Reverse Line Movement and Fishy NFL Lines for Wild Card Weekend
Welcome to NFL Wild Card Weekend! In case you’re new to these articles, fishy lines target reverse line movement in the marketplace. If the public is on one side, but the line moves in the opposite direction, it likely means smart money came in, and the book readjusted.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team
Saturday, 8:15 PM ET
This game’s total has seen the most movement of any games on the slate. The FanDuel Sportsbook posted 46.5 to open. That number has now dropped to 44.5. With 61% of bets backing the over, the smart money is coming in on this under. It’s no surprise the public is backing every over on the wild card slate; however, this is the under I love the most.
Washington has one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, ranking fifth with 47 sacks this season. As for Washington’s total defense, they are second-best in the NFL, allowing 304.6 total yards/game. Only the Los Angeles Rams have allowed less, giving up 281.9 yards/game. Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has struggled in the past against a dominant pass rush. That poured into this season, too, where Brady was sacked a season-high three times in three of Brady’s five losses. The Bucs have protected Brady well, allowing the fourth-least sacks with 22. However, aside from the New York Giants, this is the best defensive front the Bucs have seen all season.
My play: I’ll tease this total up to 50.5 and bet the under in addition to another game. A two-team teaser on FanDuel is -120.
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
Saturday 4:40 PM ET
The movement on the spread for this game is confusing. Sometimes, it’s a sportsbook readjustment when the line moves, while other times, it can be due to smart money. According to FanDuel Sportsbook’s Director of Trading John Sheeran, he said the movement in the Rams-Seahawks game is a mix of both. The spread opened up Seahawks -4.5 yet has moved to -3 despite 75% of bets backing Seattle.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff dislocated his thumb on his right throwing hand two weeks ago. Goff got surgery and missed the Rams Week 17 matchup with the Arizona Cardinals. Rams backup quarterback John Wolford won that game 18-7. That’s when the line came out at Seattle -4.5. When the video was released earlier this week of Goff throwing at practice, I thought maybe the book readjusted because it would be Goff instead of Wolford under center.
If it is a mix of smart money and book readjustment, I could see a world where sharps like the Rams despite who’s at quarterback. The Rams are the best defense in the NFL, allowing 281.9 total yards/game. Los Angeles is No. 1 against the pass and No. 3 against the run. The Seahawks went from being the No. 1 scoring offense in the first nine weeks of the season, averaging 34 points per game, to now 16th scoring offense averaging 22 PPG. Something’s been up with this Seattle offense, and if there’s any defense that can expose an offense’s struggles, it is the best defense in the league in the Rams.