Books and bettors go toe-to-toe for 17 weeks during the NFL season. Some weeks, the bettors get the best of the oddsmakers and hit the casinos for a loss. Most weeks, however, the bookies prevail.
When you look at the NFL schedule as a whole, there are actually a handful of games that pretty much decide who comes out on top – books or bettors – week to week. These games are known as “bankers”.
These are usually a high-profile matchup drawing a ton of public action, scheduled later in the day with plenty of money rolling over from the early games. But not all “bankers” are slotted for primetime. We take a look at seven games that could decide who wins the war at the sportsbook come football season.
Week 1 – San Francisco 49ers at Dallas Cowboys (+4.5, 48.5)
The opening slate of games is highlighted by some doozies: Seattle at Green Bay, Indianapolis at Denver, and a pair of Monday matchups. Don’t underestimate the power of the public, though. The Cowboys are still “America’s Team” and while early money has pumped this spread up by a point, Dallas fans will likely take this game back to its original spread come the 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff.
Week 3 – Denver Broncos at Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
The Super Bowl rematch is hands down the most anticipated game of the season, even though the Seahawks rolled Peyton Manning & Co. in New York this February. Oddsmakers are giving Denver credit, expecting the revenge factor to play a role in Week 3. This one has stayed still at Seattle -3.5 since opening in early May.
Week 7 – San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (-3.5)
By Week 7, the opinion on these two teams could be very different. Does San Fran have another run left in it? Will Denver suffer from a Super Bowl beating hangover? Early-bird bettors are playing it cool with this non-conference clash, with the spread staying put at Broncos -3.5. This Sunday Night Football showdown will draw a massive amount of money and have plenty of parlays linked to it.
Week 8 – San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (-7.5)
This Thursday night game becoming a “banker” for Week 8 really depends on how the Broncos do the week before. A big win over San Francisco will be enough to convince the betting public that Denver hasn’t lost a step. If that’s the case, expect this spread to climb. However, San Diego player the Broncos tough last year, going 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS at Mile High. This could be a classic sharps-versus-squares split, deciding the week before Sunday even rolls around.
Week 11 – New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts (Pick)
Week 11 could be the official passing of the torch between Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. The Colts continue to improve and have added some weapons to their arsenal. The clock is ticking on Brady and the Patriots and this line could realistically swing to a field goal if Indianapolis follows the current path it’s on. Both are coming off a bye week heading into this massive Sunday nighter.
Week 13/15 Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers
These two NFC West rivals meet twice in three weeks come winter. First, Seattle travels to the Bay Area as 2.5-point underdogs for the late Thanksgiving Day game – always a “banker” situation for sportsbooks. Then, in Week 15, the Niners pay a visit to CenturyLink Field and the infamous 12th Man as 3.5-point pups for a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff. Wet and cold winter weather in Seattle could play a big factor in Week 15.