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Market Insights: What early betting says about NFC divisional games

January 6, 2020 11:20 PM

In the final bowl game before the national championship, Lafayette defeated Miami-Ohio 27-17 Monday night in the Alabama Bowl. It was a big win for contrarians and sportsbooks as roughly two-thirds of bets (including some sharps) laid the points with Ragin' Cajuns, who opened at -14 and closed at -15.

It wasn't all bad for the wiseguys as they were able to cash the under. More than two-thirds of bets took the over yet the line fell from 56.5 to 55.5, signaling sharp reverse line under movement. The total landed on 44. 

In a mind-blowing example of how brilliant oddsmakers are at setting lines, favorites finished the bowl game season with a 20-19-1 record (51.3%). Unders went an identical 20-19-1 (51.3%). Talk about spot-on.

While you were recovering from an epic sweat-filled weekend of playoff football, another betting related story has gone viral. Former "Bachelor" contestant Jade Roper-Tolbert won the DraftKings "Millionaire Maker" daily fantasy contest for Wild Card Weekend. However, controversy has ensued with accusations that she colluded with her husband Tanner Tolbert, who appeared on "The Bachelorette."

The two combined to submit 300 lineups at $25 apiece and of the 300 lineups, 298 were "unique." This means they likely cheated by strategizing or "pooling" their lineups so they wouldn't overlap or duplicate players, which increased their chances of having at least 1 of the lineups win, thus giving them an unfair competitive advantage over the field. If true, this would break DraftKings' "unacceptable behaviors" list. The $1 million payment has not been paid out as DraftKings is investigating the matter.  

Now it's on to Tuesday.

Today's action includes 6 NBA games, 12 NHL games and 29 College Basketball games. For an updated breakdown of sharp action across the marketplace be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at 3:30 p.m. ET.

In the meantime, let's discuss where early sharp action is flowing for the two NFC divisional-round games. 

Saturday 4:35 p.m. ET: Minnesota Vikings (11-6, 6th seed) at San Francisco 49ers (13-3, 1st seed)

The Vikings are playing with house money after securing the biggest upset victory of wild-card weekend, taking down the Saints 26-20 as 7.5-point underdogs. Kirk Cousins finally got the "can't win a big game" monkey off his back. Minnesota is 10-7 ATS and 5-4 ATS away, averaging 25.47 PPG on offense and giving up just 19 PPG on defense. The 49ers finished tied with the Packers and Saints for the best regular-season record. San Francisco is coming off a bye after finishing the regular season with two straight wins, including a 26-21 win over the Seahawks as 3.5-point favorites in the season finale to clinch the No. 1 seed. San Francisco is 9-6-1 ATS but just 3-4-1 ATS at home, averaging 29.94 PPG on offense and giving up 19.38 PPG on defense. 

This line opened with San Francisco listed as a 7-point home favorite. Some books opened 49ers -6.5. Two thirds of bets are laying the points with the 49ers yet the line has remained frozen at 7, signaling some sharp liability on the Vikings plus the points. Divisional round dogs are 38-24 ATS (61%) since 2003. Also, it's been profitable to bet against teams coming off a bye (52-43 ATS, 55%). 

Sharp money has also come in on the under. The total opened at 45.5 and has been bet down to 45 or even 44.5. The forecast calls for mid-50s with 8-10 MPH winds. Both teams have been slightly profitable to the over, though, with Minnesota 9-8 and San Francisco 8-7-1. 

Sunday 6:40 p.m. ET: Seattle Seahawks (12-5, 5th seed) at Green Bay Packers (13-3, 2nd seed)

The final game of divisional-round weekend is shaping up to be a classic Pros vs Joes mismatch. Seattle took down the Eagles 17-9 on wild-card weekend, covering and winning straight up as either a pick'em or 1-point dog. With the win, Seattle improved to 8-1 on the road this season, including 6-2-1 ATS. Despite their impressive record, the Seahawks are just 8-8-1 ATS overall, averaging 24.82 PPG on offense and giving up 23.94 PPG on defense. The Packers are entering the postseason on a hot streak and riding a 5-game winning streak. Green Bay went 10-6 ATS (including 5-3 ATS at home), averaging 23.5 PPG on offense and giving up 19.56 PPG on defense. 

This line opened with Green Bay listed as a 3.5-point favorite. The public can't believe Russell Wilson and the Hawks are getting points and roughly two-thirds of bets are rushing to the window to back Seattle. However, despite this lopsided support the line has ticked up to Packers -4. Essentially, we are looking at a fade the trendy dog play with pros laying the points with the contrarian favorite. The Seahawks have value as a divisional-round dog (38-24 ATS, 61%) and also it has been profitable to fade teams coming off a first-round bye (52-43 ATS, 55%). 

Sharp money has also leaned on the under as the total opened at 46.5 and has either stayed the same or ticked down to 46. The forecast calls for frigid temperatures in the low 20s with 7 MPH winds at Lambeau. Seattle is 8-8-1 to the under this season, but Green Bay is 10-6 to the under, including 5-3 to the under at home.

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