What Sharps Think about NFL Week 3



Time once again for our weekly look at what the sharps (professional wagerers) are thinking about this weekend's NFL games. It's a full schedule without any byes, so we'd better jump right in...

TENNESSEE AT NY GIANTS: Oddsmakers anticipated Giants support, and opened the line at Giants by 3.5. Sharps gladly took the hook with what looks to be the superior defense. And, the Giants win over Carolina back in Week One doesn't look all that great now anyway. We'll see a lot of games in the coming weeks around a field goal because there are so many "pretty good" teams who will inevitably play each other. Sharps will typically take anything over a field goal in those games, or lay 2.5 or less on the off chance they see it in a game they perceive to be dead even on a neutral field.

BUFFALO AT NEW ENGLAND: Big move here from a soft opener of New England by 11 up to -14 as I'm writing this. This number could even go higher. Sharps wanted early position anyway on a blowout team against a bad opponent knowing they could shoot a middle later with a buyback. When Buffalo went to their second string quarterback, that move became even more aggressive. Sharps may buy back at +14.5 or +15 for a bit. They're happy with their early positions given the line movement.

CLEVELAND AT BALTIMORE: Early support on Baltimore at the opener of -10, but not enough to drive it past 10.5. Most sharps prefer taking double digit dogs...and they're not confident fans are going to lay the lumber with Baltimore after the Ravens offense has looked so bad thus far. They'll only take aggressive positions when they're sure the public is going to be jumping in with both feet over the weekend. The total has dropped from 38 to 37 because of the shaky offenses.

PITTSBURGH AT TAMPA BAY: This could be one of those games that flops between 2.5 and 3 for the road favorite depending on how each store reads its clientele. The opener of Pittsburgh -2.5 went to -3, but there's not a lot of sharp confidence in Charlie Batch. If you have an opinion here, be patient and see if you can get your preferred line or moneyline price. The total opened at a very low 34, and got bet LOWER down to 33. Were you aware Pittsburgh hasn't scored an offensive TD in regulation this year, even before dropping down to their #4 quarterback?

CINCINNATI AT CAROLINA: Another 3.5 favorite that dropped down to 3 on the early money. Cincinnati did get a win over Baltimore last week, but didn't score a TD in the process. Should they lay more than a field goal on the road in a letdown spot off a divisional win? Sharps didn't think so. A lot of early money on the some of the Unders this week. We drop from 40 down to 38 in this one. Sharps may wait for a higher number in games that will be prominent on television. Squares don't bet many ugly games like this, so sharps stepped in right away with bets on Under 40 and Under 39.

ATLANTA AT NEW ORLEANS: Support for underdog Atlanta here at +4.5 and +4, but not enough to move the line below 3.5. Sportsbooks know they'd get buried with New Orleans money at -3 from squares over the weekend...and some sharps seeking position at a critical number. Sharps like the dog and Under here (with 50 moving down to 49). Spotsbooks will let square money over the weekend balance out the books.

SAN FRANCISCO AT KANSAS CITY: The 49ers earned a lot of respect this past Monday Night in the New Orleans game. They didn't win...but they started to look like a team that at least knew what it was doing. It was pick-em on the early line...but is now up to San Francisco -3 because of that strong showing. This is already the third road favorite we've seen on the card. Home dog players will be busy in the early games. I've mentioned before that sportsbooks are hesitant to let a game sit in the 1.5 to 2.5 range because of underdog teasers that will move the line past the 3 and the 7. That may be in play here too. Stores are quick to move from 1-3 these days because they're rather live with unbalanced action on team sides than get extremely unbalanced on a game because of teasers.

DETROIT AT MINNESOTA: The opener of Minnesota by 10 has been bet up to -11.5 or -12. That's position taking to a large degree, with sharps figuring the squares will bet big on Brett Favre in a must-win situation after two losses. Should the line get all the way to -13, you'll see A LOT of Detroit money coming in from Wise Guys. Some would even buy back over the top for a bigger bet. Sharps generally prefer big dogs...and they really like going against struggling favorites.

DALLAS AT HOUSTON: The opener of Houston by 2.5 was quickly bet up to -3. There's a lot of respect from sharps over what Houston has accomplished so far...particularly on the ground in that opener over Indianapolis. Dallas is struggling, and this is a statement game for the Texans. That being said...the Dallas money is kind of biding its time. It's rare to get this many points with a playoff team. What you've seen so far is that sharps liking Houston jumped in early, while sharps liking Dallas are waiting to see what the public does. This is a must-win game for Dallas after an 0-2 start, and Houston could be tired from overtime last week. I'll be interested in watching the money come in on this one Sunday morning.

WASHINGTON AT ST. LOUIS: Washington opened at -5, and was bet down to -3.5 I heard some squares acting very surprised about this. St. Louis is still the worst team in the league, and is 0-2 against teams who got clobbered in their other game. Sharps don't trust Donovan McNabb laying points on the road...and the defense sure started to fade last week. Sharp money would come in at -3...and the public would be all over the Skins if it went that low. This move just seems to be a market opinion that 3.5 should have been the opener in the first place, and sharps took a free point and a half as an investment.

PHILADELPHIA AT JACKSONVILLE: Not much movement in this one. The total went up a half a point. Michael Vick is respected as a quarterback at affordable prices, particularly against opponents that don't scare anybody. Jacksonville gets respect as a home underdog. This isn't a playoff team, but they're not among the very worst in the league either. Five road favorites so far.

INDIANAPOLIS AT DENVER: And, now we're up to #6. No line movement yet here, with Indy laying 5.5 and the total at 48.
SAN DIEGO AT SEATTLE: Support for San Diego at -4.5 (with our seventh road favorite), but only up to -5.5. We're in kind of a dead zone between the three and the seven where there aren't any critical numbers, and the books aren't sweating teaser issues. San Diego looked better last week than in their opener, and is getting respect again.

OAKLAND AT ARIZONA: It's been fun hearing sharps talk about this one. Who knew a game like Oakland/Arizona would lead to such interesting discussions? And, who new a month ago that it would be Bruce Gradkowski vs. Derek Anderson in the quarterback war rather than Jason Campbell vs. Matt Leinart. Arizona opened at -4 and went to -4.5. That's mostly Raiders haters getting in early, while those who think the Cardinals are overrated are going to wait and see if they're going to get more points. Almost any sharp bet will be "anti-somebody" rather than "pro-somebody" in this one. Tough to trust the Raiders on the road. Tough to lay points with Anderson.

NY JETS AT MIAMI: This is the Sunday Night game on NBC, and will be heavily bet on game day. It's likely to sit in the teaser window, but so few games are in the teaser window this week that sportsbooks may accept a line in the 1.5 to 2.5 range for the home favorite by kickoff. The total moved up from 35 to 35.5 on the news Darrelle Revis would be out, and with the realization that Mark Sanchez played pretty well last week.

GREEN BAY AT CHICAGO: The only line movement so far is on the total, with an opener of 45 moving up to 46. Fittingly, Green Bay closes out the week as a road favorite. They're -3 as I write this. A move down to 2.5 would shock me because sportsbooks don't want a Monday Night game in the teaser window if they can avoid it. A line of -3.5 would invite all the "Monday Night Home Underdog" bettors into the mix with more authority. We may see the line sit at -3 with varying juice all weekend unless something dramatic happens on Monday afternoon.

That wraps up my look at what the sharps are thinking about this week's NFL games. Thanks again to all of you for making this the most popular weekly handicapping feature in all of cyberspace. What do I think about this week's football action? My college and pro BEST BETS are just a few clicks away. Game day selections are always available a few hours before kickoff here at the website. Full season packages can be purchased as well.

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