Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 6, 2015 at 5:00 PM
We talked on Tuesday about the Super Bowl picture opening up a bit with the emergence of Denver as a real force in the AFC and the sudden vulnerability of Green Bay in the NFC. Both of those teams have big games on Sunday. Let’s see how sharps have been betting those matchups and the rest of the weekend card in the NFL.
Note that Arizona, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, and Seattle all have byes this week (six teams instead of the usual four). Matchups are listed in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
OAKLAND AT PITTSBURGH: Big move here on Oakland…in a way that’s almost impossible to believe considering how little respect the Raiders have been getting in the markets in recent seasons! Pittsburgh opened at -7. It’s fallen all the way down to Pittsburgh -4.5 even though it’s a bad body clock game for the Raiders and a possible letdown spot after high profile wins over San Diego and the NY Jets. Among the influences here is the injury to Steelers’ star running back Le’Veon Bell. The math guys made a much bigger adjustment for that than oddsmakers did. There are other influential injuries for the Steelers too. Also…sharps really do like what they’re seeing from the Raiders and young quarterback Derek Carr. That plus a recognition that “public” money in Nevada often comes in on the Raiders when the team is playing well (tough to remember that far back!) caused an influx of early Oakland smart money. Nothing of interest happening yet on the Over/Under. I’ll only mention totals when there’s a move of at least a point.
JACKSONVILLE AT NY JETS: A potential tug-of-war here between the NY Jets at -7 and Jacksonville at +7.5. Sharps leaning one way or the other are betting for value at the right price. Not a lot of passion yet…as sharps await late-week word on the availability of Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback for the Jets. He’s been upgraded to probable with an injury on his non-throwing hand. Big move toward the Under, as an opener of 45 has been bet down to 42. You can guess that a forecast for wind is involved…often an issue in November and December at this stadium. Also…decent defenses with inconsistent offenses in the mix. Quants loved the Under at 45 and 44, and still kept betting it at 43.
ST. LOUIS AT MINNESOTA: Important move here as an opener of Minnesota -3 has come down to just -2. Some stores are testing -1.5. You regulars know it takes a lot of money to move a game off the key number of three. Minnesota is dealing with a lot of injuries. And, the matchup guys think the St. Louis defense is well-suited to stopping the conservative run-based attack of the Vikings. If the line doesn’t move any further…St. Louis is going to be a popular choice in two-team teasers because you can take +1.5 or +2 up to +7.5 or +8 with the six-point move. “Basic strategy” in sharp teasers is to focus on games that cross both the 3 and the 7. Obviously if sharps loved St. Louis at +3, they’re really going to love them at +8 in teasers.
MIAMI AT BUFFALO: Most of the betting action at the opening line of Buffalo -3 has been on the dog. Some stores are testing Buffalo -2.5…fully aware that Bills money might come in strong at that lower price. We’ll either have a tug-of-war on this one near the key number…or sportsbooks will have one-sided action on Miami +3 and will be rooting for the hosts. The total has come down from 46 to 44 after Miami’s offense returned to normalcy last Thursday in New England. Doesn’t look like weather will be a factor…so that’s a quant move rather than a weather move. Note that Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been upgraded to probable Sunday after missing some time.
TENNESSEE AT NEW ORLEANS: New Orleans opened at -7…but is now up to -8 after the Titans fired their head coach a few days ago. The Saints offense is clicking again…while Tennessee will either be starting a hobbled Marcus Mariota (upgraded to probable…but not likely to scramble well) or disappointing Zach Mettenberger. New Orleans is going to be an extremely popular teaser team in this range. Anyone who bets teasers will love New Orleans -2 as part of their two-teamers.
WASHINGTON AT NEW ENGLAND: New England opened just below a key number at -13.5. Some Wise Guys immediately took a position there against anticipated public betting…which drove the game to -14. We may see the number sit there all weekend. Or, a tug-of-war may develop around the key number depending on how interested the public is in getting involved here. Old school sharps who bet every double digit dog are waiting to see what they might get on game day.
GREEN BAY AT CAROLINA: Green Bay opened at -1.5 as the road favorite. That was bet up to -2 and -2.5 fairly quickly. Green Bay is in an obvious bounce back spot after a horrible performance, while Carolina’s in an obvious fatigue spot in a short week after a Monday night overtime game. It’s widely assumed that Carolina money would come in on the key number of three. That could set up a tug-of-war with the defensive home dog at +3 and the public road favorite at -2.5. But, it’s possible that sharps will avoid this potentially tired dog in a way that might force the number even higher.
ATLANTA AT SAN FRANCISCO: Atlanta flew up from -3 to -7 on the news that Colin Kaepernick was benched for San Francisco in favor of Blaine Gabbert. The move reeked of desperation for a franchise that may have thrown in the towel on their season. Also, the Wise Guys don’t think much of Gabbert! Though, if the public drives the game higher…some sharp money would come in on the dog. That may not be in the cards because sportsbooks don’t want to push Atlanta into the teaser window. A combination of New Orleans and Atlanta at cheap prices over Tennessee and San Francisco would be a heavily bet teaser from sharps and squares alike.
NY GIANTS AT TAMPA BAY: The Giants have been bet up from -1.5 to -2.5. Tampa Bay has been getting results lately…but is in an obvious letdown spot after a huge divisional road upset in Atlanta last week. Bucs money would come in at the key number. If sportsbooks don’t test the three, then Tampa Bay +8.5 will be widely used in teasers. The total is up from 47.5 to 49 even with a chance for Sunday showers in Florida. Quants get that grading because New York just played a very high scoring 101-point game in New Orleans, while Tampa Bay had that 31-30 game in Washington a couple of weeks ago.
DENVER AT INDIANAPOLIS: Denver flew aggressively off the key number of three that opened betting. We’re now seeing Broncos -5.5 because they looked so great vs. Green Bay last week, while the fading Colts should be exhausted after that Monday Night overtime war in Carolina. Will the public take the game higher this weekend? It might take the full seven to bring the Wise Guys in on the home underdog. Hard to believe this game opened at three given the strength of Denver’s defense this season and Indy’s inability to execute consistently.
PHILADELPHIA AT DALLAS: Philadelphia opened at -1.5…and was bet up to -2.5 in a way that suggested three was in the cards. Some stores are testing the three now. Dallas did hang tough with Seattle last week…and should still be fired up to end their losing streak against a divisional rival. The Eagles have revenge off that earlier loss to the Cowboys (which knocked Tony Romo out for weeks). Possibly a tug-of-war brewing between Philadelphia -2.5 and Dallas +3. If the 2.5 rules the day…then Dallas +8.5 will be a popular choice in teasers on the heels of that good showing vs. the Seahawks. Actually…the best way to say it is this…squares will be on Philadelphia -2.5 while many sharps will focus on Dallas +8.5 in teasers. Sportsbooks have to figure out how to defend against that dynamic.
CHICAGO AT SAN DIEGO: San Diego has a slew of injuries. Chicago will likely be without running back Matt Forte. Sharps will want to wait until the probable lineups clear up before stepping in. Some dog interest on Chicago at the opener of +4.5. We’re now painted at the four. The Over/Under has dropped from 52 to 49.5 because of all the offensive injuries…and because there’s a chance of rain and wind in the early forecast. Important to remember that “El Nino” years in the Pacific often dump a lot of rain in California late in a football season. It wasn’t too long ago that Oakland and San Francisco in particular (plus several college teams) were dealing with sloppy, torn up fields in late November and December. Put that on your radar now to monitor.
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Have a great weekend! See you again Tuesday for my weekly Futures report.
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