored to win their divisions again.
5. Favorites posted an impressive 139-122-5 mark against the spread last year, a 53.3 percent success rate. Home favorites were even better, going 93-78-4 (54.4 percent).
6. The two best divisions last year were the NFC West and AFC West, and it wasn’t close. The NFC West went 42-22 and the AFC West 37-27. Now they play each other. Take that into consideration when examining their win totals.
7. Here are the latest win totals from the LVH, updated Monday, June 23.

CARDINALS 7.5 (OVER -160, UNDER +140)

FALCONS 8.5 (OVER +100, UNDER -120)

RAVENS 8.5 (OVER -130, UNDER +110)

BILLS 6.5 (OVER -175, UNDER +155)

PANTHERS 8.0 (OVER -150, UNDER +130)

BEARS 8.5 (OVER -130, UNDER +110)

BENGALS 9.0 (OVER -135, UNDER +115)

BROWNS 6.5 (OVER -160, UNDER +140)

COWBOYS 8.0 (OVER +135, UNDER -155)

BRONCOS 11.5 (OVER +105, UNDER -125)

LIONS 8.5 (OVER -110, UNDER -110)

PACKERS 10.5 (OVER +100, UNDER -120)

TEXANS 7.5 (OVER -150, UNDER +130)

COLTS 9.5 (OVER +110, UNDER -130)

JAGUARS 5.0 (OVER +100, UNDER -120)

CHIEFS 8.0 (OVER -120, UNDER +100)

DOLPHINS 8.0 (OVER +105, UNDER -125)


PATRIOTS 10.5 (OVER -165, UNDER +145)

SAINTS 9.5 (OVER -175, UNDER +155)

GIANTS 8.0 (OVER -110, UNDER -110)

JETS 7.0 (OVER -140, UNDER +120)

RAIDERS 5.0 (OVER -115, UNDER -105)

EAGLES 9.0 (OVER -125, UNDER +105)

STEELERS 8.5 (OVER -140, UNDER +120)

CHARGERS 8.0 (OVER -120, UNDER +100)

49ERS 10.5 (OVER -135, UNDER +115)

SEAHAWKS 11.0 (OVER -130, UNDER +110)

RAMS 7.5 (OVER -150, UNDER +130)

BUCS 7.0 (OVER -145, UNDER +125)

TITANS 7.0 (OVER -130, UNDER +110)

REDSKINS 7.5 (OVER +105, UNDER -125)
8. Five teams are expected to improve dramatically or crater. Here are their 2013 records and opening win totals from the LVH on their 2014 regular season.

Houston: 2-14, 7.5 (OVER -145)

Washington: 3-13, 7.5 (UNDER -145)

Atlanta: 4-12, 8 (OVER -130)

Tampa: 4-12, (7 OVER -120)

Carolina: 12-4, (8 OVER -130)
9. Little is expected from a Panthers team that went 12-4 last year and owned the league’s second-best defense (15.1 points per game). Coming off ankle surgery, quarterback Cam Newton will play behind a shaky offensive line and throw to an uninspiring group of receivers led by rookie Kelvin Benjamin.

MGM Resorts opened Carolina at 8.5 (OVER -200) and the odds flipped to 8.5 (UNDER -120). The Panthers jumped from 12-to-1 to 30-to-1 in Super Bowl futures.

They’re just not a sexy team, and they’re going to have to prove everyone wrong again, like they did last year when they won five more games than their posted win total.
10. The public loves long shots. In Super Bowl futures at MGM Resorts, bettors took the Raiders from 150-to-1 to 45-to-1 and the Browns from 200-to-1 all the way to 30-to-1.

“At 30-to-1 they’re still betting them like crazy,” Stoneback said. “It’s a lot of public money just because of Johnny Manziel. Everybody likes Johnny Manziel. Right after the draft, I expected a bunch of Cleveland money. It didn’t come for a couple weeks, but then it started coming in and it hasn’t stopped.”



bill snyder
100 Things College Football Bettors Should Know – Coaches’ edition

Identifying profitable coaching trends
If you’ve been betting on Kansas State under Bill Snyder, you’ve been cashing plenty of tickets.
By: David Purdum
There may not be a better gauge of which coaches are getting more than is expected out of their teams than their performances against the closing point spread. Sharpened by hundreds of thousands of dollars, the betting market’s closing line represents college football nation’s expectations. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder has been exceeding those expectations for decades.

No active coach has covered the spread in more games than Snyder. Among coaches with at least five seasons, only Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has a better winning percentage against the spread than Snyder. Snyder, however, has covered the spread in 61 more games than Meyer.

In part two of our 10-part series, “100 Things College Football Bettors Should Know,” we examine 10 coaching storylines about those who cover, those who don’t and those who tend to produce higher- or lower-scoring games than expected.

1. Poor Charlie Weis

It’s almost unfair, Kansas State’s Snyder vs. Kansas coach Charlie Weis. But it’s not all Weis’ fault: Snyder has been destroying the Jayhawks long before Big Charlie arrived in Lawrence. Since 1995, Snyder is a ridiculous 14-1 against the spread against Kansas. When he stepped away for three seasons (2006-08), Kansas State lost all three meetings against Kansas. Since Snyder returned in 2009, the Wildcats are 5-0 SU and ATS against the Jayhawks. They covered the spread in those five games by an average of 20.2 points. K-State hosts Kansas on Nov. 29 and opened as a 25-point favorite at the Golden Nugget.

Snyder, though, has been potent in conference play overall, not just against the Jayhawks. He is 31-11 ATS in conference play during his second stint in Manhattan. That’s the best ATS mark of any team in conference play over the last five seasons. In addition, for his career, he has covered 62.86 percent of home games (88-52 ATS) and is 149-102 ATS overall.

2. Urban Meyer’s market dominance

Meyer is 30-9 ATS with more than week to prepare, including season openers. In addition to the opener against Navy, Meyer will have more than a week to prepare vs. Cincinnati (Sept. 27) and vs. Rutgers (Oct. 18).

He’s also been deadly as an underdog, going 15-5 ATS when getting points during his career. Of those 20 games, he’s won 12 of those straight-up. Only Stanford’s David Shaw has a higher winning percentage as an underdog (Shaw has won four of his six games as a dog).

Finally, watch for Meyer after a loss. His teams are 14-6-1 ATS after losses. For his career, he is 88-65 ATS.

In summary, don’t bet against Urban Meyer.

Part 1 of the series: Vegas’ early betting market

3. Gus Malzahn’s mastery

Gus Malzahn is 20-6 ATS as a head coach. Yes, it’s a small sample size, one season at Arkansas State and then last year’s remarkable 12-2 ATS run at Auburn. But he is only the third coach in the last 10 years to cover the spread in 20 games over consecutive seasons. Meyer has done it twice (2003-04 at Utah; 2007-08 at Florida), and George O’Leary did it in 2009 and 2010 at Central Florida.

Malzahn is 8-1 ATS as a favorite and 14-3 ATS in non-conference play. Regression looms, though.

4. Rich Rod in conference play

Rich Rodriguez’s teams have struggled in conference games. Those are important.

Twice during his seven-year stint at West Virginia, the Mountaineers went 7-0 ATS in Big East play. He’s struggled ever since, especially in his three seasons at Michigan. The Wolverines went 4-20 ATS in Big Ten play during Rodriguez’s three seasons in Ann Arbor, including an 0-8 ATS conference run in his final season. It hasn’t been as bad at Arizona, but it hasn’t been great, either. The Wildcats are 7-11 ATS in Pac-12 play under Rodriguez.

For his career, Rodriguez is 65-79 ATS.

5. UNDER Machine

Brian Kelly employs a style that produces games that are lower scoring than expected. He is a combined 48-71 OVER/UNDER in his FBS head coaching career at Central Michigan, Cincinnati and Notre Dame, including 16-35 O/U in his four seasons with the Fighting Irish.

Some other notable totals trends with coaches: Indiana’s Kevin Wilson 25-10 O/U, Arkansas’s Bret Bielema 61-37 O/U, Rutgers’ Kyle Flood 8-17 O/U, Texas San-Antonio’s Larry Coker 31-55 O/U, and Iowa State’s Paul Rhoads 22-38 O/U.

More college football betting info: Florida takes early money | FSU big faves every week

6. Burning bankrolls and couches

West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen (15-23 ATS): Another small sample size, but Holgorsen’s ATS records at home (6-14) and as a favorite (8-16) are the worst among coaches with at least two seasons.

7. Road covering machine in South Florida

South Florida’s Willie Taggart is 29-18 ATS overall and an amazing 19-3 ATS on the road in his four seasons as a head coach (three at Western Kentucky). Last season, the Bulls won only one of their five road games straight-up, but the covered the number in four of those five away games. This season, South Florida is at Wisconsin (Sept. 27), at Tulsa (Oct. 19), at Cincinnati (Oct. 24), at SMU (Nov. 15) and at Memphis (Nov. 22).

8. Covering in Camp Randall

Heading into his second season with the Badgers, Gary Andersen has established himself as a point-spread powerhouse. He has covered the spread in all five of his season openers (four at Utah State) and is 17-6 ATS overall with more than week to prepare. Wisconsin is a 7-point underdog in its neutral-field opener against LSU in Houston. Andersen also will have extra time to prepare for Bowling Green (at home Sept. 20) and Maryland (home on Oct. 25).

Andersen also has been handy, when stepping out of conference, going 19-5 ATS. He is 39-22 ATS overall as a head coach.

9. Sore loser

Nick Saban (126-95 ATS) has covered the spread in 57.01 percent of his games, but he’s been anything but a bounce-back coach at Alabama. The Crimson Tide are 3-10 against the spread after a straight-up loss under Saban.

In contrast, Oklahoma is 22-8 ATS after a straight-up loss under coach Bob Stoops. Iowa is 29-15-1 ATS after a straight-up loss under coach Kirk Ferentz.

10. Upset makers for the money-line players

While Shaw and Meyer have the highest straight-up winning percentage as underdogs, Missouri’s Gary Pinkel has pulled off the most overall straight-up upsets. Pinkel has 31 straight-up wins in 91 games as an underdog. San Diego State’s Rocky Long is second with 30 straight-up upsets.

On the other side of the equation, Hawaii’s Norm Chow has won only once in 20 games as an underdog. Indiana’s Kevin Wilson has won only twice in 20 games as an underdog.

For more valuable college football betting tools, check out e-magazine Vegas Expectations.

Huge tip of the hat to college football data specialist Josh Doust for statistical information used throughout this story. You can find Doust’s work in the Vegas Expectations and on Twitter @Doustism.
(Note: Pushes were not included in the above data)


over under
100 Things NFL Bettors Should Know – Over/Unders
Follow The Linemakers on Twitter

Peyton Manning’s Broncos were one of the top OVER teams in 2013.
By: Larry Hartstein | More Experts
Scoring continues to rise in the NFL. It reached an all-time high last year with 46.8 points per game.

Odds makers struggled to keep up as the OVER went 138-127, hitting more than 52 percent of the time.

Here are 10 things to know before betting on OVER/UNDERS:

1. If you had simply bet OVER on every game involving the 10 teams that play the fastest, you would have gone 92-67-1 (58 percent) against the spread. A fast pace translates to more possessions, more points.

Chip Kelly’s Eagles led the league by running a play every 23.38 seconds. Carolina was the slowest at 29.93 seconds.

2. Here are the 10 teams that played the fastest, with O/U records: Eagles 9-7, Bills 10-6, Patriots 9-7, Broncos 11-5, Browns 9-7, Jaguars 9-7, Ravens 8-8, Redskins 8-8, Vikings 12-4, Dolphins 7-8-1.

The 10 teams that played the slowest produced a 78-81-1 O/U record, led by the Panthers’ 5-11 O/U mark.

3. The NFL becomes more of a passing league each year. Take a look at pass attempts per team since 2008:

We’re talking nearly 71 passes per game!

For the first time, teams came out in three-receiver formations more than half the time. Teams used three or more receivers on 58.8 percent of plays.

“Right now, the most efficient way to play offense in the NFL is to put three wide receivers, one running back and one tight end on the field with your quarterback in the shotgun for a majority of snaps,” Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders wrote. “Not all of them, you have to switch it up of course, but most of them.”

While it’s a copycat league and every team would love to follow the Seahawks’ blueprint, most squads lack that kind of defensive personnel.

4. NFL scoring has risen steadily since 2009:

5. Teams are running the no-huddle more than ever before. In 2013 there were 4,009 plays run out of the no-huddle, compared to 2,345 the year before. The no-huddle accounted for more than eight percent of all plays last year and will surpass 10 percent in 2014.

Philly led the way with 705 no-huddle plays, followed by Denver (537), Baltimore (393), Buffalo (334) and Pittsburgh (241).

6. The Steelers were floundering last year, then they discovered the no-huddle. In each of their final nine games (7-2 ATS, 6-3 SU), they ran at least 15 no-huddle plays. The result: 28.2 points per game compared to 17.9 in the first seven.

Pittsburgh cashed six OVERS in that stretch; their games sailed over by an average of 9.7 points even counting the three UNDERS.

This year the Steelers worked extensively on the no-huddle in OTAs, whereas before they wouldn’t touch it until training camp.

“I don’t want to call it our base offense,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who threw 10 TDs and one INT in the no-huddle. “But I think you’ll see more of it, so it was more important for us to get it in early and often.” Pittsburgh used the no-huddle on 23 percent of its plays last year. That number could hit 30-35 percent in 2014.

7. The Bills ranked 21st in scoring (21.2) but posted a 10-6 O/U mark due to their pace. The Bills averaged 23.95 seconds per play last year, second-fastest, and coordinator Nathaniel Hackett says that wasn’t fast enough.

“We should have run more (plays),” Hackett told the Buffalo News. “We look back at last year, and those first four games when EJ [Manuel] had a lot of run going on, it was awesome,” Hackett said. “We were really rolling. It’s funny. You look back on it and as the season went on, with the changes we had at that position, it slowed down.

“The better we get, the more we have of the understanding of the offense, the faster we can go.”

Manuel was knocked out with a knee injury Week 5 and ended up missing six more games. Hackett told the paper Manuel has a much better grasp of the offense. If he stays healthy, the Bills could lead the league in offensive plays.

“It’s so much more fun now,” Hackett said. “Not having him as a first-year guy where you sit there and say a word to him and he goes, ‘What is that? OK, that’s what it is, now I go run that.’ Now it comes natural to him, and he can go play football. He can understand what’s happening to him, he can understand where he should go with the ball. So his advancement is growing rapidly, just even in the first couple days of practice.”

8. Top OVER teams from last year: Bears 12-4, Vikings 12-4, Broncos 11-5, Bengals 10-5-1, Bills 10-6

Top UNDER teams from last year: Panthers 5-11, Saints 6-10, Seahawks 6-10, Giants 7-9, Chiefs 7-9, Chargers 7-9

9. Broncos games averaged an NFL-high 62.8 points last year, followed by the Bears (57.7), Cowboys (54.4), Vikings (54.4) and Packers (52.9)

Panthers games averaged an NFL-low 38.0 points last year, followed by the Seahawks (40.5), Dolphins (40.7), Ravens (42.0), Giants (42.3) and Jets (42.3).

10. While every trend supports a continued increase in points, the NFL passed a rule that will mitigate scoring a bit. The clock no longer will stop on a sack. Previously, the clock stopped on a sack until the official placed the ball ready for play.

With about five total sacks per game, the rule change could cost 30 seconds or more.


Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.