NFL Wildcard Weekend is just around the corner and money is pouring in from all six matchups at BetMGM.
In four of the six matches, the betting public and the sharp sided with the favorites. In particular, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Pittsburgh Steelers received the overwhelming majority of bets on Thursday.
Tom Brady and the Bucs started as a seven-point favorites, but are now -8 on the road against Washington soccer team, the NFC East 7-9 champions. While 78% of the bets have been on the Tampa side, 88% of the money is on the Bucs to cover the eight-point spread.
There’s a bigger gap in the Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers game. The Browns, who are making their first playoff appearance in 18 years, are grappling with COVID-19 issues that will prevent head coach Kevin Stefanski and a few top players from being available for the game.
As such, the Steelers went from 4.5 point favorites to six point favorites during the week. Despite the line’s move, the Steelers received 85% of the bets and a whopping 89% of the money.
The other favorites attracting the majority of bets this weekend are the Buffalo Bills and the Seattle Seahawks.
The Bills host the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday afternoon and are favored by 6.5 points. The Bills, who enter the playoffs 11-5 ATS in 2020, have received 75% of the bets and 71% of the money.
The Seahawks are favored by 3.5 points at home against NFC West’s nemesis, the Los Angeles Rams. The points spread opened to 4.5, but narrowed by one point. Seattle received 69% of the bets but the handle spreads are much closer. Only 54% of the money went back to Seattle.
“This year’s Wild Cards round features an unusual number of big gaps, with all six games currently over a field goal. Public money is on most of the favorites, BetMGM will need a few underdogs to win, ”said Matt Cosgriff, director of trading for BetMGM.
Titans, popular outsider bears
In the other two games, the public and the sharp are lagging behind on Thursday.
In Sunday’s opener, the Baltimore Ravens are the 3.5-point road favorites against the Tennessee Titans. The Titans upset the Ravens in last year’s Divisional Round. This year the punters are on the Titans, this time as home underdogs. So far 60% of the bets and 63% of the money are on Tennessee.
The other underdog who gets the love of punters is the Chicago Bears, who get 10 points on the road against the New Orleans Saints. It was a spread that opened at 8.5, but has now reached double digits. The Bears received 61% of the bets and 60% of the money on BetMGM.
The Bears and Saints met in Chicago on November 1 and the Bears covered the spread dropping 5.5 points. The Saints won 26-23 in overtime.
Sharps eyeing under in two matches
In the data released Thursday by BetMGM, there are two games that really stand out from a total standpoint.
While 73% of the bets that were put on the top in the Titans-Ravens game, 69% of the money is on the bottom. The total for this game is currently 54.5.
Likewise, the public is betting on the over 47.5 in the Saints vs. Bears game, but more money comes in below. Currently 64% of bets on BetMGM are above, but 60% of the money is below.
Another sub-category that attracts a significant amount of money comes from the Washington game against Tampa Bay. While 68% of the total bets on this game are below, a whopping 88% of the money is below. The number opened at 46.5 but dropped to 44.5.
Bills vs. Colts (Open: 52.5, currently: 51.5): 85% tickets on plus, 78% handle on plus
Seahawks vs. Rams (Open: 41.5, currently: 42.5): 50% tickets on more, 58% handle on more
Steelers vs. Browns (Open: 45.5, currently: 47.5): 64% of the banknotes below, 72% of the handle below
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