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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, September 6, 2012 at 1:36 PM

As you’re gearing up for Thursday and Friday Night football in the colleges (Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, and Utah at Utah State), let’s take our first look this year at what the sharps are doing in the NFL. This report is currently scheduled to run on Thursday’s every week through the pro football season. So, mark your calendars now!

We’ll take the games in rotation order. This report is based on discussions we’ve had with our sources behind the line and amongst respected sharps.

INDIANAPOLIS AT CHICAGO: The big move from sharps here was on the total, as an opener of 41 is now up to 43 or 43.5 as we go to press. Andrew Luck has impressed the Wise Guys with his production and poise in the preseason. That and what looks to be a decent weather forecast has led to the increase. Remember, as we’ve told you in past years, you can typically deduce the weather forecast by what happens to the totals line in many of the Northern cities! Chicago opened at -10, but is down to -9.5 given Luck’s good showings so far.

PHILADELPHIA AT CLEVELAND: Another spot where the total went up a bit, this time from 41.5 to 43. Not much interest in the team side. The game is sitting right near a teaser window…and some stores will manipulate it because of that. Philadelphia is either -8.5 or -9. Sharps will look to tease Philly -8.5 down to -2.5 to use in teasers because it crosses both the 7 and the 3 on the way down. Spots that don’t like dealing teasers will use Philly -9. Locales that charge higher juice to play teasers will stick with Philly -8.5.

BUFFALO AT NY JETS: The Jets have looked so awful in the Preseason that an early opener of NYJ -4.5 is down to a field goal. And, you can find Jets -2.5 out there if you look. It’s telling that we haven’t seen any Jets money buy back after that drop. Sharps don’t believe in this Jets offense, and many now believe Buffalo is actually the better neutral field team. The total has been bet down from 42 to 39 because of that skepticism about the Jets offense.

WASHINGTON AT NEW ORLEANS: One of the biggest sharp moves of the past few days has involved the Redskins. They were +9.5 on the opener, but are now down to +7. That’s respect for Robert Griffin III and his potential impact…plus, we’re hearing…concern about how New Orleans will handle its coaching situation amidst all of the league penalties. Not much interest on the total. If we don’t say anything about a total in any particular game, assume that sharps have largely left that one alone.

NEW ENGLAND AT TENNESSEE: New England opened at -6.5, kind of daring anyone to take it up to -7. Sharps think the Pats can be overpriced on the road (something that’s hurt them on multiple occasions in recent years). They have bet the line down to just New England -5 or -5.5. You longtime readers know that sharps tend to be dog heavy…but that they’re prone to wait until game day whenever public favorites are involved. We’re hearing that Wise Guys preferred to jump in at +6.5 and +6 rather than wait to see if the public jumped in on the Pats Sunday morning.

JACKSONVILLE AT MINNESOTA: Not a high profile game. The total is up to 39.5 from an opener of 38…and we’re hearing that’s mostly from many of the stat guys expecting a high scoring week in the league overall rather than anything about this particular game. Some slight dog interest is an opener of Jax +4.5 is down to +4 or +3.5. Not enough to reach the critical number of three…where Minnesota money would surely kick in.  

MIAMI AT HOUSTON: Houston opened at -7 when the numbers first went up weeks ago. The news that Ryan Tannehill would start at QB this year for the Dolphins was met with derision from sharps. The line was bet to -10 on that news, and is now all the way up to -12 (with inclinations for even more!). Sharps liked Houston a lot last year when the team was healthy. That respect may be even stronger this year.

ST. LOUIS AT DETROIT: The Rams joined the Redskins on the list of road dogs getting sharp action this week. They opened at +9 at a dangerous site, but are now down to +7. No buy back yet on the Lions at that key number which tells you something. Sharps like their position on the Rams and aren’t interested in firing at a middle. It will be interesting to see what the public does on New Orleans and Detroit on Sunday. Square teasers will involve those teams because the public likes taking -7 down to -1. Sharps have shown that those numbers aren’t nearly as good as you think. Better to look at the 7.5 to 8.5 range and bring those down to 1.5 to 2.5.

ATLANTA AT KANSAS CITY: Atlanta opened as a small road favorite of -1, but has been bet up now to -3. Kansas City’s home field gets respect, so that’s quite a move! We’re hearing many sharps expecting Atlanta to take a step forward this year and pass the Saints in the NFC South. That sentiment has manifested itself here against what’s seen as an inferior AFC opponent. The total is up from 41 to 43, with numbers even higher starting to pop up.

SAN FRANCISCO AT GREEN BAY: The 49ers got support as a defensive dog from sharps this week. They opened at +6.5 (again, with oddsmakers daring people to take a high octane favorite near a critical number). Wise Guys generally love getting points with superior defenses, which appears to be coming into play with both the Tennessee and San Francisco moves against New England and Green Bay. The current line is San Francisco +5. The total has gone up from 45 to 46.5 because of optimism that SF’s offense will be better this year, along with general themes this week of good weather in the Midwest and increased Week One scoring.

CAROLINA AT TAMPA BAY: Carolina opened at -3, but the line has been sitting on -2.5 now for quite some time. The fact that it DIDN’T move right back to -3 is important. Sharps would have jumped on a line like that if they liked the favorite. They don’t. They’ll be playing Tampa Bay +8.5 in teasers because the six-point move crosses the 3 and the 7. And, they’ll buy more Tampa Bay if the public bets on Cam Newton Sunday at what squares would see as a cheap price.

SEATTLE AT ARIZONA: Seattle has been one of the big stories of the Preseason. This line opened Arizona -1.5 long ago. Seattle played so well with Russell Wilson during the exhibition slate that we flipped favorites with a move that went all the way to a field goal. There was some buy back on Arizona +3, so we’re now seeing Seattle -2.5 as we go to press. That will put Arizona (+) in the teaser window to cross the 3 and the 7. The sharps who are high on Seattle love their position at the earlier numbers. It took the key number of three to bring Arizona support into the equation.

PITTSBURGH AT DENVER: This is the Sunday Night game on NBC. Denver opened -2, but has been bet down to 1.5. If there’s no move, Pittsburgh would be in the teaser window for a move up to +7.5. The public will have all day to bet this one Sunday. Will they support Peyton Manning or bet on playoff revenge with the Steelers? Sharps haven’t shown much here yet, and may be waiting to fade the public…knowing they can settle for a dog teaser option.

CINCINNATI AT BALTIMORE: The first of two Monday Night games. Cincinnati opened +6.5 but is now +6. Slight interest on a defensive dog in a rivalry game (classic sharp preference).

SAN DIEGO AT OAKLAND: This line either opened at SD-1 or pick-em depending on the store. We’re now seeing Oakland -1. A lot of time for things to change. We’re not hearing about Preseason optimism for either of these teams right now. It’s telling though that sharps didn’t fade the new Oakland head coach.

That wraps up this Thursday’s look at the NFL markets. Look for this feature EVERY Thursday through the course of the NFL season. And, remember that the best way to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp is to visit VegasSportsMasters every day! The sharpest minds in the handicapping industry have big plans for this weekend in college football, pro football, and in the MLB pennant races. Be sure you check out the display ads on the home page, and the expanded service details on the “buy picks” page for big play bulletins.

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