NFL Inception: Who Can You Trust?
by Bovada Sportsbook Staff | October 2, 2012
With the real refs back in pinstripes and solid performances from the Patriots and 49ers, bettors may have found a way to make their mark in 2012.
There was a mounting case for bettors to stay away from NFL odds in 2012. There were the replacement referees — rejects from the Victoria’s Secret league — and none of the usual teams were separating themselves as elite wagers. Last year, bettors had the Green Bay Packers, this year they’re 2-2 and lack the ease on offense that made them a weekly wager.
But two things went down in Week 4 that restored bettors’ confidence: The real refs returned, and two teams gave bettors signs that they have consistency you can wager on.
Amongst our top five wagers at the Bovada Sportsbook for Week 4, bettors went back to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots and were finally rewarded. Eighty-four percent took the Patriots despite being four-point favorites at the Buffalo Bills; another 88 percent took them on the -210 moneyline. We say despite because historically Buffalo plays the Pats well at home, they beat New England 34-31 as seven-point homedogs in 2011.
Through three quarters things didn’t look promising, Buffalo stayed with the Patriots despite two interceptions in the first half. But once the fourth quarter kicked the Pats were able to run away with it, literally. Patriots running backs Steven Ridley and Brandon Bolden each ran for a 100-plus yards, and not to be outdone Brady threw for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Thirty-one points in the fourth quarter made a 52-28 final. Seventy-two percent of bettors also hoped for a shootout by taking OVER 48.5 and both squads clearly answered.
The story of this game is head coach Bill Belichick’s new commitment to the run. Last year the Pats became a one-dimensional passing team and finished a disappointing 9-7 against the spread, with balance we could see newfound ATS success going forward.
The second team was the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners’ Super Bowl bandwagon probably got a little lighter after they lost to the Minnesota Vikings 24-13 in Week 3. That said, the betting bandwagon still had plenty hitching a ride, especially with San Fran at the New York Jets. The Niners were -4 road favorites, and considering “Revis Island” is closed for 2012 84 percent of bettors didn’t have any issues taking the spread — another 80 percent bet the -200 moneyline.
Any reservations about the wager were quickly dashed once Jets QB Mark Sanchez started throwing passes. Sanchez threw wobblers and head-scratchers that would make Tim Tebow proud. It wasn’t long until the route was on, the Jets were blanked 34-0.
Could the shutout be a sign of how inept the Jets offense is and not of 49ers dominance? Perhaps, but with a 3-1 ATS record and easy cover we suspect the Niners are 100 percent in bettors’ good graces.
It wasn’t all rosy for players in Week 4, Bovada was able to start Week 4 in a solid position after the Baltimore Ravens’ murky performance versus the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. The Ravens performance wasn’t horrendous (Cee-Lo Green’s “Do you like football?” TNF theme fits that description), but it wasn’t enough to cover the -12 spread that 65 percent of bettors bet on. The Browns made the game old school, hanging around enough to only lose 23-16.
New England and San Francisco appear to be the teams bettors trust to dominate the spread. We expect to see these squads enter our top five again as the season progresses.