Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, October 5, 2012 at 7:20 PM
After winning Thursday night with their strong opinion on St. Louis as a home underdog vs. Arizona (driving an opening line of +3 down to +1.5 or +1 in a game that would yield a 17-3 outright victory), sharps are now hoping for similar success with their early action in games for Sunday and Monday. Let’s run through what sharps are thinking about this weekend’s action in rotation order.
Note that Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, and Tampa Bay all have byes, so there are only 13 games on the NFL card Sunday and Monday…
ATLANTA AT WASHINGTON: The interest here has been on the total, as an opener of 52 dropped down to 51. The team side line of Atlanta -3 has stood solid. We would expect sharps to fade any public move off that critical number. But, is the kind of game that could divide the public too. Most sharps we’ve talked to would prefer the home dog on principal…but think the number is basically right on the money barring any sort of surprise injury news over the weekend. Sharps are impressed with both Atlanta as a playoff threat…and Washington as a dog with upset potential. That all cancels out at this line.
PHILADELPHIA AT PITTSBURGH: Initial interest on the underdog here as Philadelphia +4 was bet down to +3.5 Interesting that there wasn’t enough passion to bring the line down to the key number of three. Remember, many sharps had given Philly their best NFC Power Ratings when the season was about to begin. The team now isn’t even the top-rated side in Pennsylvania with this line being over the standard home field advantage. Sharps did like the Under though, as an opener of 44.5 is down to 43.
GREEN BAY AT INDIANAPOLIS: The line opened Green Bay by 6.5…which is typically a sign that oddsmakers believe the “sharp” side is going to be the dog, and they’re inviting the public to bet the line higher. Instead, sharps stepped in and took the line to seven. From what we hear, some of that is position-taking from sharps hoping to buy back on the dog later at a better price. But, there is a feeling from some that Green Bay is the much better team given Indy’s overall youth. And, there’s also developing a contingent of sharps who are betting the NFC over the AFC because of strength shown thus far in the season (consistent with Philly money vs. Pittsburgh in the game above). The total hasn’t drawn much interest yet. And, this is an indoor game so weather isn’t going to drive late action.
CLEVELAND AT NY GIANTS: Serious interest on the Browns here. That flies in the face of the NFC/AFC theory…but is consistent with the general view that the Giants can never be trusted as big home favorites! You’ll recall they almost lost outright to Tampa Bay on this field a few weeks ago as favorites of more than a TD. Here the line opened at -10.5, but has been bet down by sharps to -9 or -8.5. Also, there are some sharps who like betting rested teams at value prices. Cleveland hasn’t played since last Thursday. A lot of good “intangible” reasons to take the dog at a double digit price. Stragglers will have to decide if all the value has been bet out now. No interest yet in the total. From this point on in this article, if we don’t mention the total in a game…it’s because sharps haven’t shown much interest on that prop in that particular game.
TENNESSEE AT MINNESOTA: Tennessee earned support at the opener of +6.5 largely because sharps don’t trust the Vikings as favorites. Yes, they’ve taken out San Francisco and Detroit. But, the game stats haven’t matched the results. Tennessee is now just +5.5. We’ve seen a big move on the Under from a total of 45.5 down to 44 or even 43.5. This is obviously an indoor game, so that’s based on team matchups rather than weather possibilities. We’ve talked to a few sharps who don’t have respect for either of these offenses.
MIAMI AT CINCINNATI: Miami has sure impressed some sharps in recent weeks, as this opening line of Cincinnati -5.5 was bet all the way down to -3. Normally you only see a move that big when a starting QB is announced as “out.” But, Andy Dalton is fine. Sharps like what they’ve seen from Miami in terms of “keeping it close” potential against the likes of the NY Jets and Arizona the past two week. The total has gone up a point from 44 to 45, which suggests good football weather for Sunday in Cincy.
BALITMORE AT KANSAS CITY: Like Green Bay/Kansas City, the opener saw the road team laying -6.5. But, unlike that game, sharps didn’t drive the favorite up. They stepped in tentatively on the home underdog to bring the number down to +6. We’re hearing some of that is from old school guys who love home dogs in this stadium. Baltimore had extra time to prepare, and Kansas City’s home field advantage isn’t what it used to be…so some sharps may step in on the Ravens if the line drops any further.
SEATTLE AT CAROLINA: Not much betting interest on this game either way. The home team is favored by three…and each team has a quarterback who sharps are questioning right now in terms of having “the right stuff.” Enthusiasm is fading from Wilson of Seattle after his struggles this year. And, Cam Newton’s engines have cooled off dramatically since September of 2011. Sharps will fade any public move Sunday…but these aren’t high profile teams in terms of public betting.
CHICAGO AT JACKSONVILLE: Jacksonville joins the list of home dogs bettors are considering this week. Sharps liked them at the opener of +5.5. We’re now seeing +4.5 in many stores. We’re hearing some of that is because Chicago is a road favorite playing in a short week after a road Monday Night game. More anti-Chicago than pro-Jacksonville in terms of that line move.
DENVER AT NEW ENGLAND: This will be a heavily bet game in Vegas sportsbooks because Peyton Manning is facing Tom Brady in the showcase matchup of the afternoon. We haven’t seen much sharp interest yet though. New England opened at -6.5 and stayed there. That suggests at least that sharps DON’T like New England. Obviously the line would have moved to at least -7 if sharps wanted Brady. So we likely have the sharps preferring the dog, but hoping they get +7 on game day after the public steps in. The total is up from 51.5 to 52 or 52.5, suggesting decent game day weather for these two noted passers. Game day may bring a tug-of-war that ultimately has squares on New England -6.5, and sharps on Denver +7.
BUFFALO AT SAN FRANCISCO: The old school guys who like to take all double digit dogs have moved in on Buffalo at +10. We’re now seeing +9.5 in most places. It’s telling though that the move was only a half a point. This wasn’t bandwagon support for the road dog…just line value support from a certain type of sharp. The total is up a half a point from 44 to 44.5, keyed we’ve heard by the style of game Buffalo has been playing this year. They’ve had some very high scoring afternoons thanks to a shaky defense and a turnover prone offense.
SAN DIEGO AT NEW ORLEANS: This opened at -3. Sharps hit the favorite hard enough to move off the key number to -3.5 and even -4 in some places. We’ve told you in the past that it takes a lot of interest to move off a three. Sharps have spoken. Squares won’t get to back a popular home favorite at that critical number on game night. Act quickly if you like a favorite!
HOUSTON AT NY JETS: Sharps have shown a lot of respect for Houston (particularly when healthy) this year and last…and they’ve shown a lot of disdain for the Jets. So, it was no surprise at all when this line opened at Houston -7 and got bet up to -8. The opener may have struck some of you as high. But, oddsmakers do have the Texans at least 10 better than the Jets on a neutral field right now…and sharps had it more like 11 better based on their quick investments. Oh, we’re hearing that many sharps will be even MORE anti-Jets in future weeks if Tim Tebow is moved up to starting quarterback.
That wraps up today’s look at the NFL markets. The best way to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp is to visit VegasSportsMasters every day! Be sure you check out the display ads on the home page, and the expanded service details on the “buy picks” page for big play bulletins every day this weekend for the very best college and pro selections.