Las Vegas Sharps Report - NFL Week 8
Heading into Thursday Night’s Tampa Bay/Minnesota game, NFL sharps (professional wagerers) are largely biding their time amidst a set of games where line value is going to be very important. Many games this week are sitting within a half point or a point of the key numbers three or seven. Multiple matchups have drifted towards the basic strategy teaser window, which looms larger for serious sports bettors as you get deeper into the season because the lines do a better job of reflecting reality.
Let’s see what the Sharps have been betting so far in the NFL, and how this weekend might play out in terms of market activity. Baltimore, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Houston have byes this week, leaving us 14 games to discuss.
TAMPA BAY AT MINNESOTA:
Oddsmakers posted an opener of Vikings -6. Sharps bet the favorite gently, which lifted the line to -6.5 but not all the way to -7. There’s a sense that many Sharps will come in on the underdog if the public drives the number to seven on game day. Basically, Sharps who liked Minnesota bet early because they didn’t expect to see better than -6. Sharps who preferred Tampa Bay are waiting to see if they get the full seven before kickoff. There’s a set of Sharps who have enjoyed success with the Vikings this year, but they tell us oddsmaker line adjustments have finally kicked in to take most of the value away.
NEW ENGLAND AT ST LOUIS:
An opener of New England -6.5 was bet up to the key number of seven quickly, where it’s stayed all week. It’s telling that Sharps didn’t drive the dog immediately upon seeing the seven. Sharps aren’t fond of New England right now because of their soft defense, but they’re having trouble trusting the Rams after so many lost with them at home last week against Green Bay. The move to seven was largely influenced by position-takers who are assuming the public will hit the Patriots over the weekend. They were setting up a potential middle, and can buy off with limited exposure if necessary.
INDIANAPOLIS AT TENNESSEE:
The Titans opened at -3, and were bet up off the key number to -3.5. It takes a lot of money to move off a three, so this represents clear support for a Tennessee team that’s been playing better football of late. Many Sharps faded Indy last week with Cleveland, and lived to regret it. Indy’s last road game was a poor one at the NY Jets, giving some Sharps enough motivation to try again. This isn’t expected to be a heavily bet game from the public.
JACKSONVILLE AT GREEN BAY:
Oddsmakers opened the line at -14.5, basically asking for money on the underdog at a tick over a key number. Sharps bet the favorite anyway, which is why we’re seeing -15 or -15.5 in most places. Wise Guys typically hit double digit dogs and there are some old-schoolers who do that on principle every time they see one, so it’s telling that the line went against that tide toward the surging Packers. This is about as high a number as you’re going to see in the NFL this year, with Jacksonville representing close to the worst of what the league has to offer this year, and Green Bay getting respect from the market again after their blowout win in Houston and comfortable victory in St. Louis. The Over/Under is up a point from 44.5 to 45.5 because Green Bay plays Overs when things are going well.
SAN DIEGO AT CLEVELAND:
Looks like we have a tug-of-war spot here around the key number three. Sharps like Cleveland +3 as a home underdog, but money does come in on San Diego at -2.5. The Chargers have performed well vs. lower echelon teams this season (beating Oakland, Tennessee, and Kansas City handily). San Diego money comes in at -2.5, Cleveland money comes in at +3, and oddsmakers are hoping the game doesn’t land exactly on three or they’ll have to pay one group while the other pushes.
ATLANTA AT PHILADELPHIA:
Another tug-of-war spot here with Philadelphia -2.5 getting respect on one side of the equation, while Atlanta +3 gets support from the other. Many Sharps saw Philadelphia as the best team in the NFC before the season began. Some from within that group were happy to see the firing of the defensive coordinator, and they think this line is too low after a bye week. The stat guys are getting gradings on Atlanta at +3 because the numbers rate the Falcons as the better team since the season began. Sharps don’t always agree about teams. And the percentage value of a half point near the critical number of three often triggers action in and of itself. It will be interesting to see on game day if public money comes in strong on the hosts in a high profile early TV game.
SEATTLE AT DETROIT:
Seattle was hit hard at the opener of +3, dropping the line down to +2. Sharps still love this Seattle defense and the team’s seeming ability to play with anyone (wins this year already over Green Bay and New England). Sharps also place a lot of weight on the lead-in time. Seattle hasn’t played since last Thursday’s loss in San Francisco, while Detroit had a very physical game this past Monday Night in Chicago. This game is now sitting firmly in the teaser window. Sharps who love Seattle at +3 will really love them at +8 in two-team teasers. Note also that the underdogs in the tug-of-war games will get moved from +2.5 up to +8.5. That means Seattle, Atlanta, and Cleveland will show up in a lot of basic strategy two-team teasers this week.
MIAMI AT NY JETS:
Same story here, as a defensive dog with an advantage in lead-in time was bet from +3 down to +2. Like the previous Seattle/Detroit game, a LOT of money to move off the 3! Miami had a bye last week, while the Jets were at war with hated New England in a big rivalry game. Sharps have been on this Miami bandwagon for awhile, and have already scored an outright road victory with them in Cincinnati. Add the Dolphins to the list of teams in basic strategy teasers.
CAROLINA AT CHICAGO:
We have our first favorite in the teaser window, as Chicago has been sitting at -7.5 all week. That means you can move the Bears down past the 7 and the 3 to -2.5 in two-teamer teasers. The public will be all over this teaser choice because the Bears have been winning while Carolina’s been losing, and a line of Chicago below three at home seems too good to be true. Is this the week Cam Newton snaps out of his funk? Can ANY quarterback snap out of a funk vs. this great Chicago defense? The fact that Sharps didn’t hit the dog this close to a critical number is telling. The total has dropped from 45 to 43, which might be a hint about Sunday weather in the Windy City, but is probably more influenced by how these teams have been playing recently on both sides of the ball. Both played low scoring grinders last week.
WASHINGTON AT PITTSBURGH:
Support for Pittsburgh at the opener of -4, which drove the line up to -4.5 (with an occasional five out there). This is in the dead zone that falls between critical numbers and is not in the teaser window. That helps limit market action to only those who are truly interested in the teams rather than percentages. Pittsburgh’s played well at home this year, and many Sharps are still skeptical of RGIII on the road, even though he keeps finding ways to cover spreads. Not much interest in totals this week.
OAKLAND AT KANSAS CITY:
Not a game of high interest for Sharps or the public. Tough to trust either team with your money! Kansas City opened at -1. Some places are up to -1.5, which puts Oakland in the teaser window as an underdog. Sharps are going to pound teasers especially hard this weekend.
NY GIANTS AT DALLAS:
We’ve had a huge move here in what will be the most highly bet of the afternoon games. The Giants opened as a small underdog +1.5, but are now the clear betting favorite laying -1.5 or -2 points on the road. Why would the line do that after Dallas won the first meeting between these teams? The Cowboys have been hit by some injuries that Sharps believe will have an impact. And, the Giants keep moving up the Power Ratings in a way that suggests they’re Super Bowl material once again. Still, this is mostly an anti-Dallas move, given the way they've been finding ways to lose winnable games and pointspreads. They also qualify for teasers this weekend, moving up to +7.5.
NEW ORLEANS AT DENVER:
A surprising move up on the total, as a high opener of 54.5 has been bet up to 55.5. Many of the old school guys who bet all double digit dogs also bet all Unders with any total in the 50’s because of longterm tendencies at those numbers. The market moved higher anyway! Sharps expect a shootout. New Orleans got support at the opener of +6.5. We’re seeing +6 now. Sharps like what they’re seeing from the Saints in recent games, and are hoping the public bets Peyton Manning on game day creating more line value on the Saints.
SAN FRANCISCO AT ARIZONA:
The opener of San Francisco -6.5 has largely stood solid. That's telling with the line this close to the key number. Tough to love either sluggish offense against a top defense, and both of these teams have top defenses. The “defensive home dog” guys are looking at Arizona, and are hoping the public will drive the Niners to a full seven or higher before kickoff Monday Night. Sharps obviously don't like SF or the line would be there everywhere already.
That's all for this week, Good luck with your bets this weekend!