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.
Another week, another road favorite as our "beauty."
This week, it's the Ravens, last seen completing a season sweep of the rival Steelers, who earn this distinction. Baltimore, tied for first place in the AFC North, plays at struggling Seattle on Sunday.
"It's a little odd," said Chris Andrews, the assistant sportsbook director at Club Cal Neva, which has sportsbooks throughout Nevada. "Guys like to bet on great offensive teams. And Baltimore definitely is not that."
But Baltimore is a road favorite, and a road favorite holds appeal to bettors, Andrews said, perhaps because of the belief that they are "getting the better team" at a lower line than they would be getting if the club were playing at home.
Technically, the Seahawks, who aren't getting many bets placed on them at all at Club Cal Neva, would get our "Beast" distinction for Week 10 if we strictly stuck to our rules. Of course, we're not going to take both sides of that line.
Instead, we'll go with another home underdog, Tampa Bay, which hosts Houston. Andrews joked that this is the sort of game that bettors are fond of calling a "trap" when the home team pulls the upset.
"I've never heard a bookmaker say, 'We're going to lay the trap for them,' " Andrews said. "Never heard it once."
We leave you with a few more words of wisdom from Andrews on the subject:
"Bookmakers never trap anybody. You trap yourself."
Beauty: Ravens (-6½) at Seahawks
Beast: Buccaneers (+3 / +100) vs. Texans
Note: Lines as of Saturday
Profit / Loss: -354.54
"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; Week Nine (Bills -2½) — LOSS; Week Nine (Packers -5½) — WIN.
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; Week Nine (Dolphins +4) — WIN; Week Nine (Colts +7) — LOSS.