A wiseguy once told me to never bet on a streak to end. Always ride the streak. That way, you can only lose once.
Some sharp bettors will put that theory to the test Thursday and bet against the Baltimore Ravens, who have won 20 straight preseason games to top the Green Bay Packers’ 19-game win streak under coach Vince Lombardi from 1959 to 1962.
The Ravens, on an 18-2 ATS preseason run, opened as 3-point favorites over the Titans, and the line climbed as high as 5. But the number dropped to 3½ this week after coach John Harbaugh said quarterback Lamar Jackson and four other starters won’t play in their preseason opener.
The Westgate SuperBook and South Point sportsbook reported sharp action on Tennessee +4. The Titans have ruled out running back Derrick Henry.
“We’re just trying to stay high on the Ravens side,” Westgate vice president of risk Jeff Sherman said. “They’ve won 20 in a row and covered almost all of them. Until they stop doing that, you’re going to see the Ravens priced a little higher in preseason games.”
Professional sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw bet on Baltimore -3 when the line first came out and still recommends a play at -3½, tied for the largest point spread on the board in NFL preseason Week 1.
“Preseason threes are less important because these teams are not looking to play overtime at all,” Whitelaw said. “If a team scores late, they’re going to go for two. They’re not going to try to tie the game.”
Whitelaw also bet on the Chargers -2½ over the Rams in a Saturday night matchup of Los Angeles teams. Sharp action on the Chargers pushed that line to 3½.
Rams coach Sean McVay sat his starters for the fourth straight preseason last year while going 0-3, and Whitelaw expects him to employ the same strategy this year after winning the Super Bowl.
“Based on previous years, he doesn’t figure to play anybody,” he said. “The Rams really don’t try too much, and the Ravens do.”
Sharps back Raiders
There are two preseason games Thursday, five Friday and eight Saturday before the Raiders and Vikings square off in the lone Sunday game at Allegiant Stadium.
Sharp bettors are backing the Raiders for the second straight week after they rolled to a 27-11 win and cover over the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
The Raiders are 3½-point favorites over Minnesota after opening at -2½.
“Another angle is to bet the team that already has some experience,” Whitelaw said. “Jacksonville and the Raiders have both already played, so they have a little bit of an edge.”
The SuperBook, South Point and Circa Sports took sharp action on the Raiders. Circa director of risk Chris Bennett said the Raiders were one of three plays released by Right Angle Sports, a well-respected betting service.
“A few plays from Right Angle Sports moved the numbers pretty significantly,” he said.
The other two plays were on totals: Browns-Jaguars Over 33 (now 37½) and Jets-Eagles Over 33 (now 35½).
In Thursday’s other game, the favorite has flipped from the Patriots -2 to the Giants -2½ after sharp money showed on New York after coach Brian Daboll said “I anticipate all of our guys playing.”
Said Sherman: “It’s so information driven by coaches saying what the game plan is and if they want to play their starters. It sounds like the Giants starters might play the first quarter and maybe part of the second quarter.”
Watson moves line
The Jaguars were 2½-point favorites over the Browns after coach Doug Pederson said quarterback Trevor Lawrence and the starting offense will play “a couple of series.” But that line flipped Wednesday afternoon to Cleveland -1½ after the team announced that Deshaun Watson is expected to start Friday’s game.
The South Point took sharp action on the Colts +3½ all the way to +1 in Saturday’s game at Buffalo. Indianapolis is now a 1-point favorite at the Westgate after coach Frank Reich said quarterback Matt Ryan will play “up to a quarter” and that his starters could play a “little more” than the Colts have in past preseasons.
“You’ll see even larger moves in upcoming weeks when information comes out,” Sherman said.