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.
I'm going to throw a change-up this week. The theme is the same — one "beauty" selection and one "beast" pick — but the criteria is a little different. For this edition of "Beauty vs. the Beast," we're looking at the club that has fared the best vs. the spread — and the team that has been the worst to bettors.
This week's "beauty" is the 49ers, who are having a remarkable season on many levels. The NFC West champions long left their divisional competition behind. They have yet to lose back-to-back games all season. Indeed, the 49ers' consistency has been one of their calling cards.
Some would say the 2011 49ers' performance relative to the pointspread also will be one of the aspects by which they might be remembered. San Francisco is 11-2-1 against the spread. A flat 100-widget bet at the standard house vigorish of 10 percent — my preferred way of wagering, if you must know — would have left you up about 800 widgets on the season.
While the 49ers, who are 2½-point favorites at Seattle on Saturday, have been a wonderful wager, the Rams, their division foes, have not been. St. Louis has covered twice all season, both times as a underdog, in victories vs. New Orleans and at Cleveland. And those who wagered on them in Week 15, when they were seven-point underdogs to Cincinnati, got their money back, as the game was a "push" for betting purposes.
That's it for happy Rams-betting stories. Yes, a "push" can be that way. Don't look at me like you don't know what I'm talking about.
Anyway, a flat bet 100-widget bet on the Rams, a 14-point underdog at Pittsburgh Saturday, would have left you down close to 920 widgets on the season, assuming the normal house takeout.
This is the Rams' third appearance in the column. I'm proud to say that one of their covers came as our Week Eight "beast" pick, when they stunned the Saints. Their other appearance, alas, didn't go so well.
The 49ers defeated them 26-0.
Beauty: 49ers (-2½) at Seahawks
Beast: Rams (+14) at Steelers
Lines at Lucky's Race and Sports Book, per VegasInsider.com, as of Thursday night
Beauty: -727.27 (3-10-1 ATS)
Beast: -71.21 (7-7 ATS)
Profit / Loss: -798.48 (10-17-1 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; Week 15 (Patriots -7½) — 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; 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; Week 15 (Browns +7 / -120) — WIN.