Reverse Line Movement and Fishy Lines for NFL Week 5
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
The Baltimore Ravens host AFC North rivals the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon. It’s the first matchup between two of the division’s Heisman Trophy winners in Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson versus Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Nothing is fishy about the spread with over 60% of bets on Cincinnati and the line moving from -13 to -12.5 on Baltimore. However, when it comes to the total, that is where things get interesting.
The total for this game opened up around 52. Throughout the week, it’s gone down to 50.5. With 61% of bets on the over, and the line declining, it signals sharp reverse line movement to the under. The Ravens’ offense averages 30.5 points per game, which is seventh-most in the NFL. For the Bengals, they’ve averaged 28.7 points in their last three games.
It makes sense the public thinks this Heisman quarterback duo will create a high scoring game. Here’s why the public could be wrong. First, look at who the Bengals have played in the last three weeks (Browns, Eagles, and Jaguars). They are all bottom-15 defenses in points allowed per game. The Ravens rank fourth, allowing just 18.3 points per game this season. Aside from maybe the Los Angeles Chargers week one, this will be Burrow’s toughest competition yet.
A positive for the Bengals, they’re expecting the return of Pro Bowl defensive tackle Geno Atkins. Atkins is returning from a shoulder injury, which kept him sidelined the season’s first four games. The Ravens are third in the league in rushing, while the Bengals have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards in the NFL.
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys
Another divisional rivalry with reverse line movement. Go figure. As road dogs, the Giants are getting some sharp love. This line opened with the Cowboys laying 11.5 points at home. That line has moved down to 8.5. With 64% of the public on Dallas, yet the line moving in favor of New York, we have another fishy line.
The Cowboys were the favorites preseason to win this division at -105. For some reason, having the worst defense in the NFL still doesn’t scare off Cowboys backers. Yes, the Giants are still searching for their first win in 2020, but as a preseason division favorite with just one win against another winless opponent, is it really worth laying almost double-digit points?
Dallas allows an average of 36.5 points per game, ranking last in the NFL. Believe it or not, the Giants have the fifth-best defense in the league, allowing an average of 328.3 yards per game. New York limited the Los Angeles Rams to 17 points last week. That’s almost ten points lower than their season average of 26.5 points. I’m not saying the Giants will win outright, but I’d second guess laying eight or more points with a team that has one win in four games.