The early Week 9 NFL betting trends  

November, 1, 2011

Every Tuesday during the NFL regular season, Dave Tuley of will provide an update on the Hilton SuperContest.

LAS VEGAS -- The NFL schedule is played over an odd 17 weeks. How odd is it?

It's so odd that the Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions are contending for playoff spots.

It's so odd that the perennially strong Indianapolis Colts are 0-8 and the Philadelphia Eagles -- who were hyped liked the Miami Heat after compiling what was seen as an All-Star team in the free-agent signing period after the lockout ended -- are below .500.

We're more interested in another type of odd, though, the ones used to bet on the games and specifically for the purposes of this column in the season-long Hilton SuperContest.

But when does the midway point of a 17-week season fall? Some NFL reporters are doing midseason reviews now while others are waiting until next week. For the purposes of this contest, the halfway point of the season will fall in the middle of the third game chosen by each player this week as they make 85 plays over the course of the season, so we'll split our midseason look between this week and next.

The consensus selections are split pretty close to 50/50, too. The consensus picks on all games -- based on the number of SuperContestants picking each team -- are 57-54-5 (51.4 percent) against the spread after disregarding the pushes. All picks by all players are 7,703-7,446-771 (50.8 percent). Both those figures are below the 52.38 percent needed to break even when laying 11 to win 10. The best bets -- the top five consensus picks each week -- are faring slightly better at 20-17-3 (54.1 percent).

As was mentioned last week in this space, sometimes it's best to look at the top players to see what games they're taking based on a really strong opinion, as opposed to just getting the best number available. Case in point: a contestant going by the alias Feral Child went 5-0 last week to move into a share of the lead with Iced Tea at 30 contest points (wins are worth 1 point with pushes worth 1/2; Feral Child is 29-9-2 while Iced Tea is 30-10), and he did it by going against the consensus.

The Arizona Cardinals were the least selected team in Week 8 with only 36 players taking them plus-12.5 points versus the Baltimore Ravens, but while they ended up losing 30-27 on the scoreboard, the point-spread result was never in doubt.

Feral Child also took a stand on the Bengals, who were only chosen by 61 SuperContestants as a 2.5-point favorite, while the Seattle Seahawks plus-2.5 were the fifth-most selected team with 131 backers, yet the Bengals rolled 34-12.

The New England Patriots were the third-most selected team with 150 backers, but Feral Child also scored by going the other way with the Steelers plus-3 as they won 25-17.

Feral Child's other wins were the Lions and 49ers. He vaulted to the lead and Iced Tea needed the Chiefs plus-3.5 to catch him on Monday night. Former leader Sans Souci went 1-4 to drop three games back with 27 points, along with Samswins.com2.

Where the money is going in Week 9

Even though the official contest lines don't come out until Wednesday, the Hilton posts its openers around 4:30 p.m. Sunday, so we can usually see what the wiseguys have been betting early and project what the popular trends will be for the coming weekend.

Dave Tuley

ESPN Staff Writer
Dave Tuley has covered the Las Vegas race and sports book scene since 1998 and runs his own website,

Insider, NFL