Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, November 30, 2018 at 4:00 PM
Some new quarterbacks in the NFL mix this week, which creates handicapping challenges for the general public. Sharps (professional wagerers) have ratings for all the backup quarterbacks so they’re prepared for late-season changes.
Let’s see how the Wise Guys have been betting this weekend’s pro football action. Already a surprise in the books as the Dallas Cowboys upset the New Orleans Saints Thursday night. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order.
INDIANAPOLIS AT JACKSONVILLE: Our first new quarterback is here at the top of the slate. Jacksonville has benched Blake Bortles (and fired the offensive coordinator!). Cody Kessler will get the start. An opener of Indy -3, unimaginable at this site before the season began, was bet up to -4 because Andrew Luck should have a big edge at the position over Kessler. Some sharps also think the Jaguars have thrown in the towel on the season after losing to Buffalo last week. Sharps will lay Colts -3, but not -4. This may be where the line sticks because the public will probably leave this one alone.
LA CHARGERS AT PITTSBURGH: It’s the second game in the rotation, but the last game on the Sunday card because it was time-changed to prime time for NBC. A possible playoff preview. We’ve been painted Pittsburgh -3.5 all week. The Chargers have been getting respect in the line for weeks…but all the sharps who faded Pittsburgh with Carolina on this field a few weeks ago got spanked. Sports books know the public would pound Pittsburgh -3. Sharps would come in more aggressively on the dog at +4. Might stick on the 3.5 all weekend. Though, if the squares (the public) win a lot of favorites Saturday and early Sunday, they’ll re-invest on Pittsburgh in the TV game.
CAROLINA AT TAMPA BAY: Carolina is up from -3 to -3.5 as a road favorite. The quants get gradings on Carolina because Tampa Bay’s defense is so bad (and its offense so turnover prone). But, those guys just lost with Carolina at Pittsburgh and at Detroit. Don’t think the public wants this favorite. Will sharps come in on the dog on game day? Possible some old school “divisional rivalry home dog” lovers will take some shots.
BALTIMORE AT ATLANTA: Big move here from Baltimore -2 as a road favorite to Atlanta -1.5 (though 1 and 0 aren’t exactly key numbers). Some of that is early-week jockeying regarding the Ravens’ quarterback position. Atlanta may be disappointing, but it’s not so bad that it should be a home dog of two to a backup quarterback on the Ravens. Sharps were betting Atlanta as a dog, pick-em, or -1. No buy back yet on the Ravens. Not sure what the public will do here. Earlier this season, we’d know they’d jump on Atlanta at a cheap price. Poor ATS season for the Falcons thus far.
CLEVELAND AT HOUSTON: Sharps are cleaning up with Cleveland, and bet them early again here at +6.5 and +6. We’re now seeing Houston -5.5 at many shops. Not sure what the public will do here. Houston impressed vs. Tennessee on Monday night. But, it’s hard to trust this team near a touchdown against an up-and-coming dog that’s feeling its oats. Sharps definitely like Cleveland at +6 or higher.
BUFFALO AT MIAMI: An opener of Miami -6 was bet down to -4. Some stores are even testing -3.5. A lot of sharp respect for Buffalo’s defense (overlooked by too many in the media) and for Josh Allen’s ability to move the ball. The Bills aren’t a doormat as long as Nathan Peterman isn’t on the field! Don’t expect the public to bet Miami because the Dolphins have been off the radar for so long. Sports books will be rooting for Miami, most likely.
CHICAGO AT NEW YORK GIANTS: The assumption all week has been that Chase Daniel will play quarterback rather than Mitchell Trubisky. The market doesn’t see much difference. Chicago is a “defense-first” team, and the defense is fine. We’ve been hopping between Chicago -3.5 and -4 all week. Looks like competing syndicates. Quants get the Bears because that defense could embarrass Eli Manning. Dog lovers know the Bears were lucky to cover at Detroit on Thanksgiving, and may have trouble getting distance from the Giants on the road. Probably a very heavily bet game Sunday because those are such active betting cities.
DENVER AT CINCINNATI: Jeff Driskel will get the start for Cincinnati, after Andy Dalton injured his thumb last week. Dalton’s out for the year. The Bengals might be in the tank in advance of coaching and management changes. Denver needs the win, and is priced that way. Broncos opened at -4.5 and are now up to -5. Denver isn’t a blowout team though…which means we probably won’t go too much higher unless the public surprises the market.
LA RAMS AT DETROIT: The Rams have mostly been painted at -10 all week. Some stores are testing -9.5 because so few people were betting the game. Many of the powers are winning big each week. Not the Rams, who have been burning money while staying a top Super Bowl threat. Probably a soft tug-of-war Sunday between the public laying -9.5 and sharps taking the double digit home dog.
ARIZONA AT GREEN BAY: Painted Green Bay -14 all week. Nobody wants to touch Arizona right now. Green Bay isn’t exactly hitting on all cylinders. Might be a lightly bet game unless squares go favorite-crazy on game day. Old school sharps would definitely take Arizona +14.5 if it becomes available. Many will settle for +14 if that’s going to be the apex.
KANSAS CITY AT OAKLAND: Another very high number. We’ve been at -14.5 or -15 all week. Same story. The public will either lay the points or leave the game alone. Sharp value bettors will see what they can get with the big ugly dog and hope for some breaks or a garbage time backdoor cover. Oakland is a “divisional rivalry home dog,” which will appeal to some.
NY JETS AT TENNESSEE: We’ve been painted at -8 all week, after an opener of Tennessee -10 was deemed too high. Sam Darnold is probable, and sharps see him as superior to the backup even if he’s a rookie that isn’t exactly setting the world on fire yet. If the line stays here, Tennessee -2 will be very popular in teasers that move the line six points. That move crosses both key numbers 3 and 7. Probably one of those games where the public plays Tennessee in money line parlays where the Titans only have to win straight up, and everybody takes Tennessee in teasers. (New Orleans -7.5 qualified for the classic strategy Thursday…moving down to -1.5… and has already busted a lot of teasers with an outright loss). Sharps have made it clear they like the Jets at +9 or better.
MINNESOTA AT NEW ENGLAND: An opener of New England -6 was bet down to -5.5 and -5. Reminiscent of Patriots/Packers a few weeks ago. New England would buck sharp sentiment there in a 31-17 win. Minnesota’s defense is starting look like its old self. That plus inconsistent play from the Pats inspired Wise Guy action at +6 and +5.5. I expect the public to lay the points in the biggest betting attraction of the daytime slate. Sharps would love to see +6 again so they can buy more of the Vikings.
SAN FRANCISCO AT SEATTLE: This is now an afternoon start (4:25 p.m. ET, 1:25 p.m. here in Las Vegas). We’ve been sitting on Seattle -10 all week. Some stores have tested -9.5 to see if that brings in any action. Similar to Rams/Lions in that regard, though here it’s a big home favorite. Old school sharps will take the divisional dog and double digits. Another game will the public will bet the favorite if favorites have been cashing Saturday and early Sunday. It could be a relatively quiet Sunday if the public has a bad Saturday!
WASHINGTON AT PHILADELPHIA: Sharps liked Washington at the opener of +7. We’ve been painted 6.5 all week after that initial drop. The most likely scenario is a tug-of-war Monday between Philadelphia -6.5 (public) and Washington +7 (sharp). But, if the public decides it doesn’t want to lay the points with the very disappointing Eagles, we might see the line fall to as low as -6 or -5.5. Though, a big move to the dog last Monday night went up in flames with the Titans in Houston.
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See you again next Thursday and Friday to study the marketplace. Thanks for reading.