LAS VEGAS -- There's no such thing as a sure thing, especially when it comes to sports betting.
Case in point: Thursday night's Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans game. After being off the betting boards earlier this week due to Andrew Luck's questionable status, it opened pick-'em at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook on Wednesday morning. The first move went to Indianapolis -1, but then bettors started steaming in bets on Houston on speculation that Luck would be sidelined, and by the end of the day Houston was -2.5. After Luck was declared out Thursday morning, the line jumped the key number of 3 and kept climbing during the day as everyone jumped on the Texans' bandwagon and it closed Houston -5. In the Westgate's SuperContest, where the line was locked in at Houston -1, more proxies than usual were seen putting in plays for SuperContestants wanting to take advantage of the "free bingo square."
Well, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
The Colts jumped out to a 13-0 lead and held on for the 27-20 upset as 5-point road underdogs and +200 on the money line. It doesn't count in my record here, but that seemed like too much of an adjustment as I jumped on the Colts.
But I also lost my own sure thing. I bet under 45 before the Luck announcement and thought I had a solid play as the total got bet down to 41 at most books. That sharp bet looked like the right side early, but the Hail Mary at the end of the first half led to the game going over on Nick Novak's 49-yard field goal with 6:07 remaining.
Oddsmakers love to split the action and the betting results and they've done a good job of evening that out this year. Heading into this weekend, most of the ATS betting results we track are right around .500.
Week 5 betting results:
Home: 8-5 SU, 5-7-1 ATS (no home team in London game)
Favorites: 10-4 SU, 6-7-1 ATS
Home dogs: 2-3 SU, 2-2-1 ATS
Double-digit dogs: 0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS
Season to date (including Thursday night):
Home: 36-26 SU, 30-30-2 ATS (doesn't include London game)
Favorites: 38-23 SU, 29-30-2 ATS (doesn't include two pick 'ems)
Home dogs: 9-11 SU, 10-9-1
ATS double-digit dogs: 0-3 SU, 1-2 ATS
My records are also around .500 as I went 4-4 ATS last week on sides (I wish I hadn't added Cowboys +3 against the Saints after that game was put back up on the betting boards) and 2-1 on totals.
Last week: 4-4 ATS on sides, 2-1 on O/U
Season: 11-11 ATS on sides, 8-7 on O/U
But let's get going on the rest of this weekend's card. We'll take our normal look at how the public is viewing each matchup, what the wiseguys are thinking and I'll give my take on each game with either a side or total I like or at least a recommendation for a "pool play" if I don't like the game that much. Best bets will be marked with an asterisk (*) and those are the ones we grade as official plays.
Note: The listed spread for each game is from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook as of early Friday morning. The public consensus pick percentages are from ESPN Insider's NFL PickCenter, also as of Friday morning.
Spread: Buccaneers -2.5 (-120)
Public consensus pick: 62 percent picked Jaguars
Public perception: The public is backing