January 04, 2019
Each Friday for PhillyVoice, Steve Maltepes, known as “The Philly Godfather,” will impart his gambling wisdom on the Eagles and where the smart money is going on various pro and college football games this weekend. Maltepes is one of the nation’s hottest sports betting experts who appears weekly on national radio and has his own website, www.thephillygodfather.com.
Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears, 4:40 p.m. Sunday
(Games 107 & 108 on the sports betting screen)
The Line: Bears minus-6.5/Total: 41
What is the line telling you: Oddsmakers and offshore made the Bears 4.5-home favorites with the combined total set at 41. Since then, we’ve witnessed the line blow up to the Bears being as high as minus-7 early in the week, before we saw some resistance in the market on that key by a well-respected betting syndicate, which forced oddsmakers to adjust that number back down to 6.5, depending where you shop. A very respected sports gamblers in the world bet 5.5 on the Bears at BetCRIS, one of the sharper betting houses offshore. This is a case of two very sharp betters, one being a betting syndicate, the other being a pro bettor. What the average sports bettor needs to understand is the fact that pro gamblers don’t bet on teams, they purchase numbers. Basically, Bettor A loves the Bears at the price at minus-5.5, while Bettor B loves the Eagles at plus-7. The ironic part is if the game lands 6, both sharp bettors will win their wager. All markets report that it’s 50-50 on all tickets punched. But the overall money wagered is tilted slightly toward the Bears at a 55-45 clip.
We love Nick Foles and the beloved Eagles, we like the Bears at minus-5 and minus-6. Vegas is begging the public to bet the Eagles, who in the media are portrayed as the hottest team heading into the playoffs. The defending Super Bowl champions are catching around 7, with the Super Bowl MVP steering the ship. It’s too enticing for a team that’s been good the last three weeks. The reality is no team is hotter than the Chicago Bears, who have won nine of their last 10 games and keep out performing the market. They’ve covered the spread 75-percent of the time with a 12-4 mark, which is the best in the NFL.
The Eagles beat a bad Redskins’ team that was banged up. Before that, they beat a Houston team that had one of the easiest schedules in the NFL, not to mention the worst offensive line in the league. You look at what the Bears what they did against the Rams, who couldn’t score one offensive touchdown against them. This Bears’ defense has posted amazing numbers. They’re No. 1 in overall defensive efficiency. The Eagles ran the ball down the Rams’ throat with one of the worst rushing offenses in the league. This is just a bad matchup for the Eagles, who are ranked No. 30 in the NFL with 3.9 yards per rushing attempt. And they were able to run at will against a bad rushing defense in the Rams. This Bears’ defense is as good as the great Eagles’ defense they had in 1991.
Bottom line: The smart money likes the Bears minus-6.5 or anything under a touchdown.
Los Angeles Chargers at Baltimore Ravens, 1:05 p.m. Sunday
(Games 105 & 106 on the sports betting screen)
The Line: Ravens minus-3/Total: 41.5
What is the line telling you: Oddsmakers and offshore opened this line with the surging Ravens as 3-point home favorites over the Los Angeles Chargers with a combined total set at 41.5. The market reacted quickly buying all of the plus-3 on the Chargers, regardless of the 22-10 loss they took two weeks ago against the Ravens, who have quickly become the bullies of the AFC. When it comes to the total, a sharp betting syndicate hit the total of under-21 in the first half. The sharp money is on the under at under-21. The total may drop under 41.5 by kickoff. There is so much more recreational money that comes in during the playoffs than during the season and this is the time of year when that can influence the lines. The Chargers are getting all of the love from the Average Joe and the Wiseguys, with 70-percent of all tickets punched has been on Phil Rivers’ crew and 65-percent of all money wagered. Melvin Gordon wasn’t 100-percent when the Chargers faced the Ravens earlier. The Chargers lost the turnover battle 3-1, on the other hand, the Ravens have gone 6-1 under Lamar Jackson. They’re also plus-49 in point differential since Jackson has started and they’ve out rushed their opponents by 783 yards over the last five games, and an average rushing differential of plus-156.8 a game. But we have to go with the better quarterback in Rivers, and the Chargers. The Ravens defense is elite, but the Chargers’ defense is better in the red zone. Vegas is begging bettors to go with the Ravens—and they don’t give out free gifts.
Bottom line: The smart money likes the Chargers and the under-21 in the first half.
Clemson Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide, 8:00 p.m. Monday
(Games 151 & 152 on the sports betting screen)
The Line: Alabama minus-5/Total: 59
What is the line telling you: Oddsmakers popped this opening line with Alabama being a 7-point favorite over Clemson with the combined total set at 62.5 and we quickly saw some sharp money attack the screen on the dog here, which forced the books to drop their price on the Crimson Tide down to 5.5 on New Year’s Eve. Since then, the number has been bouncing around anywhere from 5.5 up to 6.5, before another wave of sharp money took a bite on the Tigers and as of right now.
The game is painted 5 offshore and in Las Vegas. The total also saw a 3/3.5-point adjustment towards the under. Pinnacle has hung a 59 on the total while BetCRIS and the Super Book in Vegas is at 59.5. Alabama is definitely the public side here with right around 57-percent of all tickets punched so far, but since we missed the plus-7 on the game, which by the way is a great number, we’re going to bet this one like a baseball game and lay the money line on the Crimson tide at minus-200. Betting on Nick Saban to win this game is a no-brainer.
On paper, both these teams looked evenly matched, but the reality is Alabama has played the tougher schedule. The Crimson Tide have faced five top-20 teams this year, while Clemson has only faced two, Notre Dame and Texas A&M. Clemson has looked vulnerable at times throughout the season, beating A&M by two points on the road, Syracuse by a small 4-point margin, and gave up 35 points to South Carolina, while Alabama’s toughest opponent all year was Georgia, which actually ranked higher than Clemson. The Crimson Tide beat the Bulldogs by seven on the road.
Bottom line: The smart money likes Alabama on the money line and the under-31 in the first half.
(Betting lines are subject to change.)
Follow Joe on Twitter: @JSantoliquito
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports