Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 2, 2018 at 4:00 PM
Fascinating start to the week with an unheralded third-string quarterback for San Francisco dominating the listless Oakland Raiders. A late-day announcement moved lines in the wrong direction, though some of that was a reaction to the “news” rather than money hitting the board.
I can tell you that, locally, there’s less excitement right now about the Raiders eventually moving to Las Vegas!
That will change when the arrival date gets closer. Las Vegas wants to be in the NFL. All of you reading this want to BET the NFL. Let’s see how sharps (professional wagerers) have been playing so far this seek. Note that there are byes for six teams: Arizona, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, the NY Giants, and Philadelphia. Games are presented in Nevada Rotation order…
DETROIT AT MINNESOTA: An opener of Minnesota -5.5 has been bet down to -5 or -4.5 depending on the store. Detroit had been red hot until losing to Seattle last week. Minnesota’s defense has taken a step or two backwards in 2018. Sharps figured the public wasn’t going to lay points with the Vikings any more (particularly after the loss last week to New Orleans). They took +5.5 happily with Matthew Stafford’s offense, and many were still betting +5. Not sure if squares (the public) will show interest on the Vikings Sunday at -4.5 or lower.
KANSAS CITY AT CLEVELAND: A high opener (for a road favorite) of Kansas City -9 has been bet down to anywhere from -8.5, -8, or -7.5 depending on the store. Cleveland has a new head coach, which might inspire improved play (especially on offense). Plus, there’s a feeling amongst sharps that Kansas City has peaked, and is due to fall back. This game is currently in the two-team teaser window where you can move the line six points to cross both key numbers three and seven. The Chiefs will be a very popular choice from the public and many pro bettors. I wouldn’t be shocked if some stores find themselves at -9 Sunday, or as low as -7 just to avoid that exposure.
PITTSBURGH AT BALTIMORE: The number has been Baltimore -3 all week. But, most stores went to even money on the favorite, -120 on the underdog fairly early on. Some are testing -2.5. as I put together this report. So, the Wise Guys clearly like Pittsburgh +3 at regular juice quite a bit. Baltimore’s lost its last two games, and may not get much public support. Should the line fall to Ravens -2.5 everywhere, Pittsburgh +8.5 will be extremely popular in teasers.
TAMPA BAY AT CAROLINA: We’ve mostly been at Carolina -6 or -6.5 all week. Some early spots opened at the full seven, but Tampa Bay got immediate interest. Bucs are still drawing money at +6.5 too. Maybe we’ll see a tug-of-war between those numbers through the weekend. Tampa Bay is a pretty dangerous dog with Ryan Fitzpatrick running the offense. Sharps are looking for ways to bet him after last week’s big rally in Cincinnati.
NY JETS AT MIAMI: Nobody wants to bet this game! Both teams looked awful last week. Both are dealing with prominent injuries. Miami’s been painted at -3 all week. Sharps would fade any public move off the key number. Seems unlikely the public is going to get involved unless more news develops about either team. As I was preparing this report Friday, some Vegas shops dropped to Miami -2.5. Some dog lovers finally made the plunge. And, Miami’s defense has been so bad in recent weeks that you could see why quants would want the points. If other stores follow suit, the Jets also go on the list of teaser choices.
ATLANTA AT WASHINGTON: We’ve been around Washington -2 or -1.5 all week. That’s right in the teaser window, meaning Atlanta (+) will be very popular in two-teamers. Both are right at the level of “not quite playoff caliber” this season. Atlanta is seen as slightly better because the line is below the standard three-point value of home field advantage. I’m interested to see if games like this and TB/Carolina are bet heavily come Sunday, or if most of the public just waits for the blockbuster TV matchups later in the day.
CHICAGO AT BUFFALO: An opener of Chicago -8.5 was bet up to -10 because of Buffalo’s quarterback situation. The Bills are also dealing with a short week after playing a hated divisional rival Monday night. And, they haven’t driven the field for points in more than a month! Quants were all over the Bears at anything below 10. Interest dried up on the key number. Telling that there was no buy back on the home underdog even when double digits were reached. Old school guys will step in on the Bills Sunday just on principal. They’re hoping they can get +10.5 or +11.
HOUSTON AT DENVER: We’ve mostly been sitting on Denver -1 all week. Any move to -1.5 would bring teasers into play, with sharps wanting improving Houston at +7.5 in two-teamers. The public usually takes the Broncos as a cheap home favorite. Sports books will have to decide how they want to be exposed come Sunday.
LA CHARGERS AT SEATTLE: Same exact situation here, with a home favorite laying -1 at a site where it usually gets market respect. Frankly, this tells you a lot about how sharps are seeing Houston and the LA Chargers closing the season in the playoff hunt. You are getting SERIOUS respect if you’re only +1 at Denver or Seattle. The Seahawks are playing well lately, but the Chargers are seen as a real AFC Super Bowl dark horse by the Wise Guys.
LA RAMS AT NEW ORLEANS: Some see-sawing in this one. The Rams opened as a 1-point favorite. Early money drove the Saints to being the favorite. Now, it’s swung the other way to the Rams laying -1 or -2. New Orleans gets at least three points for home field, sometimes more in certain situations. Studying line movement here gives you a sense of what playoff point spreads will eventually look like. This could be an NFC Championship preview. Nobody else is being priced better than these two in that conference right now. I expect a heavily bet game because most of the TV schedule and the quarterbacks involved.
GREEN BAY AT NEW ENGLAND: What a great Sunday nighter! An opener of New England -7 has been bet down to -5.5 or -5. That’s the second straight week where sharps have POUNDED the Packers on the road against a team high up in Super Bowls futures. This tells us Aaron Rodgers is close to getting 100% healthy…and sharps see the Packers as an elite team when he’s able to move and throw. This line would only be -2 or -2.5 on a neutral field. Clearly, sharps love Green Bay at +6 or better, and still seem to like them at +5.5. Will the public step in on game day to lay chalk? Might depend on how their earlier bets do. Sharps have spoken. Squares will this weekend.
TENNESSEE AT DALLAS: Cowboys have been around -5 all week, in the dead zone between the key numbers of three and seven. Nobody’s interested in laying that many with the inconsistent Cowboys right now. But, Tennessee’s offense has been so bad that dog lovers haven’t stepped in here. They DID step in for other games (particularly the Packers), so we can tell that nobody loves the Titans. Maybe we’ll stick here until kickoff. And, then maybe the public will bet “America’s Team” come Monday enough to drive it to -6, which would definitely bring in “defensive dog” money on Tennessee.
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Thanks for reading. Back with you again next Thursday to look at late-week football betting, and next Friday to cover the rest of the NFL.