NFL Sundays with SBJ: The covert favorite dog

SBJ is back and he is pretty excited with the menu for this week’s primetime games. Take your weekly Sunday ride with him and see if it pays off… through seven weeks it certainly has.


Public: 18-27 (3-3)

The House: 27-18 (3-3)

Sportsbook Jesus: 27-18 (3-3)



Public: 2-0 (6-9)

Vegas: 0-2 (9-6)

Sportsbook Jesus: 0-2 (10-5)


Public: 1-1 (8-7)

Vegas: 1-1 (7-8)

Sportsbook Jesus: 1-1 (10-5)


Public: 0-2 (4-11)

Vegas: 2-0 (11-4)

Sportsbook Jesus: 2-0 (7-8)

I love even money.  Anybody who knows my sports betting history can attest to that fact.  The only thing I love more than taking an even money side bet is an even under.  An even money under is my favorite bet in all of sports, especially a second half even under.  We’ll get into second half betting later on in this course.  Second half action is my favorite part of this course to teach, but you’re not there yet.  There is so much more you need to soak in before we up the ante to those much more elaborate betting strategies.  Right, Rih?

Pay me what you owe me!

Damn right.  For today, we look at vig values, specifically with concern to value lower than the standard -110 vig on dogs.  Those are what I refer to as “covert favorites”.  They are technically on the board as the dog, but the decrease in return on your betting dollar actually indicates that Vegas considers them the true favorite in the game.  Right now, we have covert favorites in both of the primetime matchups, which is perfect for this lesson.  Instead of hypotheticals, let’s just dive straight into these matchups to explain these devalued dogs.


PACKERS -3(+105) @ BRONCOS +3(-125)



This is by far the cream of the SNF crop to date.  Two undefeated teams in a primetime showdown.  It just doesn’t get any better than this.  I’m so amped for this game.  I’ll probably end up wolfing down a chicken parm sub, with extra cheese, just as a tribute to this delicious matchup.  

As I stated in the intro, both of the dogs this week are covert favorites, and The House owns them both, as of right now.  Covert favorites are very mystical creatures.  You never can tell if you can trust them, or if they will rip your arm off.

So, why not move the line a hair instead of freezing it at 3, and adding value adjustments to each side?  Hmm.  What are you up to, Vegas?  Here’s what I think.  I suspect that Vegas wants to give the illusion that they feel locked into this 3.  They want you to believe that they envision Denver pulling this out in Mile High, and therefore feel the need to cushion the financial hit they are about to take, by dropping the Broncos payout value to -125.

Since they are sure Denver will at least cover, they don’t want to have any line movement that will make taking Denver more attractive.  If it jumps to PACKERS -3.5, that extra half point might attract more people on the BRONCOS +3.5.  If it dips to PACKERS -2.5, then the people might think it dropped because late money is pounding the Denver side, and they want to get in on the action.  It’s a Catch 22. 

Either way it moves, the people might be swayed to ride the Broncos.  So, out of fear of losing a lot of cash on this game, they decrease the value that they would be forced to payout to the public on Denver’s side.  They want to sell you on the fact that Green Bay has to lose at some point, and why not have it be to an undefeated team arguably as highly respected as they are thus far.  You follow?  Vegas wants you to think the line has them on their heels, and this -125 drop in value is a desperate attempt at trying to save some financial face.  Don’t be fooled.  It’s a value parlor trick.

It goes without saying that the Broncos have a phenomenal defense.  They can do it all, but they unfortunately are paired with a vulnerable offense.  Look, I love Peyton Manning.  I’ve had him as captain of my fantasy team more than any other quarterback.  When he retires, he’s going in my league’s imaginary fantasy Hall of Fame wearing my franchises’ jersey, and no other team can fight me on that.  All that being said, Rodgers is the man now.  If there is one guy I trust to go into Denver and come out victorious — besides Brady — it’s Aaron.  Plus, his defense is more than capable of handling this inconsistent Bronco offense.  I’m not saying it will be easy, but I ride with Rodgers in this one.  I’m not getting sucked into this covert favorite.  As of now, the public isn’t biting either, with 74% on the side, along with 56% on the Green Bay moneyline.  Until I see an offense out of Denver that is much less sporadic, this one trick pony is getting put down on Sunday night.

Ain’t that right, Shelby? Oh, what? That’s what I thought. Shut up.

PACKERS -3(+105) & UNDER 45.5

CLASSIFICATION: PFC.  Possible PFHC by kickoff.  No audible unless the public takes the under, but how likely is that to happen, right?

COLTS +6.5(-120) @ PANTHERS -6.5(EVEN)




Hey, Carolina in The House!  Alright!  Jump in, Nina.  I’m so down with laying this -6.5.  Undefeated team.  I got Olsen tomorrow night.  Let’s roll, baby.


Oh, boy.  She read this week’s rundown, didn’t she?  Damn it.  I’m in trouble.  I gotta fix this.  Hold on.


Look, what do you want from me?  I’m an Eagles fan, and coming off a dominating performance against the Giants.  I thought we were getting some momentum, and PANTHERS -3 just seemed a little trappy, that’s all?  And I’m sorry I was harsh on Cam, and your boys in the rundown, ok?  I don’t think they suck, obviously.  I’m just interested to see how they do against a winning record, you can’t understand that?  Come on.  Get in the car.  I promise I’ll lay the -6.5.  Pretty please?


Phew.  That’s a relief.  Ok, I said following a PUBLIC/PUBLIC primetime combo week on the side means The House would hit one of these sides this week.  Since I’m currently with the public on PACKERS -3(+105), which I don’t think will flip, I am committed to whatever The House has on Monday night, regardless of the value distraction.  Right now, that’s Carolina.  I think this week will have a House Special  as well.  So, that means taking the UNDER 46.5.  We’ve still only had one MNF over hit, and it’s already Week 8.  That makes me exceptionally eager to root for the second over to be this week, but how much is on the under, Nina?


Let me check.  Not that far off.  It was at 24% an hour ago, but just dropped to 15%.  Man, that means if I want the over I have to ride 85%?  Nah.  Too rich for my blood.  I’ll pass.  House Special it is then.


CLASSIFICATION: HFS.  This could flip all kinds of ways by Monday night, so watch this like a hawk.

JUMP SHIP AUDIBLE: I have a sneaking suspicion that this could easily flip to a PFC.  If this is a People’s Favorite anything, we abort the PANTHERS -6.5, and grab the COLTS +6.5 and stick with the under.  That’s our Plan B.


Oh, jeez.  It’s not even Sunday, and I’m already in the dog house again…possibly literally, as well.




Good night, and good luck.

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