Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, October 24, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Heads up for a schedule quirk this week, as the game in London featuring the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons Sunday will begin at 9:30 a.m. ET, 6:30 a.m. out here in Las Vegas. Sharps and squares will need to have their bets in that game finalized by Saturday Night!
The NY Giants and San Francisco 49ers have a bye this week, leaving us a lucky 13 Sunday NFL games spread out over four TV windows…followed by the Monday Nighter featuring Washington and Dallas.
Here’s the weekly look at how sharps have been betting the NFL. Keep in mind that game days have been VERY active this season, with many of the biggest sharp moves coming in the hours right before kickoff. Be sure you’re watching the lines on game day. Those big Sunday moves have invariably been sharp driven this year. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedule.
DETROIT AT ATLANTA (London): Most sharps prefer waiting for confirmed status of Megatron before stepping out in any game involving the Lions. To this point there’s been some interest on Atlanta +4, dropping the number to +3.5 at many locales. Remember that this is a neutral field game. These teams were seen as about even in most respected Power Ratings back after Atlanta won its season opener over New Orleans. The surge to a four-point differential is very big by NFL standards. Not much interest yet on the Over/Under. We’ll only mention totals today when there’s been a move of at least one point.
MINNESOTA AT TAMPA BAY: Generally a solid Tampa Bay -2.5 right now. Tough spot for sportsbooks because most sentiment thus far has been on the Bucs -2.5. Any move to the three would bring in much stronger support for Minnesota on the key number. But, if sportsbooks stick at 2.5, then Minnesota +8.5 will be a heavily bet option in two-team teasers. They’ll have to pick their poison. The small number of sharps preferring Tampa Bay are in at -2.5 (if there were a large number of sharps, the line would be a solid three). Those preferring Minnesota will play teasers and wait to see if +3 becomes widely available. The Over/Under has dropped a point from 43 to 42, keyed by the general lack of offensive production from Teddy Bridgewater in recent action.
CHICAGO AT NEW ENGLAND: We’re seeing a solid six right now, after New England had opened at -6.5. It’s telling that sharps jumped in immediately on the dog rather than waiting to see if +7 came available after public betting. The six looks to be the dividing line that brings in sharp money on the Bears and square money on the Pats. Big early move on the Over/Under, with an opener of 49 being bet up to 51. That suggests the weather will be nice Sunday in Foxboro, and that quants are expecting production from both quarterbacks.
ST. LOUIS AT KANSAS CITY: The Chiefs have been bet up from an opener of -6 to -7 in many spots, with a few testing even higher numbers. Why such support for Alex Smith all of a sudden? Sources tell us that this is an anti-St. Louis play in large part, as situational handicappers expect a flat performance after a pair of divisional showdowns for the Rams. It’s obviously a letdown spot off the Seattle upset. St. Louis played San Francisco the week before, and then has two divisional road games immediately on deck. It should be mentioned though that the Chiefs have been rising in sharp Power Ratings ever since that Monday Night shellacking of New England. Last week’s win at San Diego didn’t hurt either. Kansas City is now rated as a clear playoff caliber team rather than a question mark. Note that if the Chiefs get pushed past -7 to -7.5, they will become a popular choice in two-team teasers too.
SEATTLE AT CAROLINA: Seattle opened at -3.5, and has been bet up to -5. This is obviously a huge bounce back spot for the Seahawks off back-to-back losses. Plus, sharps entered the season skeptical about Carolina, and have really soured on this defense in recent weeks. Seattle hasn’t taken much of a hit in Wise Guy Power Ratings because the talent is still there. Sharps will regret not docking them if the team keeps losing. Seattle is 2-4 ATS at the end of regulation enduring their Super Bowl hangover.
BUFFALO AT NY JETS: An opener of NYJ -2.5 has moved to a solid three through the week. Sharps who wanted the Jets because of the percentage power of the key number got in immediately. There wasn’t enough of a buyback initially to create a tug-of-war between Jets -2.5 and Buffalo +3. Sources tell us more sharps prefer Buffalo at the three…and may come in heavily on game day to see if they can drop the number to +2.5 to set up two-team teaser possibilities on Buffalo +8.5.
MIAMI AT JACKSONVILLE: Miami opened at -4.5, and has been bet up to -6. That may not be as dramatic a move as it first looks because the five isn’t a very important number in football betting. But, it’s telling that Jacksonville money didn’t come in at the six. In fact, some stores are testing Miami -6.5 to see if that brings in some balancing Jaguars action. We hear sharps like what they’re seeing from the Dolphins the past few weeks. Miami blew out Oakland, lost to Green Bay in the final seconds, then controlled the Chicago game on the road last week. That’s another team improving in recent Wise Guy Power Ratings.
HOUSTON AT TENNESSEE: This line moved from Houston -1 to Houston -3 on the news that rookie Zach Mettenberger would get the start for the Titans. He’s an unknown quantity at this level. This is not likely to be a heavily bet game from sharps or squares until everyone sees Mettenberger in action. Maybe the Wise Guys will express a sentiment in the hours before kickoff. There are no rumblings of anything imminent as of press time. Note that the Over/Under dropped from 43.5 to 42 on the same news.
BALTIMORE AT CINCINNATI: The Bengals are dealing with a slew of injuries. That plus recent disappointments while playing shorthanded have soured the sharps on their current form. An opener of Cincinnati -2.5 has been bet all the way to Baltimore -1. The Ravens were -1 back when these teams played each other in the season opener…in Baltimore! You would expect a move of about 5-6 points in a site switch…so there’s been a dramatic change in perception for these two teams since early September. Baltimore is on the list of rising teams. Shorthanded Cincinnati isn’t seen as playoff caliber, coming off a combined 70-17 loss to New England and Indianapolis, plus the five-quarter tie against fading Carolina. It’s the Ravens who are Power Rated as the best team in the AFC North at the moment.
PHILADELPHIA AT ARIZONA: This game has been sitting on Arizona -2.5 all week. Right away you know that the sharps don’t like the hosts, or they would have pushed the game to three immediately in advance of typical public action on home favorites. No position-takers! That tells you that sharps would pound the Eagles if the number came up, and will likely be pounding the Eagles in two-team teasers at +8.5. This one will likely stay on the 2.5 unless the public creates a tug-of-war on game day with support for the cheap home favorite. Arizona’s not a “national” team yet, so that’s probably not likely.
INDIANAPOLIS AT PITTSBURGH: A fairly solid three all week, with Indianapolis priced as a road favorite. Sentiment is heavily their way though, and some stores are testing Indy at -3.5 to see if that generates interest in the Steelers. Normally Wise Guys would fade a move off the key number. But, Indy is in very good form right now, while Pittsburgh manages to look bad even when they win and cover. We’ll have to see if game day brings a tug-of-war around the key number. For now, the sharps who like Indy are in at the field goal. It’s a bit of mystery how much interest sharps would have in the inconsistent Steelers at better prices.
OAKLAND AT CLEVELAND: Looks like a tug-of-war shaping up between Cleveland -6.5 and Oakland +7. Those playing Cleveland in the bounce-back spot against the inconsistent Raiders are pretty sure -6.5 is the best they’re going to see. Old school sharps…those most likely to think Cleveland shouldn’t be favored by that much over anybody (possibly proven true in the loss last week to Jacksonville!)…are coming in on the Raiders at the full seven. The public generally comes in on home favorites in the late TV window, but Oakland does have a “locals” betting presence in Nevada because of geographic proximity. The tug-of-war could continue until kickoff unless one or two syndicates make major moves on game day.
GREEN BAY AT NEW ORLEANS (Sunday Night): An opener of New Orleans -2 has been bet down to -1.5. New Orleans is one of the teams that’s been sliding backward in Wise Guy Power Ratings. But, this team’s home history in the Brees era makes them tough to fade aggressively at such low prices. Note that Green Bay money is much more likely to come in on two-team teasers that cross both the 3 and the 7. This is likely to be a heavily bet game in Las Vegas because of entertainment value. Sharps may be waiting for that heavy public involvement before hitting the board aggressively themselves. We can assume the Wise Guys don’t love the Saints or they would have hit them at such a low number! Big early move on the Over, as the opening total of 54 has been bet up to 56. Sharps are expecting a high scoring shootout featuring star quarterbacks.
WASHINGTON AT DALLAS (Monday Night): The line jumped from the opener on reports that Colt McCoy was going to get the start for the Redskins. The early post of Dallas -7.5 is all the way up to -9.5, with some stores testing the full ten. The sharps aren’t fond of McCoy because of poor arm strength and the tendency to get rattled when under pressure. It may take more than +10 to get them involved. The opening total of 51 is down to 49 because Washington will either struggle to score, or will take their time grinding clock if they are able to move the ball.
That’s how the Wise Guys have been betting early in Week 8 of the NFL season. You can purchase my BEST FOOTBALL BETS every day here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office Thursday afternoon at 1-888-777-4155. The next “sharps” report is currently scheduled for next Thursday when we’ll discuss New Orleans/Carolina in the NFL and Florida State/Louisville in the colleges. Thanks for reading. See you then!
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