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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 12:16 PM

The biggest story of all this week, as the NFL Preseason slate heads into its much anticipated Dress Rehearsal weekend, is the way sharps have pounded the OVERS up and down the card. We talked last week about how a string of high scoring games had led to a bunch of Over bets last weekend. Since that article:

Saturday Night: 4-2 to the Over

Sunday: 1-0 to the Over (50 points scored against a total of 38)

Monday: 1-0 to the Over (44 points scored against a total of 41).

Vegas generally posts Over/Unders in the mid-to-high 30’s for Preseason games. That’s clearly been too low so far. The jury’s still out on whether this is a result of replacement officials, a change in coaching approaches, or the high number of “quarterback war” contestants getting expanded playing time vs. backups. For whatever reason, scoring has shot way up.

Here’s a listing of last week’s actual final scoreboard sums from low to high:

29-29-37-38-39-40-40-41-43-45-48-48-50-51-58-64

The midpoints are the 41 and the 43, which is about 3-4 points above the general expectations. Only five of the 16 games stayed Under 40. Only two of the 16 stayed below 30-35. Hey, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, and the NY Jets look even worse in this light because EVERYBODY was scoring last week!

The listing above suggests that a typical total should be in the 41-43 range, with any matchup projecting to be a shootout moving up to the mid 40’s. And, that’s EXACTLY what happened once the sharps (professional wagerers) were done betting THIS WEEK’S totals. Oddsmakers moved their numbers up a smidge, which is common for dress rehearsal games because starting offenses see expanded minutes. Sharps pounded the openers Over figuring things might actually go up this week from what was already rarefied air last week.

As a result, the totals you’re thinking about betting today are up in the range where “Pass or Under” may be the right approach. The time to bet Overs was Monday and Tuesday. Sharps loved the Overs at the lower openers. They, themselves are now in “Pass or Under” mode at the current widely available lines.

Moving to team sides…here are the most meaningful moves of the week on team side plays:

 

THURSDAY

Arizona moved from +4.5 down to +3 in the national TV game on ESPN at Tennessee. It moved down to the critical number and stayed there (at least as of press time). The lack of support on the Titans at the field goal is telling. Sharps liked the dog at anything over a field goal.

Jacksonville +7 at Baltimore has dropped to +6.5. That continues a common theme we saw last week in terms of underdog support. Sharps generally like underdogs in Preseason because home field advantage is less than normal. They will often bet the dog at a critical number so heavily that the line moves down.

 

FRIDAY

We have several big, prominent moves on Friday. Let’s just list them all quickly.

*Cleveland -2.5 vs. Philly has been bet up past the critical number to -4 or -4.5 because Michael Vick is out and the Eagles have hinted that they made last week’s game vs. New England their dress rehearsal.

*Atlanta -2 at Miami has been bet up to -3. That’s a big deal because a Preseason favorite was bet up to the critical number on the ROAD. Sharps have not been impressed with what they’re seeing from Miami on the field and on that “Hard Knocks” show on HBO.

*New England has been bet from -3.5 up to -6.5 at Tampa Bay because Tom Brady will return after skipping Monday Night’s game. The line didn’t go all the way to -7, which might mean something. But, a three-point move is still a big deal in an exhibition game.

*Minnesota opened -1.5 vs. but is now -3 at home vs. San Diego, getting bet up to a critical number.

*Chicago +4 has been bet down to +3 as a road underdog at the NY Giants. Clearly sharps aren’t as dog happy this week as they were last week…but they did prefer the dog here at anything over the critical number.

*The favorite flipped in Seattle/Kansas City...as the visiting Seahawks opened +2 but are now -2. Sharps like what they’ve seen from Russell Wilson out of Wisconsin at QB for Seattle. Many have already taken positions on Seattle in Week One against Arizona for the regular season.

 

SATURDAY/SUNDAY

Same story here with a lot of moves. Let’s just list them.

*Washington was bet past the critical number in their game with Indy (RGIII vs. Luck!), as an opener of -2.5 is now up to -3.5. You regulars know that’s a BIG move when there’s no buy-back on the dog after it crosses the key number.

*Another favorite flipped as Pittsburgh +1 was bet to -2 on the road at Buffalo.

*Detroit opened at pick-em on the road at Oakland, but has been bet all the way up to -3. You’re getting a real lesson this weekend in what sharps are thinking about the regular season. Any home dog this weekend is being spat on! Seriously, pay attention to this. Support for road teams at the expense of home teams during dress rehearsals is a big deal.

*Houston opened +4 at New Orleans, but has been bet down to +3. Value dogs are definitely more rare this week than last.

*St. Louis opened +6.5 but is down to +5. That’s a value dog bet…but it came at the highest opening line of the weekend.

*Not much happening early in Sunday’s action, with a move on Carolina +3 down to +2.5 on the road at the Jets being the only thing involving a critical number. Sharps are not impressed with the Jets.

This looks to be a very exciting weekend of NFL action from start to finish. There are live national TV games from Thursday through Sunday. And, you can bet that our VSM experts will be posting major releases up and down the schedule. Historically, this is a very common week for GAME OF THE YEAR selections because it’s starters vs. starters for such a substantial period of each game.  

Be sure you check the home page of this website and the “buy picks” page every day for big news on big money plays from our Vegas legends. This is definitely a time period where you need to check in for bulletins in the hours leading up to kickoff. It may be dress rehearsal for the players on the field…but IT’S SHOWTIME for the VegasSportsMasters!

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