Submitted by Richie B. Oddsmakers Consensus on Friday, October 19, 2018 at 4:00 PM
Not much drama in that ugly Denver-Arizona game Thursday night that kickoff the new week of NFL action. Certainly some better games on tap the rest of the way. Time to look at how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting this week’s pro football action. Note that there are byes this week for: Green Bay, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and Seattle. (At least the Vegas-bound Raiders won’t lose this week!)
Games are presented in Nevada Rotation order. Please note that the first game will be played overseas, meaning no home field advantage is factored into the line.
TENNESSEE VS. THE LA CHARGERS (In London, England): Wow…the market really respects Philip Rivers! I was surprised to see this line open at the Chargers -6.5. But, Tennessee is beat up and Marcos Mariota isn’t getting much done with the offense. No move off the opener. Sharps would definitely hit the Titans at +7 if that comes into play. Will the public lay this many points with the inconsistent Chargers? Line might just sit at 6.5 up until kickoff. Though, “defensive dog” lovers may step in on Tennessee late Saturday night or early Sunday morning if they decide +6.5 is the best they’re going to get.
NEW ENGLAND AT CHICAGO: Looks like we’ll either see a line of New England -2.5 or -3. You can guess what’s driving that. Classic tug-of-war where the public can’t resist Tom Brady at a line below a field goal (which hurt them in Jacksonville!) while sharps like getting the up-and-coming Bears as a home dog on the key number. Should be a heavily bet game the whole way. Sports books will pray the game doesn’t land right on the three.
CLEVELAND AT TAMPA BAY: An opener of Tampa Bay -3 was bet up to -3.5, where it’s stayed ever since. That’s only a half-point move. But, it’s an important one because there wasn’t much buy back. Clear sharp support for the Bucs at the field goal, but not much for the Browns with the hook. Sharps aren’t ready to trust Baker Mayfield knowing that he was banged up last week. I think if he were at 100%, there’d be more dog interest here.
DETROIT AT MIAMI: Brock Osweiler will get the start for the Dolphins. Detroit has been sitting on a solid -3 all week. That means the Lions are about six points better than Miami on a neutral field. Chicago was -7 vs. Osweiler last week, meaning the Bears would be 10 points better! We’ll have to see about that. Miami did upset Chicago in overtime. Sharps would fade any move off the key number of three. The public may be tempted to get Matthew Stafford at a cheap price. But, he can be a heartbreaker when you lay points with him.
CAROLINA AT PHILADELPHIA: This one has been hopping between Philadelphia -4.5 and -5 all week. That’s in the dead zone between the three and the seven. No key numbers driving the tug-of-war. Just perceived value. Carolina has enough going for it to make +5 seem appealing to some sharps. Philadelphia’s offense is playing better as Carson Wentz gets his sea legs. Quants are seeing value (as is the public) at Eagles -4.5.
BUFFALO AT INDIANAPOLIS: The first lines up offshore were in the range of Indianapolis -9 or -9.5. That quickly came down to Colts -7.5, where the line has sat all week. Josh Allen is out for Buffalo after injuring his elbow in Houston last week. As much as sharps hate backup QB Nathan Peterman, they do like the Buffalo defense against Andrew Luck. The Colts aren’t a blowout team, and looked awful against the Jets last Sunday. This one’s in the teaser window right now, so Indianapolis -1.5 will be a popular choice in teasers for sharps and squares (the public) alike.
CINCINNATI AT KANSAS CITY: This one has been time changed to the evening for an NBC national telecast. The network used its “flex” schedule power to get the Chiefs for a second week in a row. Kansas City is the only team in the NFL to have covered every game so far. An opening line of KC -5 has been bet up to -6. Dog lovers do jump in on the six, a relatively key number (just not as important as 3 or 7). Might see a tug-of-war because the public will now have all day to bet this one. Sharps do like getting a talented underdog against a favorite in a letdown spot.
MINNESOTA AT THE NY JETS: An opener of Minnesota -3 was bet up to -3.5, where it stuck. We talked about this above in the Tampa Bay game. That’s an important half-point move because there wasn’t any buy back. Though Minnesota’s defense has been a disappointment this season, many sharps still believe it will dominate a rookie quarterback like Sam Darnold. It might take +4 to bring in sharp dog lovers. Wise Guys definitely like Vikings -3.
HOUSTON AT JACKSONVILLE: This one opened around -3.5 or -4 for the host Jaguars. It’s been bet up to -4.5 or -5 depending on where you shop. Clear bounce back spot for Jacksonville after losing road games to Kansas City and Dallas. DeShaun Watson is so banged up for Houston that he may not have much of a chance to perform here. Sharps rarely bet a favorite like this out of the gate…but DID in these circumstances. That’s a telling point in my view. Sharps don’t like Blake Bortles, but still laid points with him this week.
NEW ORLEANS AT BALTIMORE: This one’s been painted Baltimore -2.5 all week. Here the LACK of a line move is telling us a lot. Sharps have a lot of respect for New Orleans. There was no interest at all from the Wise Guys to lay less than a field goal with the Ravens. For now, you can be sure that sharps will LOVE the Saints +8.5 in two-team teasers. Many will play them on the money line to win outright. The game might drop to pick-em by kickoff. We saw a similar storyline when New Orleans was in Atlanta not too long ago.
DALLAS AT WASHINGTON: Either Washington -1 or -1.5 depending on where you shop. Much of that is based on each particular store’s tolerance of teasers. Dallas +1.5 can be moved up to +7.5 for six-point teasers. That crosses both the 3 and the 7. You can’t do that from +1. Spots that don’t like getting bombarded with sharp teasers will keep the Redskins at one.
LA RAMS AT SAN FRANCISCO: This was listed as the NBC prime time game in early schedule printings. But, it’s been flipped back to a day game. The Niners lost their star appeal when Jimmy Garappolo suffered a season-ending knee injury. So far, it’s been a tug-of-war between Los Angeles -9.5 and San Francisco +10. Tough spot for the Niners after going down to the wire in Green Bay this past Monday night. The defense could run out of gas against LA’s potent attack. And, that attack has been particularly potent in California this season! Sharps aren’t very involved here. Old school guys who take every double-digit dog play the Niners at +10.
NY GIANTS AT ATLANTA: Another game in the dead zone between key numbers. We’ve been flipping from Atlanta -4 to -4.5 all week. Sharps were hoping to get more because of all the bad press about the Giants. New York’s offense did score points at Houston and Carolina, and could have a good game against this awful Atlanta defense. Oddsmakers anticipated that, keeping the number well below six or seven. The public has lost enough with the Falcons this season that they may not bet the game aggressively. We’ll have to see if “New York money” influences the market on game day now that betting is legal in New Jersey.
No big Over/Under moves to discuss this week. I only list games that moved at least two points. Oddsmakers have been in synch with the quants for the most part. Doesn’t look like there are any extreme weather scenarios that are going to get in the way of scoring Sunday.
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