Each week throughout the NFL season, we’ll take a look at the three biggest public plays on the board and speculate what the public sees and why they are betting a particular side.
We’ll also be tracking these plays throughout the year to see how Joe Public is faring in the NFL.
Last Week: 3-0 ATS
Season: 11-10 ATS
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PATRIOTS VS. RAMS, 1 P.M. ET
Open: New England -6.5
Current: New England -7
Public Betting %: 75% on New England
What they see: For the second straight week, bettors are thinking St. Louis is overmatched against one of the NFL’s most high-powered offenses.
Analysis: We touched on this game earlier this week, as Advanced NFL Stats’ model said the Rams should actually be favored over the Patriots on a neutral field.
While that is obviously an extreme claim, the overall point was to say that St. Louis can probably keep this game closer than many expect. Aaron Hernandez is out again, and the Rams’ defense ranks 11th in the league in yards allowed per pass attempt (6.3).
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JAGUARS @ PACKERS, 1 P.M. ET
Open: Green Bay -14.5
Current: Green Bay -14.5
Public Betting %: 75% on Green Bay
What they see: If there’s a mismatch of this proportion in the NFL, you can pretty much assume that a large majority of the public will be on the heavy favorite.
Analysis: Personally, spreads this big are always just “stay away” games for us.
Since 1989, underdogs of at least 14 points are 91-81-3 against the spread (winning outright only 18 times). There were 10 games like this last year (underdogs lost every game but went 5-5 ATS), but this is the first time we’ve seen a two-touchdown spread in 2012.
The Packers clearly outclass the helpless Jaguars, but Jordy Nelson and Greg Jennings are both out with injuries, leaving Aaron Rodgers without his top two targets.
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GIANTS @ COWBOYS, 4:25 P.M. ET
Open: Dallas -1.5
Current: New York -2.5
Public Betting %: 78% on New York
What they see: The Giants are now getting their due respect as one of the top three or five teams in the league, and they’re looking for revenge after a season-opening loss at home to the Cowboys.
Analysis: You’ll save yourself a lot of money if you just never bet against New York on the road.
Since 2005, Eli Manning’s first full season as the starting quarterback, the Giants are a ridiculous 45-21 ATS (.682) away from home. That includes a 2-0-1 mark this year, highlighted by a convincing win at San Francisco a couple weeks ago.
With a win, the Cowboys can move within a half-game of the NFC East lead and would hold the tie-breaker over the Giants. New York is 3-0 at the new Cowboys Stadium since it opened in 2009.