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Before you make your NFL bets this weekend, it's worth knowing which side other bettors are backing - especially on games drawing sharp action.
We talked to Jay Rood, Bet.Works' chief risk officer and theScore Bet's head trader, to see how sharps and public bettors are playing this week's slate.
This line hasn't moved since opening at 3, though Las Vegas had drawn seven times as many straight-bet tickets as the Falcons and 90 times as many parlay slips entering the weekend. It had also drawn 40 times as much money in the parlay market as Atlanta, which has been a public darling for much of the year.
Maybe this is finally the spot for public bettors to back the Falcons, who are 6-4 against the spread in their last 10 as underdogs but 3-6-1 ATS in their last 10 as favorites.
Another team casual bettors have targeted this year is the Cardinals, who are once again drawing plenty of public support. Only this time, they're facing strong pushback from the sharp community.
Arizona opened as a 2-point favorite, and it's drawn 20 times as much money as New England in parlays and 60 times as many parlay tickets. But a run of rated plays at Patriots +2 has nudged this line down to 1.5 ahead of kickoff behind a 15-to-1 advantage in money wagered on straight bets for the home 'dogs.
"This is a little bit of a pros-versus-Joes," Rood said. "Definitely strong straight play on the Patriots and strong parlay play on the Cardinals."
A week ago, public and sharp bettors alike were lined up against the Saints in Taysom Hill's first career start. This week, they're throwing their money behind the 30-year-old quarterback in his second start against the Broncos.
New Orleans is taking 30 times as much money as Denver in straight bets despite just a 3-to-1 advantage in tickets wagered, pushing the line up from an opening number of 5.5. It's a similar story in the parlay market, where bettors are placing seven times as many bets but 15 times as much money on the Saints.
Rood says there isn't much sharp play to speak of in this game, though those early to the window are placing larger-than-usual bets on the road favorites who have covered three straight after a 2-5 ATS start.
The final team drawing noteworthy action this week is the Browns, who have covered just one of their last five games but are public favorites in this one.
Cleveland opened as a 6.5-point favorite over the Jaguars, who are switching from struggling rookie quarterback Jake Luton to veteran passer Mike Glennon this week. Public bettors apparently aren't impressed; they're laying 25 times as much money on the favorites in straight bets and 16 times as much on parlays.
"Nothing sharp, but the Browns are getting some support here," Rood said.
(Odds source: theScore Bet)
C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.