Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 4:00 PM
As we discussed in our Futures report this past Tuesday, things are starting to get very interesting in the playoff picture. Green Bay tries to stop a three-game losing streak this Sunday in Minnesota. Cincinnati and Arizona meet Sunday night in what might be a Super Bowl preview.
Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting the NFL card so far. Note that byes this week belong to Cleveland, New Orleans, NY Giants, and Pittsburgh. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
WASHINGTON AT CAROLINA: The opener of Carolina -7.5 has been bet down to -7 in most spots. Possibly a tug-of-war shaping up between Washington +7.5 and Carolina -7. Though, the preponderance of money seems to be on the road underdog…which might cause the game to settle on the key number of seven on game day. Many in the marketplace keep assuming Carolina is going to have a flat week at some point. And, the Panthers aren’t yet a “public” team that automatically gets bet as favorites. The Over/Under is down from 46 to 44.5 because it might be breezy and Carolina has a great defense. I’ll only mention totals that have moved at least a point.
OAKLAND AT DETROIT: Interesting game here because a “base” of pick-em is leading stores to test either team at -1 to see what happens. Unclear constituencies because it’s hard to bet a bad team like Detroit right after a big upset win over a divisional rival…and it’s hard to bet travel-weary Oakland who might be running out of gas. Don’t expect this to be a heavily bet game outside of the “locals” in Nevada who like supporting the Raiders.
DALLAS AT MIAMI: Dallas opened at -1.5 on the news that Tony Romo would be returning. Sharps prefer the home underdog because Romo could be rusty…and because Miami has been playing reasonably well since the coaching change. The game is now pick-em in many spots. There is a chance for rain and wind, which would make Romo’s return to peak form even less likely. Will be interesting to see if the squares that like to bet Dallas come in hard Sunday morning.
INDIANAPOLIS AT ATLANTA: Atlanta has lost so much market respect after losing to Tampa Bay and San Francisco. Even though they’re fresh coming in off a bye…and Indianapolis is starting Matt Hasselbeck because Andrew Luck is injured…the opener here of Atlanta -6.5 has been bet down by sharps to just 5.5. It’s always telling when a game opens within a half point of a key number and moves away from it. The total has been bet up from 46 to 47.5 because the Falcons are prone to get into shootouts at home.
ST. LOUIS AT BALTIMORE: An opener of Baltimore -1.5 is up slightly to -2.5 because Case Keenum will be starting for the Rams instead of Nick Foles. Important that there wasn’t enough support to drive Baltimore to the key number of three. We can assume that Rams money would come in hard at +3…and that “basic strategy” two-team teaser players will be on the Rams +8.5 or anywhere else in the window where the six-point move crosses both the 3 and the 7. The total is down from 42.5 to 41.4 on what’s expected to be a windy day. (Note that sharps really like taking dogs up to around +8 in teasers in games with low Over/Unders.)
NY JETS AT HOUSTON: No line up yet as I write this because of the concussion suffered by Brian Hoyer last week. He’s not expected to start, but hasn’t been ruled out yet. The market does see a meaningful difference between Hoyer and C.J. Yates (probably about a field goal or so), so sportsbooks won’t put up a number until they know more. Any “first moves” off the openers will be sharp because squares (the public) won’t bet a game like this until game-day. And, it would mostly be New York squares doing the betting anyway.
GREEN BAY AT MINNESOTA: This has been time changed to 4:25 p.m. ET for the late TV window. The game opened pick-em, with Minnesota getting immediate sharp support even though it’s assumed the public will bet the Packers on game day. We’re now seeing Minnesota -1 painted. Note that the Vikings are still playing outdoors until their new dome is built. It’s going to be cold and windy at kickoff…which favors the Vikings run-heavy approach. Rumors that Aaron Rodgers is dealing with a sore shoulder will likely keep the Wise Guys off of Green Bay. Though, if the game moves to Minnesota -1.5 to -2.5…then the Packers would be in the teaser window that would see sharps take them at +7.5 to +8.5 in two-teamers. The total is down from 45 to 44 because of weather influences and the chance that Minnesota’s style has more influence on pace.
TAMPA BAY AT PHILADELPHIA: Big jump here from Philadelphia -4 to -6. The old-school situational guys like having the Eagles in a bounce-back spot off a home loss against an inexperienced visitor that just won a big game (for them) over Dallas. Windy conditions in the forecast will probably help the host too…as rookie Jameis Winston of TB isn’t used to facing top defenses in difficult scoring conditions.
DENVER AT CHICAGO: Another game at pick-em that’s seeing experimentation to create betting action. Brock Osweiler is expected to start for the Broncos. Sharps aren’t ready to invest in him on the road in breezy, sub-freezing conditions (game time temps are supposed to be in the high 20’s.). It’s also hard to trust Jay Cutler of the Bears in this kind of weather when he’s facing a great defense. The total is down from 43 to 41, and may keep dropping (some stores are testing 40.5). This would have been a heavily bet game if Peyton Manning were healthy and effective. Tougher game to bet with the unknown quantity leading the visitor. Wouldn’t be shocked if some Chicago based money hit the board for the Bears over the weekend.
CINCINNATI AT ARIZONA: This has been time changed to prime time for the NBC national game. So, even though there are games below it in the Nevada rotation, it will be the last game played on the slate. Arizona looked so good last Sunday night in Seattle that the opener here of -3.5 has been bet up to -5. Some stores are testing -5.5 to see if that gets Bengals nibbles. Cincinnati’s Monday night loss to Houston reminded everyone that Andy Dalton is far from a sure thing to shine when needed. Arizona is now being taken much more seriously by the marketplace as a Super Bowl contender. This is a “potential” Super Bowl matchup. The price shows Arizona would be a neutral field favorite over Cincinnati. The opening total of 47 is up to 48.5 because both quarterbacks like to throw deep. Sharps like betting aggressive offenses Over in good scoring conditions.
SAN FRANCISCO AT SEATTLE: The opener of Seattle -11.5 has been bet up to -13 because sharps can’t imagine Blaine Gabbert of San Francisco having a good game on this field against this defense. So, even though SF is coming in fresh off a bye, and Seattle has lost its swagger from last season…the Seahawks still got the money. The old school guys who take every double digit NFL dog are waiting to see how high it goes before taking their shot. A total of 41.5 is down to 39.5 because the first meeting was so low scoring. Weather isn’t expected to be an influence, so that’s a quant move.
KANSAS CITY AT SAN DIEGO: Kansas City opened at -3, which is high for this divisional rivalry series. The Chiefs have been playing well, while shorthanded San Diego continues to struggle. But, the hometown Chargers are coming in fresh off a bye, while the Chiefs are in a letdown spot after that big road win in Denver. Tells you a lot about sharp skepticism for the Chargers that some stores are testing KC -3.5. Even though traditional intangibles favor the home dog, sharps betting the game so far are largely taking the road favorite. The Over/Under is down from 46 to 45.
BUFFALO AT NEW ENGLAND: A lot of interest in Buffalo at the opening line of +9.5. The game dropped all the way down to the key number of seven before bouncing back up. New England money does hit at the seven…but Buffalo backers like the hook. That probably sets up a tug-of-war on game day with New England -7 and Buffalo +7.5. Though, the public likes betting on Tom Brady so much that things may settle above the key number. That’s fine with sharps who like betting two-team teasers. They’ll gladly take New England -1.5 (or 2, or 2.5) in two-teamers. The Over/Under is down from 49.5 to 48 thanks to a forecast for temps near freezing.
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Thanks for reading. See you Tuesday for a Futures update in the pro and college marketplaces. Have a great weekend!
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