Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, September 25, 2015 at 7:00 PM
Busy NFL weekend ahead. Here’s a look at how sharps have been betting Week Three action thus far. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
PITTSBURGH AT ST. LOUIS: An opening line of Pittsburgh -2.5 has been bet down to -1 or pick-em depending on the store. There’s an expectation that the public is going to be all over the Steelers at a price this low come game day, while sharps think the Rams have a good chance to win outright in their bounce-back spot. Also in play here…the thought that the public will be overrating Pittsburgh off last week’s blowout of San Francisco…when the Steelers had a huge rest and preparation advantage off a Thursday nighter. That won’t be in play here. Note that St. Louis will be a popular two-team teaser play if the line rises up to +1.5, +2, or +2.5 because moving the line six points will cross both the 3 and the 7. Tricky game for sportsbooks because they have to balance potential exposure from a few different directions. A late Friday move toward a more solid pick-em may take teasers out of the discussion. Nothing happening yet on the Over/Under. From this point forward, I’ll only mention games where the total has moved at least a point. The opener here of 48 obviously won’t be influenced by weather developments since the game is indoors.
SAN DIEGO AT MINNESOTA: Minnesota has been bet up from -1 to -2.5. It’s assumed sharps would come in hard on the Chargers at the key number of +3. Even though the longer extra points are throwing an interesting wrinkle into the marketplace, threes and sevens are still being treated as powerful numbers. If the line stays here, then San Diego +8.5 will be a popular choice in two-team teasers. The total is down a point from 45.5 to 44.5.
TAMPA BAY AT HOUSTON: Houston’s been hanging right at -6.5, which tells us that Tampa Bay would get pounded at +7. Sharps liked what they saw last week from Jameis Winston after his awful debut. And, they’re more likely to take a loose cannon like Ryan Mallett as an underdog than a favorite. If the Wise Guys liked Houston at this price, they would have acted immediately just below the key number. Might be a tug-of-war here on game day if the public gets involved. Squares usually bet favorites. This is such a low-profile matchup though that it might be lightly bet. The total is down from 41.5 to 40.5 because quants generally get low scoring gradings with inexperienced starting quarterbacks.
PHILADELPHIA AT NY JETS: The big interest here has been on the total. An opener of 48 has been bet down to 46 because of respect for NYJ’s defense and the horrible start this season for the Philadelphia offense. The early weather forecast shows a chance of rain. If that chance increases, this Over/Under may come down further. New York is a fairly solid -2 at the moment. Sharps who want to play respected Futures market teams who started the season 0-2 are looking seriously at the dog here. That means Philly will be a really popular choice in two-team teasers if the line doesn’t drop down to Jets -1. The Eagles are one of a few respected teams who don’t want to start the season 0-3. Will be interesting to see how the Wise Guys deal with that this weekend.
NEW ORLEANS AT CAROLINA: It was just announced as I began writing this that Drew Brees won’t be playing because of his shoulder injury. The first numbers up after that news were around Carolina -8.5 or -9 with a total of 42. First action was on the dog at that high price. You can assume any moves Friday from those numbers are sharp because the public doesn’t bet much NFL on Friday. Watch the market early Sunday to see if any bandwagon effect starts rolling in this game. Increased chances for rain could mess with the total.
JACKSONVILLE AT NEW ENGLAND: The opener of New England -14 was bet immediately down to a solid -13.5. It’s been sitting there ever since. Many old school sharps bet all double digit NFL dogs on principal. Others like what they’re seeing from Jacksonville’s defense this season. New England is in a tough schedule spot after that long divisional rivalry game with Buffalo. If the public bets the Patriots this weekend, we’ll likely have a tug-of-war between New England -13.5 and Buffalo +14.
CINCINNATI AT BALTIMORE: Several early games have a chance to be in the teaser window, as Baltimore has been holding steady at -2.5 all week. You know the Bengals would get pounded at +3 if you’re a long term follower of the markets. If the Wise Guys had any feelings at all for the Ravens, that opener would have jumped to three. Cincy will naturally be a popular choice at +8.5 in two-team teasers. Home field advantage is usually worth 2.5 to 3 points in divisional games. The market is saying these AFC North rivals are either dead even…or the Bengals are slightly better right now. Note that this has a chance to be a weather game on Sunday with rain and wind. Monitor the forecasts in the morning.
OAKLAND AT CLEVELAND: An opener of Cleveland -4.5 has been bet down toward the critical number of three. But, whenever it gets there Browns money starts to hit the board pretty hard. The public wouldn’t take an ugly team like Oakland as a road underdog (except for “locals” in Nevada who are fans of the team)…so you know almost all the early money on the Raiders at anything higher than a field goal is coming from the Wise Guys. Might be a tug-of-war on game day between Cleveland -3 and Oakland plus anything higher than that. Or, sportsbooks may just accept a position on the Browns against that early Oakland money. This probably won’t be a heavily bet game except for fans of those two teams. Another game where wind and rain could come into play.
INDIANAPOLIS AT TENNESSEE: Indianapolis was -5.5 on the early line…but they looked so awful Monday Night against the Jets that the number has fallen all the way down to -3.5 and -3. If it sticks on the three without bouncing back, that’s a big indictment of what’s going on with the Colts right now. They were second only to New England in the Preseason AFC title markets…and are one of those 0-2 teams in a must-win situation. Yet, sharps wanted the Titans and Marcos Mariota as a home dog at anything higher than a field goal.
ATLANTA AT DALLAS: The first numbers up were around pick-em. Wise Guys are generally skeptical of Brandon Weeden, and like that they’ve been seeing from the Falcons so far in 2015…so the market moved Atlanta’s way. I’m now seeing Falcons -1.5 painted across the board. That would put Dallas +7.5 in the two-team teaser window. The Over/Under is up a point from 44 to 45. I expect totals to be much more active on game day this week than they’ve been thus far.
SAN FRANCISCO AT ARIZONA: Very little happening yet in this game. But, you know little action at a line like Arizona -6.5 is actually telling us something. Sharps don’t like Arizona at this price or they would have jumped in quickly and pushed the game to seven. Will squares take the line higher? The public may not be ready to lay that many points with Arizona either. (Some of you may be thinking that favorites of -6.5 are steals in two-team teasers at -0.5…but history has shown there isn’t the value you’d expect)
CHICAGO AT SEATTLE: Seattle opened at a very high -15. Some of the old school guys have invested enough in Chicago that a few stores are showing -14.5 now. This is the marquee game in the late afternoon TV window…but Chicago’s poor start and that high price may hold betting action well below the norms. The total has dropped from an opener of 45 down to 43.5. That doesn’t seem to be weather-related so we can assume the quants got a lower grading than oddsmakers.
BUFFALO AT MIAMI: Here we have an opener of -2.5 that was bet up fairly quickly to -3. Miami is in a bounce back spot after losing at Jacksonville, while Buffalo may be out of gas after emotional openers vs. Indianapolis and New England. There is some buy back on Buffalo at the three. So, we may have a tug-of-war all weekend between Miami -2.5 and Buffalo +3. Buffalo will be a popular choice in two-team teasers for bettors who are seeing +2.5 on Sunday. The Over/Under has dropped from 43.5 to 42. There’s always a chance for rain in South Florida at this time of year. But, I’m hearing that’s a quant move keyed by respect for the defenses.
DENVER AT DETROIT: Denver’s been a solid three for awhile. Any stores tinkering with moves off the three get bet back toward the key number. If the public gets involved one way or the other, sharps would go the other way for value. Will squares keep backing Peyton Manning as his career winds down? A good test of that here in a TV game at a low price.
KANSAS CITY AT GREEN BAY: Another game this week lined at -6.5. Though, there’s been a bit more interest on the Packers at that price than we saw with Houston or Arizona. The public is surely more likely to bet the current NFC favorites. Since everyone has an extra day to bet this one…and it’s an attractive matchup…there’s a good chance we’ll see a tug-of-war between Green Bay -6.5 and Kansas City +7 leading up to kickoff. The Over/Under has been bet up from 48 to 49. We may even see a tug-of-war there because squares like betting Overs when great quarterbacks are playing in a high profile TV game, while the Wise Guys like fading any moves that float higher than what they consider to be a good number.
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