Blink of an eye.
Faster still. That is how quick the public will turn towards or away from a National Football League team. A squad that everyone was against last week, suddenly looks like the best bet on the board this week.
For illustration purposes, I offer the 2019 Tennessee Titans. Last week, the public bet on a 14 game streak to end, when they backed the Cleveland Browns over the visiting Titans in their home opener. The Browns haven’t won a game on opening day since 2004, and last year they snapped a 13 game opening day losing streak with a tie against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium, 21-21.
Despite this history, the public streamed to the windows to get down on Cleveland last week not only to end their 14 year streak without an opening day win, but to do it by more than a touchdown. The Browns opened as a five point underdog, and that number swelled to six points, before closing with the Browns favored by 5½.
Last Sunday, the Browns extended their streak without an opening day win to 15, and the Titans got all the credit.
The final score, Tennessee downing Cleveland 40-13, looks like a blowout. But before a 21-0 fourth quarter in favor of the Titans, this was a competitive battle. Most people reading stats will think the Titans crushed the Browns last week, when a closer examination will simply show that the Titans won in a great motivational spot against a Browns team with expectations through the roof.
While the public bet against the Titans by a 2 to 1 margin last week, this week they are backing Tennessee as a home favorite over the Indianapolis Colts. In their first game since Andrew Luck announced his retirement, the Colts gave the Los Angeles Chargers all they could handle before falling in overtime, 30-24.
The Colts come off that disappointing loss with a second straight road game, and the Titans open their home schedule after their victory in Cleveland. With that as a backdrop, the public decided the team they were dead set against last week, the Tennessee Titans, this week are a lock barrel cinch. Again, a Titans game has created a 70 - 30 split in the wagering, but this week the public is on Tennessee.
Winning as a bet-against road underdog is a lot easier path to victory than carrying the weight of high expectations as a bet-on home favorite.
The Colts beat the Titans twice last year, and now they are getting points in the sweetest of situations. Picture it this way, motivation is like the jockey weight a horse has to carry in a race. By my calculations, last week the Titans were carrying 20 pounds less than the Browns, and this week, 20 pounds more than the Colts.
The Titans were on the field last week when the Browns lost; this Sunday, they will be on the field when the Colts win.
Qoxhi Picks: Indianapolis Colts (+3½) over Tennessee Titans