A lot of betting action as Lions-Saints total nearing 60

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There wasn’t a line on the board for this week’s NFL wild card games that caused sharp or public money to coming running into Las Vegas sports books bet windows for perceived value.

However, with two of the games posted up at -3, it was only a matter of time before those lines would shift one way or another and it happened on Friday.

Saturday’s early game has the Bengals visiting Houston where the Texans opened as 3-point favorites, but have now been bet up to -3½. Most sports books went up the money ladder going to -3 (-120) until moving the spread. The South Point, the only book to use flat numbers, bounced back and forth twice when first at 3½.

When they saw there was immediate money to be had at +3 ½ with the Bengals, they went back down to 3. At that time, everyone else had -3 (-120) which made their -3 flat number far more attractive. Texans money came in again bumping them to -3½.

There were 35 NFL games landing on ‘3’ (13.7%) this season, a drop of almost 4% from last season (17.6%) and 1% less than the last 5 year average (14.7%), but it’s always a number that creates the most sharp business.

In years past when ‘3’ landed at a high rate, it wasn’t unusual to see sharp players play the percentages by taking the +3½ and laying the -3 at different times of the week, taking a shot that the game landed ‘3‘.

The big bonus for them was when the key number straddled – giving the opportunity to win both sides. If it didn’t, then they lost a bit of juice, but their math was usually correct. When applying that strategy, they did pretty well over the long haul in those seasons.

Obviously, this season hasn’t been one of those.

In fact, the number that showed up more frequently than the last few seasons was ’7’ which landed 30 times (11.7%). Last season ‘7’ hit only 7.9% of the time and the five year average has been 9.8%.

With ‘7’ landing more frequently and ‘3’ less, it’s surprising that more books haven’t protected 6½, 7 and 7½ with money attached up and down the ladder the way they do with 2½, 3, and 3½.

The other game sitting on ’3’ has the Giants hosting the Falcons. The Giants have been a strong 3-point favorite all week, but Atlanta money has found its way to a few books who have dropped the money to -3 (EV) on the Giants, an indication that we may see out first 2 ½ soon.

That number will most likely be at the South Point once they reach their threshold at +3.

The Las Vegas Super Book opened the Steelers as 7 ½-point road favorites at Denver and currently sits at -9. Despite the Steelers not having Rashard Mendenhall and Ryan Clark for this game, the public still believes in a gimpy Ben Roethlisberger at playoff time more than a team on a three game losing streak with a quarterback (Tim Tebow) who can’t throw.

This is the most weighted game in public ticket counts with parlays and teasers featuring the Steelers prominently.

The total has dropped from 35 to 33½, in part because of the Broncos poor offensive efforts the last two weeks, along with the admission that the Steelers appear the play to their level of competition.

Pittsburgh played ugly ball this season with Jacksonville, Kansas City and Cleveland twice and Denver has shown all season that their willing to play some ugly ball as well. You can’t help but thinking of Knicks-Pistons basketball from the early 90’s when thinking about ugly ball.

The Saints are the second most weighted public team this week. They are 10½-point favorites against the Falcons this week in a rematch from Week 13 that New Orleans won 31-17 as 9-point favorites. It’s easy to see why the public is all over the Saints because they have covered their last 8 games and have gone 8-0 ATS at home this season.

Why make a case for the Lions now?

The Saints total opened 58½ at the Hilton, which looks to be the highest number ever in postseason play, and has been bet up to 59½.

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