Today bettors have a loaded Thursday slate to choose from, including Thursday Night Football in both pro and college, plus 6 NBA games and 9 NHL games. For an updated breakdown of Tuesday's betting action, be sure to tune in to the VSiN Market Insights Podcast with Josh Appelbaum. It will be posted by 1 p.m. ET. I'll also be co-hosting Betting Across America with Mike Pritchard from 3 to 4 p.m. ET.
One quick note on the NBA: Unders went 7-3 on Wednesday to improve to 39-25 (61%) on the season. If the total is 220 or more, the under is 31-14 (69%). This early season under trend is notable for two reasons. First, we historically see lower scoring games at the beginning of a new season because defenses are ahead of offenses and teams are adjusting to new players, coaches, environments, etc. It takes some time for offenses to gel and players to get their shots down.
Secondly, and maybe most importantly, is the NBA's decision to crack down on "abnormal" basketball movements to draw fouls. So far, fouls are way down and free throws are at an all-time low (just 19.5 per game). Simply put, guys aren't getting to the line like they used to. This is leading to less scoring, fewer overs and more unders. The market is sure to adjust in the coming days and weeks, but early on the foul crackdown has helped bettors cash a lot of under tickets.
Now let's discuss where the money is flowing for tonight's NFL Week 8 opener...
8:20 p.m. ET: Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals
This Thursday Night Football showdown features two of the best teams in the NFL going head-to-head. The Packers (6-1 SU, 6-1 ATS) are currently 1200 to win the Super Bowl at DraftKings, tied with the Ravens for the 5th-best odds overall. The undefeated Cardinals (7-0 SU, 6-1 ATS) are 900, 4th-best odds behind only the Bills ( 550), Bucs ( 550) and Rams ( 800). Kyler Murray is 450 to win MVP, second best odds overall behind only Josh Allen ( 400). Aaron Rodgers is 6th at 1400.
The Packers have won six straight and just brushed aside Washington 24-10, covering as 8.5-point home favorites. Meanwhile, the Cardinals just waxed the Texans 31-5, covering as 20-point home favorites.
This line opened with Arizona listed as a 3.5-point home favorite. At first it looked like the public was jumping at the opportunity to back mighty Green Bay as a trendy dog. After all, how can you not take points with Aaron Rodgers? But then something unexpected happened which caused a massive adjustment to the odds. The Packers placed several players on the COVID list, including top wide receiver Davante Adams along with fellow wideout Allen Lazard. Right on cue, the line shot up from Cardinals -3.5 to -6.5.
Those who hopped on the COVID news and jumped on the Cardinals at -3.5, -4 or -4.5 are now sitting pretty with great closing line value. If you're backing the Cardinals now at -6.5 you're getting the worst of the number after all the value is gone. The Cardinals are likely to be a popular teaser play (-6.5 to -0.5). At this point, the Packers now offer value as a "buy on bad news" contrarian dog with an inflated line. Green Bay matches several profitable betting systems. Conference dogs 7 or less are 35-20 ATS (64%) this season. Primetime dogs are 14-7 ATS (67%). Road dogs are 36-26 ATS (58%).
We've also seen some wiseguy money hit the under, steaming the total down from 52.5 to 50.5. Unders are 59-47 (56%) this season. Both of these teams have been "under" teams this season. The Packers are 5-2 to the under and the Cardinals are 4-3 to the under.