Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 7:00 AM
Back for our weekly report at how the Wise Guys have been betting the NFL. Thanks again to all of you who have spread the word and made this one of the most read weekly features in all of cyberspace. As always, games are presented in rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules…
HOUSTON AT CAROLINA: An opener of Carolina -3.5 is down to a solid -3 on the news that Ryan Mallett will be the starting quarterback for Houston. Sharps are generally higher on Mallett than his predecessor Brian Hoyer. Though, both are question marks in terms of having a big positive impact. Mallett will be tested by this tough Carolina defense. The total has dropped from 41 to 39.5 because Carolina still looks like it’s going to play low scoring defensive games this season. Note that I only mention Over/Unders that have moved at least a point in these large NFL reports.
TAMPA BAY AT NEW ORLEANS: An opener of New Orleans -10.5 was bet down to the key number of 10 right away. As bad as Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay looked last week, sharps don’t trust the poor Saints defense above that key number. Mostly -10 out there now, with some stores testing -9.5. Remember that a lot of old school guys will take any double digit dog in the NFL. The total is down from 48.5 to 47. That might surprise some of you in this dome game. But, the Saints actually run a lot of clock with their yard-chewing passing attack.
SAN FRANCISCO AT PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh opened at -6.5…and the game has jockeyed between that and the six through the week. May have a tug-of-war brewing because six is a key number (though not as key as seven). Pittsburgh money comes in at -6 because of residual skepticism about SF this season (plus the extra days of rest!). But, many sharps have updated their projections on the Niners after a strong showing Monday vs. the Vikings…and are taking +6.5. The total is up from 44 to 45.5 or 46. I’m hearing that’s a quant reaction to what’s seen as a vulnerable Pittsburgh defense.
DETROIT AT MINNESOTA: Speaking of the Vikings…that poor showing Monday soured sharps by the fourth quarter! An opener here of Minnesota -3 is down to -2 or -2.5 depending on the store. The fact that the game didn’t move back to the key number of three is very telling. Detroit will obviously be a popular choice in basic strategy two-team teasers that move the line six points. If a dog won’t get bet up from +2.5 to +3…it’s REALLY popular at +8.5. Can’t tell you how many sharps were proud of betting Minnesota in that SF game through the summer, only to see the Vikings play horribly out of the gate.
NEW ENGLAND AT BUFFALO: Oddsmakers anticipated support for the Bills because Buffalo played so well against the Colts last week. Buffalo was a sharp side in that game at +2.5. An opener here of New England -1.5 was bet down toward pick-em. Patriots money usually comes in right at pick-em. Even though the one isn’t really a key number and few games end in ties, we may see a tug-of-war before kickoff with Patriots money hitting pick-em, while Bills backers come in at +1 or better. Will be interesting to see how the public bets the game over the weekend. The Over/Under is down from 46 to 45 or 44.5 because this Buffalo team could be very tough to score on at home this year.
ARIZONA AT CHICAGO: Not much happening with Arizona sitting fairly stable at -2 as the road favorite. That stability suggests Chicago +8 will be a popular choice in two-team teasers. The Bears were competitive in the stats last week on this field vs. Green Bay. Plus, it’s a bad body clock game for the visitors. Last season we saw a lot of important line movement on Sunday mornings before the early games kicked off. I have a hunch something like that might happen in this matchup. Over bettors hit both 45 and 45.5. The total is now 46. The way the Bears play…they may inspire Over bets until the weather turns.
TENNESSEE AT CLEVELAND: Huge change here…as the earliest lines making Cleveland a favorite have now moved all the way to Tennessee -1.5. Sharps were very impressed with Marcos Mariota last week. They don’t expect a replay of such a great performance. But, he clearly can hold his own at the very least vs. other bad teams. Johnny Manziel will get the start for Cleveland. He’s shown some growth in maturity…but still doesn’t have the passing chops to thrive in this league according to sharps I’ve been talking with. The fact that a rookie making only his second start is listed as a road favorite tells you a lot about how the Wise Guys view these two quarterbacks.
SAN DIEGO AT CINCINNATI: Looks like a tug-of-war shaping up here between Cincinnati -3 and San Diego +3.5. The Bengals appeal to some because they have a playoff loss to avenge from two seasons ago and this is a bad body clock game for the visitors. San Diego had great stats last week vs. Detroit though, and many sharps are still very skeptical of Cincy’s Andy Dalton when he’s facing quality opposition. This one might get heavily bet because there’s fairly strong support for both sides of the equation. Cincy money is really happy at -3, while SD money is really happy at anything higher. The total is up from 45.5 to 47.5 on the heels of San Diego’s high scoring shootout with Detroit.
ST. LOUIS AT WASHINGTON: Looks like another tug-of-war at the critical number. Here it’s road favorite St. Louis betting the nod at -3, while home dog Washington draws some support at 3.5. The case for the home dog is that Washington played Miami dead even on this field last week outside of a Dolphins defensive touchdown…while St. Louis is in an obvious letdown spot off the overtime victory over hated Seattle. There’s still a lot of general “anti-Washington” sentiment in sharp circles though…which puts money on the Rams at the three. If you work this week’s openers, Washington’s basically being treated by oddsmakers like they’re the Jacksonville of the NFC.
ATLANTA AT NY GIANTS: This is the tenth early game! Vegas likes having more later starts because it gives people time to re-invest in more matchups. We’re seeing a solid NYG -2.5 right now. That puts Atlanta in the teaser window for two-teamers that cross both the 3 and the 7. It’s expected that Atlanta money would come in hard if the public pushes the Giants to -3 on game day. Atlanta had more impressive stats in its nailbiter win last week over Philadelphia than NYG did in its nailbiter loss to Dallas. We’re not seeing much Under interest in early kickoffs. That tells you the weather should be pretty nice on Sunday.
BALTIMORE AT OAKLAND: Derek Carr has been upgraded to “probable” at quarterback for the Raiders. That’s settled the line at Baltimore -6 as a road favorite. That’s probably where it should have been for the Cincinnati game last week in retrospect. Some stores are testing Baltimore -6.5 because Ravens money isn’t afraid to ask for a bounce-back performance against such a poor opponent. Old school guys who like home dogs in this general price range are waiting to see if the seven comes into play before kickoff.
MIAMI AT JACKSONVILLE: This is a late kickoff even though it involves East Coast teams. Miami opened at -4, but was bet up to -6. A few reasons here. Jacksonville’s offense looked horrible last week vs. Carolina. Jacksonville doesn’t have much home field advantage. And, that’s even more of an issue when the visitor has such a short trip. The Jags aren’t getting the standard 3 points for home field in the market for this one. I am hearing that some dog money is biding its time because points could be at a premium in a defensive struggle. If you take out the defensive scores, Jacksonville lost to Carolina 13-9, while Miami tied Washington 10-10 last week. Plus six is going to appeal to some old school sharps in that environment.
DALLAS AT PHILADELPHIA: The marquee game of the afternoon has been sitting on Philly -5 and 55 through the week. Looks like some Dallas money started coming in late Friday…which could mean we’ll see a drift downward through the weekend. The market is trying to figure out how to price the Dez Bryant injury. A line of five means the Eagles would be TWO points better on a neutral field. Tough for some sharps to swallow.
SEATTLE AT GREEN BAY: People in Las Vegas have been wondering all summer how this line would settle once Week Two arrived. Seattle looks to be falling from prior heights, while Green Bay is making its case to be the new NFC favorite. A line of Green Bay -3.5 tells you the market currently sees the Packers as the superior team. There hasn’t been much interest on this high quality dog even with the hook. Oddsmakers will have to decide if they want to accept their current positions on Seattle through the weekend…or do more to attract Seahawks money. Taking a position on Denver this past Thursday night in Kansas City ended up working in their favor. The Over/Under is up from 48 to 49 because both offenses are expected to move the ball.
NY JETS AT INDIANAPOLIS: An opener of Indianapolis -6 was bet up to -7. The market is still trying to work out how to rate the Jets this season. Indianapolis is usually better than -7 when hosting doormats. So we know that the Jets earned some respect with their home blowout over Cleveland last week. But, disrupting Johnny Manziel is a lot easier than trying to slow down Andrew Luck at this site. We might see a tug-of-war developing by kickoff. Hard to know this far in advance if that’s going to be public money pushing the game up to 7.5…or sharp dog money pulling it down to 6.5.
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My next sharps report will be Tuesday when I review what’s been happing in the NFL Futures market based on Week Two results. There were a lot of meaningful changes in Super Bowl odds after Week One. Who will the big movers been this time? I’ll have the answers for you by lunchtime Tuesday. Then, it’s back to our standard Thursday-Friday-Saturday reporting schedule for the next slate of games. It’s going to be a fun season. Thanks so much for reading.
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