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The Daily Line Podcast: The Bears head into week 10 as 6.5-point favorites

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The Daily Line Podcast: The Bears head into week 10 as 6.5-point favorites

The Bears head into Week 10 as 6.5-point favorites against the Lions. Sam Panayotovich of VSIN and Joe Ostrowski of the Early Odds podcast join Paul Aspan and Ryan McGuffey to discuss why that line looks like too many points for the Bears (3:15).

Plus, we look into the future to see how Vegas would handicap an NFC title game between the Bears and the top teams in the NFC, the Rams and the Saints (13:00).

The guys make their weekly picks (16:00) and what are the chances that baseball’s biggest free agent lands in Chicago (27:00)?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

The Daily Line: Week 10 Football Picks

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The Daily Line: Week 10 Football Picks

By way of introduction, I am Eric Olson. I played football for Northwestern from 2012- 2016, started over 30 games at Right Tackle, got a Master’s in Predictive Analytics and love to look at football through the eyes of a sports bettor. I will be writing up my weekly NFL, and a few college picks here at NBC Sports Chicago. With the legalization of sports betting in a handful of states already, and possibly growing to others soon, there will be a lot of new interest and increased awareness on the sports betting factors around the games this year.  The best pieces of advice I can give you are: #1 Don’t bet what you can’t afford #2 If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. And #3 If it feels ugly when you place it, good. Other than that, let’s have some fun and hopefully have some success along the way.

YTD record: 24-15 against the spread 

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianpolis Colts 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Colts -3 
Betting Percentages Split: 53% on Jaguars 
The play: Jaguars +3

There is a very simple philosophy in the NFL that simply works when handicapping games. Buy low, sell high. If you blindly bet against teams that had overachieving performances the previous week and bet on teams that underperformed, over time, you will be successful. The NFL is a ‘regress to the mean’ league and the discrepancy amongst teams is much smaller than the public perceives it to be. Well, here we are. Everyone is off the Jaguars bandwagon. I sat here and in my first article of the year I wrote: “I am just not ready to pencil the Jaguars in as the AFC title contenders that everyone seems to think they are for years to come”. Yes, I am happy with myself for calling the regression of the Jaguars. However, the pendulum has shifted too far in the other direction after a myriad of disappointing performances from the Jags. Take a step back for a second, this roster is a 3 POINT UNDERDOG TO THE COLTS. Fade this extreme recency bias and bet that the Jaguars are somewhere in between title contender and bottom feeder. 

New Orleans Saints vs. Cincinnati Bengals 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Saints – 6
Betting Percentages Split: 77% of tickets on the Saints
The play: Bengals +6

Alright folks. Listen here. After going 11-1 over a two-week stretch in October, this article has not done well in the last two weeks. That has also coincided with the two of the worst Sunday’s Vegas has had in the last 10 years. Guess what? That trend will not continue. Every year there are about two to three Sundays where the public players win and the house loses. If those are also the first Sunday’s that I lose, I can live with it. Bet with the house and over time you will win money (this article is still over 60% on the year, we’re doing just fine). So here we go again, we are fading the public hard here. The Saints are a very good team, my favorite future I placed before the season was Saints to win the NFC at +700, I really, really liked this roster. However, public perception of this team has never been higher after a string of marquee wins that included the dismantling of the previously unbeatable Rams. So, what do we do? We bet against them. The Bengals are a quietly solid team capable of beating any team in the NFL and getting six points at home, in a noon game following the Saints primetime slot last week is an auto bet from me. Take the Bengals and the points.

Detroit Lions vs. Chicago Bears 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Bears -7
Betting Percentages Split: 63% of tickets on the Bears 
The play: Lions +7

Look! Again! Another overreaction to recent results! This line is simply too big for two divisional teams that, realistically (cover your ears Bears fans), are relatively close to one another in terms of talent. The Bears are a very solid team. Nothing more, nothing less. They will find their way to 9 wins. The Lions are about one (maybe ½) notch below that and will find their way to 7 or 8 wins. Can we agree on that? No? Okay, you know I am right and that disparity just does not warrant a 7-point spread. The Lions threw up a stinker against a surging Vikings team and I expect them to move back closer to the mean and play the Bears close. 

Atlanta Falcons vs Cleveland Browns 11/11 12:00pm CT

Line: Falcons -6.5
Betting Percentages Split: 82% tickets on the Falcons 
The play: Browns +6.5

I sat and stared at my computer screen for a very long time just looking at this line. The Browns meet every criteria I look for in a game. They played a game with a deceiving score last week (they played the Chiefs closer than the score indicates). They have less than 20% of the bet tickets. They are an NFL team (yes, I know, ground breaking) catching significant points at home. They are better than their record indicates, swaying public perception. The line has, multiple times throughout the week, shifted against the public bet tickets, indicating that professionals are betting on the Browns. But, it’s the Browns and this bet felt disgusting. Then I remembered, if it feels gross when you place it, good. So, hold your nose, bet the Browns and the points. 

Bonus College Game: Northwestern vs Iowa 11/10 3:30pm CT

Line: Iowa -11
Betting Percentages Split: 69% of tickets on Northwestern 
The play: Northwestern +11

Do I hate that the public is on Northwestern? Yes. Very much so. This line is WAYYYY too big and frankly, that scares me a little. However, I know the guys in that locker room, I know what their mindset was going into the ND game last week (we cared A LOT more about this week) and I know how much we LOVE playing at Kinnick Stadium. Could you play the angle that we only need to win 2 of our last 3 games to go to the Big Ten Championship? Sure, but, if we win this game we all but lock up our spot. If we lose, we still have to win on the road in Minneapolis and then play an Illinois team that would love nothing more than to knock us off. We do not want to leave this up for chance. We finish it this weekend in Iowa City and win outright, take the Cats and the points.  

The Daily Line: Week 9 Football Picks

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NBC Sports Chicago

The Daily Line: Week 9 Football Picks

The best pieces of advice I can give you are: #1 Don’t bet what you can’t afford #2 If it feels too good to be true, it probably is. And #3 If it feels ugly when you place it, good. Other than that, let’s have some fun and hopefully have some success along the way.

YTD record: 23-11 against the spread (13-5 in last 18)

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings 11/4 - 12:00pm CT

Line: Vikings -5 
Betting Percentages Split: 76% of the tickets on the VIkings
The play: Lions +5

The last two weeks were two of the best weeks in recent memory for public players betting NFL games. Last weekend was the first losing Sunday/Monday of the year for Vegas. Call me crazy, but this trend will not continue. I love this week to be a spot that swings back in the contrarian direction and rewards players who hold their nose to make these picks. So, why not start with a game that makes absolutely 0 sense. Lions +5 on the road in the Minnesota. In fact, this line actually opened at +6 in many places but has since moved to +5 despite HEAVY public action on the Vikings. What does that tell you? Pros are betting the Lions heavy. People tend to overreact to single player acquisitions in the NFL and they rarely influence the outcome of single games. The trading of Golden Tate was not because the Lions are tanking, but instead because they weren’t going to re-sign him and wanted to get some value in return. Fade the public and take the Lions. 

Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns 11/4 - 12:00pm CT

Line: Chiefs -9
Betting Percentages Split: 85% of tickets on Chiefs 
The play: Browns +9

Remember what I said about holding your nose? Well, here we go. We are betting the Browns, and honestly, I love this spot. The Chiefs are due for some regression and I love the Browns with Gregg Williams at the helm to be one of the first teams to slow down this high-powered Chiefs offense. From everything coming out of Cleveland, players are fired up about Hue Jackson being ousted and I think Williams will give the Browns the spark they need to keep this game close. The Browns have played nearly every opponent close this year and I bet they do the same again this week. Call me crazy, sprinkle the money line too. 

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens 11/4 - 12:00pm CT

Line: Ravens -2.5
Betting Percentages Split: 78% of tickets on the Steelers
The play: Ravens -2.5

Buy low, sell high time people. Just a few weeks ago, the Ravens were a trendy Super Bowl sleeper pick. Fast forward after two losses and everyone seems to forget that not too long ago they were the consensus best defense in the NFL. Conversely, everyone seems to have forgotten about the problems the Steelers had at the beginning of the year and have penciled them in to be in the AFC championship hunt once again. Not so fast my friends, I love this spot for some regression to the mean for two teams that at the end of the day are probably fairly even. In a divisional game, I’ll take the contrarian home team with a short line. Take the Ravens laying 2.5. 

Houston Texans vs. Denver Broncos 11/4 - 3:20pm CT

Line: Broncos -1
Betting Percentages Split: 72% of tickets on the Texans 
The play: Broncos -1

This is my favorite game of the week, by a pretty wide margin. It has every single one the indicators I look for when handicapping an NFL game. First, it’s a perfect sell high spot for the Texans who are now right in the midst of the playoff hunt. Secondly, it’s a great buy low spot for the Broncos, who are better team than their record indicates (they’ve had the misfortune of already playing the Chiefs twice). Thirdly, we have a public overreaction to the trading of Demariyus Thomas, a move that has nothing to do with this Broncos team, they simply were not going to resign him and wanted to extract some value (stop me if you’ve heard that before). And lastly, we have HEAVY public action on a small road dog, public dogs have fleas ladies and gentlemen and I’ll take the Broncos giving 1 at Mile High all day.

Bonus College Game: Missouri vs. Florida 11/3 - 3:00pm CT

Line: Florida -6
Betting Percentages Split: 80% of tickets on Florida
The play: Missouri +6

Missouri is the best 4-4 team in the country. Period. They should not have lost to Kentucky last week, they understandably lost to Alabama and they actually outgained Georgia in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated (Missouri was plagued by a few costly turnovers and still covered). I loved them last week at Kentucky and they let me down after a late kick off return for a touchdown by the Wildcats and I am going back to the well here. Florida’s defensive strength in their run stopping ability, not on their back end, and I love this to be a breakout spot for Drew Lock to put up some big numbers and Missouri finally get the big win they deserve this year.