What are the Odds? Betting Against the Consensus

Doc's Sports | Oct 9, 2012 | ARCHIVE

Each week of the college football and NFL season, as the days progress from when the opening lines are first released, a consensus is formed as to which teams the betting public is heavily favoring. Right up until game time, the percentages are constantly being recalculated to reflect a confidence level in a team’s ability to cover the spread. Sometimes these percentages can soar into the mid-70s , but anything over 65 percent favoring one side over the other indicates a pretty strong vote of confidence for that particular matchup.

Going back to last week’s games starting with college football, there were seven matchups where the consensus was over 65 percent for a particular side. Boston College had the highest percentage at 71.25 that it would cover as a seven-point road favorite against Army. It went on to lose that game outright, 34-31. Air Force has the next highest percentage at 69.57 as a nine-point home favorite against Navy, and it lost straight-up as well, 28-21. If you would have bet one unit against the consensus in all seven of these games, you would have walked away with a record of 5-2 and $280 in your pocket.

Turning to last week in the NFL, there were four games where the consensus favoring one side over the other was greater than 65 percent. The consensus was all over the Packers at 73.08 percent as 6.5-point road favorites against Indianapolis, and we all know how that turned out. The next highest pick was 70.75 percent on Baltimore as a six-point road favorite against Kansas City. The Ravens could only manage a three-point win. Chicago came through with flying colors as a 70.57 percent consensus pick with a romp over Jacksonville, but Cincinnati was another consensus casualty at 66.17 percent with a 17-13 loss to Miami as a three-point home favorite.

That same one-unit wager against the consensus in all four of these NFL games would have netted you a quick $190. If you would have bet the opposite way of the consensus for all 11 of these high-confidence games, your weekend profit would have been $470.