NFL Inception: 2012 Brings Balance
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | October 10, 2012
Week 5 in the NFL showed that bettors need a more measured approach when placing bets in 2012.
If the first four weeks of the season wasn’t obvious enough Week 5 threw it in our face, you can’t treat the 2012 season like 2011.
In 2011 strategies were simple: Take Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers and bet against the Indianapolis Colts. If they’re not available take the team with the better QB and laugh all the way to the bank. But it appears NFL defenses have adjusted to the “QB League” and nothing is coming easy for bettors.
The game with the most one-sided action at the Bovada Sportsbook was Green Bay at Indianapolis, with 79 percent taking the Packers at -7 (-105) and another 92 percent taking the -290 moneyline. Understandable, the Packers had the reigning MVP at QB and went 15-1 straight up in 2011; the Colts went 1-15.
But if you tuned in Sunday you realized how much things have changed over one offseason. Indy’s new toy, rookie QB Andrew Luck, displayed enough poise and grit to keep the Colts in the game. Meanwhile Rodgers looked rattled, he was sacked five times and never got into the offensive flow that made the Packers so deadly last season. A TD to wideout Reggie Wayne with 32 seconds remaining buried the Packers and won Bovada a lot of wagers.
QB Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons earned the second-most action in their matchup with the Washington Redskins. Atlanta was a -3 favorite on the road, and 79 percent took them against the spread, another 55 percent bet them on the -155 moneyline.
Through three quarters the game was an obvious indication of why players can’t completely trust the better QB anymore — the score was 10-7 Washington. However, in the 4th Washington’s starting QB Robert Griffin lll was taken out of the game with a concussion, leaving backup rookie QB Kirk Cousins to take over the offense. The rookie looked good on his first drive, but threw two interceptions in the final two minutes, leading to 17 points by the Falcons. 24-17 was the final. Despite a 5-0 record it’s been two weeks in a row where the Falcons needed its defense, not its QB, to win.
With two elite QBs going head-to-head when the Denver Broncos faced the New England Patriots, bettors weren’t sure where to put their money. Fifty-four percent bet the Broncos to cover the seven points while 62 percent believed the Pats would win SU, taking the -250 moneyline.
The answer to the betting question was to ignore both QBs in the matchup and focus on which team had more balance; in this case it was the Patriots. Tom Brady is still getting all the love from the ladies but he hasn’t factored in the Patriots ATS successes and failures this year. The Pats D held the Broncos to one touchdown until 1:08 remaining in the 3rd quarter, while the rushing attack combined for 251 yards and three TDs. Brady finished with a modest 223 passing yards and one passing TD. New England cruised to a 31-21 win and cover over Denver, we expect head coach Bill Belichick’s more conservative approach to continue.
Are QBs still the most important position in football, of course. However, don’t believe the “QB League” hype, 2012 is about balance. Bettors who pay close attention to which squads are solid on both sides of the ball will probably give our sportsbook the most trouble.