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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, October 31, 2014 at 1:00 PM

We’re coming up on the lightest NFL Sunday we’ve had in a while. Six teams have byes this week, which leaves only 10 afternoon games to go along with the standard prime time fair Sunday and Monday Nights. Bye teams this week are Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, and Tennessee. One result is already in the books, as New Orleans won for squares and many sharps with a 28-10 squash of Carolina as a field goal favorite.

Here’s how sharps have been betting this weekend’s NFL so far. Games are presented in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedule.

SAN DIEGO AT MIAMI: Miami has been bet up from an opener of -1.5 to -2.5…but it’s not likely to go to the full three because San Diego money will come in very heavily at the key number. The Chargers are perceived as the superior team, which is why the number opened below the field goal. And, oddsmakers know San Diego +8.5 will already be popular in two-team teasers because the 6-point move crosses both the 3 and the 7. The total has moved from 44 up to 45. As always, I’ll only mention Over/Unders in games where the line has moved at least a point.

JACKSONVILLE AT CINCINNATI: Strong interest on big underdog Jacksonville, as an opener of +13 has been bet down to just +11. Several factors in play here. The Jaguars have been playing good defense, which triggers a lot of old school action at double digit pricing. Cincinnati is in a letdown spot off a very physical divisional win over Baltimore last week. Also, the Bengals have been dealing with injuries, and are still have some lingering fatigue from that tough schedule stretch that included a 5-quarter tie. Sharps stepped in fairly hard at +13 figuring this wasn’t a favorite the public was likely to love with any passion, and kept betting at +12.

TAMPA BAY AT CLEVELAND: Some position-taking on Cleveland on the opener of -6. We’re seeing -6.5 in most places now. It’s not likely to hit the key number of seven though because sportsbooks know sharps would come in hard on the visiting Bucs at that number. Cleveland hasn’t impressed the last two weeks vs. Jacksonville and Oakland. They haven’t earned the right to lay a TD vs. a mediocrity like Tampa Bay. Those early position-takers are still hoping that the public pushes the game higher before kickoff. I wouldn’t expect 7’s to be available long if they’re tested. The total has been bet down from 44.5 to 43.5 based on the recent form of the two teams.   

WASHINGTON AT MINNESOTA: Not much interest here. The game has alternated between pick-em and Minnesota -1. Sharps have lost their enthusiasm for Teddy Bridgewater. And, they don’t want to take any shots on RGIII until they see that he’s performing at a decent level. He was sluggish at the start of the season even when the team was labelling him as healthy. Not likely to be a heavily bet game by sharps or squares.  

PHILADELPHIA AT HOUSTON: The Eagles opened at -2.5 on the road. Most stores are now at Philly -2. That keeps the game in the teaser window because you can push Houston up to +8 and cross two key numbers. You can tell immediately that sharps didn’t like the Eagles or they would have taken out the -2.5 and moved the game to three. Movement away from the key number suggests many sharps like the hosts, and will try to maximize value with the teaser approach. The total is down from an opener of 50 to 48.5. That speaks to the respect sharps have for Houston’s defense. It’s fair to say that Wise Guys liking the Texans here expressed that with bets on Under 50 and Under 49 rather than Houston +2.5.  

NY JETS AT KANSAS CITY: The game has been hopping between Kansas City -9.5 and NY Jets +10. Calling it a tug-of-war is a bit strong because there’s not a lot of energy on either side. But, value bettors and position takers preferring the Chiefs will hit the -9.5. Some Jets money does come in at the key number of +10. A “tug-of-value.” Sharps soured on new Jets starting quarterback Michael Vick long ago. They don’t yet trust Kansas City as big favorites…but the Chiefs have been rising in respected Power Ratings.  

ARIZONA AT DALLAS: No early line because the market is waiting to see if Tony Romo will play. This is an important game in the NFC race…and could be bet heavily by squares once a number goes up. Sharps have a number in mind for both Romo and Orton. They’ll fade any differences from that opinion. And, they’ll definitely fade any public sentiment toward an injured Romo if he does try to play with a bad back against this respected Arizona defense.  

ST. LOUIS AT SAN FRANCISCO: Another game hopping between 9.5 and 10 without much passion. The “tug of value” is on San Francisco -9.5 and St. Louis +10. Sharps do prefer the Rams side of that more emphatically at the key number of +10 because it’s a divisional rivalry game for a team that doesn’t have much to play for this season except divisional rivalries. You saw St. Louis lose badly to Kansas City last week, and fall way behind Philadelphia on the road not too long ago. Between those was a home upset of Seattle. Sharps will take +10 now when they see it, and are hoping the public may drive the line even higher on game day. There aren’t a lot of magnet games for squares beyond the one that’s up next on the schedule. So, it’s possible that we have a more aggressive tug-of-war in Rams/Niners on Sunday.

DENVER AT NEW ENGLAND: This is the game everyone’s waiting for…and a game that everyone will be betting on. The late TV window guarantees a huge handle because locals will have time to re-invest after the early kicks. The game has been a solid Denver -3 and 54 all week. That team side number will likely split the action fairly well. Sharps will fade any move off the key number in what’s expected to be a competitive game. Squares will probably bet the Over on game day because that would allow them to root for both popular betting quarterbacks. Sharps would consider the Under at 55, particularly if there are any weather issues involved.  

OAKLAND AT SEATTLE: Low interest game so far. Seattle opened at -15. Some stores have tested -14.5 to see if that inspires any action. Old school guys who take every double digit dog are in at +15. The quants bet Over 41 and 42 because Oakland’s likely to throw passes all day playing from behind (56 last week in the loss at Cleveland). That will lengthen the game and increase scoring opportunities. That opener of 41 is now up to 43 in most places, with a few testing 43.5.

BALTIMORE AT PITTSBURGH (Sunday Night): The game opened at pick-em, Then, Baltimore was bet up to -1 or -1.5. That has surprised some observers because Pittsburgh looked so great last week vs. Indianapolis while Baltimore was losing a hardfought battle at Cincinnati. The Ravens are still respected by sharps because the offense seems to be responding to Gary Kubiack’s work as coordinator. Pittsburgh has been inconsistent this year (losing badly to this same Ravens team several weeks ago), and isn’t yet trusted to deliver every week. Though, if the line does stick at Baltimore -1.5 or -2, then teaser players will be all over Pittsburgh +7.5 or +8. Huge move here on the total, as an opener of 44 has been bet all the way up to 48. That’s a MONSTER move by this year’s standards. Oddsmakers had fairly well cracked the algorithm code for how sharps make their totals. Sources tell us this was a case of “recent form” trumping the full season numbers. Last week’s Steelers/Colts game had 85 total points and 1,087 total yards.

INDIANAPOLIS AT NY GIANTS (Monday Night): Speaking of the Colts, we’re seeing a market replay of Steelers/Colts in the Monday Night game. Indianapolis has opened -3…and has been getting enough action to encourage many stores to test -3.5. It takes a lot of money to move off the three in the NFL. And, that money is coming in this week when it just got burned last week! Note that the Giants had a bye last week, but will still be missing star receiver Victor Cruz for the rest of the season. It’s a testament to how highly Andrew Luck has pushed the Colts in sharp Power Ratings that this road favorite is getting so much market respect.  

That wraps up our look at Week 9. My BEST BETS from the NFL, college football, and the NBA can be purchased every day right here at the VSM website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the VSM office weekdays during normal business hours, and weekends before first kickoff at 1-888-777-4155.

I’ll be back on Tuesday with a special “sharps” report that will cover the four MAC games that are set for Tuesday and Wednesday telecasts on ESPN2 and ESPNU. It’s always fascinating to monitor the smart money in the MAC! Then we’ll have our regularly scheduled reports Thursday and Friday. Thanks for reading. Best of luck to you this weekend!


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