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.
The half-point. The point of no-return for the handicapper. A stop sign. Such a small unit, a half-point, but it looks like a mountain when you lose.
The Broncos are favored by a field goal and that dreaded half-point vs. Chicago on Sunday. They are 1-4 against the spread at home this season. They are 2-12 ATS as favorites of more than a field goal since 2008.
So is the half-point stopping many bettors from backing Denver at one of Nevada's biggest sportsbook chains? Not exactly, said Todd Fuhrman, race and sports book analyst at Caesars Entertainment. Handicappers, Fuhrman said, were showing "no hesitation in laying the 3½" at the Caesars sportsbooks, Fuhrman told PFW on Friday.
The Broncos are our "beauty" pick for Week 14. Our "beast" is Arizona, which is a four-point home underdog to San Francisco. And that's understandable, as San Francisco has covered in 10-of-12 games this season, with one push.
"The Niners have been an ATM machine," Fuhrman said.
The Cardinals, who defeated the Cowboys in overtime on Sunday, are 6-5-1 ATS on the season, but they fell to San Francisco just three weeks ago.
Here's a case where I wouldn't mind having the half-point, but such is life for the handicapper.
Beauty: Broncos (-3½) vs. Bears
Beast: Cardinals (+4) vs. 49ers
Note: Lines as of Friday afternoon
Beauty: -718.18 (2-9-1 ATS)
Beast: -245.45 (5-7 ATS)
Profit / Loss: -963.63 (7-16-1 ATS)
"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; Week 11 (Cowboys -7) — LOSS; Week 12 (Cowboys -7) — LOSS; Week 13 (Packers -6) — 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; Week 11 (Buccaneers +14) — WIN; Week 12 (Lions +6) — LOSS; Week 13 (Rams +13½) — LOSS.