Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, November 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM
Time once again for another look at what sharps (professional wagerers) in Las Vegas are thinking about this week’s NFL games based on the market moves. We’ll take the games in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedule. The following teams have byes this week: Houston, Indianapolis, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh. The NY Jets and Denver played Thursday Night.
TENNESSEE AT ATLANTA: Oddsmakers anticipated sharp support for Tennessee in this game when they opened Atlanta at -6.5. An opener a half point away from a key number like 3 or 7 will be shaded against projected sharp intent in a way that might encourage square money toward the key number. Sharps came in early on the dog anyway, figuring it wasn’t likely that the public would lay this high a number on an inconsistent team like the Falcons. We’re now seeing Tennessee +6. Not much interest on the total, which is sitting at 44, though there are some 43.5’s out there.
BUFFALO AT MIAMI: Not much interest yet in a game where Miami opened -2. Buffalo will get a lot of teaser support at +8 in two-teamers if that line doesn’t move. Were it to rise to Miami -3, then a lot of Buffalo money would come in. So, oddsmakers have to decide if they want to sweat teasers…or if they want to move the line down to Miami -1 knowing that public money would probably come in on the Dolphins at that price.
CINCINNATI AT BALTIMORE: A surprising opener had Baltimore up at -9. This is a team that’s lost to Jacksonville and Seattle in recent weeks, and barely survived Arizona at home. Sharps jumped in quickly fairly aggressively and brought the number down to Cincinnati +7. The total has dropped from 41 to 40, which is also tacit support for the defense of the underdog.
JACKSONVILLE AT CLEVELAND: The Browns opened at -1.5, but that quickly fell to -1 because of sharp support in some cases, or stress worried about teasers in others. This is expected to be a low scoring game, which makes teasers much more valuable (moving a line 6 points has more value in a low scoring game than in a shootout). The total has fallen from 36 to 34. That may be an indicator of potential weather issues. Or, it could just be a reflection of the very low scoring game these two teams have been playing in recent weeks. Sharps have really fallen out of love with the Browns this year.
OAKLAND AT MINNESOTA: We’re seeing similar teaser issues here, with Oakland opening at -1.5 and dropping down to -1 in some places. The total here is much higher, but it’s still tough to trust Oakland at -7.5 on the road…and that’s what sportsbooks would be rooting for if the game stayed in the teaser window. Some weeks, many games are right on the three and basic strategy teasers aren’t in play. This week, there are few three’s to be found while games that could cross both the 3 and 7 in teasers are sitting tantalizingly across the board. The total has gone up a half a point from 44.5 to 45. We’ve heard many sharps were impressed with Carson Palmer’s ability to drive the field last week in San Diego. That mindset may be more likely to bet the Over rather than the Raiders at the team side price.
CAROLINA AT DETROIT: The interest here has been on the total, with an opener of 49 coming down to 47.5. That’s a reflection of Cam Newton’s fall back to earth as he gets ready to face the violent Detroit defense on the road. No line moves yet at the opener of Detroit -7. We’re hearing sharps are thinking about the dog because of back door potential, but are waiting to see if the public drives the line higher because the Lions are in a bounce-back spot after the Chicago loss. Yes, the Lions are on the verge of becoming a public team!
TAMPA BAY AT GREEN BAY: Green Bay opened at -14.5, then dropped to -14. This is from the old school sharps who take every double digit dog they seen. Though, it’s interesting that no money came back in on the Packers when a key number was hit. Sharps don’t like laying double digits, particularly on short weeks after a Monday Nighter. This is also a sandwich game with Green Bay travelling to Detroit on Thanksgiving Day. The public may hit the Packers on game day. Sharps will probably invest more in the Bucs if the line moves up higher off the 14. The total has dropped a point from 49.5 to 48.5, which is another suggestion of potential weather in the Midwest.
DALLAS AT WASHINGTON: Dallas may hop back and forth between -7 and -7.5 all weekend. Dallas money is happy to lay the seven. Sharps like divisional home underdogs at prices of more than a touchdown. Of course, any 7.5’s would put the game in the teaser window…where sharps would include Dallas -1.5 in two-team teasers even if they liked Washington +7.5 for the game. Value is value. The total has inched up from 41 to 41.5.
ARIZONA AT SAN FRANCISCO: Arizona is starting to impress some sharps…at least in terms of being able to hang within tall road numbers. The Cardinals covered at Baltimore, won at Philadelphia, and now got support at an opener of +10 in San Francisco that’s fallen to +9.5. Just like in Green Bay, we DON’T see money coming back on the favorite after the move. And, just like with the Packers, the 49ers are in a potential flat spot before the brother vs. brother game on Thanksgiving Night when they visit Baltimore in a Harbaugh family reunion. If the public hits the favorite on Sunday, the sharps will probably invest some more in the dog. The total has dropped from 42 to 40.5.
SEATTLE AT ST. LOUIS: Big move here on Seattle, as an opener of +3 is down to +2. That one point may not seem like much…but it takes a lot of money to take a game off the three. And, it creates a very tricky situation for sportsbooks because sharps who already loved Seattle at +3 can now put them in two-team teasers that cross both the 3 and the 7. It will be interesting to see how sportsbooks handle this game on Sunday. Tavaris Jackson has been getting some results lately, and sharps have noticed.
SAN DIEGO AT CHICAGO: A lot of interest on the total, with an opener of 47 falling to 45. Looks like you better have your weather gear ready in the Midwest this Sunday. Of course, scoring has been going down across the league lately…meaning the Under guys could crawl back out from under their rocks and bet again. We have seen some dog money on San Diego, as an opener of +4 is down to +3.5 now.
PHILADELPHIA AT NY GIANTS: The Eagles have fallen so far now that an opener over a critical number has moved away from the critical number against them. The Giants opened at -3.5, and we’re now seeing -4 and even -4.5 in some places. Some of that is due to the injury of Michael Vick. But, the Eagles as a whole seem to be falling apart…and sharps think it’s going to get worse before it gets better based on the money moves to this point. The total hasn’t generated too much interest, though an opener of 47 is down to 46.5 in spots.
KANSAS CITY AT NEW ENGLAND: This one opened at -14.5…and even the old school guys didn’t want a piece of the Chiefs if Brodie Croyle was going to be the starter. We’re seeing -14.5 or -15 right now. The public might drive this one to -16 or -17 on game day because they generally like the Patriots in projected blowouts. There is a number that would bring in sharp dog money. We’ll find out what that number is on Monday. The Under has been popular, with an opener of 48 falling to 46.5 or 47. The Chiefs offense is horrible…and New England’s much maligned defense actually has been fairly respectable in terms of the scoreboard in recent weeks.
That wraps up this week’s look at what sharps are thinking in the NFL. Back again with you next Friday afternoon for the next “Market Report” of Wise Guy betting in pro football