GOY market tends to overreact

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The word overreaction is frequently used during the first quarter of the NFL season. Bettors formulate their opinions on teams during the preseason, then try not to overreact to a sample size over the first couple weeks.

But if you pay attention to the look-ahead or Games of the Year market, overreactions remain prevalent on a week-to-week ­basis.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened Minnesota as a -6.5-point home favorite over Chicago in their look-ahead market last week. The Vikings performed as expected on Sunday. They lost on the road at Tampa Bay where they were a +6.5 underdog.

So if that result went as expected, why is Minnesota now laying just three points against Chicago on Sunday? Minnesota outgained Tampa Bay and had ten more first downs than the Buccaneers. Their kicker went 0-for-4. That warrants a 3.5-point adjustment through some key numbers?

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Tampa Bay opened as a -1.5-point road favorite at Atlanta in the Westgate’s look-ahead market last week. The Buccaneers are now touching -6 in some spots.

Last week’s results for both teams played out as expected. Tampa Bay won a home game as a favorite, and Atlanta lost a coin-flip on the road on a walk-off field goal. What happened in either of those two games to cause a four-point move in one week?

These look-ahead spreads and Games of the Year lines are a great place to start your handicapping each week. The oddsmakers have already told you where they feel a game should be lined. The ball is in your court to figure out why the lines have moved and whether the moves are warranted.

Thursday

Chargers +3.5 at Raiders: Did you see the Chargers’ attempt at kicking a field goal at the end of the first half against the Falcons? Los Angeles’ special teams unit is having a historically bad season, and that is a reflection of head coach Anthony Lynn.

Lynn has not shown anything this season to suggest that he will have his team buttoned-up and ready to go for this spot. Wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, tight end Hunter Henry and running back Austin Ekeler are all on the early injury report. RAIDERS

Saturday

Bills at Broncos, Total 50: Drew Lock was 21-of-27 for 280 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions against the Panthers last week. He had the third-highest passer rating (149.5) for a game in Broncos history. Color me skeptical that he will do it again.

Carolina’s defense was No. 26 in passer rating allowed and No. 27 in generating quarterback pressure. Lock will face a different test on Sunday against the Bills. UNDER

Sunday

Patriots at Dolphins, Total 42: Betting an under in the low-40s with no weather concerns sounds about as much fun as a trip to the dentist, but the familiarity between these two teams and coaching staffs is hard to ignore.

The Patriots have the rest advantage. The Dolphins have some injury concerns on offense. Bill Belichick showed what he can do against a rookie quarterback a couple weeks ago. UNDER

Lions +10.5 at Titans: When I saw the opening lines pop on Sunday night, I initially wanted to take Detroit in this contest because of Tennessee’s shaky reputation as a favorite. The Titans are 5-7 against the spread as a home favorite since 2018, and do not find themselves in this double-digit favorite role very often.

The Titans are vulnerable through the air. Tennessee’s defense is No. 29 in passing yards allowed per game and last in sack percentage, but an injured Matthew Stafford or Chase Daniel do not have the pieces to exploit that. TITANS

Seahawks at Washington, Total 44.5: When you face Russell Wilson and this Seattle offense, you have one question to answer: Can you make him uncomfortable without blitzing? At the moment, no team is better equipped to do that than the Washington Football Team.

On the flip side, Seattle’s defense has seen a mid-season renaissance. Opponents averaged 30.4 points per game against the Seahawks during their first eight games, but that number has been cut to 16.2 over the last five weeks. UNDER

Monday

Steelers -12.5 at Bengals: You will not get rich by backing double-digit road favorites in the NFL, but you also won’t cash many tickets with Brandon Allen and this Bengals team. Pittsburgh’s defense will have plenty of opportunities to get out some frustration.

The Steelers’ offense may only need to score 17 points for this to cash. STEELERS

Last week: 4-2

Season: 40-44

About the Author

James Bunting

James Bunting covers college basketball, baseball and the NFL for Gaming Today. He has worked as a freelance sports writer for several outlets over the last decade, focusing specifically on the sports betting industry in the last five years.

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