Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 14, 2014 at 3:00 PM
The schedule picks up a bit this week in the NFL. There are four bye teams, which is down from last week’s six. Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville, and the NY Jets are off. You’ll recall that Dallas and Jacksonville played in Europe last week. The Jets winning right before the bye may have saved a few jobs.
I’ll run through each matchup in official Nevada rotation order so you can makes notes in your schedules.
HOUSTON AT CLEVELAND: Cleveland has stayed solid on the key number of -3. It tells you a lot about the relative skepticism of the Browns as a playoff contender that they rate even with the Texans on a neutral field. Home field advantage is generally worth three points in the NFL. Sometimes more in situations like this were a team from the South is facing a team from the North in cold temperatures. Houston did have a bye last week though, which is probably getting some consideration in the number. Note that Ryan Mallet will be making his first career NFL start this week. A lot of sharps do respect his big arm. If the public drives the game off the three, I would expect sharps to bet the game back to the number. The opening total is down a half a point from the opener of 42. From this point forward, I’ll only mention totals that move at least a point.
MINNESOTA AT CHICAGO: Another game frozen on the key number of three. Chicago’s fallen far very quickly in Vegas ratings. They might have been -5 or -6 if this game had been played a month ago. But, very poor showings in recent weeks have made it clear that Chicago doesn’t have a playoff caliber team. Worse, the bulk of the roster may have given up on the head coach and/or the starting quarterback. Given that this game has stayed on the three so long, you can assume here as well that sharps would fade any public move off -3.
PHILADELPHIA AT GREEN BAY: Looks like a tug-of-war developing between Green Bay -5.5 and Philadelphia +6. Both teams are getting respect from sharps in recent weeks. And, Mark Sanchez showed enough this past Monday Night to keep him from being an auto-fade in a big game like this. Smart money preferring the Packers is in at the opener. More might come in on the six if it looks like the public is going to pound the Packers. Sharps will take a position on six then come back on the Eagles at +7 to maximize their profit options. If the public doesn’t flood Green Bay, the tug-of-war that’s already in play would likely continue. The opening total of 56.5 has been bet down to 54.5, possibly because game-time temperatures will be in the 20’s. Note that this is a time change to a later after noon start for a better TV window.
SEATTLE AT KANSAS CITY: We have a flipped favorite here. Seattle opened at -1. Kansas City, who’s been getting respect from sharps for several weeks now (along with Miami), is now the home favorite at -2. The Wise Guys are in on the Chiefs…but they will certainly be looking at Seattle +8 in two-team teasers if the line doesn’t move any more. That’s quite a middle! It will be interesting to see how the public bets this game. Seattle hasn’t been profitable for them. But defending Super Bowl champions aren’t often underdogs so soon after the big win.
ATLANTA AT CAROLINA: Another flipped favorite, but in a relatively unimportant game instead of a battle of playoff teams. Carolina opened at -1.5. Most stores are now showing Atlanta -1. Carolina looked awful this past Monday Night vs. Philadelphia, and has been in a tailspin for several weeks. If Atlanta rises into the teaser window, Carolina at +7.5 or +8 in two-teamers may not get much serious consideration because so many of their losses have been by big margins.
CINCINNATI AT NEW ORLEANS: The Saints often get action from both sharps and squares as home favorites. Sharps jump in early knowing they can buy back later on the dog for value. Squares just like betting an explosive offense indoors on a fast track. The opener of New Orleans -5.5 is up to -7…and some sites are testing -7.5 to see if that encourages Cincinnati money. The public will very likely be on New Orleans at -7 or better. Awkward spot for sportsbooks because a widely available -7.5 would open the doors for New Orleans at -1.5 in teasers. Even more money would flood in on the Saints. Very likely that sportsbooks will be rooting hard for the Bengals.
TAMPA BAY AT WASHINGTON: Not much interest in such a low profile game. But, the money that has presented itself so far has been on Washington -7. We’re starting to see some 7.5’s out there. I would expect the Wise Guys to take that hook if it’s available at higher limits. Washington hasn’t established that they should be big favorites over anyone. The total has dropped from 46 to 45 in many locales. This is not likely to be a heavily bet game this weekend.
DENVER AT ST. LOUIS: Denver opened at -8, and has risen all the way to -9.5. Denver and New Orleans are similar in terms of how sharps bet them on the openers. Though New Orleans gets the brunt of that at home, while Denver is now seen as a blowout team everywhere against non-contenders. Sharps are in at -8, -8.5 and -9. Underdog money might come in on St. Louis +10…though it’s possible dog players will wait to see if the public lifts the number even higher before kickoff. A key number like 10 is much better in a “middle” than as the border of a shot at a middle. Denver is still being priced like the next Super Bowl champions…well clear of the field.
SAN FRANCISCO AT NY GIANTS: Strong move on the Niners off the opener of -3. It takes a lot of money to move a game off the three and stay there. Most stores are showing the Niners at -3.5 or -4. We may have a tug-of-war developing because home dog money does come in on the four. If the public plays the Niners on Sunday, it looks like the Wise Guys will take the Giants at +4 or better. Note that this is a second-straight road game for SF after an overtime win…and also a bad body clock game that starts at 1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m for a West Coast team.
OAKLAND AT SAN DIEGO: San Diego hasn’t been in the best of form lately. But, they did enjoy a bye last week that may have recharged their batteries. An opener of -9 has been bet up to -10. Some stores are testing -10.5 because Oakland money isn’t showing up yet. The Wise Guys are in strong at -9 and -9.5. It might take +11 to bring in some Oakland feelers. The old school guys who take every double digit dog on principal will have some choices to make with the Rams and Raiders.
DETROIT AT ARIZONA: Not much interest here. Arizona opened at -1, and is now -1.5 at most places. This one could dance around the teaser window. Sharps would definitely like Detroit at +7.5 or +8 against Arizona’s backup quarterback. The light late afternoon slate could bring in some public money searching for action. Squares tend to bet favorites. We might have a spot where the public is in at Arizona -1.5, while the Wise Guys have Detroit +7.5. Sportsbooks will be rooting for anything outside that range.
NEW ENGLAND AT INDIANAPOLIS (Sunday Night): This is going to be a heavily bet game. Squares have all day to get their money in on what might be the most entertaining Sunday Night game of the season. We’ve already seen a move from Indianapolis -2 to -3. It’s been solid on the three ever since. Will the public bet Brady as a dog (squares love betting Brady)? Or, will the public bet Indy as a cheap favorite (squares love betting those in TV games!). I can tell you this, the Wise Guys have been very forceful in their support of the Colts this season. You could see that in the recent road prices at Pittsburgh and the NY Giants. Money may split so evenly on the key number of three that sportsbooks will be positioned to collect a large vigorish. Big move to the Over here, from the already high opening total of 56 up to 58. Not a surprise. Great quarterbacks, good scoring conditions, and the chance that it turns into a back-and-forth shootout. I wouldn’t be shocked if public money drives this to as high as 60 before kickoff.
PITTSBURGH AT TENNESSEE (Monday Night): Only a small early move in what is shaping up as a dead spot on the Monday Night schedule. Pittsburgh’s been on TV a lot already recently. Tennessee is playing so poorly that they represent no kind of attraction at all. This could be the lightest bet Monday Nighter of the season, or of the past few seasons. Pittsburgh -5.5 was bet up to -6 by sharps. I would expect at least +7 to show up before any dog money hit the board.
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My sharp reports will be back next week on our regular schedule. Thanks for reading, and for telling your friends about these reports. Enjoy Week 11!
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