Yahoo is partnering with The Action Network during the football season to bring you expert sports betting information and analysis.
NFL spreads usually open up on Sunday evenings for the following week — and after they do, they’re almost immediately on the move. The early bets serve as a signal to bookmakers for what the “true” odds should be, and sportsbooks aren’t shy about adjusting on the fly if the market is telling them they missed the mark.
Betting earlier in the week is a key way to beat the closing line, which should be your goal as a bettor.
Our NFL experts hopped on three games early in an attempt to beat the market:
Ravens at Bengals (Odds: Ravens -10)
Bills at Browns (Odds: Browns -3)
Seahawks at 49ers (Odds: 49ers -6)
Let’s dive into the wagers and the thresholds at which they still have value.
Bengals +10 vs. Ravens
1 p.m. ET, Sunday
Last week was fun when the Ravens won and covered for against New England on Sunday night. But it’s money first and we are going against Baltimore after that emotional win.
Yes, it’s a great situational spot for the Bengals, who are coming off a bye and seeking their first win of the season against a division rival. And with new QB Ryan Finley under center, we expect a spirited effort from Cincinnati, which is now the only winless team in the NFL.
The Bengals aren’t good, but they are better than what the market has been implying this season. Just take a look at some of their competitive losses (and covers) this season against winning teams:
Lost by 1 at Seattle
Lost by 2 at Buffalo
Lost by 6 at Baltimore
Bottom line: This line simply came out too high this week, which is why we bet it at +10.5 and still like it at +10.
Cleveland -2.5 vs. Buffalo
1 p.m. ET Sunday
This is an ideal fade-the-public spot. Early returns per the Action Network app have 80 percent of the bets coming in on the 6-2 Bills. Despite this early action, the line has increased in some spots to Cleveland -3.
Buffalo has enjoyed a very easy strength of schedule, with their opponents only having a 31.9 percent (22-47) winning percentage. The Bills have faced the Jets (1-7), Giants (2-7), Bengals (0-8), Dolphins (1-7), and Redskins (1-8). No NFL team has faced all five of those teams at this point in the season.
Offensively, the teams are mirror images of each other, with both boasting strong running games but weak passing efficiency. Both Buffalo and Cleveland rank in the upper quartile in running efficiency and bottom quartile in passing efficiency.
Buffalo’s poor run defense will be a concern against Browns running back Nick Chubb, who has averaged 97.7 rushing yards per game at 4.83 yards per carry in home games.
The game is similar to Cleveland’s Week 6 matchup against Seattle, which the Browns lost 32-28 as a result of four turnovers.
Buffalo has struggled against the spread, going 1-2 in its last three games. Last week’s fourth-quarter cover at home against Washington also failed to inspire confidence.
With the majority of the public supporting the Bills on the road, we’ll side with Vegas against a Buffalo team that has enjoyed an easy slate of opponents up to this point.
Seahawks-49ers Over 46.5
8:15 p.m. ET, Monday
In what figures to be a very entertaining matchup on Monday Night Football, this over/under instantly caught our eye. The consensus line opened at 44 and we have already seen the market move it up to 46.5.
The Bet Labs model that we use to simulate the season projects this total at 51, making this the largest edge on the board for Week 10. In what the public may see as a matchup between two defensive powerhouses just a few years ago now features two prolific offenses, including an MVP candidate in Russell Wilson.
We took the over at the open but would still recommend a bet on the over up to 47.5.
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