Line analysis: Colts-Chiefs

0 Comments 📁 Slider 🕔19.December 2013
Line analysis: Colts-Chiefs

In what’s looking like a preview of an AFC wild-card game, Colts-Chiefs highlights one of the more intriguing games from a betting standpoint this weekend. Oddsmakers opened Kansas City predominately as 6.5-point favorites, a line that held at most shops through Wednesday night.

The biggest swing has come at the LVH, which initially hung Chiefs -5, then pushed the number all the way to 7 in three increments before dropping it back to 6.5 on Wednesday night, where it remained as of midday Friday.

Since the public is almost always swayed by recent performance, it’s no surprise that the ticket count heavily favored the Chiefs as of Friday afternoon, as 75 percent of tickets had come in on the home side. With Kansas City putting up a combined 101 points in blowout wins over the Redskins (45-10) and Raiders (56-31) in the last two weeks, recreational bettors have quickly forgotten about the three-game losing streak that preceded that outburst.

Given all the public action on KC, it’s noteworthy that the line has stuck at 6.5 at a few of the major books (MGM, Caesars) and didn’t move to 7 until Friday morning at some other big books (Wynn and Cantor properties). That’s usually a sign of sharp money on the ‘dog balancing out the public.

However, given that it’s unlikely either team will improve its standing – Kansas City would need to win out and have Denver lose to either the Texans or Raiders to gain the No. 1 seed; the Colts would need help from the Bengals to move into the 3-seed – there’s a decent chance either or both teams dial it down a bit since the most likely scenario has them meeting again in two weeks in Indianapolis.

Because of those unknowns, this is a game the wiseguys are probably not going to take a heavy stand on. If that is indeed the case, then what’s the explanation for the aforementioned books holding strong at 6.5 for such a good portion of the week?

What’s often overlooked is that oddsmakers are in the gambling business for a reason, and they often like to take a stand just like a bettor. Which is to say sometimes they’re not opposed to seeing one side getting pounded if they have a strong opinion on it.

For this matchup, the answer probably lies somewhere in between. The Colts have incentive to move up to the 3-seed and avoid the Chiefs in Round 1, and while they would need the Bengals to slip up once at home against either the Vikings or Ravens to do so, that scenario is far more plausible than the Broncos losing to a cream puff like Houston or Oakland.

So oddsmakers are probably more than happy to see everyone laying the points with a Kansas City team that very well may decide to keep some of its arrows in its quiver and prepare for a seemingly imminent wild-card clash in Indianapolis.

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