Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 at 12:00 PM
This is the most excited Las Vegas has been about Thanksgiving football in a while. We have three great matchups in the NFL, followed by dueling prime time college games that will provide a great desert to the day’s feast.
Public betting is historically lighter for the early NFL game because it starts at 9:30 a.m. Las Vegas time…and always involves Detroit (a team that is coming off a long dry spell). Action picks up later in the day when America’s Team takes the field in Dallas. When the networks started adding prime time fare (which now includes the NFL), that really boosted the holiday handle.
It’s possible that…this Thanksgiving…every single TV window will have more action than it’s seen in years. Detroit is good…and is playing an important game against a divisional rival. Dallas vs. Philadelphia is for first place in the NFC East. The prime time game is a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game between San Francisco and Seattle. Hey, marquee value really matters in a city like Las Vegas!
Let’s see how sharps have been betting (or intelligently biding their time) in the five football games set for the holiday. I’ll list the games in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
CHICAGO AT DETROIT (12:30 p.m. ET on CBS): The line has been sitting on a solid seven all week for the Lions. That tells you that the sharps don’t like Detroit at this price or they would have driven the game off the key number. Dog money is waiting to see if +7.5 becomes available after public betting. But, again, that’s less of an issue in the earliest kickoff. The bulk of sharps would fade any move off Detroit -7. Were the line to scoot up to -7.5, the Lions would move into play for two-team teasers…which is something most sportsbooks don’t want to invite. Remember that “basic strategy” for two-teamers is to take any option that crosses both the 3 and the 7 in the six-point move. Detroit -7.5 would be moved down to Detroit -1.5. The Over/Under is up from 46.5 to 47.5, with a likelihood of going higher from square money. The public loves betting Overs in games like this because it’s more fun to root for points than for defense.
PHILADELPHIA AT DALLAS (4:30 p.m. ET on FOX): Another game that’s been frozen on a key number while the Over/Under rises. Dallas opened at -3 and has stayed right there on the traditional value for home field advantage. Both teams are 8-3, and are largely seen as even in most respected Power Ratings. Sharps would fade any move off the key number. That’s most likely to involve the square preference for home teams in general and Dallas in particular. If the public lifts Dallas to -3.5, we’d see a tug-of-war develop with sharps coming in on Philly. Note that any move down would create teaser possibilities on the Eagles at +8.5 or +8. The Over/Under has been bet up from 54 to 56 in many spots. Philadelphia plays at a very fast pace, and both teams have been moving the ball this year.
SEATTLE AT SAN FRANCISCO (8:30 p.m. ET on NBC): The only NFL team side drawing early attention was Seattle at the opener of +2 in this game. We’re now seeing a solid one everywhere. Though, some of that may have been sportsbooks playing “defense” against teasers. A line of San Francisco -2 invites teaser play on Seattle +8 in what’s supposed to be a defensive, low scoring game. Points are more valuable when they’re scarce, making teasers a smarter percentage play. Sportsbooks definitely don’t want any combinations of Detroit -1.5 and Seattle +7.5 or better combined in teasers. The Over/Under has come down, with the opener of 41 getting bet down to 39.5 or 39 depending on the store. That clearly represents a lot of respect for the defenses, because it’s so against the flow of how totals usually move in high profile prime time TV games. A feeding frenzy broke out at Under 41 and 40 because nobody wanted to wait and see if squares bet Over the opener.
TCU AT TEXAS (7:30 p.m. ET on FOX SPORTS 1): No much interest at the opener of TCU -6.5. But, that lack of movement actually tells you a lot about how sharps are thinking. If the Wise Guys liked the favorite, they would have hit TCU immediately and driven the number to the key number of seven. That DIDN’T happen…which suggests sharps won’t touch TCU until much lower, and would LOVE the Longhorns +7. Oddsmakers basically anticipated that with their opener. An opener of -6.5 (or -9.5 or -2.5) is begging for money on the favorite. Sharps will wait and hope the public pushes TCU higher. The total has been bet down from 58 to 56.5 because of respect for the Texas defense. Longhorn money hit the Under first, and will wait for +7 on the team side.
LSU AT TEXAS A&M (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN): Here an opener just below a key number was bet higher. LSU opened -2.5 as a short road favorite and was bet up to -3. It’s telling that a flood of A&M money didn’t come in after the move. Sharps are still skeptical about the Aggies defense, and about whether the offense can be trusted to play a mistake-free game. I would expect the dog to be hit by sharps if +3.5 comes into play. Not much happening on the total yet. I don’t expect any drama there unless there’s a surprise in the weather forecast.
I have big plans for my holiday package. You’ll be able to purchase my Thanksgiving BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office Wednesday afternoon normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
More special reports are on the way this week. I’ll have a bonus holiday edition Thursday afternoon that will cover Friday’s main TV games (like Arizona State/Arizona and Missouri/Arkansas). Then, Friday morning we’ll look at the marquee Saturday matchups (like Auburn/Alabama and Mississippi State/Ole Miss), followed later in the day by the standard rundown of the weekend’s NFL.
Thanks very much for reading these sharp updates through the season. This is going to be a fantastic weekend…and we’ll soon be kicking things up another notch for the stretch run in the NFL and the college bowls. Happy Thanksgiving!
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