Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, December 14, 2018 at 4:00 PM
How about that Thursday night game?! Both the side and the total came down to the final moments in the Chargers/Chiefs thriller. You can imagine the tension in Las Vegas sports books. Then, the release of joy for Chargers and Over bettors, the cursing and misery for Chiefs and Under bettors. And, again, all the squares (public bettors) thinking they had a short cut by using KC in money line parlays started their week by swerving off the road.
Don’t bet favorites in money line parlays! Even if they might make sense at the regular spread, they’re going to lose outright more often than you realize. Anything can happen in the NFL.
We’ve already talked about Saturday’s games. We pick up Sunday. No time changes this week. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order.
MIAMI AT MINNESOTA: Looks like a tug-of-war between Minnesota -7 and Miami +7.5. Some sharps think the Vikings will play better on offense after their offensive coordinator got fired. Other Vikings money comes from betting the Dolphins will let down off the “Miami Miracle” against divisional rival New England. But, there’s also a case to be made that Minnesota’s recent form doesn’t justify this price, particularly against Ryan Tannehill (rather than Brock Osweiler). The public hasn’t seen Minnesota play great in a while, making it tougher for squares to lay this price. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “soft” tug-of-war until kickoff. This might not be a heavily bet game.
OAKLAND AT CINCINNATI: The early opener of Cincinnati -3.5 was bet down to -3. It’s been painted there ever since. Tough spot for Oakland out of climate, in a bad-body-clock game, in the obvious letdown off the Pittsburgh win. Cincinnati is playing so badly they’re only laying a field goal! Most of the country will probably leave this alone. Nevada sports books do get Oakland money when things are going well. Good efforts vs. KC and Pittsburgh might inspire some Raiders money Sunday morning.
TAMPA BAY AT BALTIMORE: We’ve been hanging around Baltimore -7.5 or -8 all week. That means the Ravens will be a popular choice in two-team teasers where you move the line six points in your favor. That would drop Baltimore down to -1.5 or -2. Not sensing any interest from sharps in laying such a big price with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson. The job is his now. Joe Flacco has been cleared to play, but won’t start. Sharps will probably be rooting for Tampa Bay +8 and Baltimore -2. Another tough favorite for the public to back.
DALLAS AT INDIANAPOLIS: The opener of Indy -2.5 was bet up to -3. It’s been sitting there ever since. Could be a great game. Dallas has been playing well in recent weeks, but is in a flat spot off a home overtime win over divisional rival Philadelphia. Indianapolis cooled off from a very hot run a few weeks ago. Though, Andrew Luck still won in Houston last week. If both teams bring their best form, it’s going to feel like a playoff game. I expect a lot of action on both sides. Sharps would fade any move off the key number of three.
DETROIT AT BUFFALO: Buffalo has been bet up from an opener of pick-em to -2. Some stores are testing -2.5 because nobody wants to bet Detroit yet. Josh Allen might turn out to be a great cold weather quarterback because he has such a strong arm. Poor accuracy is less of an issue in that type of weather, because the other quarterback has trouble with accuracy too. Detroit money would come in if the key number of three goes on the board. If it stays where it is, the Lions would be a popular sharp choice in six-point teasers, moving past the 3 and the 7 up to +8 or +8.5.
GREEN BAY AT CHICAGO: An opener of Chicago -6.5 was bet quickly down to six. That’s only a half point. But, you regulars know that’s an important half point because it went AWAY from a key number. Sharps like Aaron Rodgers calling his own shots, and the series history here. The Bears are in a letdown spot off the upset of the Rams last Sunday night. That doesn’t mean they’ll be flat emotionally. But, they might run out of emotional juice in the tank in the fourth quarter. Green Bay as a dog has been a popular sharp choice all season. This line may come down even more on Sunday. If weather is an issue, it won’t hurt this visitor the way it did the Rams.
TENNESSEE AT THE NY GIANTS: We’ve been at Giants -2 or -2.5. all week, though some stores dropped Friday after OBJ was ruled out. New York has been getting more respect in recent weeks, while Tennessee can’t seem to find consistency. Not sure if the public is ready to back the Giants as a favorite yet. An interesting game to watch market-wise, particularly with all the money hitting New Jersey sports books during football season. Sharps didn’t love the Giants when people thought OBJ might play, or we would have seen a three earlier in the week.
WASHINGTON AT JACKSONVILLE: Washington looked so bad last week that lousy Jacksonville opened at -6.5…and got bet up THROUGH the key number of seven all the way to -7.5. If the Jags do show up to play, particularly on defense, it’s hard to see how Washington is going to score. Unless the Redskins get something on the board in garbage time, like they did last week vs. the Giants. Sharps like the Jags at -7 or better. Dog lovers aren’t interested yet even with the hook.
ARIZONA AT ATLANTA: Some late week movement from an opener of Atlanta -9 toward the key number of -10. Stores are just now testing double digits. I think sharps, particularly old school guys, will bite at +10. The public probably won’t touch this one, outside of forcing Atlanta into money line parlays (which they shouldn’t!)
SEATTLE AT SAN FRANCISCO: Seattle is coming off a huge win Monday Night, but sharps have bet this home underdog with a lot of enthusiasm. An opener of Seattle -6 is now down to -4, with some stores testing -3.5. The Niners have been competitive (or better) at home since the quarterback change. They also have divisional revenge against a visitor dealing with a short recovery week. For now, sharps like SF at +4 or higher.
NEW ENGLAND AT PITTSBURGH: Interesting challenge for bettors. New England has played some shaky games on the road, and just lost a gut-buster to Miami on the final play. Pittsburgh has lost about a field goal in Power Ratings in recent action…looking awful on the road for long stretches, and losing at home to the much-improved LA Chargers. An opener of New England -1 has been bet up to -2.5, partly on news about Ben Roethlisberger’s rib injury. If he has to leave the game again (or is a late scratch), the Patriots are a steal below a field goal against his backup.
PHILADELPHIA AT THE LA RAMS: Carson Wentz is out with a back injury. The opener of Rams -9 (already high) is up to -11 or -11.5. Nick Foles is a more-than-capable backup. But, this Eagles defense has been hurt badly by injuries…and was humiliated in New Orleans a few weeks ago. The Rams offense might do the same thing. Quants sure think so. As do locals in Nevada who have been betting the Rams every week.
NEW ORLEANS AT CAROLINA: For now, it’s been a tug-of-war between New Orleans -6 and Carolina +6.5. Sharps like this dog, driving the opener of +6.5 away from the key number of seven. But, favorite money does come in on the Saints at the six. Monday, the public will probably hit New Orleans at anything below a touchdown. The Saints did rally to cover at Tampa Bay last week. Depends on how Sunday goes. If favorites do well Sunday, squares will DEFINITELY bet the Saints. If not, then the tug-of-war will remain between NO -6 and Carolina +6.5. Sharps would be thrilled to get seven, they’ve already been betting +6.5.
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Thanks for reading. More bowl coverage next week. Have a great weekend!