Submitted by Richie B. Oddsmakers Consensus on Friday, December 22, 2017 at 1:00 PM
This is the first week of NFL season that doesn’t have a Thursday night kick off. We begin Week 16 Saturday with a doubleheader. We end it on Monday with a Christmas doubleheader. Let’s see how sharps have been betting the card so far. Games are presented in Nevada Rotation order so you can make notes in your schedule.
Indianapolis at Baltimore: Baltimore’s been sitting just below the key number of 14 all week. An opener of -13 or -13.5 has settled at -13.5. Indianapolis looked to many like they were trying to lose through the second half of the Denver game last week. Baltimore obviously needs to win. Old school sharps will take a flyer on the Colts at +14 for value. The Wise Guys aren’t seeing any reason to invest at this point, and may not before it starts.
Minnesota at Green Bay: Minnesota went up at -9 after it was announced that Aaron Rodgers would go back on the injured list after the Packers were eliminated from playoff consideration. That struck some as a little high. Sharps wanted to see if the public would push the Vikings higher because they “need” to win in the race for the #1 seed in the NFC. After a few days of that not happening, some sharp money has started showing on the dog. We’re seeing Green Bay +8.5 in a few spots, and I expect that line to become more common. Note that -8.5 is in the teaser window where you can move the line six points to cross both the 3 and the 7. That’s another reason sharps may hit the Packers…just to bring Vikings -2.5 into play.
Detroit at Cincinnati: An opener of Detroit -3.5 has nudged up to -4. The Bengals have looked horrible the last two weeks…so nobody wants to bet on them. Sharps will wait to see if a higher number comes into play before stepping in. Probably not a highly bet game because the Lions don’t win big or easily very often. Though, this is another “need” game where a playoff contender is playing a lame duck.
LA Chargers at NY Jets: A tug-of-war so far between the NY Jets +7 and the LA Chargers -6.5. Though, this is another “need” game for the favorite, the Jets have been showing effort as home underdogs this season. Plus, it’s a bad body clock game for the visitor. I wouldn’t be surprised if that tug-of-war lasts until kickoff. Both teams have constituencies in this one.
LA Rams at Tennessee: Similar situation here with the other Los Angeles team. Though, in this case, the home dog is also in the playoff picture. That tells you how far the Titans have fallen in sharp Power Ratings. Marcos Mariota isn’t at full strength. And, the Titans as a whole just aren’t impressing in recent weeks. Frankly, the Rams are being priced like a Super Bowl team at either -6.5 or -7. Sharp Titans money does come in on the seven.
Cleveland at Chicago: An opener of Chicago -7 was bet down to -6.5, where it’s stood pat since. Not a tug-of-war here because nobody wants the Bears! The sentiment seems to have swept across Vegas that this is the week Cleveland covers a spread, and maybe even gets its first straight up win of the season. Let’s see what the public does on game day. Squares like fading Cleveland, but may not lay this many points with untrustworthy favorites like the Bears.
Tampa Bay at Carolina: Not a lot of early betting in the NFL this week. Openers guarded against “need,” and sharps wanted to wait to see if the public was going to drive those favorites even higher. We’ve been on Carolina -10 all week. Tampa Bay has a short recovery off the close Monday night loss to Atlanta.
Atlanta at New Orleans: Speaking of the Falcons, they’re in a weird spot where NEXT week’s game may be more important than this one in terms of making the playoffs. New Orleans opened at -5.5. Some stores are showing -6 now. Home field advantage plus extra rest puts the Saints in position to shine. The market is charging a premium to back them.
Denver at Washington: Washington is seen as slightly better than Denver, so the line is going to be above the standard home field value of three. Washington is either -3.5 or -4 depending on where you look. It will probably stay that way. Though, some syndicates might come in on the dog between now and kickoff because of the extra preparation time after last Thursday’s win at Indy. Washington’s not playing well lately, while Denver at least showed some fire. If there is sharp interest on game day, it’s going to be on Denver.
Miami at Kansas City: An opener of Kansas City -10 has nudged higher to -10.5. With so little happening this week, that feels HUGE. It is at least a move off the key number…and it came early enough that we know it was from sharps rather than the public. Might take +11 to bring in Miami money.
Buffalo at New England: Sharps did hit this dog early. Buffalo +13 is down to +12 or +11.5 already. New England is in a letdown spot off that huge Pittsburgh win. Plus, Buffalo is a divisional dog with revenge. Sharps wanted are locked in at +12 or better, and will probably come in again if squares pus the Pats higher before kickoff.
Jacksonville at San Francisco: Sharps like Jimmy Garappolo! That’s been true since his first start. Here, an opener of Jacksonville -5.5 has been bet down to Niners +4.5 even though the Jaguars are chasing a bye week and SF is out of the playoff race. There’s already been a lot of talk about how San Francisco should be priced next year in Super Bowl futures. Sharps are happy at +5 or better, and will buy more of that if it becomes available.
NY Giants at Arizona: Meaningless game. An opener of Arizona -4.5 has been bet down to -3.5 because the Giants had very good stats in the loss to Philadelphia last week…and appear to be trying much harder since prior head coach Ben McAdoo was fired. We’ll see if that’s enough to bring the key number of three into play.
Seattle at Dallas: Dallas gets Ezekiel Elliott back in the lineup after his suspension this week. An opener of -4.5 was bet up to -5. Respect from sharps for the Seahawks has all but disappeared in the second half of the season. And that was before last week’s home blowout loss to the Rams. Sharps might nibble at Seattle +5.5, and would likely jump in at +6.
MONDAY: CHRISTMAS DAY AND NIGHT
Pittsburgh at Houston: An opener of -10 has been bet down with Pittsburgh possibly drained from that brutal loss to New England. Oddsmakers priced on need. Sharps bet the situation, because it’s hard to win this big when you’re dealing with injuries and possibly a low gas tank. Also worth nothing, the Steelers have had trouble running away and hiding from bad teams in recent weeks, and all season on the road. Sharps who got +10 are happy with their position. I expect this one to close at Pittsburgh -9 or -9.5.
Oakland at Philadelphia: We’ve been sitting on Philadelphia -9 all week. Some stores are starting to test -8.5 to see if that generates any action. The public may not want to lay a high number with Nick Foles after he couldn’t cover vs. the Giants last week. Hard to bet Oakland the way they’ve been playing down the stretch.
Definitely a tricky week for bettors. Will squares mostly take the weekend off to celebrate Christmas? Possible because there aren’t any true blockbusters to get excited about. Bettors like me and you get excited about winning. I have a few games I like strong this weekend. You can purchase my BEST BETS in all sports right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure you ask about combination packages with college basketball when you call.
I hope all of you have a fantastic holiday weekend. I’ll be back next Thursday to talk about sharp betting in the next batch of bowls…and then again on Friday to outline Week 17 of the NFL season. Thanks for reading. Merry Christmas!