NFL Line Movement (1/2/15)

By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
Line movements for the NFL Wild Card Weekend including prop bets. Lines courtesy of Bovada.lv.



Playoffs! With the NFL Playoffs starting Saturday, we pause to look at some of the more interesting games in Wild Card Weekend to see how the current lines got where they are today.

Plus fun prop bets for the NFL Wild Card Weekend.

Arizona @ Carolina – Saturday 4:20 PM


This line opened Panthers -4 with 65 percent of the action on Carolina to cover. On Tuesday afternoon the line started to move. The consensus is now Carolina -6.5 but it is doubtful the line climbs as high as a touchdown.

How many Wild Card teams will win this weekend?
  • Over 1.5: +150
  • Under 1.5: -180

We are predicting no Wild Card teams to win, but all four have at least a 32% chance of advancing to the Divisional Round.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh– Saturday 8:15 PM


The Steelers opened as greater than field goal favorites against the Ravens. The action on this game favors Pittsburgh with nearly 70 percent of the bets being placed on Big Ben and company. However, despite the line peaking at Pittsburgh -4, the Steelers are now favored by just the standard home field advantage (3 points).

Will a Wild Card team win the Super Bowl?
  • Yes: +900
  • No: -1800

Last year, the odds on this prop bet were 4/1 that a Wild Card team would win the Super Bowl. A year ago our NFL Playoff Odds predicted that a Wild Card team had a 14.1 percent chance of winning it all. This year, there is just a 5.5 percent chance that a Wild Card team runs the table.

There is no value in betting that a Wild Card team will win the Super Bowl this year.

Cincinnati @ Indianapolis– Sunday 1:05 PM


There has been serious buy back on this game. Indianapolis opened as a six point favorite. Though the money is evenly split on this game the line has continued to decrease.

The Colts are now three point favorites at home over Andy Dalton and the Bengals. The over/under in this game has also been bought down. The total opened at 51.5 but is now at 49 points.

Who will record the most Passing Yards Wild Card Weekend?
  • Andrew Luck (IND): 7/4
  • Ben Roethlisberger (PIT): 2/1
  • Matthew Stafford (DET): 4/1
  • Tony Romo (DAL): 7/1
  • Joe Flacco (BAL): 10/1
  • Andy Dalton (CIN): 12/1
  • Cam Newton (CAR): 15/1

Ben Roethlisberger threw for nearly 200 more passing yards than Andrew Luck in the regular season but the Colts young star is the favorite to win this prop bet.

We project Luck to throw for 287.9 passing yards, nearly 30 yards shy of Roethlisberger's projected total in Wild Card Weekend. Big Ben is projected to throw for 314.7 passing yards against Baltimore.

Detroit @ Dallas – Sunday 4:40 PM


The Cowboys opened as the only favorites of a touchdown or more in Wild Card Weekend. Dallas opened favored by eight points but the consensus line quickly became the Boys by a touchdown at home.

More than 70 percent of the wagers placed on this game have been on Dallas. This is not surprising. The Cowboys tend to be over-bet when playing at home, as favorites and following a win.

"The Seahawks and Patriots remain clear favorites to meet in the Super Bowl, but we have seen quite a bit of support for the Dallas Cowboys who have already dropped from 9-1 to 15-2 and continue to be bet."

-Kevin Bradley, Sports Book Manager, Bovada.lv

As we noted above, Dallas tends to be over-bet as a public team. This tendency applies not only to game bets but to future bets such as odds to win the Super Bowl. At 15-2 odds, the Cowboys are the fifth favorites to win it all.

According to our NFL Playoff Odds, Dallas is as likely to win it all as the Wild Card Baltimore Ravens. Seattle, Denver, New England and Green Bay are all serious favorites to win the Super Bowl, we give each team double-digit odds to win it all.