December 21, 2018
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.
Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. Sunday
(Games 113 & 114 on the sports betting screen)
The Line: Eagles minus-1/Total: 46
What is the line telling you: Oddsmakers opened this line with the 10-4 Texans as 1-point favorites over the 7-7 Eagles, with the combined total set at 45 on Monday. By Wednesday, we saw a 3.5-point adjustment in the market, and the Eagles were a 2.5-point chalk. The smart money double-dipped a .5-point and tried to get this game as the Eagles a plus-1 and the Texans at plus-3. But the bigger position was on the Eagles at plus-1. Right now, it’s a 50-50 split on all tickets punched, but the overall money wagered has been on the Eagles, by a 70-30 split. You have to throw all of the offensive stats away when it comes to the Eagles. This offense runs more efficient with a healthier quarterback. Last week marked the first time all year that the Eagles scored 30 and they did it on the road against a team fighting for home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. As everyone knows, that’s very important for a team to reach the Super Bowl, so the Rams were playing for something. The Eagles’ defensive line played a lot better. Offensively, the Eagles over the last three games have averaged a yard more per play than the Texans, and four yards more per pass. Defensively, both teams are among the top 10 on opponent’s rushing yards per play. In recent play, the Eagles are allowing a half-yard less per play, and 1.5 yards less per pass attempt. Surprising, but the Eagles defense has out-performed the Texans recently. The Texans have a two-game cushion over the Colts and don’t have much to play for, and worst offensive line in the NFL, ranked 32nd in pass protection, giving up 52 sacks. They’re playing an Eagles’ team playing for their playoff lives and are back to being a hungry dog. The Eagles should win this game.
Bottom line: The smart money likes the Eagles.
Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers, 8:20 p.m. Saturday
(Games 123 & 124 on the sports betting screen)
The Line: Chargers minus-4.5/Total: 44
What is the line telling you: Oddsmakers opened this game as the surging Chargers being 4.5-point favorites against the Ravens with the total set at 45. We saw the early sharp money attack the screen on the under, which pushed the total down to 44. The early money is top heavy and tilted on the Chargers on all tickets placed, with around a 65-35 split. But the heavier, sharper total money wagered has been on Baltimore, with over 70 percent of the total money wagered on Baltimore. The sharp money is all over the under here and by kickoff will be all over the Ravens pretty big. This line could move to Chargers minus-3 by game time. The Ravens have debatably the best defense in the NFL, along with Chicago. The Chargers are coming off a huge emotional win against Kansas City, and a lot of times, teams coming off highs like that don’t always win the following week.
Bottom line: The smart money likes the Ravens and the under—with an emphasis on the under
Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints, 4:20 p.m. Sunday
(Games 127 & 128 on the sports betting screen)
The Line: Saints minus-5.5/Total: 53
What is the line telling you: The early market reports filtering in from behind the counter, on the islands and Vegas are slightly top heavy as 55 percent of all tickets placed are on New Orleans. The early sharp money has entered the market on the Saints coming off a tough win at Carolina and expect this line to probably get to as high as 6.5 by kickoff. In the trenches both teams are amazing. The Saints defensive line ranks third in the NFL in the pass rush department with 45 sacks on the year, while the Steelers are ranked one spot higher with the slightly better adjusted sack rate percentage with 46 sacks. On the offensive line, the Saints come in ranked second in the NFL, while the Steelers are ranked two spots below them at fourth. When we look at the advanced metrics offensively, both teams are mirror images of each other. They’re very explosive and can score quickly with great pass protection for their quarterbacks. On defense, both teams have top five pass rushes and are stingy against the run. The biggest disparity between these two teams have been consistent play and the turnover differential. The Saints are plus-9 in turnover differential, while the Steelers are minus-9. The Saints also have the best point differential in the NFL at plus-167 and are ranked five spots higher than Pittsburgh in overall team efficiency. Pittsburgh is coming off that huge emotional win over New England, where they spent a ton of mental and physical energy against the Patriots and getting Tom Brady finally off their backs. That will leave them more than likely a little flat this week against the Saints. If the Steelers come out sloppy and lose the turnover battle, they will be in serious trouble fast. The Saints are just too tough at home in the dome.
Bottom line: The smart money likes the Saints.
Louisiana Tech plus-1 and the over Hawaii (Games 227-228)
Wake Forest plus-3 over Memphis (Games 221-222)
(Betting lines are subject to change.)
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