“Fade the public” is a refrain often heard amongst bettors who consider themselves a little sharper than the average bear, and, indeed, the logic is sound: if the betting public was usually right, sports betting would be a lot easier than it is. We know those tricky oddsmakers have a way of toying with ol’ Barstool Joe’s prejudices and emotions, which is why obvious public sides that seem “too easy” seem to lose so often. If Barstool Joe really knew what he was talking about, he wouldn’t still be on that same old barstool, would he?
Of course, thinking about this type of thing– public money, sharp money, outsmarting imaginary oddsmaking boogeymen who must be impossibly smart, etc.– is a sickness unto itself, one from which I admittedly suffer from time to time. Once you start thinking about this type of thing it’s tough to stop, and it can scare you off of some easy wins just because you felt they were “too obvious.”
At any rate, fading (betting against) obvious public sides can be more difficult than it sounds, because the sides are “public” for a reason: they make sense on a lot of superficial (and sometimes very real) levels. Backing the other side, then, means you’re choosing the side with more inherent and obvious flaws, which, in the case of the NFL, often means the weaker team. When you make these types of bets and lose, you feel like an educated fool, someone who went against an obvious winner just because it was so obvious.
Let’s look at this week’s shining examples. Below are three of the biggest “public” sides on the Week 2 slate, according to VegasInsider. Which one of these ‘dogs are you eager to back? Any of them? All three?
Seattle Seahawks @ San Diego Chargers
Vegas line: Seattle -6 BETDAQ Line: Seattle -5.5
“Public” side: Seattle (95%)
Anyone who has watched any NFL football over the past few months knows about the Seahawks: they’re the NFL’s best team, and in their last two games they’ve bullied two excellent teams, making two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks look downright ordinary in the process. The Chargers, meanwhile, ranked 29th against the pass last season and just lost a Week 1 game in Arizona. This is Barstool Joe’s Lock of the Week. Is it yours? If not, are you ready, willing, or eager to bet against Seattle?
New Orleans Saints @ Cleveland Browns
Vegas line: New Orleans -6.5 BETDAQ Line: New Orleans -6.5
“Public” side: New Orleans (90%)
Okay Mr. Contrarian, for your principled stance on the proper way to bet on sports you get… the Browns. How much will you be putting down?
If you understand why the Saints are a tempting bet as 6.5-point favorites on the road in Cleveland, it’s because everybody understands. The Saints are one of the NFL’s best teams, and they have the type of explosive offense that makes laying a number like 6.5 no sweat. The Browns, meanwhile, are a flaming disaster of a franchise with an offense barren of skill position talent and led by a journeyman quarterback who is just keeping the seat warm. Again, how much are you putting down?
New York Jets @ Green Bay Packers
Vegas line: Green Bay -8 BETDAQ Line: Green Bay -8
“Public” side: Green Bay (84%)
What happens when Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, a team that has established itself as a league heavyweight and has been an absolute money tree for bettors over the past few years (88-51-1 ATS under Mike McCarthy), get trampled on opening night, then have 10 days to stew about it before hosting the offensively-challenged Jets? Well, what do you think’s going to happen? Thing is, everybody else is thinking that too…
Does that matter? Should it? Do the mystical, mythical oddsmakers know some hidden truth about these games that we do not? Is there some sort of willful trickery going on? If these type of questions resonate with you, are you as lost as Barstool Joe?
The road is long, the way is rocky, and it’s only Week 2…
Great to have football back, isn’t it?