10/18/2012 2:23PM

Tuley: NFL dogs continue to bite this season


LAS VEGAS – A week ago Thursday, Oct. 11, 0.66 of an inch of rain fell here, breaking the record for the date and pushing the city over the annual average of 3.13 inches of rain.

But that’s nothing compared to what we saw in the sports books from that Thursday through this past Monday night. I didn’t see any cats falling from up above, but dogs were reigning as they went 12-2 against the spread in the NFL with eight outright upsets. It started with the Titans beating the Steelers 26-23 that Thursday night and continued through Sunday when the only favorites to cover were the Jets against the Bills and the Buccaneers against the Chiefs. The day was capped off by the Packers knocking off the Texans as a 4-point underdog. On Monday night, the Broncos had been an short underdog to the Chargers all week and actually closed as a consensus pick-em around town (so, on my ViewFromVegas.com website, I actually graded the dogs as 11-2 against the spread) and rallied from a 24-0 halftime deficit to win 35-24 and reward the vast majority of their backers, who bet them as a dog.

While this past weekend was the most extreme example, NFL underdogs have been reigning all season. Even not counting Monday night’s game as an upset, dogs are 56-32-2 ATS (63.6 percent) on the year. Astute line-shoppers, could make the argument that underdogs are actually over 65 percent. Back in Week 3, bettors earlier in the week could have gotten the Dolphins +3 at the Jets before it went down and closed at 2.5 (Jets won 23-20, so the dog lost against the closing line but sharp bettors got the push). Similarly, in Week 4, the Giants were +2.5 against the Eagles early in the week and closed at 2 (Eagles won 19-17, so dog bettors pushed against the closing line but sharp bettors got the win at +2.5). So, dogs could be seen as 58-31-2 (65.2 percent) if you listened to your momma and shopped around.

Home underdogs have been even more potent, going 4-0 this past weekend with the Titans, Browns, Seahawks, and Redskins all not only covering but pulling outright upsets. For the season, they’re 21-11 ATS (65.6 percent), and that includes the Dolphins’ Week 3 “loss” against the spread.

I’ve ridden the wave that has resulted from this torrential downpour to a record of 21-9 in the LVH SuperContest and stand tied for fourth place. As I said on the Marc Lawrence podcast this week, if a confirmed underdog player such as myself wasn’t able to pick winners in this environment, then I should hang it up.

The question I get asked the most is along the lines of: “Will we see a regression to the mean with the favorites bouncing back?”

My answer is, “Yes, eventually.” In the more than 12 years that I’ve written this column, I’ve mentioned dozens of times that all trends and systems will regress to the mean toward 50 percent whether just from randomness like the flipping of a coin or in the case of sports betting from oddsmakers adjusting to even out the betting. By the time most people hear about a trend, it’s usually too late and the trend is about to reverse. For example, there was the trend of recent Super Bowl winners covering in the next season opener and the Super Bowl losers always failing to cover. Then, ta-da!, the Giants lost on opening night to the Cowboys and the Patriots covered in their opener against the Titans.

The thing is, I’ve been answering that same question since dogs went 12-4 ATS back in Week 3 to start the season 29-18-1 (61.7 percent) and they’ve actually performed better since then 27-14-1 (65.9 percent) with the only non-winning week being a 7-7 split in Week 5. If anyone has been betting the favorites in anticipation of the early trend reversing, they’ve been getting hammered.

But I have to believe the swing of the pendulum is coming. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, so I’m going to continue looking for live dogs. I’m hoping that the regression is more of a 50-50 split moving forward to deplete the dogs’ winning record as opposed to a full reversal. That way, there should be plenty of winning dogs out there, it’s just a matter of landing on the right ones.

We’ll see how this all shakes out.

Back to the NFL betting board

I went 3-0 with my posted plays here last week as the Raiders covered in their 23-20 loss to the Falcons in which they had their chances to pull the outright upset, and then the Giants and Packers did pull the trick as they blew out the 49ers and Texans, respectively. Hopefully, we’re putting .500 far back in the rear-view mirror.

Ravens +6.5 vs. Texans

At first glance, this might look like a line that should be 7, but this game was actually Texans –3 in advance lines over the summer and –4.5 last week before the Ravens lost defensive stars Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb. But I think this is an overadjustment. The Ravens are still a top team, and we’ve seen the Texans aren’t as dominant as once believed. A first-round bye could be on the line here, and I see it coming down to a field goal.

PLAY: Ravens for 1 unit.

Jets +10.5 vs. Patriots

The Patriots also are underachieving (I know, so are the Jets), and I see this game playing out just like the Monday night matchup when the Jets covered in their 23-17 loss to the Texans. Granted, they’re on the road here, but the Patriots failed as double-digit home favorites in their loss to the Cardinals, and the Jets should keep this closer than most people expect with the AFC lead on the line.

PLAY: Jets for 1 unit.

Last week: 3-0 for a profit of 3 units. NFL overall: 10-7 for a net profit of 2.3 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1).