Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 28, 2014 at 2:00 PM
Three NFL games are in the books now that Thanksgiving Day is behind us. Road underdogs won two of those three outright by big margins, and two of the three stayed Under the posted total. We move now to rest of Lucky Week 13 with Sunday and Monday action.
Here’s how sharps have been betting the games so far. Matchups are presented in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
WASHINGTON AT INDIANAPOLIS: An opener of Indianapolis -9.5 has been tentatively hopping between that number and +10. Colt McCoy will get the start for Washington over RGIII. Sharps who have been betting on Indy to cover vs. bad teams (a very successful approach thus far, though the lines were usually smaller) got in early. Those who think McCoy is an upgrade because the team responds to him were happy to take +10. More of a soft tug-of-war than a strong one though. This probably won’t be a heavily bet game by squares (the public). They’ll bet Indy if they bet…and squares will take more of the Skins at +10 if it becomes widely available. Nothing yet on the total. As always, I’ll only mention totals if there’s a move of a point or more off the opener.
TENNESSEE AT HOUSTON: Another game that won’t be heavily bet. The Ryan Mallett experiment at quarterback for the Texans is over because he suffered a torn pectoral muscle. Houston opened at -7. No interest on the favorite at the key number. Dog money may be waiting to see if they can get something better before kickoff.
CLEVELAND AT BUFFALO: Who would have thought before the season that this would be such a big game in the playoff race? Buffalo opened at -2, and was bet up to -3 given the team’s recent form. The Browns are playing their second straight road game after having to go down to the wire in Atlanta last week. It’s a strong indictment of the Browns that there wasn’t much buyback on the three when the number went there. Basically Bills or pass so far is the sharp sentiment. The total was bet up from 41 to 42, possibly because temperatures will be in the 50’s.
SAN DIEGO AT BALTIMORE: San Diego’s stock has fallen so far in recent weeks that Baltimore opened at -5.5 (it would have been around a field goal a month ago), and sharps bet the line up to the relatively key number of -6. No buyback yet on the Chargers. San Diego has failed to cover SIX straight games (after covering its first five), and is playing its second “bad body clock” game on the East Coast this month. Oddsmakers mostly accounted for sharp anti-SD sentiment with that high opener.
NY GIANTS AT JACKSONVILLE: The Giants were bet up from an opener of -1.5 to -3 based on their competitive showing against Dallas last Sunday night. Jacksonville may lack motivation to win straight up given the race for the #1 draft pick down at the bottom of the standings (Jaguars and Oakland are both 1-10). No reason to bet the Jaguars early here, while Giants money has a reason to be optimistic. Perhaps dog money would hit the market if the line goes up to +3.5 or higher. Some stores have lifted the opening total of 44 up to 45. Not likely to be a highly bet game outside of the influence New York money usually has on the market.
CINCINNATI AT TAMPA BAY: Cincinnati opened at -4, and has been bet down to -3.5. This is Cincinnati’s third straight road game. Few sharps will consider a road favorite in this spot who has just won the first two (at New Orleans and at Houston in this case). So, only Tampa Bay money was likely to be the major influence. Will Tampa Bay play for the playoffs (only two games behind first place in the lowly NFC South) or for the draft (only two games ahead of the worst records)? It’s possible that the public will bet “hot” Cincinnati as a first place team laying a reasonable number to a “bad” host. Sharps would come in to offset Cincinnati money at +4 or higher in my view.
OAKLAND AT ST. LOUIS: Looks like a tug-of-war developing between St. Louis -6.5 and Oakland +7. This is another game that squares won’t be interested in. So, it’s sharps vs. sharps betting for value. Those who believe the Rams shouldn’t be a TD favorite over anybody will take the Raiders at that price. Those who believe the Raiders will be flat off their first win and motivated to keep losing will take flyers on the Rams at -6.5. Early rumors that this game might be moved to Indianapolis because of social unrest near St. Louis have died down.
NEW ORLEANS AT PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh opened at -4, and has been bet up to -4.5 or -5 as we go to press. The Saints had mostly struggled on the road earlier this season…but are now struggling everywhere after losing three straight at home (to SF, Cincinnati, and Baltimore). The defense is in disarray, which means Ben Roethlisberger might have another big day. The Saints are on the list with the Chargers of teams who have been dropping quickly in respected Power Ratings. Some stores have lifted the total from 53 to 54 because of a projected shootout.
CAROLINA AT MINNESOTA: The downside of having marquee matchups on Thanksgiving is that the early Sunday slate has a lot of losing teams. Carolina at least is a losing team that’s only a half-game out of the playoffs because they’re in a bad division. Minnesota opened at -3. It was almost all Carolina money at that price. We’ll either see a tug-of-war between Carolina +3 and Minnesota -2.5…or a line settle at Vikings -2.5 or -2. Then, if THAT happens, Carolina +8.5 or +8 will be a popular teaser choice on a day that doesn’t have many basic strategy qualifiers (crossing both the 3 and the 7 with one 6-point move.). The total has been bet up from 41 to 42.5 as the grip of frigid weather in the Midwest loosens. Sportsbooks will be rooting for Minnesota and the Under most likely.
ARIZONA AT ATLANTA: Normally this wouldn’t be a big betting game…but it’s a battle of first place teams, and one of only two games in the late afternoon TV window! That will encourage a lot of late day action for people who don’t just want to bet one game (the marquee matchup just below). Arizona opened at -1.5, and has generally been staying in the teaser range below a field goal. The Cardinals haven’t earned enough market respect with Drew Stanton at quarterback to lay a field goal on the road in a spot like this. Sharps will probably be most heavily involved in teaser play on the host Falcons at +7.5, +8, or +8.5.
NEW ENGLAND AT GREEN BAY: The game of the week, and possibly a Super Bowl preview. This is going to be an extremely heavily bet game…one of the biggest afternoon spots on the full season schedule. The line of Green Bay -3 will encourage action from supporters of both teams. There’s been a bit more GB action than Patriots betting thus far. But, that could change before kickoff. A lot of early “punditry” was picking Green Bay on their strong home field. Sharps who prefer the Patriots are waiting to see if they can get +3.5. Given that many sharps now have the Pats at the top of their NFL Power Ratings, they would love getting that hook. The total has been bet up from an opener of 57 up to 58.5 or 59. Highest total of the year so far in pro football. Unless there’s a weather surprise in store, we might see 60-plus on game day. The public is going to bet the Over with these quarterbacks in a huge TV game. Sharps who play Under the highest totals based on historical principle will see what they can get and bet in the 30 minutes before kickoff.
DENVER AT KANSAS CITY (Sunday Night): This should also be a highly bet game given the teams involved and the prime time spot on the schedule. We have a flipped favorite as the opener of Kansas City -1 is now Denver -1.5. That would put the Chiefs as a dog into the teaser window. If the public keeps betting Peyton Manning…which they love to do at cheap prices…then sharps would either be heavy on the Chiefs at +3, or heavy on the Chiefs at +7.5/+8/+8.5 in two-team teasers. The total has been bet up from 49 to 50. Weather is supposed to be chilly, but otherwise okay for offenses.
MIAMI AT THE NY JETS (Monday Night): Miami opened at -5.5. They’ve been getting bet all week, with the line finally hitting the key number of -7 in recent hours. Sharps have loved the Dolphins for a couple of months now, and cashed with them again last week as a road underdog in Denver. I would expect Jets money to hit the board at +7…and certainly at +7.5 if it gets that high. Miami Wise Guy money needed to get in early as a favorite in a Monday Nighter. Jets money can wait to see how high the line goes. A lot of old school sharps like divisional home underdogs above a field goal no matter who the coach and quarterback are. The quants spotted Miami early and have been profiting for several weeks with them.
I have a few games I’ll be hitting hard on Sunday. You can always purchase my BEST BETS in football and basketball right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office Friday during normal business hours or Saturday/Sunday morning at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about combination packages that include basketball.
That’s it for this weekend’s sharp rundowns. Next week’s schedule will look like this:
Thursday midday: Cowboys/Bears plus the two Friday conference championship games (including the Pac 12).
Friday midday: a look at Saturday’s championship action (including the SEC and Big 10) plus Kansas State/Baylor.
Friday afternoon: our weekly review of Wise Guy action in the NFL.
Thanks for reading. Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend. See you next week.
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