One of the biggest parts of being a successful sports bettor is gathering information, but the key is getting the right information and then knowing what to do with it. Figuring out who is betting on what and understanding why is a critical piece of handicapping. That’s especially true in the NFL. This is where knowing the percentage of handle (dollars) compared to bets (amount) comes into play.
The goal of this article is to report on what teams the betting public is most heavily on and then to decide whether or not to follow the “herd” or “fade” them. It will focus on games that have at least 75% of handle or bets. This article’s process went 3-1 last week and is 15-5 on the season.
NFL Week 6 Betting Trends & Handles vs. Bet Percentage Plays
Buccaneers at Steelers (Buccaneers -8, 45)
Buccaneers -8: Bets 76%, Handle 74% | Over 45: Bets 44%, Handle 69%
The Steelers rank near the bottom in most offensive and defensive categories while turning the quarterback reigns over to rookie Kenny Pickett. The Steelers lost to the Bills 38-3 last week and have lost four in a row. Their only win was in Week 1 against the Bengals, which was a game they should have lost.
The Buccaneers got off to a slow start on offense due to multiple injuries to their offensive line and wide receivers. However, the only receiver that looks to be out this week is Julio Jones. The key for Tom Brady is having Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the field at the same time. Despite this start, they still rank No. 4 overall in DVOA (No. 13 offense, No. 4 defense). Brady should be able to pick apart this Steelers pass defense, while the Buccaneers defense should be able to limit the Steelers.
People often say they do not want to lay more than a touchdown on the road, but the difference between these teams is so significant that it is OK this time. This game projects as Buccaneers 33, Steelers 13.
Best Bet: Buccaneers -8, FOLLOW THE PUBLIC
Bengals at Saints (Bengals -2, 43)
Bengals -2.5: Bets 79%, Handle 54% | Over 43: Bets 75%, Handle 57%
The Bengals have played 10 straight games to the under, so continue to follow that trend. The Saints as a home dog are in a good spot coming off a solid win against the Seahawks. This line might seem like a bit of a trap, but that is only if the public is on the Saints. Is this a case of the public continuing to be on the Super Bowl runner-up Bengals?
The health of running back Alvin Kamara has been one of the biggest reasons to be on the Saints this year. New Orleans is 22-2 when he has at least 14 or more carries. With this being a lower-scoring, close game, Kamara should go over 14 carries on Sunday.
Best Bet: Saints +2.5, FADE THE PUBLIC
Broncos at Chargers (Chargers -4.5, 45.5)
Chargers -4.5: Bets 77%, Handle 61% | Under 45.5: Bets 77%, Handle 82%
Everyone has seen how bad the Broncos are on offense, especially in prime time, so the public is all over the Chargers. But one cannot ignore how strong the Broncos defense is and how it has kept them in games. Looking at DVOA, the Chargers are 11th overall (ninth on offense, 13th on defense), and the Broncos are 13th overall (27th on offense, fourth on defense).
With this game headed in the mid to high 30s, the +4.5 means even more, as this could easily end up 20-17 Chargers. The Broncos defense keeps it close, and hopefully Russell Wilson can at least convert a drive or two in the red zone.
Best Bet: Broncos +4.5 FADE THE PUBLIC
49ers at Falcons (49ers -5, 44.5)
49ers -5: Bets 72%, Handle 58%
The 49ers come off a huge road win against the Carolina Panthers and have stayed on the East Coast to practice, as the game is just three hours south in Atlanta. The Falcons are 5-0 against the spread and have been one of the biggest surprises this season. They have been able to put up points on offense and either win or keep the games close. The lines for this week compared to last week are not that far off, so it makes one wonder why.
One of the biggest things that can be overlooked is cluster injuries, especially if they are not household names, and the 49ers have a lot of injuries on defense. They could be down as many as five starters, which will have an impact. Another piece of handicapping in the NFL is whether a team is going to be up or flat for the game, looking ahead to a bigger matchup the following week. The 49ers have the Chiefs at home next Sunday, and they may come out flat this week, especially in the first half.
The Falcons will be able to put up points and even have a shot to pull off the outright upset, 27-24.
Best Bet: Falcons +5 FADE THE PUBLIC
Additional Bet – Falcons First Half +3.5 (-130)