Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Saturday, September 12, 2015 at 7:00 AM
I know you’re as happy as I am to have pro football back on the schedule. Here’s our first weekend report of the NFL regular season. I’ll post a look at sharp betting action every week at this time from now through Week 17. As always, games are presented in official Nevada rotation order so you can makes notes in your schedules. I’ll only mention Over/Unders for totals that have moved at least a point off the opener thus far. (Note that any game-day weekend moves on Over/Unders will generally be “sharp,” usually triggered by weather developments)
GREEN BAY AT CHICAGO: Green Bay opened at -5. They’ve been bet up to as high as a widely available -7. Just recently, a tug-of-war has started to develop between Chicago +7 and Green Bay -6.5. Dog lovers finally decided they weren’t going to get more than the key number. So…sharps who liked Green Bay got in at -6 or lower. The public will take the Packers at -6.5. Sharps who like the Bears are happy with the home dog at +7. Most stores have seen the total drop from 50 to 49.
KANSAS CITY AT HOUSTON: This has been a pretty stable Houston -1 since the first number went up weeks ago. Kansas City is seen as the better team because Arian Foster is out for the Texans. Home field advantage for the Texans is keeping the game right above pick-em. The total has dropped from 42 to 41.
CLEVELAND AT NY JETS: The Jets opened just below a field goal because oddsmakers didn’t think anyone would bet on them. That number was taken to the key number by value bettors…and there’s been enough sharp support for the Jets that -3.5 has been tested. Turns out nobody wants to bet on the Browns! Well, unless they see the hook. This is shaping up as a game day tug-of-war between the Jets -3 and Cleveland +3.5. The total has been bet down from 41 to 39.5. You can tell we’re seeing some Unders. Sharps tend to expect rustiness out of the gate. This is the first time first team offenses will be on the field for full games. And, it’s the first time many defenses will be bringing any sort of creativity and camouflage to what they’re doing.
INDIANAPOLIS AT BUFFALO: Not much interest at the opener of Indianapolis -2.5. As we’ve discussed in the past…a line sitting on 2.5 for an extended duration is telling you that the dog would get pounded at three! Sportsbooks don’t want to deal with that flood of money, and accept their position on the other side. This is our first game in the strike zone for “basic strategy” two-team teasers. If the line doesn’t move, Buffalo +8.5 will be a very popular sharp choice in two-teamers that let you move the line six points. The total is down from 47 to 45.
MIAMI AT WASHINGTON: Miami opened at -2.5, but was bet up through the key number of three all the way to -3.5. That’s in sharp contrast to the game just above. Sharps are really down on Washington this season. They weren’t interested in the Skins at +3 or +3.5. It may take four to bring in any dog lovers. It’s not like Miami is a serious Super Bowl threat. Be sure you have Washington down with the dregs in your team Power Ratings.
CAROLINA AT JACKSONVILLE: Carolina opened at -4 here…but sharps actually liked this ugly underdog. Most stores have come down to the key number of three…and there hasn’t been immediate buy back on the Panthers as I write this. Sorry Washington fans…sharps prefer betting on Jacksonville in this price range to betting on your team! The total is down from 42.5 to 41.
SEATTLE AT ST. LOUIS: Seattle opened at -3, and has been bet up to -4 despite concerns expressed this summer about the team taking a step backward. What’s going on here? There are actually more concerns about St. Louis succeeding with Nick Foles at quarterback after an unimpressive Preseason. So…Seattle has fallen back to the pack (and the Pack, who they face next week!) by maybe 1-2 points in Power Ratings…but St. Louis is no longer seen as a darkhorse Wildcard threat. At least for the time being. Big drop on the total from 43 to 40.5. Seattle’s offense had some troubles in August with their new offensive line.
NEW ORLEANS AT ARIZONA: Probably a tug-of-war shaping up between New Orleans +3 and Arizona -2.5. But, there looks to be more interest on the Saints…so we may end up settling below the field goal. New Orleans will get a lot of respect at +8.5 in two-team teasers if that price is available. Sharps want to cross both the 3 and the 7 when they tease. A rare case here of an Over/Under rising. The opener of 47 is up to 48.5. Remember that Arizona’s former defensive coordinator is now the head coach of the Jets. Drew Brees is capable of posting big numbers if a defense isn’t ready for him.
DETROIT AT SAN DIEGO: Thought we might have a tug-of-war here too. But the Chargers are now a solid -3 as I write this (after opening at -2). There are some concerns in sharp circles that Detroit’s defense is going to fall back to earth this season. The influences that might have been stronger on the Lions at +3 may be waiting a week to see whether or not that’s an issue.
TENNESSEE AT TAMPA BAY: Very little betting interest in this one. Old school sharps who like fading rookie quarterbacks had no way to go! The top two draft picks from the offseason go head-to-head as Jameis Winston of Tampa Bay takes on Marcos Mariota of Tennessee. Host Tampa Bay is -3 with a total of 41 (down from 42). This will likely be the least bet game of the day. Any line move you see Sunday morning would have to be considered “sharp” because squares aren’t going to bet the game.
CINCINNATI AT OAKLAND: Probably a tug-of-war shaping up here between Cincinnati -3 and Oakland +3.5. Looks like we have different syndicates interested in both of those options…so this could be an actively bet game before the late kickoff. Sportsbooks will hope the game doesn’t land exactly on three…because they’d have to pay off half the bets and refund everyone who pushed. Nightmare for the books! The total is down from 44 to 43.
BALTIMORE AT DENVER: This is the big game of the late afternoon TV window. Not much interest on the team side, with an opener of Denver -4 holding steady. Though, that line would have been higher in prior seasons. So the fact that sharps aren’t betting Denver at a price that’s just a smidge over home field value is interesting. You probably noticed that the Broncos weren’t as highly regarded in Futures prices for the AFC or Super Bowl this season. Big drop on the total, from an opener of 52 down to 48. It’s about as clear as can be that sharps think Peyton Manning’s best days are behind him given the current pricing. They couldn’t bet against Manning at the low team side number, so they bet against him by playing Under those high early totals.
NY GIANTS AT DALLAS: This is the Sunday nighter on NBC. Possibly a tug-of-war between Dallas -6 and the Giants +6.5. Money hits the Pokes at the six. But dog lovers seem to be jumping in at the +6.5 rather than waiting to see if the public drives the line to the key number. Let’s see how the day goes early Sunday. If the public does well in the day games, they’ll have something to re-invest in the TV home favorite. That could drive the game to seven. Otherwise, sharps preferring Dallas (or, perhaps more accurately, fading the Giants) are happy to lay -6, while dog money comes in at anything higher than the six.
PHILADELPHIA AT ATLANTA: Philadelphia is going to be an interesting team to follow this season. The media is falling in love with their early August. Squares will follow if the Eagles keep running up the score. This one has moved from an opener of Philadelphia -1 to Philadelphia -3. It’s tricky to parse that out though because the Wise Guys are really down on Atlanta. For the Eagles, there’s a mix of optimism and skepticism in Wise Guy circles depending on who you talk to. Most everybody’s down on the Falcons. The public may be ready to jump on an Eagles bandwagon. Definitely keep an eye on game day line movements here.
MINNESOTA AT SAN FRANCISCO: We’ve talked about these teams a lot already this summer. Sharps are generally high on Minnesota…and low on San Francisco. That harmonic convergence has created a monster line move from San Francisco -3.5 at the outset several weeks ago to Minnesota -2.5 as I write this. Will the three be tested? There’s a very real possibility of that. I do think home dog money on the Niners would come in fairly heavily at that price. If nothing else, San Francisco will be a logical choice for two-team teasers at +8.5. Awkward for teaser players who are down on SF entering the season.
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Thanks for reading. Back with you Tuesday for an update on NFL Futures prices after the first week of regular season action. Then we’ll have our normal Thursday-Friday-Saturday sequence that covers sharp betting in the colleges and pros.
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