Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that has proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.
Here’s a look at some possible spot bet opportunities this week:
The Michigan Wolverines took care of business in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Tuesday, knocking off No. 18 North Carolina State 79-72 as 5.5-point home favorites. That marquee win will be remembered on Selection Sunday and it comes on the heels of a championship run at the NIT Season Tip-Off last week. Michigan topped three potential NCAA-tourney quality opponents in Kansas State, Pitt and Cleveland State.
The Wolverines, however, take a step down in competition when they visit Bradley Saturday. The Braves are projected to finish last in the Missouri Valley but have opened the season with a strong record against the spread, going 3-1 ATS with a 4-1 SU mark. Two of those three covers came as double-figure favorites at home.
Spot bets are harder to find in the pro ranks but even some of the best teams, like the New England Patriots, are susceptible to the classic look-ahead spot. The Patriots visit the Miami Dolphins in Week 13, a nice getaway from the cold November temperatures of Foxborough. Oddsmakers have New England set as a big 9-point favorite after combining for 108 points in its last two outings.
With such a lopsided game expected, the sun-soaked Pats could be looking past the Dolphins and to next week’s AFC showdown with the Houston Texans. The Patriots were in a similar situation last season, taking on Washington in Week 14 before an important conference date with Denver the following Sunday. They squeaked out a 34-27 win over the Redskins, failing to cover as a 7.5-point road chalk.
A favorite spot bet of handicappers is playing against a team coming home for a brief one-game stay before heading back out on the road. The Dallas Mavericks are in Chicago Wednesday then return home to play the Detroit Pistons Saturday before leaving for three more away games.
The logic behind the play is that players are more focused on settling their home life (wife, girlfriend, kids, bills, business) than basketball in that short period before leaving again.
NBA bettors get a second look at this spot when the Mavs return to Dallas on Dec. 10 to play Sacramento before another three-game trip. They play just twice at home over the next nine games. Dallas is 5-3 SU but just 3-5 ATS at home this season.