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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at 11:30 AM

The 2015 NFL season begins Thursday night when the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers on NBC. That’s one of four games set for action Thursday or Friday. We’ll take a look at those games on this “sharps” report…then come back tomorrow and Saturday to review Wise Guy betting in marquee college football action and all the weekend NFL.

This Patriots/Steelers game has had quite a betting history! Tom Brady was initially suspended by the NFL. That had the market estimating Pats -3 for the right line with backup quarterback Jimmy Garappolo. When Brady got that suspension overturned in court, oddsmakers immediately moved the number back to either New England -6.5 or -7. Let’s see how sharps have been betting…

 

THURSDAY

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS AT PITTSBURGH STEELERS (on NBC): We’re seeing a solid seven on game day. Stores who started at Pats -6.5 after the court decision were immediately hit by “position-taking” money up to the key number. I can tell you that more sharps like Pittsburgh +7 than New England -7.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a tug-of-war develops between now and kickoff between the public on the Pats -7, and sharps on Pittsburgh +7. Any Wise Guys who were looking at the Pats jumped in on the -6.5.

The total was lifted a bit on the Brady news. A rise this week from 50.5 to 52 has finally seen some buyback today. Most stores are showing 51.5 as I write this. I’m hearing that is likely weather related. There’s a good chance of at least drizzle through part of the game. Sharps almost always bet Unders if there’s a chance for precipitation or wind.

Generally speaking…sharps are looking at the dog and Under…which I’ll be typing a lot all through the NFL season! Squares (the public) tend to bet favorites and Over. Oddsmakers post numbers that take positions against that voluminous public action.

LOUISIANA TECH AT WESTERN KENTUCKY (on Fox Sports 1): This could be a really great game, even though interest will be dwarfed by the debut of the NFL season. The matchup is a possible preview of the Conference USA Championship game, though Marshall will have something to say about that. Sharps have absolutely pounded the visitor here. We’ve had a favorite flip...all the way from Louisiana Tech +2 to Tech -2! We haven’t breached any key numbers. But, that’s clearly a significant move because it’s coming on the ROAD team.

Note that sharps didn’t wait for public action here…knowing squares will be focused on the NFL. Wise guys saw Tech as a gift at the early numbers. It might take the full three to bring in action on the home underdog.

The Over/Under has fallen significantly from an opener of 67 all the way down to 61. Currently there’s no rain or wind in the forecast…so that big move is from quants who were not impressed with Western Kentucky’s very poor offensive showing at Vanderbilt last week. At the openers, Tech and Under represent very strong opinions. Today’s bettors will have to decide if all the value has been bet out…or if there’s possibly been an overreaction and it’s time to go the other way.

 

FRIDAY

MIAMI AT FLORIDA-ATLANTIC (on Fox Sports 1): There’s a chance for thunderstorms here…because there’s always a chance for thunderstorms at this time of year in Florida. Miami has been the sharp play so far. An opener of -16.5 was bet up through the key number of 17 to -17.5. It’s telling that there wasn’t a buyback around the key number. A one-point move can represent strong support if it blows through a key number like that and doesn’t fall back. I wouldn’t be surprised if 18 becomes common before Friday night’s kickoff.

The Over/Under has been bet down from 58 to 55.5. That may be partially influenced by the forecast. But, I’m hearing the quants had this game around 56 to 56.5 and bet Under the opener.

UTAH STATE AT UTAH (on ESPN2): Utah State looked awful last week in a close home win over Southern Utah as a 31-point favorite. Sharps took notice…and hit Utah very hard here at the opener. The first number up was -12 at most places. That’s been bet up to -13.5. I believe the Wise Guys would come in at the full +14 because this is expected to be a defensive game and that’s A LOT of points to give talented underdog quarterback Chuckie Keeton. There’s a chance that some serious dog money is waiting on the sidelines just in case that +14 goes up. Monitor late day betting to see if that money “settles” for +13.5 or +13. For now, I think “only” Utah money is being reflected on the board. Utah State money is likely to make its presence felt before kickoff.

The Over/Under has been bet down from 47 to 44. I’m hearing that’s also because of Utah State’s poor showing last week. Weather isn’t expected to be a factor. Sharps wanting to fade Utah State did so on both the side and the total in that sense. They think the Aggies will have troubles scoring against this strong Utah defense.

You can purchase my personal plays in Thursday and Friday action right here at the website with your credit card every day. If you have any questions about longterm packages, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155 any weekday during regular business hours.

Back with you tomorrow to look at some marquee matchups in college football (like Oregon/Michigan State, Oklahoma/Tennessee, and LSU/Mississippi State). Early Saturday, we’ll have our weekly look at how sharps have been betting Sunday and Monday NFL action. Thanks for reading!

 

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Richie B. on twitter @vsm_baccellieri

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