Welcome to "Beauty vs. the Beast," a handicapping feature designed to track how the teams that are bet the most and the least at a given sportsbook in a given week fare. Each week, I'll put down a mythical 100 units on each of the games and see what happens.
For a special midseason edition of "Beauty vs. the Beast," we're making four picks this week as opposed to our normal two, and we're looking at the most- and least-popular clubs with bettors in the first half. We'll resume our established format in Week 10, but because it's midseason, and I wanted to take more of a season-long look, we changed things up a little bit this week.
At the MGM Resorts International sportsbooks in Nevada, the defending-champion Packers are getting a lot of love from bettors. Not a shocker. They're one of the midseason "Beauties."
The other team that's been especially popular? Why, it's the Bills, who are tied for first place in the AFC East. At the MGM, bettors have backed the Bills strongly since their Week Three win vs. New England, said Jay Rood, MGM's vice president of race and sports. The Bills, who were well-backed in that game, delivered.
"Everyone was sort of taking a leap of faith on them," he said.
Our "Beasts" are the Dolphins and Colts, the NFL's lone remaining winless clubs. We are quite familiar with Miami, which has twice before earned "Beast" status. The Colts, in horse-racing parlance, "lost all chance at the start." No need to discuss the details here.
Finally, a word on last week's "Beast" winner, the Rams. If ever there was a case to have made this a pointspread AND money-line experiment ... well, there it was. That may be something we explore. If you have any thoughts on how underdogs should generallly be bet, feel free to share them in the comments below.
Week Nine "Beauty vs. the Beast"
Beauty: Bills (-2½) vs. Jets; Packers (-5½) at Chargers
Beast: Dolphins (+4) at Chiefs; Colts (+7 / -120) at Falcons
Note: Lines as of Saturday
Profit / Loss: -336.36
"Wagers" to date
Beauty: Week Three (Lions -3) — PUSH; Week Four (Bills -3) — LOSS; Week Five (Lions -5½) — WIN, Week Six (Patriots -6½) — LOSS; Week Seven (Packers -9) — LOSS; Week Eight (Patriots -3) — LOSS.
Beast: Week Three (Chiefs +14½) — WIN; Week Four (Seahawks +4½) — WIN; Week Five (Jaguars -1½) — LOSS; Week Six (Dolphins +7) — LOSS; Week Seven (Dolphins -2) — LOSS; Week Eight (Rams +14) — WIN.