Point spread moves in the National Football League are as significant to what is going to happen in a football game as a weather report is in determining how to dress or if you should carry an umbrella.
Case in point is the move on tonight’s contest in Indianapolis when the Colts host the Baltimore Ravens. This is the third preseason game for Baltimore, who opened with a win in the Hall of Fame Game over the Chicago Bears and blew out the visiting Los Angeles Rams last week.
There is good reason to like the Ravens in the preseason. They have three quarterbacks battling for the starting role and the number two and three spots on the depth chart. Incumbent Joe Flacco is expected to maintain his starting job, but he is going to be challenged this season by Lamar Jackson and replaced in the starting lineup by the rookie in seasons to come. Then there is one time first pick in the draft quarterback Robert Griffin III, who is capable of moving the Ravens particularly when inserted against vanilla preseason defenses.
Is it any wonder that nearly 70% of the wagers on this game tonight is favoring the now road favorite Ravens?
But, if we examine the point spread shifts on this game one can see that the smart money is not with the crowd.
The first “outlaw” line on this game had the contest pegged as a pick ‘em. The “outlaw” line is the first number the linemakers will release to a group of wise guys to get a look at their preferences, and off their action the linemakers will adjust a number before the books post it. This week, the wise guys jumped all over the Colts as a pick ‘em and the first number the books posted was the Colts as a 1½ point favorite.
The public swooped in on Baltimore and in response the books moved the number to pick ‘em. Then on Saturday, my numbers also showed that the sharpest books moved the Colts back to a one-point favorite despite the heavy public action on Baltimore.
Yesterday, the public continued to bang on the Ravens and in response to this heavy action the books moved Baltimore first to a 1 point favorited and today to a 2 point favorite.
What does this mean?
Well, the wise guys are seeing what I’m seeing, and that is that despite the great stable of quarterbacks with the Ravens, the Colts have their own quarterback strength. Andrew Luck is working himself back into playing shape after missing last season with an injury. That means, Indianapolis will play him longer tonight and that will dictate they keep their front line offense on the field to protect Luck.
The wise guys liked Indianapolis as a pick ‘em, now we can have them with two points. When you can get the right side of a wager with an enhanced point spread it doesn’t matter if it’s the regular season or preseason … it’s a percentage play.
Qoxhi Picks: Indianapolis Colts (+2) over Baltimore Ravens