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.
"A lot of these teams have had a roller coaster of popularity," Jay Kornegay, the vice president of race and sports book operations at the Las Vegas Hilton, was saying of NFL teams late this week.
The three clubs whose popularity with bettors has remained fairly static, Kornegay said, are the Packers, 49ers and Colts. Green Bay and San Francisco are on the positive side of that ledger, with Indianapolis ... ugh, yes, Indianapoiis.
Moving along ...
Right now, the Buccaneers' popularity is rather low with bettors, Kornegay said. They have struggled recently, losing three in a row. Also, they have covered in just one of their last six games. Couple all this with the Packers' lofty standing with bettors, and the Bucs make a second straight appearance as our "Beast" of the week.
Our Week 11 "Beauty" is the Cowboys. (The Packers, as of Friday afternoon, were technically more popular with bettors, but obviously, we're not playing both sides of the line.)
Dallas, which rolled to victory vs. Buffalo last week, is a seven-point road favorite at Washington on Sunday. Road favorites have not exactly fared well in the beauty role (1-4-1 ATS). But who knows? Maybe that roller coaster is back on the way up.
Beauty: Cowboys -7 at Redskins
Beast: Buccaneers +14 at Packers
Note: Lines as of Friday
Profit / Loss: -554.54
"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; Week 10 (Ravens -6½) — 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; Week Nine (Dolphins +4) — WIN; Week Nine (Colts +7) — LOSS; Week 10 (Buccaneers +3) — LOSS.