NFL favorites bounced back on Sunday, as Wild Card chalk went 2-1 ATS. However, the biggest storyline yesterday was the Browns upsetting the Steelers 48-37. Cleveland won outright as a 5.5-point road dog, cashing + 205 on the moneyline. Early in the week, a combination of lopsided support and COVID news pushed the Steelers from -3.5 to -6.5. But then over the last 24-48 hours before kickoff we saw sharp Browns buyback drop the line from + 6.5 to + 5.5. Some shops even closed at + 5. Late action, especially on game-day, is almost most meaningful as it comes when limits are highest and the biggest wagers come in. It was a big win for contrarians and sportsbooks as roughly two-thirds of bets laid the points with Pittsburgh. The books also rejoiced as the Browns win killed Steelers teasers and moneyline parlays.
In the early Sunday games, chalk ruled out as the Ravens (-3.5) beat the Titans 20-13. Sharps cashed the under, which fell from 54.5 to 53.5 despite heavy public betting on the over. In the mid-afternoon game, the Saints (-11) rolled over the Bears 21-9. New Orleans received heavy action from start to finish, moving from -9 to -11. Early, middle and late chalk bettors all cashed.
All in all, Wild Card favorites went 4-2 straight up over the weekend but dogs went 4-2 ATS. Overs went 4-2.
Here are the early Divisional Round odds for this upcoming weekend
Rams at Packers (-7) O/U 46
Ravens at Bills (-3) O/U 50
Browns at Chiefs (-10) O/U 56
Bucs at Saints (-3) O/U 51
Here are the updated Super Bowl Odds via BetMGM
Chiefs + 220
Packers + 400
Saints + 550
Bills + 600
Ravens + 800
Bucs + 900
Rams + 2200
Browns + 2500
Today a new week begins with 8 NBA games and 10 plus college basketball games. For an updated breakdown of Monday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted at noon ET. I'll also be joining Michael Lombardi and Patrick Meagher on The Lombardi Line at 12:25 p.m ET to offer a market update.
In the meantime, let's discuss where the money is flowing for tonight's highly anticipated National Championship game...
8 p.m. ET: Ohio State vs Alabama
This CFP National Championship game between undefeated powerhouses will be played outdoors at Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. Ohio State (7-0 SU, 4-3 ATS) enters ranked 3rd overall and just upset 2nd-ranked Clemson 49-28 in the semifinal, winning outright as 7-point dogs. The Buckeyes have outscored their opponents by an average score of 43-21 throughout the season. Now the Buckeyes will face their stiffest test of the year as they face top-ranked Alabama (12-0 SU, 8-4 ATS). The Crimson Tide took down 4th-ranked Notre Dame 31-14 in the semifinal, although Alabama failed to cover as 18.5-point favorites. It marked the second straight game that Alabama failed to cover. In the SEC Championship, Alabama beat Florida 52-46, but didn't cover as 16-point favorites. The Crimson Tide beat their opponents by an average score of 48-20 throughout the season. Alabama aims to win their 6th National Championship under head coach Nick Saban.
This line opened with Alabama listed as a 7-point favorite. The public sees Alabama as an auto-bet and a majority of tickets are laying the points with the Crimson Tide. We also saw some early sharp money hit Alabama -7 early, pushing the line up to -7.5. The line remained at 7.5 until Wednesday, when we saw more Alabama pour in and push the line up to -8.5. This move coincided with the news that Ohio State was dealing with COVID-19 issues affecting an entire position group. The next move will be telling. If you see this line tumble back down to 8 or lowers on game-day, that will indicate some respected Buckeyes money pouring in. If you see it rise to -9 or higher, that will indicate further Alabama support and possibly more COVID issues for Ohio State. Alabama is a popular moneyline bet at -310 while the Buckeyes are + 250. The Buckeyes have value as a contrarian primetime dog in what will be the most heavily bet game of the season. Dogs are 5-1 ATS over the past six National Championships.
The total opened at a sky high 76. The public is torn. They want to bet the over but are also worried about the high total. However, pros seem to be leaning on this under as we've seen the number fall to 75.5 or 75. Both teams have been profitable to the over this season, with Ohio State 4-2-1 and Alabama 7-5. The weather looks to be ideal for tonight's kickoff, with low 70s, overcast and 5 MPH winds. One wild card to watch here is Alabama star wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. He is nursing an ankle injury and is considered a game-time decision.