The advertising for sports services will often boast that they own the secret to “break you bookie”.
First, breaking my bookie is not my objective, the last thing I want is my sports book not having the money to pay me. And second, to categorize the books as the enemy is to tempt fate not unlike what second-year defensive back Anthony Smith did against the New England Patriots in 2007.
That year, the Patriots were marching to the first perfect regular season since the 1972 Miami Dolphins and when they were preparing for a week 11 encounter against the Steelers, the young defensive back called out the Patriots and their quarterback. He guaranteed a Steelers win over the undefeated Patriots.
The taunt inspired the talented Patriots to target the misguided safety and punish Pittsburgh during a 34-13 New England win. Jim Croce would have warned not to tug on Superman’s cape, while in the football world, Tom Brady is Superman.
Know what else Smith inspired with his faulty prediction for victory, the only point spread win for New England over the final 9 games they played that season. A campaign that ended with their only straight-up loss against a much more respectful and prepared New York Giants squad in Super Bowl XLII.
In 2007, the Patriots won and covered their first eight games, and in tenth week action, downed the Buffalo Bills by a 56-10 score. Ten games complete, ten wins and nine point spread covers for Bill Belichick and his dominant Patriots squad. After that Bills trouncing, the Patriots were an even easier wager for the bettors to make. New England wins and point spread covers were seemingly automatic.
But, do you know what happened after the Patriots blasted Buffalo, they continued to win straight up but the guys the ads say they know how to beat, got back their early season losses while the public was betting New England to the tune of the Patriots only covering that game against the Steelers over the rest of the 2007 season. The Patriots were 8-0 straight-up and 1-7 versus the point spread in their prior eight games entering the Super Bowl. That 17-14 loss to New York, ended the Patriots season on a 1-8 point spread run while the public continued to lay the points and take the losing side of the betting proposition.
The point is, trying to beat the books is not the way to make money from point spread results. The books are the smartest and most informed group around the game. When a National Football League coach is saying the availability of an injured quarterback is a game time decision, you can tell, usually by Thursday, whether that player is or isn’t going to play by how the line moves on the game.
The books don’t gamble.
If they don’t know, they don’t set a line. This week, the availability of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan is in question, and as of right now the books aren’t sure if he will or won’t play. But, they are not guessing, they simply aren’t posting a line on that game until they know his status. Even while Dan Quinn may continue to leave his availability in doubt, gaining a competitive edge over the Seattle Seahawks who now need to prepare for facing an Atlanta team with or without Ryan, the books will release Ryan’s availability long before Quinn.
The books will reflect the quarterback’s status with the point spread, and it will be illustrated by what number they post on the game.
In 2019, the public has a firm grasp on who the best and worst teams are in the NFL. The 7-0 Patriots have outscored their opponents by 175 points and this week added former Falcon receiver Mohamed Sanu to Brady’s offensive arsenal. The eight-year veteran going from Atlanta to New England is akin to being saved from the Titanic and picked up by a luxury yacht.
Any doubt on the defending Super Bowl Champions superiority over the league was put to rest on Monday Night with their 33-0 road win over the New York Jets. Any constraints the public may have had to back the Patriots are now erased, but do you think the books are in business to allow the public to win every week with the same team?
Not their mode of operation.
The books will punish the Patriots with point spreads that tip the advantage on the wagering propositions to their opponents, just like they did in 2007. At the same time, the public knows who the worst team is in the NFL, that being the winless Miami Dolphins who have been outscored by 148 points in their six losses.
Do you think the books will allow the public to cash tickets every week by simply betting against the worst team in the league?
The books manage the point spreads to entice the public into losing wagers. Now we will get to see these two extremes work magic for the smartest people in the game. My prediction, for the rest of the 2019 season, the Miami Dolphins will have a better point spread record than the New England Patriots.
Because that’s how the books want it.