The favorites cover again in the NFL thru week 12 and Joe Public is walking around with a smile. It's happening so often here lately that he is already planning on what he is going to do with his newfound windfall. The water cooler talk at the office involves multiple different gambling gurus all sharing their perceived sixth sense ability to pick winners in the NFL.
Chalk went 12-4 against the number in week 12 (Jags, Ravens, Steelers, and Chiefs failed to cover) for another big week of favorites rolling in. Over the past two weeks, favorites are 22-7-1 hitting at slightly over a 75% clip during that time. This is great news for your average player who flocks to window Sunday morning to throw a few dollars on his favorite team. This is not great news for the books taking the action on the games.
Not only do the books take a lot of action from the public on favorites but they also take a large amount of action of heavy public parlays. These bets are normally easy money makers for the books but in recent weeks they have had a little more to sweat. Last week’s early slate was dominated by favorites and only a Buffalo Bills upset of the Kansas City Chiefs saved some of the big parlays from hitting early. According to one book manager in Vegas, it would have been twice as bad had the Bills not pulled the upset.
Just a Hot Week or Two?
While anything is possible in a single week or two this is a bit longer of a hot streak. The current streak of favorites covering has actually lasted quite a bit longer. Since starting 38-52 thru the first 6 weeks of the season NFL favorites have gone a blistering 54-24-7 since. This number includes a dominate November where they have gone 37-15-4. This represents the best month for favorites covering the spread in the modern Super Bowl era.
The NFL this year is the perfect storm of teams competing for playoff spots and tanking for draft picks. Once players start to realize who is really good the money starts to pour in. We just finished week 12 and people know the Eagles are really good, know the Vikings are good. So the public takes this perception of teams and really focuses their money on backing these good teams. This happening at this stage of the season has led to an even greater handle on favorites as opposed to earlier in the season when teams are still "proving themselves".
How Will They Make It?
All this easy winning makes you wonder how these Vegas and offshore books stay in business. You have to imagine that at some point the favorite stampede will come to a crashing halt. NFL favorites have covered the number 49.9% of all games since 2003. You have to figure at some time the recent run on favorites is coming back to the norm.
Until then the only advice I can give the casual gambler is to enjoy it. You don't see these type of things too many times in a lifetime so keep popping them while you can. I have to imagine the bookswill survive despite this prolonged favorite roll. Nevada sportsbooks still reported a $31.4 million dollar profit in October, their 51st straight winning month.