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.
At one major Nevada sportsbook, the betting public has a clear preference in Sunday's AFC title game.Professional bettors have also taken a strong position.
They happen to like different sides.
This ought to be interesting.
As of Friday evening, about 70 percent of the pointspread wagers taken at the LVH Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the AFC title game between the Ravens and Patriots had been on New England, Jay Kornegay, LVH's vice president of race and sports book operations, told PFW. Hence, the Patriots, for the fourth time this season, qualify for "beauty" status of purposes of this experiment. New England is a seven-point favorite vs. Baltimore.
While the betting public likes the Pats, sharp bettors prefer the Ravens. The sharps, Kornegay said, "know that this line is inflated a little bit."
Said Kornegay: "It's inflated because, one, it's the Patriots; two, it's the Ravens; and three, the Patriots were impressive last week."
The pointspread is a measure of public perception. We'll find out if indeed the Patriots are getting a touch too much respect from the betting public — or whether the public handicapped it correctly. New England's edge on offense is significant.
Which probably explains why the Under in Ravens-Pats isn't getting a lot of play at the LVH. The Under is Sunday's "beast" pick.
As for the NFC title game? Kornegay reported that the ticket count on Giants-49ers is "about even" but that he expected an increase in money on New York to come in over the weekend. The Niners were 2½-point favorites at the Hilton as of late Saturday morning, but Kornegay said he "wouldn't be surprised" if San Francisco closed as just a one-point favorite by game time.
Beauty: Patriots (-7) vs. Ravens
Beast: Ravens vs. Patriots (50) — UNDER
Lines at LVH Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, per VegasInsider.com, as of Saturday.
Beauty: -936.36 (4-13-1 ATS)
Beast: -287.88 (8-10 ATS)
Profit / Loss: -1,224.24 (12-23-1 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; Week 16 (49ers -2½) — LOSS; Week 17 (Giants -3) — WIN; Wild-card round (Steelers -8½) — LOSS; Divisional round (Saints -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; Week 15 (Browns +7 / -120) — WIN; Week 16 (Rams +14) — LOSS; Week 17 (Buccaneers +12) — LOSS; Wild-card round (Bengals +3) — LOSS; Divisional round (Texans +7½ / -120) — WIN.