Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, December 11, 2015 at 12:00 PM
An exciting opening to Week 14 began Thursday night when Arizona won a surprisingly close game over Minnesota. Many sharps took a hit there…as the line for the host Cardinals had been driven up by a field goal through the week. They only won by a field goal laying -10 or so.
We pick up with the rest of the slate. Games are presented in Nevada Rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
PITTSBURGH AT CINCINNATI: We’ve been fairly solid on the opener of Cincinnati -3 through the week. Though, some stores are testing -2.5 because Pittsburgh action has been more predominant. That suggests a likely tug-of-war between Pittsburgh +3 and Cincinnati -2.5 through the weekend because the three is such an important number and these teams appear to be evenly matched in terms of recent form. Pittsburgh really looked strong a week ago vs. Indianapolis. Big move on the total, as the opener of 47 has been bet up to 49. That tells you the weather’s probably going to be nice. Looks like temperatures in the high 60’s…in Cincinnati…in December! I’ll only mention totals today for games that have moved at least a half a point off the opener. (Quick teaser note: if Cincinnati -2.5 solidifies by kickoff, then sharps will LOVE Pittsburgh +8.5 in two-team teasers because the six-point move will cross both the three and the seven).
BUFFALO AT PHILADELPHIA: Philadelphia opened at -1. Most of the betting has been on Buffalo at that price. But, stores that move off the one do see investments on Philadelphia come in. Rare to have a tug-of-war near pick-em because so few games land on 0 (after overtime) or 1. For now, that’s where the action is generated. Keep an eye on public money here…as the Eagles may be getting too much credit for what was mostly a “lucky” win at New England last week (three non-offensive touchdowns in a 7-point victory). Should public action on the Eagles push the team side line to -1.5, -2, or -2.5, then Buffalo will be another popular teaser underdog at +7.5, +8, or +8.5.
ATLANTA AT CAROLINA: An opener of Carolina -7 has been bet up to -7.5 or -8 depending on the store. That’s strong support off a key number. Easy to understand considering how badly Atlanta has been playing lately. Carolina is still undefeated, though they didn’t cover in a surprisingly tight game at New Orleans last week. Here we have another logical teaser team…with a favorite this time. Carolina -1.5 or -2 will be in a ton of sharp and square teasers this weekend if available.
SAN FRANCISCO AT CLEVELAND: Tough to love either team here. Sharps have been betting Cleveland at the opener of pick-em and -1. I’m seeing -1.5 in most places now, with some stores testing -2 to see if that brings in underdog money. Sharps are hesitant to invest in San Francisco because this is their second straight game with a “bad body clock” playing in the middle of the country. Plus, they WON last week in Chicago (another lucky result)…and sharps don’t like asking bad teams to win straight up twice in a row on the road. So, situational bettors are fading San Francisco. It’s actually a big strike against Cleveland that they’re only -2 at home in such a bad spot for the visitor. Wow…teaser options galore! Obviously San Francisco at +8 will get a look because the move crosses the three and seven.
WASHINGTON AT CHICAGO: Strong support for Chicago here as the opener of -3 was bet off the key number to -3.5 and even -4. It takes a lot of money to move off a three in the NFL…and even more to take it all the way to four with no buy back. Washington is playing on the road after a short week. They didn’t look very good Monday night in a must-win game vs. Dallas either. Chicago outgained SF last week but blew the game a few different ways (missed a late field goal, Jay Cutler threw a pick six). Some situational sharps like taking a home team right off a home loss like that. Note that there is the potential for strong winds in the forecast in the Windy City. If that holds up on game day, the Over/Under will likely drop from its current 43.5.
DETROIT AT ST. LOUIS: A really big move…as Detroit has risen from +1.5 all the way to -3 from sharp action. Several factors in play. First, Detroit has extra rest and preparation time off a Thursday nighter. Then, they’ve also been in better form lately than the slumping Rams. Finally, reports are that Case Keenum is probable to come back from his concussion…and sharps aren’t particularly fond of Keenum. Sharps really like Detroit at anything below the field goal.
SAN DIEGO AT KANSAS CITY: Kansas City opened at a pretty steep -10 given the history of this series. Sharps bet it up! We’re now seeing -10.5 in most stores, though some are holding at the ten while they wait for the weekend. Even though we’re only looking at a half point move…that’s fairly strong support because it’s coming off a key number while going UP in a divisional rivalry. You can be sure old school guys who take all double digit dogs will ultimately be on the Chargers. They just scored a win with that approach on Minnesota. The Over/Under here has dropped a point-and-a-half from 46.5 to 45. That seems notable because we haven’t had many moves yet. A very good chance of rain in the forecast…plus the first meeting stayed well Under a few weeks ago.
NEW ORLEANS AT TAMPA BAY: Slight drop here from Tampa Bay -4.5 to -4. Even though sharps like what they’re seeing from Jameis Winston, it’s tough to lay more than a field goal with a rookie quarterback. New Orleans did show signs of life in taking Carolina to the wire last week. I don’t expect this to be a heavily bet game because sharps don’t trust the New Orleans defense nor the consistency (yet) of the TB quarterback.
INDIANAPOLIS AT JACKSONVILLE: It looks like Matt Hasselbeck will be able to make it back to start this game. A number only went up on the board very recently. I’m seeing pick-em and 46 as I write this. Sharps will likely wait for confirmation on the QB status for the Colts (Andrew Luck is approach his due date for return). I don’t expect this to be a heavily bet game. Nobody wants the Colts after last week, and the Jaguars have been disappointing in market terms recently.
TENNESSEE AT NY JETS: We seem to be jockeying between NY Jets -7 and Tennessee +7.5 this week. That sets up a tug-of-war at those prices for the weekend. Jets money likes their chances at the seven…but dog lovers step in when the hook pops up. Weather should be fine, which reduces the chances that Marcos Mariota is thrown off by game conditions. Swirling wins can wreak havoc with QB’s the first time they play here. May not be an issue. If the Jets settle in at -7.5…then they’ll be popular in two-team teasers at -1.5. This could really be a monster teaser week for the “basic strategy” approach.
NEW ENGLAND AT HOUSTON: New England was bet very solidly at the opener of -3. There hasn’t been much buy back after the move to -3.5…though some Houston money is coming in at the new price. Tough to say if we’ll see a solid -3.5 by kickoff…or if we’ll have a tug-of-war just above the key number. Houston disappointed some sharps last week in Buffalo with that 30-21 loss. Everyone recognizes the bounce-back potential for New England after they gave away the Eagles game. Plus, the public loves backing Tom Brady at cheap prices. Don’t forget that this is the Sunday night game on NBC after the time change. It will definitely be a heavily bet game for that reason. The public has all day to see that Brady looks cheap! Sharps have all day to decide whether or not they want to fade the public.
OAKLAND AT DENVER: Interesting that Oakland money has been coming in so strong. Las Vegas is a very fun city to watch NFL action in whenever the Raiders are contending! An opener of Denver -8 has been bet down to Oakland +7.5, with the seven showing up in some spots. In this case, “locals” money for the Raiders is definitely showing up. Plus, sharps don’t trust Brock Osweiler to perform on command when laying a number this high. He didn’t have a particularly big game in San Diego last week even though the Broncos won 17-3. Sharps will be taking Denver -1.5 in two-team teasers though if the full game line stays at -7.5.
DALLAS AT GREEN BAY: Green Bay opened at -7. Dallas impressed enough this past Monday to generate some action at that price. A few stores are testing -6.5 because nobody was betting the Packers at -7. Green Bay does have a huge rest/preparation advantage as a Thursday night team hosting a Monday night team. Yet…the line went toward Dallas! Actually, that half point move is very big in that kind of context. Sharps don’t want Green Bay at home, with extra rest, against a 4-8 opponent! Gives you a sense of how sloppy this Packers offense has looked the past several weeks. The Over/Under is down from 43.5 to 42.5 because of a forecast for likely rain and wind. No frozen tundra though with temperatures in the mid 50’s.
SEATTLE AT BALTIMORE: Oddsmakers waited for more definitive word on Ravens' quarterback Matt Schaub before posting a line here. He’s now being listed as "probable," though the team has been practicing as if Jimmy Clausen will get the start. The number went up at Seattle -10…and was bet UP to -10.5 in some spots. That gives you a sense of how impressed sharps were with Seattle last week at Minnesota. They finally looked like a Super Bowl team. As we saw with San Francisco, this is a West Coast team that must try to play well twice in a row in a bad body clock game (time changed to the early TV window). Yet, a meaningful number of sharps laid double digits with Seattle. I would expect that a move to Baltimore +11 would inspire home dog money. But…the old school guys are going to bide their time to see what they can get.
NY GIANTS AT MIAMI: An opening line of pick-em has been bet up to Giants -1.5. Very interesting game here because the sharps haven’t been impressed with either team lately. Miami’s looked awful for several weeks. The Giants were lucky to see overtime last week vs. the Jets after laying a big egg at Washington. Yet, it’s Monday night…which means there will be square money worth fading. A rare “heavily bet game that the sharps HATE!” Ultimately, the Wise Guys will be lined up against the public. Let’s see how square money this weekend hits the board between now and kickoff.
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We’re getting closer to the start of the college bowls. Here’s the upcoming schedule of “sharp” reports…
Thursday: Tampa Bay at St. Louis in the NFL plus the first FIVE bowl games that go on opening Saturday (New Mexico, Las Vegas, Camellia, Auto Nation, and New Orleans bowls).
Friday December 18: NFL Week 15, regular report.
Monday December 21: I’ll look at SEVEN weekday bowls that run from Monday through Christmas Eve on Thursday (Miami Beach, Idaho, Boca Raton, Poinsettia, Go Daddy, Bahamas, and Hawaii Bowls)
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend!
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