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 betting public likes the Patriots on Sunday at Denver. I am a little surprised.
"Even against Tebow?" I asked Jay Rood, vice president of race and sports at MGM Resorts International.
"I think because it's against Tebow," Rood said. "And I think the price came out a little short."
The Patriots opened as six-point favorites against the AFC West-leading Broncos, who are 7-1 since Tim Tebow became their starting quarterback. As of Friday afternoon, the Pats were favored by 7½.
The half-point can mean all the difference in the world. Why, those who bet the Broncos at minus-3 last week got their money back when Denver won by a field goal in OT. Those who laid 3½ got nothing, unless watching the Broncos celebrate another out-of-this-world win made them happy.
Would I lay 7½ against the Broncos right now? Um, no. The thought is making me look for something sturdy under which to hide.
But I scare easily. Plenty of bettors at the MGM have no such fear. I salute their courage. They have made the Pats our "beauty" selection for Week 15.
Our "beast" is ... the Browns. Neither professional nor casual bettors are showing much interest in Cleveland, a seven-point underdog at Arizona.
"The Browns are pretty much getting not a look from anyone right now," Rood said on Friday.
Browns-Cardinals and Patriots-Broncos air at the same time on Sunday. AFC North duty calls for yours truly. Cleveland-Arizona it is for me. But will someone holler at around 6:30 or so?
Thank you in advance.
Beauty: Patriots (-7½) at Broncos
Beast: Browns (+7 / -120) at Cardinals
Note: Lines as of Friday
Beauty: -818.18 (2-10-1 ATS)
Beast: -154.54 (6-7 ATS)
Profit / Loss: -972.72 (8-17-1 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; Week 14 (Broncos -3½) — 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; Week 14 (Cardinals +4) — WIN.