You might be wondering why the point spread in Friday night’s Jets-Falcons game has jumped all the way from Jets -1 to -3 ¹/₂. That’s a huge move in football, even in an exhibition.
- It blew through the standard preseason “home field” value of 2-2 ¹/₂ points, meaning that the market went from thinking the Falcons were the superior “August” side initially, but now the Jets are seen as much more likely to play well.
- It blew through the key number of -3, which is important even though motivation for “overtime avoidance” takes some of its power away.
- It stayed at -3 ¹/₂ without any initial buy back on the underdog. The market settled on a price that discouraged Jets money … but hasn’t yet found an enticing price on the dog.
In other words, the “sharps” (professional wagerers) do like the Jets at -3 or better, but don’t like the Falcons at +3 ¹/₂. (Be sure you monitor line moves Friday to get a sense of public interest.)
Why the love for the Jets? Though veteran bettors prioritize “quarterback wars” that are likely to inspire peak effort deep into a game, the battle between Teddy Bridgewater and Sam Darnold to unseat Josh McCown is only part of the picture. Falcons coach Dan Quinn has made it clear that he doesn’t care much about preseason results.
Falcons’ preseason in 2017
- Atlanta (+1) lost at Miami, 23-20
- Atlanta (-3) lost at Pittsburgh, 17-13
- Atlanta (-3 ¹/₂) lost to Arizona, 24-14
- Atlanta (-3) lost to Jacksonville, 13-7
(0-4 straight up and against the spread)
This was a team with a great offense! Just 54 total points in four exhibitions. Atlanta lost as a road favorite in Pittsburgh (the Steelers care less about August than anyone), then lost a home-field dress rehearsal by double digits despite being favored by more than a field goal.
Be sure you “read between the lines” to find “buy” and “sell” teams in preseason betting. What you learn this week could pay off throughout the month.