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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, December 19, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Back to talk about the rest of this week’s NFL, after sharps are off to a good start with their support for Jacksonville and the Under Thursday Night. Remember that there are two games Saturday this week…the only Saturday NFL games of the 2014 season. I’ll present those and the rest of the card in official Nevada rotation order…even though there’s been a time change in Saturday’s kicks. I do this every week so you can make notes in your handy schedules. We begin Saturday Night…

SAN DIEGO AT SAN FRANCISCO (Saturday Night): An opener of San Francisco -2.5 was inviting action on the slumping 49ers. Oddsmakers knew that sharps would pound San Diego if they saw the key number of three in play. Sharps hit San Diego anyway! The line is now San Diego +1.5 as I write this. That leaves the game in the two-team teaser window, as “basic strategy” would suggest taking any move that crosses by the 3 and the 7. San Diego +7.5 will be a popular teaser entry in six-pointers if the line doesn’t move before kickoff. Oh, I can assure you that sharps have noticed how low scoring games have been getting of late. That makes teasers even more potent because points are more “valuable” when they’re scarce. (Tennessee/Jacksonville continued that recent low scoring trend). The Over/Under hasn’t budged here, which is a bit surprising given the low scoring games these teams have played recently. From this point forward, I’ll only mention Over/Unders when they’ve moved at least a point.

PHILADELPHIA AT WASHINGTON (Saturday Afternoon): Another game in the teaser window here, which could cause quite a headache for sportsbooks. Philadelphia opened at -8, and has been bet down to -7.5. That’s not a major move because eight isn’t a key number. But, it does tell you that sharps are falling out of love with the Eagles as a major threat the rest of the way. The public may come in on the favorite in the TV game because squares love betting the NFL. If that happens we’ll probably see a tug-of-war between squares on the Eagles and sharps on the dog at +8 or better. Sharps will be rooting for Philadelphia -1.5 in teasers, and a San Diego/Philly pairing will be very popular as a hoped for “bankroll builder” for those who like playing teasers.

MINNESOTA AT MIAMI: Moving to Sunday, there was strong sentiment on Minnesota at the opener of +7. It takes real money to take a game off the key number of seven. We’re now seeing Miami -6.5 everywhere. Telling that there wasn’t buyback on the Dolphins below the key number. As I’ve been saying recently, the Wise Guys have fallen out of love with Miami. They were a sharp moneymaker for several weeks. The team ran out of gas after losing at altitude in Denver. Plus, sharps have liked what they’ve seen in terms of effort from the Minnesota defense of late.

GREEN BAY AT TAMPA BAY: A surprisingly strong move on Green Bay from an opener of -10 all the way up to -11.5. That 10 is a key number (7+3), so it takes real sentiment to drive a number higher…particularly in the NFL where there’s usually a sharp bias for big underdogs. Position-takers and quants jumped in quickly at -10, -10.5, and even -11 because they see this as a mismatch at the quarterback position in a must-win game for the favorite. Green Bay doesn’t want to be a Wildcard, so they can’t afford to look past this game as they try to chase down Detroit. The total has been bet down from 50.5 to 49 or 48.5. That’s a reflection of Tampa Bay’s poor offensive play in recent weeks…and the potential for Green Bay to sit on a big lead if they get one.

DETROIT AT CHICAGO: This game jumped from Detroit -6.5 to Detroit -8.5 or -9 when it was announced that Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen. The total also fell from 46 to 44.5. You can tell that oddsmakers believe the Bears made themselves worse with the move. Sharps haven’t expressed much sentiment yet because Clausen is such an unknown quantity with this offense. If the line settles at Detroit -8.5, you can be sure that Detroit -2.5 will show up in a lot of teasers.

ATLANTA AT NEW ORLEANS: The only interest here has been on the Over/Under. The opening total of 55 has been bet up to 56. Quants made the game 56 because neither defense is well suited to stop either offense. The opening line of New Orleans -6 has stood pat, and is expected to stay there all weekend. Sharps would fade any move off the six, particularly if the public drove New Orleans up to the key number of seven.

NEW ENGLAND AT NY JETS: The opening line of New England -11 was bet down. We’re now seeing Patriots -10.5 in most places. Stores testing -10 see New England money come in on the key number. And, given that the public is likely to bet the Pats here…we’re not likely to see many tens over the weekend. Sharps definitely like the Jets at +11, and some are still betting them at +10.5. Remember that there are many old-school sharps who really like taking double digit divisional dogs on principal.

KANSAS CITY AT PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh opened on a key number at -3. Nothing’s happened yet to take the game off the three. My feel is that sharps generally prefer the Steelers at that number because love for the Chiefs has lessened in recent action (similar to Miami). But, Kansas City +3.5 would generate strong underdog sentiment because so many games between relatively evenly matched teams land right on the three. If the public bets Pittsburgh on game day, we may see a tug-of-war develop between Pittsburgh -3 and Kansas City +3.5. The Over/Under is down a point from 47.5 to 46.5.

CLEVELAND AT CAROLINA: This is not a game sharps are likely to be involved in heavily because of the quarterback situations for both teams. What’s shaping up now is a value-based tug-of-war between Carolina -3 on their home field and Cleveland +3.5. The total is down from 41.5 to 40.5 in what’s expected to be a defensive field position game matching quarterbacks who could have trouble finding the end zone at the end of drives.

BALTIMORE AT HOUSTON: Baltimore has been bet up from -4 to -5 because of the very shaky quarterback situation or Houston. It may not go up higher though because sharps have tremendous respect for this Houston defense. I wouldn’t be surprised to see sharps come in on “the underdog without a quarterback” at +6 if the public drives the number that high on game day.

NY GIANTS AT ST. LOUIS: St. Louis continues to get a lot of respect from sharps even though they couldn’t score a touchdown in last week’s 12-6 home loss to Arizona. That was on a Thursday Night, which gives the Rams some extra rest and preparation time. That’s certainly part of why the game opened at -6, and has been bet up in places to -6.5. I would expect Giants money to come in if the full seven is tested. The total has been bet down from 45.5 to 43.5 because of respect for what’s recently been a great Rams defense.

BUFFALO AT OAKLAND: Buffalo has been bet up from an opener of -6 to -6.5. That may strike you as high for a relatively unproven team like Buffalo on the road on the other side of the continent in a letdown spot off of Green Bay. But, many sharps really love this defense, and see it matching up well with the sporadic Raiders offense. Remember that many sharps won big with the Bills last week vs. the Packers. That said, there is Oakland money waiting on the sideline to see if +7 comes into play. The Raiders won for some sharps on this field two weeks ago when they upset San Francisco. I think this is a case of Buffalo interesting showing immediately, and Raiders interest biding its time.

INDIANAPOLIS AT DALLAS: The marquee game of the day hasn’t budged off its opening numbers of Dallas -3 and 55.5. Sharps didn’t have a meaningful difference in their own projections. They would bet any move off the key number of three created by public money before kickoff (and this will be a heavily bet game by squares because it’s the best TV game of the afternoon). I would expect squares to bet the Over with these quarterbacks indoors in a potential shootout. It might take more than 56 to bring in sharp action on the Under.

SEATTLE AT ARIZONA (Sunday Night): Arizona is another team dealing with quarterback injuries, and that’s created another possible teaser headache for sportsbooks. Seattle is still at -7.5, which means Seattle -1.5 would be a very popular choice in two-team teasers. And, because the Over/Under is so low here, that would be one of the best teaser situations all year in the NFL. Getting SIX points is really meaningful when the full game Over/Under is only 36 or 36.5 (down from an opener of 37).  Sharps aren’t showing much interest on the team side yet at the full game price…but will definitely be active here with a teaser leg.

DENVER AT CINCINNATI (Monday Night): Looks like we have a tug-of-war shaping up here between Denver -3 and Cincinnati +3.5. Though, it’s possible that game day action from squares comes in so strong on the favored Broncos that the game just settles on 3.5. Sharps will be playing the Bengals on game day at +3.5 or better. The Over/Under has dropped from 48.5 to 47.5 because Denver has become run-heavy in recent games.

My top plays in all of this weekend’s action (don’t forget about all the Saturday college bowls we discussed yesterday) will be available for credit card purchase right here at the VSM website. If you have any questions about my personal service, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 Friday afternoon during normal business hours, or Saturday and Sunday before the first games start.

See you Monday with a special BONUS report that will cover all the pre-Christmas bowls. Featured will be the following five games:

Monday’s Game: BYU vs. Memphis

Tuesday’s Games: Marshall vs. Northern Illinois and Navy vs. San Diego State

Wednesday’s Games: Western Kentucky vs. Central Michigan and Fresno State vs. Rice

Later in the week will have another bowl report that will cover the eight games set for Friday December 26 and Saturday December 27. The usual NFL post will go up Friday afternoon for Week 17. Then, the lead-up to New Year’s and the National Championship semifinals will get very busy. I look forward to letting you know what’s going on in the markets. Thanks again very much for reading. Have a great weekend!

 

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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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