Submitted by Wayne Allyn Root on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 2:23 PM
Wayne Root: Finding NFL Dress Rehearsal Upsets
If you're like most of the wagering public, you're chomping at the bit to bet those cheap home favorites during dress rehearsal weekend. The games are being played at regular season intensity...and all of those short favorites seem irresistible. You just KNOW the home teams are going to show up and play well because they don't want to be embarrassed in front of their home fans.
Well there surely are a few great bets out there on cheap home favorites. I've won a few of those already this month. But, THE KING OF UPSETS wants you to be aware that underdogs do cover and WIN dress rehearsal games on a regular basis. In fact, a year ago this week...
Underdogs went 8-8 straight up!
Underdogs went 10-6 against the spread!
And, that was against a lot of cheap prices. In fact, many of the taller favorites won and covered because the market already knew that the favorite would be showing up while the underdog wasn't well positioned to perform.
Here's a quick review of the eight outright winners in the 2014 dress rehearsals...
NY Giants (+1.5) beat the NY Jets 35-24
This is a neutral field game of course. And, as a former New Yorker...born as a true S.O.B. (son of a butcher!), you know I'll be paying close attention again this year. Note that the Giants fell behind early...but won the second half 28-14. Important to remember that backups can still play a big role in covering Las Vegas pointspreads even in the dress rehearsals.
Tampa Bay (+3) won at Buffalo 27-14
This one shocked a lot of people. Tampa Bay jumped ahead 24-0 in the first half before coasting home. There were some cheap points involved, but that happens all the time in the NFL.
Tennessee (+4) won at Atlanta 24-17
Another rally spot, as Tennessee won the second half 14-0 to score the upset.
St. Louis (+3) won at Cleveland 33-14
This was the game where Sam Bradford was lost for the season. The Rams were dominant anyway, jumping to a 24-7 first half lead before coasting home.
New Orleans (+1) won at Indianapolis 23-17
Not much of an upset because the market had the game near pick-em. That tells you something right there that oddsmakers and sharps weren't giving the Colts much credit for home field. New Orleans led 20-10 at halftime.
Minnesota (+3) won at Kansas City 30-12
Big performance here from the Vikings...who won the first half 10-5 as the visitor...then pulled away to a blowout victory. Will Minnesota do the same thing this week at Dallas as a small road dog (or will they be bet to a small favorite by game time?!)
Houston (+7) won at Denver 18-17
The Texans rallied from a 17-7 halftime deficit to win the game. Another reminder that even good teams may not care about what happens in the second half once their starters are out of the game. Many expected a Broncos blowout. Didn't happen.
Cincinnati (+2.5) won at Arizona 19-13
The Bengals were up 13-3 at the half and coasted. Arizona was one of a few teams that laid really big eggs at home in the first half of a dress rehearsal where they were supposed to be at peak intensity. Not all teams are capable of accelerating when the red light turns to green.
That's all eight of them. Seven of the eight losers couldn't make it past 17 points. There weren't any complete shut downs because favorites want to make sure they get something on the board even if they've fallen behind. But...multiple offenses disappointed...which is a reminder that the same thing is likely to happen again this week!
Now, I obviously can't tell you who I'm picking over the next few days. That wouldn't be fair to my paying customers. I also have to be careful not to give too much information away because I don't want to influence the market. I will say the following...
*I think there are some very strong hints in the 2014 results you just read regarding which teams will over-perform or under-perform this week in the 2015 dress rehearsals. I'm basing this on coaching philosophies...and that's all I'm going to say about that!
*Handicapping turnovers is always difficult...but it's less difficult when you're talking about young quarterbacks, or teams who are trying to install a new offensive schematic. See if you can figure out which offenses are most likely to have first half turnover troubles this week. Upsets are going to happen when mistake-prone favorites kick the ball around through the first half.
*Don't forget to pay attention to the quality of #2 quarterbacks across the league. You don't want to be laying points with a host that's going to be getting the worst of it in the fourth quarter when backups are on the field. Try to find "insurance" quarterbacks who can help you cash your ticket even if the starters disappoint.
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See you again early next week as we gear up for that first big college weekend. Oh...when September arrives...we'll start doing THREE web articles per week instead of two! THE KING OF LAS VEGAS IS READY FOR FOOTBALL! That means it's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!