- Dave Tuley, ESPN Insider
LAS VEGAS -- Opening weekend of the NFL was rough on a lot of bettors.
The LVH SuperContest, which set a record with 1,034 entries and is now a pretty representative mix of sharps and squares, went 0-4-1 against the spread with its top five consensus picks (the Texans, picked by a whopping 413 entrants, Buccaneers, Browns and Panthers all failed to cover while the Bengals pushed against the Bears) and 4-11-1 ATS overall.
In this "Tuley's Take" column last week (which didn't include the Thursday night opener), the public consensus went 6-8-1 ATS. I was able to navigate the landmines by going 4-2-1 ATS (66.7 percent) with my seven official picks. The usual criticisms ("You don't pick all the games" and "You only pick underdogs") failed to grasp the "dog-or-pass" philosophy. I know the critics will say that it's only one week, but if you break down the games that I didn't play, the faves and dogs split those 4-4 ATS. In the long run, picking every game is only going to drag down your winning percentage. But in this case I wish I had gone along with those who think I should pick every game, as I went 6-1 ATS on the "pool play" suggestions on games I passed.
Let's get to Week 2. The saying goes that teams' power ratings change the most between Week 1 and 2, but it's also true that many people overreact to what they see over the opening weekend. As a contrarian bettor, I'm hoping this presents opportunities with overadjustments in the marketplace.
Last week: 4-2-1 ATS | Year to date: 4-2-1 (66.7 percent) ATS
Note: Consensus pick percentages as of late Thursday night.
Matchup: San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles
Spread: Eagles minus-7.5
Public consensus pick: 53 percent picked Eagles
Public perception: The above 53 percent figure at ESPN Insider's PickCenter is based on the posted line of 9.5, but most best-tracking sites using the consensus 7.5 line in the marketplace have around 70 percent of the bets coming in on the Eagles as of Thursday night. That's the side the public is clamoring to bet after watching Chip Kelly's hurry-up, spread-option offense.
Wiseguys' view: The sharps know the advance line on this game last week was minus-6.5, and as impressive as Philly's first half was against Washington, they also watched the second half. If they could go back in time, the wiseguys would lay less than a touchdown, but they're not taking the inflated price now.
Tuley's Take: I think what the people inflating this number are forgetting is how the Chargers were nearly as impressive as the Eagles in Week 1, and against a better team (the Texans). If San Diego hadn't blown the game, maybe this line wouldn't have crossed the key number of 7, but the fact it did lets us get more than a touchdown. The pick:
Dave Tuley offers a Week 2 ATS pick on every NFL game, including public perception and wiseguys' views.