Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 1:00 PM
The second full week of 2015 NFL Preseason action begins tonight with a pair of games. We’ll cover all 16 Week Two games on this one report. So, please feel free to print it out or electronically save a copy so you can refer to it all weekend.
We saw last week that a lot of the sharpest Preseason action is going to come right before kickoff. The Wise Guys are trying to pin down late information on how many series each quarterback will play. There’s not much reason to bet early if that stuff isn’t known until late! What we’ll talk about today are the early indicators that have shown up thus far. Be sure you’re watching the market in the few hours leading up to kickoff each day. Any late move, by definition, will be a sharp move because the public doesn’t influence the market much in August. Oddsdmakers don’t care about “square” money. Sportsbooks do move quickly when it’s clear sharps are lining up on a side or total.
As always, we take the games in Nevada rotation order…
DETROIT AT WASHINGTON: Not much happening here as Washington is still favored by -2.5 points. Both teams impressed last week. Both teams have backup quarterbacks who can move the ball. Some of the guys who like taking Unders have stepped in to drop the total down from 40 to 39.5.
BUFFALO AT CLEVELAND: An opener of Cleveland -2.5 has been bet up to -3. Both of these teams lost home games last week. Cleveland has more reason to show up in a second straight home game. Plus, Rex Ryan of Buffalo is likely more concerned about next week’s dress rehearsal game than this one. That’s why there wasn’t an immediate buyback on the three. That’s a pretty big strike against Buffalo in terms of reading the market. The total here also fell from 40 to 39.5.
ATLANTA AT NY JETS: Sharps came in early on Atlanta. The Jets looked awful last week, and may struggle through an adjustment period to a new head coach and quarterback. An opener of Jets -2 has been bet down to Jets -1. Don’t be surprised if sharp skepticism about this team continues for weeks. Nothing happening on the total.
SEATTLE AT KANSA CITY: Huge jump here from Kansas City +1 to -3. Clearly the Wise Guys loved the Chiefs at anything below a field goal. Seattle didn’t play with any fire last week in their home loss to Denver. Plus, they’re breaking in some new offensive linemen. Sharps expect a good level of intensity from a Chiefs team that played very well in Arizona last week. The total is hanging around 40.5. Note that many totals have scooted up about a field goal compared to last week with first string offenses expected to play longer.
MIAMI AT CAROLINA: This one’s dancing around pick-em, with stores testing both teams as 1-point favorites. Looks like money is coming in on either 1-point dog no matter which one it is. That suggests a toss-up sharps will bet for value. Miami had the lesser result of the two teams last week, but that was keyed by a 4-0 turnover disadvantage. That probably won’t happen two weeks in a row. Another total at 40. From this point forward, I won’t mention the totals unless there’s been a move of at least a point.
BALTIMORE AT PHILADELPHIA: Potential tug-of-war here. Most stores are showing Philadelphia -3.5 off their big victory over Indianapolis last Sunday. But, Baltimore is a tempting team for sharps because the Ravens scored 30 points last week in their win over New Orleans. This could be an actively bet game by Preseason standards because those expecting a lot from the Eagles offensive system will love -3…while dog lovers have to take that hook. Over bettors were discouraged by a very tall opener of 44.5.
CHICAGO AT INDIANAPOLIS: Most stores are showing Indianapolis -3 as the superior team playing on its home field. The Colts are in bounce-back mode after a bad loss. But, the backup QB situation isn’t inspiring anyone to lay the field goal. Chicago won at home last week 27-10, and may not have much motivation to get a result here. Tough to love either side unless a late development comes into play.
NEW ENGLAND AT NEW ORLEANS: New Orleans is only -1, which suggests that sharps are expecting a much better game from the Patriots this week. Though, Tom Brady is still dealing with off-the-field distractions. The Saints had good offensive numbers last week even though Drew Brees didn’t play.
JACKSONVILLE AT NY GIANTS: The Giants opened at -3. That was bet down to -2.5 because the Jaguars played well last week against a Pittsburgh team that had already worked out its kinks. You probably remember that the Giants looked awful in Cincinnati. No interest in a buy back on the G-men below a field goal. Not yet anyway. Jacksonville +3 is considered a sharp bet.
DENVER AT HOUSTON: Same story here in terms of the number….but not the backdrop. Houston opened -3 before falling to -2.5. In this case, both teams played very well last week. Denver made a statement early against Seattle in a road upset. Houston dominated San Francisco. My sources tell me this move is based on optimism for Denver’s quarterback rotation to produce.
OAKLAND AT MINNESOTA: Minnesota is a whopping 5-point favorite, which feels like a blowout game by this month’s line standards. Oakland did get a win last week over St. Louis 18-3, but is expected to struggle on the road against a host that’s off to a 2-0 start with wins of 11 and 10 points. That high opener discouraged Vikings betting action.
SAN DIEGO AT ARIZONA: We’ve been sitting on Arizona -2.5 all week. Neither team impressed last week. Though San Diego earned an ugly 17-7 victory over Dallas despite gaining only 199 yards. Not a game sharps have been interested in touching yet.
GREEN BAY AT PITTSBURGH: Another game that’s trying to decide whether the host by 2.5 or 3 is the right line. It’s tough to ask Green Bay to play two good games in a row on the road, particularly in a look-ahead to the dress rehearsal spot on the schedule. But, Pittsburgh couldn’t even beat Jacksonville last week after a one-game head start. Most stores are showing Pittsburgh -2.5 at the moment, suggesting the tug-of-war passion is more on the side of the road dog.
DALLAS AT SAN FRANCISCO: Interesting situation here because we have high profile teams…neither of which may be positioned to get a result. Dallas no-showed last week in San Diego, while San Francisco struggled under its new head coach in Houston. The fact that the game opened at -3 and moved UP is very telling this week because the tendency has been to move toward pick-em. Some stores are showing -3.5 as I write this. Be sure you monitor the market through the weekend to see if this is a tug-of-war game where you should consider value…or if this is another likely Cowboys no-show that would point to the Niners.
ST. LOUIS AT TENNESSEE: Tennessee has been sitting on -1.5 all week as the short home favorite. Sharps aren’t ready to lay points with Marcus Mariota yet. Tough spot to love the Rams as they travel cross-country after a lousy result at Oakland. We haven’t seen many Over/Unders go up this week…so the early move from 38 to 38.5 is suggesting that the quants are expecting this Titans team to keep pushing tempo. They played to a 55 last week in Atlanta with almost 700 combined yards.
CINCINNATI AT TAMPA BAY: This one’s so far off in the future that nobody seems to be paying any attention to it. Tampa Bay is -2 and 40. Another rookie quarterback on the field who’s hard to lay points with (Jameis Winston). Cincinnati played well last week, and may not bring much intensity right before its dress rehearsal.
Again, I can’t emphasize enough that you need to watch for and respect LATE line movements in this Preseason. That’s when the most aggressive sharp money is going to hit the board. And, this isn’t a situation where I can anticipate those moves well in advance in an article because they’re going to be caused by last second clarifications on planned quarterback assignments.
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Back with you again next Thursday to cover what’s shaping up as a very exciting dress rehearsal weekend. Once the regular season starts, we’re schedule to have multiple reports each week to cover both pro and marquee college action. Thanks for reading. See you next week!
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