Big Lines, Small Value

Monster lines in professional football don’t happen that often. The parity in the league these days keeps he vast majority of lines to 10 or under.

But on occasion, we get a rare mismatch in a rare situation. Tonight’s Patriots vs. Chiefs game fits the bill. The Chiefs are without their starting quarterback, Matt Cassel, for the first time. His backup, Tyler Palko, has shown signs of being inept. Of course, the Chiefs are also without Jamaal Charles and are on the road. The Patriots are favored by 16.5.

Usually, the play is to simply avoid games like this. It almost always comes down to a late score or lack thereof, also known as a “backdoor cover.” These backdoor plays are not contested as they have no impact on the actual outcome of the game. Therefore, as handicappers, we can be on the “right” side, but still lose.

Here’s the results of how favorites of 14 or more have fared in the NFL this season:
Week 11: 0-0
Week 10: 0-0
Week 9: 0-0
Week 8: 0-0
Week 7: 1-0 (DAL over STL)
Week 6: 1-0 (GB over STL)
Week 5: 0-0
Week 4: 0-0
Week 3: 0-1 (KC over SD)
Week 2: 0-0
Week 1: 0-0

Yeah, that’s it. Three times.

I’ll be avoiding tonight’s game out of fear. If my read on Tyler Palko is right, the Patriots will win by three touchdowns or more. But if he’s somewhat competent, the Chiefs will be in position to backdoor. There’s no value here.


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