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San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers - Open: Pick
Books opened this line anywhere from a Pick to Carolina +2.5. Most shops have seen each team spend a little time on either side of the Pick number throughout the week, and the line at most outlets is currently a Pick. The two teams met back in Week 10 with the Panthers prevailing by a score of 10-9.
"Balanced action from both sharps and public on this massive volume game," an oddsmaker from BetDSI tells Covers. "The line has moved all over the place with both teams spending time as the favorite and the dog during the week. Currently the line is sitting at a Pick with a small juice factor favoring the 49ers. That line will probably stay there barring any other strong moves from sharps or from overwhelming public volume come kick off."
The Total has been coming down since post, where most books opened it 43 or 43.5. Seeing as how the two teams combined for 19 points in Week 10, bettors are in love with the Under.
"We bumped this total down from 42 to 41.5 yesterday and I believe we won't have to move this total again as action at the 41.5 is absolutely dead even," said Michael Stewart of CarbonSports.ag.
"This will be biggest NFL decision of the weekend, as 80 percent of cash is on San Francisco and 59 percent of cash is on the Under," says Mike Perry of Sportsbook.ag.
Spread: 49ers minus-1
Public consensus pick: 75 percent picked 49ers
Public perception: The line continues to drop after opening as high as 49ers minus-2.5 offshore, but the public is still mostly supporting San Fran for the second week in a row. The 49ers are still considered by many to be the best team in the NFC (with the possible exception of the Seahawks). Plus, the Panthers, despite being the NFC's No. 2 seed, haven't completely won over the public.
Wiseguys' view: There are certainly wiseguys who will be on the 49ers' side, but it's mostly been sharp money driving this line back toward pick 'em. While the 49ers are certainly worthy of respect and playing well with seven straight wins, the Panthers have won 11 of their past 12 games and beat the 49ers 10-9 in San Francisco in Week 10.
Tuley's Take: I took the Panthers plus-2 before the line dropped further, but now with it looking like it's heading to pick 'em, there's even less of a need to consider the spread. I keep going back to that earlier meeting. Now, I know 49ers backers will say that the offense is so much better with Michael Crabtree back in the lineup. While it certainly looks that way at times, the fact is the 49ers have scored 23 points each of the past two games, and before the Panthers held them to a mere three field goals, San Fran had scored 35, 34, 32, 31 and 42 in its previous five games and was coming off a bye, so it's not like Carolina shut the 49ers down when they were struggling. Granted, I don't expect the Panthers to hold the 49ers to nine points again, but I also think they'll put up more than 10 themselves and keep the 49ers from getting revenge.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos - Open: -9.5, Move: -8.5
This will be the third time these two AFC West-rivals will square off this season. They split the first two meetings both SU and ATS, with both scorelines finishing under the closing total.
The majority of books opened this either Denver -9.5 or -10 but San Diego money has moved the line to a position where solid two-way action has been coming in.
"We are currently sitting at the -9 value on this game favoring the Broncos," says BetDSI's oddsmaker. "There is a distinct public vs. sharp split on this match up with sharp betting action backing the Chargers at the +9.5 number as well as the Chargers moneyline at the +350 value. Bet count favors the Broncos at this point, but money wagered actually is a small lean towards the Chargers on the strength of the larger unit plays from sharp players."
The early meetings between the two teams yielded Unders in both games and sharps backed the under as soon as the total was available.
"We went from 56 to 55, going to 55 on Tuesday as sharp money bet under 56 and 55.5," Stewart says. "Since going to 55 we've seen a lot more money come in on the over and I believe we'll be going back to 55.5 at some point later today, or very first thing tomorrow morning."
Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Broncos: You didn't pay enough attention to Manning's playoff legacy. You ignored how good San Diego's defense looked these past few weeks, and how secretly mediocre Denver's defense has looked without Von Miller. You didn't pay enough attention to that Week 15 game. You forgot how frightening Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead were. You didn't remember that San Diego can run the ball and use the Giants' Super Bowl XLII strategy of "Chew up clock, keep the other team's offense off the field." You went against the "Nobody Believes In Us" theory AND the "Don't Bet Against God, Puppies, Gambling Theories From Pakistan And QBs Who Had Babies Blessed By The Pope" theory, and you got burned by Peyton Manning on a big teaser yet again. You hate yourself right now. Go to your room.
Why You Eventually Regretted Taking the Chargers: So the Chargers beat Marvin Lewis and Andy Dalton in a playoff game. Wow! Congratulations, fellas! What an impossible task! Now they're going into Denver and beating a fired-up juggernaut that just scored more than 600 points, and they're going to be doing that for the second time in four weeks? And that's happening because of the Pope and a general lack of belief in a team that, by the way, was 5-7 after 12 games????? Are you on drugs? No wonder you lost money all season.
Spread: Broncos minus-9
Public consensus pick: 58 percent picked Chargers
Public perception: The public has joined the wiseguys in helping to drive this line down from the opener of Broncos minus-10.5. Despite barely slipping into the playoffs, the Chargers impressed in the wild-card round by going into Cincinnati and routing the Bengals 27-10. While a lot of the public will be on the Broncos over the weekend, especially with the line dipping to single digits, there's also plenty who are hearing all about Peyton Manning's subpar postseason record and struggles in cold weather.
Wiseguys' view: The sharps immediately jumped on the Chargers plus-10.5 and continued to bet at plus-10. There's less of a push now that the line has stabilized.
Tuley's Take: I missed the plus-10.5 and grabbed plus-10, but I still think the Chargers are the right side at anything more than a touchdown. I've been high on them all season, and they've really come through for me lately with their road wins at Kansas City, Denver and Cincinnati (all in the cold). Yes, the Broncos are the highest-scoring team in NFL history, but a lot of that was built up when the weather was better in Denver, as well as on the road. Denver's last home game (and in cold weather) was their 27-20 loss to these same Chargers in Week 15. I can understand those who say that game meant more to San Diego at that time, but Denver certainly wasn't rolling over as it was trying to hold off the Chiefs in the AFC West and gain home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. I haven't seen anything to make me think the Chargers can't stay at least within a field goal.