Insider’s Vegas NFL wiseguy provides ATS picks for every divisional game
Updated: January 9, 2014, 2:10 PM ET
Dave Tuley | ESPN Insider
LAS VEGAS — Last weekend was a good time to be a dog-or-pass bettor.
Underdogs went 3-0-1 against the spread in the NFL’s wild-card round with three dogs pulling outright upsets (Colts closed as a home underdog and rallied to beat the Chiefs, Saints over Eagles and Chargers over Bengals) and the 49ers-Packers game ending in a point-spread push as the 49ers beat the Packers 23-20 as a 3-point road favorite. Heck, underdogs also went 5-0 ATS in the BCS bowl games, so it’s been good to be a dog bettor overall.
Personally, I went 2-0-1 with my picks here in this column with the Chiefs plus-2.5, Chargers plus-7 and Packers plus-3. It’s too bad that I passed at all as I wasn’t able to pull the trigger on the Saints. But considering the regular season I had, I’m not complaining.
As I wrote in my ESPN Insider “Opening Line” column on Monday, just because dogs went 3-0-1 ATS doesn’t mean that dogs are going to continue to come through in the playoffs (though I certainly hope so!). We still have to take it a game at a time and try to find the best plays.
This weekend’s divisional playoffs have three games that started with spreads over a touchdown and San Francisco opening as a road favorite at Carolina. According to handicapper Marc Lawrence’s database, there have been only two home underdogs and two pick ’ems in this round since 1990, and the home teams have won all four outright.
Here’s a look at the weekend’s matchups as I break down how the public and wiseguys have been viewing the games and then give my take.
Wild-card: 2-0-1 ATS with Chiefs plus-2.5 | Regular season: 55-62-3 (47 percent) ATS
Note: Public Consensus Pick percentages from ESPN Insider’s PickCenter as of Thursday morning.
Matchup: New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks
Spread: Seahawks minus-8
Public consensus pick: 62 percent picked Saints
Public perception: This line opened at Seahawks minus-7 Saturday night and was bet higher by early bettors (which are mostly sharps), but the public has been betting it back down. Both teams often get public support, but it looks like the public is seeing New Orleans’ 26-24 victory at Philadelphia, the first time the Saints have ever won a road playoff game, as a sign that they can get the job done away from home.
Wiseguys’ view: As stated above, the early bettors were on the Seahawks. The wiseguys won’t be as quick to assume that the Saints have gotten over their home/road dichotomy. The Saints were 1-7 ATS on the road this season and even though the Seahawks were a respectable though unspectacular 5-3 ATS at home (compared to 8-0 ATS last season), it’s still a lot harder to go into Seattle and win than to go into Philadelphia and pull off the feat. Wiseguys will also be teasing the Seahawks under a field goal (as will plenty of the public).
To see the rest of Dave Tuley’s ATS picks for every divisional playoff game, plus to gain access to all of Insider’s NFL and gambling content, you must be an ESPN Insider.
Dave Tuley has covered the Las Vegas race and sports book scene since 1998 and runs his own website, ViewFromVegas.com.