Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, September 21, 2018 at 4:00 PM
Back for my weekly look at how sharps (professional wagerers) are betting Sunday and Monday NFL. As always, I’ll take the matchups in Nevada Rotation order so you can make notes in your schedules.
INDIANAPOLIS AT PHILADELPHIA: Already a tug-of-war between Philadelphia -6.5 and Indianapolis +7. Carson Wentz will be the starter for the Eagles after a long injury layoff. Nobody knows for sure how sharp he’s going to be. Colts impressed many with a solid road win at Washington last week. It’s mostly sharps on the Colts +7, and they’ll keep taking the full seven if squares (the public) bet Philly this weekend.
CINCINNATI AT CAROLINA: Not much interest here with the game sitting on a solid three all week. More bettors are taking underdog Cincinnati…making the Bengals +120 on the key number at many stores. Sharps would fade any public move off the three in either direction. We may have a lot of evenly matched games like this through the season. If you skim off the top eight teams and the bottom two…a lot of parity for everyone else.
TENNESSEE AT JACKSONVILLE: Still no point spread on the board as everyone waits to see if Marcos Mariota is going to play. Sharps were right to trust Jacksonville last week as a short home dog. Dominant stats in the win over New England.
NEW ORLEANS AT ATLANTA: Another game stuck on the key number of three. Once again here, the road underdog is getting the majority of early action. Sharps would fade any move off the three. Particularly in a divisional battle…a close, hard fought battle landing right on three would make a lot of sense. Sportsbooks don’t want to open any doors. Plus, dropping the game to 2.5 creates a lot of two-team teaser opportunities to take the dog up to +8.5. Books REALLY don’t want to do that in a divisional game.
DENVER AT BALTIMORE: An opener of Baltimore -4.5 has been bet up to -5 or -5.5 depending on the store. We’re in the dead zone between the key numbers of 3 and 7. I don’t expect six to come into play. Even squares don’t trust Joe Flacco that much. Case Keenum has been shaky for Denver so far. Sharps would bet him for value at +5.5 (or higher), but not with any passion.
NY GIANTS AT HOUSTON: Game had been sitting at Houston -6 through the week. We’re starting to see some -6.5’s out there. Neither team has covered a point spread yet. Giants offense looks horrible, and Houston’s has been a disappointment. Dog lovers would definitely take the G-men +7 if that comes into play. They might settle for +6.5 if the public doesn’t hit Houston this weekend. Not a heavily bet game thus far. Sharps respect defensive dogs, and will probably find a way to do something with NYG on game day.
OAKLAND AT MIAMI: Another game stuck right on three. Though, in this case, the favorite is getting more action. It costs -120 to lay -3 with Miami at many stores. The Dolphins are 2-0 straight up and ATS this season. Oakland has a long trip for a bad body clock start after a divisional rivalry game that went right down to the wire. Situational guys are taking Miami at three. Sharps would fade any move off the three in either direction.
GREEN BAY AT WASHINGTON: Green Bay was at -2.5 for a long time…but now is painted -3 everywhere. Many stores have the Packers at even money on the three rather than 11/10. Washington would have been a popular teaser option at +2.5…moving that line up six points to +8.5. Over/Under has dropped two points from 47.5 to 45.5 as quants try to determine how mobile Aaron Rodgers will be.
BUFFALO AT MINNESOTA: An huge opener of Minnesota -16 was bet up quickly to -16.5. How is Buffalo’s horrible offense going to score any points against that great Minnesota defense at a tough home site? Stores that test Minny -17 do see underdog money come in from old-school bettors. Many veteran sharps will play any NFL double-digit dog on principal. They’ve been rewarded for that strategy for years. Possibly a tug-of-war between Minnesota -16.5 and Buffalo +17 on game day. Squares don’t mind laying huge numbers against horrible teams. Sharps don’t mind occasionally getting routed with big ugly dogs if they’re going to win five out of every nine over the long haul.
SAN FRANCISCO AT KANSAS CITY: A lot of interest on Kansas City this week as a soft opener in the 4-5 range has been bet up to -6.5. Patrick Mahomes has impressed people so far. San Francisco hasn’t set the world on fire now that the league had all summer to study film of Jimmy Garappolo. I would expect Niners money to come in hard if +7 goes on the board because that’s such an important number. Right now, everyone’s on KC and sports books are rooting for SF.
LA CHARGERS AT LA RAMS: Painted Rams -7 and 48 all week. Sharps would fade any move off the key number of seven. Maybe the public will bet the favorite on game day. Rams are currently Power Rated in many spots as the best team in the NFL. Patriots haven’t started well, wile the Rams have dominated an easy schedule. Interesting litmus test for both.
CHICAGO AT ARIZONA: This has been hovering in the 5 to 5.5 range all week for the road favorite Bears. Any outliers get knocked into place. There’s a lot of skepticism about Mitchell Trubisky as a road favorite. But, Arizona’s looked so awful the first two weeks that it’s hard to bet the Cards. Best guess is that the public takes the Bears Sunday, then sharps will fade any move higher. The Wise Guys would certainly hit Arizona +6 hard. Over/Under has been bet down from 40 to 38.5 because of that skepticism about Trubisky I mentioned.
DALLAS AT SEATTLE: This one’s been hopping around Seattle -1 and -1.5 through the week. Neither offense has looked very good. Dallas is seen as the slightly superior neutral field team. And, Seattle’s home field advantage isn’t what it used to be since the team got worse. I get the feeling sharps would hit Seattle at pick-em, or Dallas +2. That’s a low strike range in terms of victory margins though. Doesn’t seem to be a high priority game for sharps.
NEW ENGLAND AT DETROIT: New England opened at -6.5 against its former assistant coach. Both sharp and public money hit the Pats, pushing the line up to a solid -7 everywhere. That’s a lot for a road favorite in this league. Line is suggesting New England would be -10 on a neutral field, or -13 at home. You have to figure NE has a big coaching advantage. Can their defense keep the Lions from coming through the back door? Sharps would fade any move off the seven in either direction. Quants have pounded the Over here…from soft openers in the high 40’s to 50 at the beginning of the week. We’re now seeing 53 or 53.5 in doors with quarterbacks who can move the ball.
PITTSBURGH AT TAMPA BAY: Pittsburgh opened at -2 or -2.5, and has been bet down to -1 or -1.5. The initial “there’s no way Tampa Bay can keep playing great” theme has lost some thunder because Pittsburgh’s defense has struggled vs. good quarterbacks this season…and late last season. That angle has driven the Over/Under up from 50 to 53.5. Now I see a 54 out there. As long as the field isn’t messy from the typical late afternoon rain you see in Florida this time of year, we should see a shootout.
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Thanks for reading. See you next Thursday and Friday for new sharp reports.