Submitted by SportsMasters Consensus on Friday, September 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Sharps continue to struggle this year with many of their biggest bets. Some of the game-day moves last week did come through, like Detroit (+) at Washington and Baltimore (+) vs. Houston. But, sharp support for the NY Giants at Carolina was particularly unfounded, as was their support for Pittsburgh (+) over Chicago in the prime time game.
We can’t fully anticipate game day moves here in our Friday article. We can tell you what the sharps have been doing so far in the markets…and we can report the rumblings we’re hearing about game day possibilities. Just be aware that many syndicates are struggling out of the gate.
Games are presented in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedule. (Green Bay and Carolina have byes this week, so there are only 14 games Sunday and Monday)
PITTSBURGH VS. MINNESOTA (in London): Sharps have been betting Pittsburgh through the week as it looked more and more unlikely that Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder was going to available. The Steelers are now -3 after being lower than that all week. If Ponder plays, his mobility will be hurt by his injured ribs. Matt Cassel is the backup. Sharps think that a rusty QB with a struggling offense will have trouble scoring in London against the Pittsburgh defense. Were Ponder’s status to change significantly between now and kickoff, Vikings money would come in, particularly at the key number of three.
BALTIMORE AT BUFFALO: Baltimore opened at -3.5 in most places. That’s been coming down with news that C.J. Spiller of the Bills is expected to play this week after suffering a minor thigh injury against the Jets. Baltimore would be -3.5 or possibly -4 were Spiller not be able to go. If he plays at anything near full strength, the market believes three is the right number. We’re hearing that sharps may even back Buffalo strong at +3…possibly driving the line lower before kickoff. The Bills are 2-0 ATS at home, and Baltimore’s stats vs. Houston last week weren’t as impressive as the final score might have suggested.
CINCINNATI AT CLEVELAND: Sharp money has been coming in on the Browns at +5 or higher given their impressive showing with Brian Hoyer last week at Minnesota. Support has continued at +4.5. Stores moving to Cincinnati -4 are seeing some Bengals money start to come in. There’s usually not a major tug-of-war at non-critical numbers.
INDIANAPOLIS AT JACKSONVILLE: We have a game here in the teaser window, which means lines will vary depending on how each individual store prefers to deal with teasers. Indianapolis at -7.5, -8 or -8.5 would be a popular choice in two-team teasers that move the line six points. That’s why you’re seeing some -9’s out there. Some places would rather let bettors have Jacksonville +9 than Indianapolis -2 in teasers. Sharps are taking the Jags at +9.5 or +9, and would be looking to invest in Indy in teasers rather than straight bets at the numbers between 7 and 9.
SEATTLE AT HOUSTON: Looks like we’re set up for a classic tug-of-war here, with sharps liking Seattle -2.5 and Houston +3. We’ve mostly seen the solid three through the week. Whenever stores toy with dropping the number, sharps hit the favorite at the cheap price. Maybe this will be one of the games that had a big Sunday morning move. For now, we’re looking at a tug-of-war at a key number.
ARIZONA AT TAMPA BAY: The game opened at Tampa Bay -3 before news broke that quarterback Josh Freeman was benched in favor of backup Mike Glennon. Sharps bet the news…and some sportsbooks just dropped the number to -2.5 before anyone could bet! Note that there wasn’t a tug-of-war after the drop…meaning sharps want no part of Tampa Bay -2.5. Sharps liking the dog will be taking Arizona +8.5 in two-team teasers or on the moneyline to win straight up rather than betting them +2.5 in most cases. Though…there’s a chance that will change before kickoff based on some rumblings we’re hearing. Sharps were not impressed with Glennon during the Preseason.
CHICAGO AT DETROIT: Another tug-of-war game, with Chicago +3 and Detroit -2.5 battling it out. Sharps have hit any -2.5 pretty hard…following up on the support they’ve been showing the Lions all season. You’ll note that Detroit received a lot of Sunday morning support in Washington last week, in a game they won by seven. Though, sharps gave a lot of that back when they faded Chicago with the Steelers in the prime time game.
NY GIANTS AT KANSAS CITY: Kansas City -4 and -4.5 is out there as we go to press. The four is more prevalent…as sharps have been more aggressive about hitting Giants +4.5 than they have about hitting Chiefs -4. Many sharps took a bit hit last week when they drove the Giants all the way to a favorite near a field goal at Carolina in the hours leading up to kickoff. Many are hesitant to get on that bandwagon again.
NY JETS AT TENNESSEE: We’re hearing that sharps liked what they saw with Geno Smith’s strong arm last week in New York’s win over Buffalo. That led to strong sharp support for the Jets at high opening numbers. Any place that opened Tennessee -5 or higher was hit with Jets money. New York continued drawing money at +4.5 and at +4. As we go to press, many stores (particularly in Las Vegas) are now down to NYJ +3.5. Tennessee money would obviously come in at -3 because it’s a key number that’s a few points away from an opener. Middle players couldn’t resist. The Jets are the sharp side at +4 or more.
DALLAS AT SAN DIEGO: Interesting price range here. We’re down in the teaser window where sharps would like to bet the small dog up past the three and the seven. Sportsbooks know that, but can’t figure out how to avoid it! We’re seeing mostly Dallas -2 right now (which means San Diego would be +8 in teasers). If sportsbooks move Dallas to -3, sharps would pound the home dog on the key number. If sportsbooks moved Dallas to -1, then America’s team might get very one-sided with public money on game day. A “pick your poison” spot for sportsbooks that will give them headaches all the way to a late afternoon kickoff.
WASHINGTON AT OAKLAND: This line was delayed coming up on the board because of Terrelle Pryor’s concussion suffered Monday Night in Denver. It looks like Flynn will be in for the Raiders! On that news, Washington opened at -3 as a road favorite. Some places have toyed with -3.5 because the Redskins were getting hit on a limited basis on the key number. Sharps are generally unimpressed with the Redskins though, and made big money against them last week. Also, sharps didn’t see much of a Power Ratings difference between Pryor and Flynn…meaning dog lovers may step up to the plate before kickoff if the public drives the line higher. Not expected to be a high action game for sharps because both teams are in “fade” categories at the moment (until Pryor is healthy again and RGIII starts moving well again).
PHILADELPHIA AT DENVER: This much talked about game should be a lot of fun to watch. Denver is getting a lot of respect in the markets right now…which is why they’re a double digit favorite against a team getting extra rest and preparation off a Thursday Night game. Denver would get pounded at -10. Philadelphia has been getting serious interest at +11. So, most stores are at Denver -10.5 as we go to press. Sharps would fade any public moves on the favorite before kickoff…which could happen because this is a showcase game in the late afternoon TV window.
NEW ENGLAND AT ATLANTA: Another headache game for sportsbooks, particularly since it’s in the prime time game that everyone in the world will want to bet. Money would come in very strong on Atlanta -1 at home against a New England team that’s still trying to find its offensive form. New England +3 would get a lot of support because Tom Brady is so rarely a dog of that size…and because Atlanta’s defense has been bad against the pass in second halves this year. Any number between the 1 and the 3 sets up New England +7.5, +8, or +8.5 in two-team teasers. Sportsbooks will have to pick who they want to root for, and at what numbers.
MIAMI AT NEW ORLEANS (Monday Night): Looks like this is shaping up as a tug-of-war between New Orleans -6.5 and Miami +7. The Saints were bet on the opener of -5.5, and again at -6, and to a lesser degree at -6.5. Any move to the full seven brought in sharp money on the dog in fairly aggressive fashion. Sharps have been impressed with Miami based on what we’re hearing through the grapevine, and are hoping that public interest in the Saints will allow for large limit bets on Miami at +7 or better before kickoff. We can report that some of the New Orleans betting on the opener was “position-taking” to set up middles near the TD rather than pure affection for the Saints at that price.
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