Reverse Line Movement and Fishy Lines for NFL Week 2
Reverse Line Movement and Fishy Lines for NFL Week 2
As we enter the second Sunday of the NFL season, line manipulation and overreactions become the sports betting story of the week. Fishy lines, otherwise known as reverse line movement, is a great way to see how the bigger, sharper bets, move the lines. The odds for this week’s games have been out since as early as September 3rd. Let’s compare how those odds have moved against the public since early September on the FanDuel SportsBook.
Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys (1:00 PM ET)
The Dallas Cowboys opened around 6.5-point home favorites versus the Atlanta Falcons. Despite Dallas getting 64% of bets as of Friday, September 18th, the line has moved against the Cowboys. The Falcons are now getting 4.5 points this weekend in Dallas. If the Cowboys were to have beaten the Rams last week, this line likely would have crossed seven. However, both these teams are still searching for their first win of the season and there is cause for concern on both sides.
Last week, Atlanta lost to Seattle 38-25. The Falcons offense was on fire. Quarterback Matt Ryan was 37 of 54 for 450 yards and two touchdowns. Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage had 100+ receiving yard performances as well. Although the offense racked up stats, it was not enough. Atlanta allowed Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson to complete 31 of 35 passes for 322 yards and four touchdowns. The play that opened up the game came with 9:41 to play in the third quarter when Seahawks receiver DK Metcalf ran right by Falcons cornerback Isaiah Oliver on a fourth-and-short play for a 38-yard touchdown making it 21-12 Seattle.
As for Dallas, bettors are concerned for this injured Cowboys defense. Starting middle linebacker Leighton Vander Esch landed on injured reserve after breaking his collarbone in the first quarter of last week’s loss to the Rams. He’ll be out six to eight weeks after surgery to repair the fracture. Eleven-year veteran linebacker Sean Lee will also spend at least the first three weeks of the season on IR following recent sports hernia surgery.
Both these teams have a ton of depth at receiver and concerns on the defensive side of the ball. It’s the highest total on the board at FanDuel at 54 and rightfully so. This game won’t come down to which offense is better. It will come down to which defense can finally make a stop. Dallas will have fans at AT&T Stadium on Sunday. I give a slight edge to Dallas as I think they can make adjustments with a lot of depth at defense. Atlanta hasn’t figured out their defensive issues in three years.
Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts (1:00 PM ET)
The public is loving the 0-1 Minnesota Vikings getting points on the road this week. The Vikings opened as 2.5-point road dogs in Indianapolis. Despite the Vikings getting 83% of the bets, the line has moved from -2.5 to -3 favoring the Colts. Both these teams lost last week with the Vikings losing to NFC North rivals the Green Bay Packers 43-34 and the Colts losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-20.
The loss to the reigning NFC North champion Packers does not seem as bad as the Colts being outscored 13-3 in the second half by the Jaguars. I am not going to overreact to this line movement because it’s only a half a point. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins usually performs poorly against the Packers anyway. He had two of his worst quarterback ratings of the season last year against Green Bay. Plus, last week the Colts offense was 2-for-5 in the red zone while the Vikings were 3-for-4. It’s definitely a line to monitor going into Sunday afternoon; however, I think this is a good spot to take the points with the better offense, which is the road dog, the Vikings.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1:00 PM)
The reverse line movement in this game is in the total. On September 3rd, the total for Panthers-Buccaneers was listed at 48.5. That total has gone down to 47.5 despite 63% of bets on the over. Last week, the over hit in the Panthers and Buccaneers games. Both teams gave up 34 points to their opponent, leaving public bettors to think the same can happen again.
There are injury concerns on the Buccaneers side. Pro Bowl wide receiver Chris Godwin has been in concussion protocol all week and is doubtful for Sunday’s game. Three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury. Evans did not have a catch in the first 57 minutes of Sunday’s opener. His only reception was on a two-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Tom Brady with 2:41 left in the game.
As for the Panthers, it is one of the youngest defenses in the league. All seven of the Panthers draft picks this year were on the defensive side of the ball. With a veteran, future Hall of Fame quarterback in Brady across the line of scrimmage, Carolina’s defense can struggle. The status of the Bucs wide receivers becomes the main question. If Godwin or Evans are limited or out the early line move to the under could be warranted.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (1:00 PM ET)
The conversation surrounding this game in the sports betting world has been on the spread. Tennessee was an 11-point favorite in this game leading up to week one. After the Titans close win over the Denver Broncos 16-14 and the Jaguars win over the Colts 27-20, the spread dropped to the Titans laying 7.5. It’s not fishy though as 73% of bets are on Jacksonville. The reverse line movement in this game comes with the total.
On September 3rd, this total was booked at 42.5. Since then, the total has gone up to 44 despite 81% of bets to the under. Last Friday we saw the same type of early action in the Jaguars game. The total in Jaguars-Colts rose by a point despite 85% of bets being on the under. The public seems to believe the Jaguars will struggle to score every week, especially against a stout Titans defense. That might be the Titans reputation, but last year, Tennessee was 11-8 to the over.
The only caveat is the Titans will be without their number one wide receiver in AJ Brown who is out with a bone bruise on his knee. With that being said, the Titans wide receiver Corey Davis still had a 101-receiving yard performance on 7 receptions last week. Running back Derrick Henry also rushed for 116 yards on 31 carries. I’ll definitely be monitoring this total throughout the weekend.