Odds for this weekend’s NFL Divisional Round matchups have been on the board since the Wild Card games wound down. That’s more than enough time for the betting public and wiseguys to have their say.
We talk to Michael Stewart, an oddsmaker with CarbonSports.ag, about the action coming in on this weekend’s AFC playoff games and where those odds could end up come kickoff.
Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots – Open: -7.5, Move: -7
The comeback Colts drew the early money for this first of two AFC Divisional Round games, first forcing an adjustment to the juice then a half-point move from 7.5 to Patriots -7. The key number is getting the job done, with bettors split on this Saturday showdown.
“Since going to -7, we’ve seen great two-way action at that number and unless a sharp group bets us this game, we won’t be moving off the key number of seven,” Stewart tells Covers.
As for the total for Saturday’s game in New England, most shops are dealing a number between 53.5 and 52.5 points. According to Stewart, early money took the Over and bumped their total from 52.5 to 53.5.
“So far, 75 percent of the action is on the Over and it’s understandable why the public is betting it Over, when you consider the Colts not only scored 45 points in last week’s playoff game, but more importantly their defense gave up 44 points and over 500 offensive yards to the Chiefs,” he says. “One can’t help but look at this game versus the Pats and think Over.”
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos – Open: -10.5, Move: -9
This will be the third meeting between the Bolts and the Broncos this season, with the teams splitting wins on the road. Early sharp money marched in on San Diego and forced an initial move to Denver -9.5 and the public followed suit, jumping on the upstart Chargers. That has kept books busy juggling the juice on this AFC West rematch. CarbonSports.ag is currently dealing San Diego +9.5 (-120).
“At this point, we’re reluctant to go to Broncos -9 or even down to -8.5, because that would allow for all our bettors to tease the Broncos down to below the key number of three and that’s a concern for us,” says Stewart, who mentions that seven of a possible eight outcomes on teasers hit during the Wild Card Weekend. “While we are concerned about going down to -9 or 8.5, if the straight action keeps backing the dog in this one we’ll eventually get there.”
As for Sunday’s AFC total, books hung the number high, with some markets posting the total at 56 points trying to protect from Broncos bettors who love to take their side and the Over. Under money has dropped the Over/Under as low as 54.5, as of Wednesday afternoon. The forecast for Denver is calling for a slight chance of snow and temperatures in the low 40s.
“So far, 60 percent of the early action is on the Under but that’s of little concern because I know by game time we’re going to need this game under as the public gets more involved over the weekend,” says Stewart. “Also, being the last game of the weekend, I have a feeling we’ll have a ton of parlay liability tied to the Over and that liability will outweigh any straight bet exposure."
Click here for NFC Divisional Round action report.