Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, December 18, 2015 at 1:00 PM
We have our first Saturday night NFL game of the 2015 season kicking off the rest of Week 15. And, it will be a very actively bet game too as the NY Jets from the media capital of the world are facing “America’s Team” the Dallas Cowboys. A dream matchup for sportsbooks because it creates extra foot traffic all through the day.
How have sharps been betting that game? Let’s study that and the rest of the NFL card here in our weekly report. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules…
NY JETS AT DALLAS: The first number up here was NYJ -2.5, which is a bit of a surprise because it was a must-win game for a team playing well against a losing Cowboys squad that just fell badly in Green Bay. Early position-takers and some serious Jets money hit early…driving the game through the key number of -3 all the way to -3.5. You regulars know that’s a big move even though it’s only a point because three is such a key number. Sharps interested in the Cowboys may wait to see if they can get +4 on game day. Could be tough because squares outside of New York may still be looking to back Dallas. The opening total of 43 is down to 41.5 because of skepticism about the Cowboys offense being able to score on this excellent Jets defense. I’ll only talk about Over/Unders today in games that have moved at least a point.
CHICAGO AT MINNESOTA: Minnesota opened at -5. We’re now seeing -6. Sharps have been investing in rested teams off a Thursday-nighter fairly consistently this season. Plus, the Bears just lost two home games to San Francisco and Washington. No Bears interest (yet) to provide any resistance to those betting the “rest and preparation” angle. We’ll have to see through the weekend what number does inspire some big dog bets on Chicago. Seven would definitely do it, and possibly +6.5. Note that temperatures in the mid 30’s probably favor Minnesota’s preferred style of play here.
ATLANTA AT JACKSONVILLE: Jacksonville got respect from oddsmakers on the opener at -3.5. Sharps didn’t agree that the Jags could be trusted at more than a field goal. So, we’re painted right on the key number of three at the moment. Sharps aren’t really fond of Atlanta. But, they know Jacksonville didn’t play nearly as well as the final score indicated last week vs. Indianapolis. The total is up from 47 to 49 because Jacksonville games have really opened up the past few weeks. Quants that emphasize recent action in their math hit that opener hard.
HOUSTON AT INDIANAPOLIS: We’re up on the board after the usual Indianapolis delay at Colts -1 and 41. The opening total was actually 42 before coming down a point right away. Sharps will likely wait closer to kickoff before making any serious moves if they’re going to.
KANSAS CITY AT BALTIMORE: Looks like a tug-of-war developing between Baltimore +7.5 and Kansas City -7. The opener of Chiefs -7.5 may have been giving KC too much respect. They have won a lot of games in a row. But, they only beat the Chargers by 7 last week, and had horrible stats in a lucky win over Oakland. The numbers guys thought the hook was too much no matter who was quarterbacking for the Ravens. The total has dropped a point at a lot of stores from 42 to 41.
BUFFALO AT WASHINGTON: The opener of pick-em is up to Buffalo -1.5. The Bills disappointed some sharps last week in that loss at Philadelphia. But, right now…Washington is seen as being worse than Philadelphia in the marketplace. Must-win for Buffalo if they want to get back into the AFC Wildcard picture (though it may already be too late). Washington obviously needs the game to stay in the NFC East race.
TENNESSEE AT NEW ENGLAND: Possibly a tug-of-war brewing here between New England -14 and Tennessee +14.5. The public won’t be scared off the Patriots at -14 given a 27-6 win at Houston last week coinciding with a 30-8 Titans loss in New York to the Jets. Old school sharps who like taking every double digit dog are coming in when they see the hook. Not a high profile betting game on this day. But, a clear divide between how squares like to bet, and how sharps like to bet.
ARIZONA AT PHILADELPHIA: Remember that this has been time-changed to prime time, even though it shows up in the middle of the Sunday rotation. NBC “flexed” the game because it’s so important in the playoff picture. The opener of Arizona -4 has been bet down to -3.5. Sharps who still like the Eagles were happy to see the full four. Though, sportsbooks are aware that Arizona would get hit hard if the key number of three comes into play. The public is starting to notice the Cardinals…and more than a few sharps like taking Carson Palmer at affordable prices. That may keep the game at 3.5 all the way to kick off. We’ll have to see how the money breaks down on game day. Could be very interesting because different syndicates don’t see eye-to-eye on team quality here. And, the public will eventually pick a side in a prime TV game they want to bet. The total is up from 50 to 51 because wind isn’t expected to be an issue.
CAROLINA AT THE NY GIANTS: This is going to be a heavily bet game for an early starter. Carolina’s undefeated streak is getting a lot of play in the media. New York is seen as the team most likely to take them out. Plus, the Giants just won a big TV game on MNF in Miami. The opener of Carolina -6 was bet down to NYG +4.5. Some stores are testing the four to see if that creates more of a balance. I will say this, many sharps do like Carolina’s chances in the playoffs because of their great defense and increasingly versatile offense. But, they recognize that this is a dangerous spot on the schedule after two divisional wins. Remember that the Panthers could only win by three in New Orleans. The Over/Under is up from 47 to 48 because “flat” for Carolina means softer defense…and because wind doesn’t look like it will be a factor.
CLEVELAND AT SEATTLE: Seattle opened at a high -14. But, they’ve been playing so well lately that the line rose immediately to -14.5 or -15. The old school guys really have to think here because Cleveland’s outlook to play well on the road is bleak…while Seattle is just stomping people right now. Squares may take the number even higher before kickoff. Old school dog lovers will try to time the apex with their Browns bets.
GREEN BAY AT OAKLAND: We’ve been painted Green Bay -3 all week. This could be a very heavily bet game here in Nevada because Oakland is a “local” team in terms of fandom. You should have heard the roars when they upset hated Denver last week! That segment of public betting will want to ride them again. But, this is a letdown spot, and Green Bay has its own large betting contingent. Sharps would fade any move off the key number of three. If the game stays where it is…I believe sharp interest would at least be shaded to the resurgent Packers rather than the potentially tired and flat Raiders.
MIAMI AT SAN DIEGO: Dead spot on the schedule featuring two teams that are hard to bet on right now. San Diego is just playing out the string. Miami is doing the same after losing this past Monday night. We’ve been painted at San Diego -1.5.
DENVER AT PITTSBURGH: Wow…Pittsburgh is suddenly getting A LOT of respect in the markets after beating Cincinnati 33-20, Indianapolis 45-10, and playing close most of the way at recently improved Seattle. The opener here of Pittsburgh -6.5 is suggesting that Pittsburgh is currently seen as Super Bowl caliber team. Either that, or Denver is being penalized harshly off the loss to Oakland (which wasn’t as bad in the stats as it was in the scoreboard). Couldn’t have imagined at the time that the Denver squad which beat New England recently would be getting almost a touchdown here. In fact, we may be seeing more stores test -7 between now and kickoff. Very easy to bet Ben Roethlisberger right now against the struggling Denver offense. But, should the Denver defense be getting this many points?
CINCINNATI AT SAN FRANCISCO: Oddsmakers had to make a guess here because of the injury to Andy Dalton. There’s not much to go on with new starter A.J. McCarrron. He was at least able to move the ball last week in his relief role vs. Pittsburgh. An opener of Cincinnati -4 has been bet up to -6. So, sharps have more faith in McCarron than oddsmakers did. Or, more contempt for San Francisco. The Over/Under is down from 42 to 40.5 because of a chance for rain, and uncertainty that McCarron can get the Bengals to the end zone.
DETROIT AT NEW ORLEANS: Not much happening yet on the team side. New Orleans opened at -3. It’s at least telling that sharps weren’t interested in taking much of a position here, even though they know squares generally bet Drew Brees at home when the price is affordable. Things may not get interesting until Monday. Sharps did bet Detroit heavily in St. Louis last week, and may be interested in fading any move off the three. Best guess is for a game day tug-of-war between New Orleans -3 and Detroit +3.5. Though, it’s possible that sharps will decide New Orleans’ 24-17 win in Tampa Bay last week will be a springboard to a decent finish. Be sure you monitor the market on game day. The Over/Under of 50 is up to 51 because of some quant interest.
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Back again Monday as the busy reporting schedule continues…
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)
Tuesday December 22: My weekly NFL “Futures” report looking at Super Bowl prices. What will happen to the marketplace if Carolina finally loses a game?
Thursday December 24: A look at Thursday nights’ NFL rivalry matchup of San Diego and Oakland…Saturday’s important Washington/Philadelphia showdown in the NFC East…plus SIX more bowl games (St. Petersburg, Sun, Heart of Dallas, Pinstripe, Independence, and Foster Farms all on Saturday).
Saturday December 26: The NFL report moves back a day because of Christmas. Still plenty fo time to ponder all the Sunday and Monday action in pro football.
See you again here in the VSM BLOG on Monday. Thanks for reading.
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