NFL Week 7 “Sharps vs. Squares” Report
Sharps vs. squares. It’s the biggest battle in the sports betting world, akin to the Hatfields and McCoys. The sharps are the professional bettors, while the squares are the average Joes of the betting world. These two sides often don’t see eye-to-eye on the same game, which creates an exciting dynamic in the betting market.
One of the easiest ways to track these “sharps vs. squares” matchups is by looking at the betting tickets vs. the betting dollars on each side of a given game. The sharps tend to place significantly larger bets, while the squares account for more betting tickets. When those numbers don’t align, there’s a good chance that they disagree.
Let’s dive into some of the biggest “sharps vs. squares” showdowns in Week 7.
All lines courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) – 46.5 total
The narrative around the Ravens has changed pretty drastically of late. They’ve won five straight games after losing to the Raiders in Week 1, including a thorough dismantling of the Chargers last week. They also have an upset win over the Chiefs this season, so there’s some legit buzz building that this might be the best team in the AFC.
However, the Ravens have still had some hiccups during their winning streak. They barely squeaked past the Lions in Week 3, and they trailed the Colts by 16 points in the fourth quarter before staging a ferocious comeback.
The sharps have liked the Bengals for most of the year, and they’re siding with them again in this contest. They’ve received 66% of the spread dollars on just 45% of the tickets.
Carolina Panthers (-3.0) @ New York Giants – 43.0 total
The public just cannot get behind the Giants at this point. Not only are they 1-5 this season, but they’ve also been decimated by injuries of late. They recently had to place left tackle Andrew Thomas on IR, and virtually every significant skill-position player is dealing with an ailment.
However, the sharps still don’t think the Panthers deserve to be three-point road favorites. They started the year at 3-0, but that was against an easy schedule. They’ve poorly regressed over the past three weeks, particularly quarterback Sam Darnold. He’s contributed seven turnovers and averaged just 4.23 adjusted yards per attempt, so it’s hard to justify the Panthers being road favorites against almost any squad at the moment.
Chicago Bears @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-12.5) – 47.0 total
Could this game be closer than expected? The sharps seem to think so. The Bears have received 41% of the spread tickets, but they’ve accounted for 64% of the spread dollars. That’s one of the most significant discrepancies of the week.
The Bears haven’t been pretty with Justin Fields under center, but they have been effective. They’ve won two of their past three games, and the loss was by 10 points to the Packers. The Buccaneers have been shaky on defense this season – they rank 16th in Football Outsiders defensive DVOA – so Fields will have some opportunities to make plays. Even if the Bucs do take control of the game, the Bears could have a shot for a late backdoor cover.
Atlanta Falcons (-2.5) @ Miami Dolphins – 47.0 total
The battle in this game is taking place on the total. The over has received a slight majority of the bet tickets, but the under has received 77% of the dollars.
The Dolphins are a bit banged up at the moment, and they have to suit up this week after playing in London last Sunday. Teams typically opt for the bye after an overseas game, but Miami declined in favor of a week off later in the year.
The good news is that the Dolphins are expected to have both of their starting cornerbacks back in the lineup. Xavien Howard and Byron Jones both missed last week’s game vs. the Jaguars, so that’s a significant upgrade to their secondary.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots (-7.0) – 42.5 total
The over/under tickets on this game have been split 50/50, but the over has received 95% of the dollars. That indicates plenty of sharp interest on that side.
Neither of these teams has been good offensively this year, but they’ve also struggled on defense. The Jets are coming off their bye week, so they could also be a bit more prepared on that side of the ball than usual.
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