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: 0-3 ATS
Season: 8-10 ATS
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PACKERS @ RAMS, 1 P.M. ET
Open: Green Bay -5.5
Current: Green Bay -5.5
Public Betting %: 81% on Green Bay
What they see: Before the season, Cantor set this spread at Green Bay -9.5, so getting the Packers at well less than a touchdown probably feels like a gift for most bettors.
Analysis: So now the question is, “How different are these two teams from what we thought they’d be in the preseason?”
The Rams are clearly better than we expected, posting a league-best 5-1 ATS record. They’ve been particularly good at home, where they’ve already upset the Redskins, Seahawks and Cardinals as underdogs.
The Packers, on the other hand, have waddled through the first six weeks of the season but appear to be showing some signs of life. If the Aaron Rodgers of last week (338 yards, 6 TD in a 42-24 win at Houston) shows up again in the Edward Jones Dome, this one could get ugly in a hurry.
Green Bay is, somewhat surprisingly, ranked only 14th in the NFL in passing offense, while the Rams are ranked fifth in pass defense.
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COWBOYS @ PANTHERS, 1 P.M. ET
Open: Dallas -2
Current: Dallas -2.5
Public Betting %: 79% on Dallas
What they see: The Cowboys apparently looked strong enough in a nail-biting two-point loss at Baltimore last weekend to get back in the public’s good graces.
Analysis: Public perception on Carolina is probably at an all-time low for the Cam Newton era.
The second-year quarterback is completing less than 60 percent of his passes and has more interceptions (5) than touchdowns (4). Newton’s still averaging more than five yards per carry, but he’s scored only three times on the ground after recording 14 rushing touchdowns a year ago.
The Cowboys have the league’s second-rated pass defense, and that’s included road trips to the Giants and Ravens along with a home game against Jay Cutler and the Bears.
With Dallas at 2-3 and Carolina at 1-4, this is sort of a desperate game for both teams, but you figure morale and hope is much higher among the Cowboys than the Panthers.
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SAINTS @ BUCCANEERS, 1 P.M. ET
Open: New Orleans -3
Current: New Orleans -1.5
Public Betting %: 78% on New Orleans
What they see: Despite thrashing the Chiefs at home last weekend, the Buccaneers don’t really have any players that get the betting public excited.
Analysis: The Saints got off the schneid with a win over San Diego in Week 5, and now they’re coming off a bye to face perhaps the worst team in the NFC South.
Tampa Bay has been competitive in all of its games and has only one ATS loss this year despite a 2-3 overall record.
We’re still not sold on the Saints (particularly without injured tight end Jimmy Graham to aid Drew Brees in the passing game) and would be hesitant about laying points on the road, especially in a game featuring this much reverse line movement.