What the Sharps Think In NFL Week 5

With Nick Bogdanovich


Time once again to check in on what the sharps (professional wagerers) are thinking about in the NFL. We saw a few dramatic line moves this week tied directly to big news.

  • Chicago's announcement that Jay Cutler would miss this Sunday's game with Carolina created a 4.5-point move away from the Bears.
  • Minnesota's acquisition of Randy Moss by trade was strongly endorsed by the market, as money flooded in on the Vikings and the Over in their Monday Night game in New York against the Jets.

Let's run through the schedule game by game. As always, we take them as they come in rotation order...

DENVER AT BALTIMORE: Not much interest yet in this one Baltimore opened at -7 with a total of 39½, and that's what we're seeing now. Squares (the public) generally like taking Baltimore as a home favorite because they won a lot of blowouts last season vs. lesser foes. The Ravens didn't cover last week vs. Cleveland though. Denver would be an automatic for sharps if they hadn't just won on the road last week. Tough to ask a team to play well two straight weeks outside of their home time zone. We'll have to see on game day if and when the sharps jump in on the dog. I would expect them to at 7½ or more. If the public doesn't embrace the favorite, some sharps will settle for Denver +7 if that's the best they can get.

JACKSONVILLE AT BUFFALO: Limited interest in this low profile game. The total has moved up from 40 to 41, possibly on the assessment that defense won't be at peak intensity with both teams coming off divisional battles last week. Some sharps believe there's less aggression with some teams in non-divisional matchups, particularly with lesser teams who may ONLY get up emotionally for divisional rivals.

KANSAS CITY AT INDIANAPOLIS: Interest on the dog here brought the line from +7½ down to +7 from the Chiefs perspective. Indy's defense has been soft this year, and you don't see many undefeated teams getting a TD or more. Sharps didn't want to wait and see if the public would take Peyton Manning hire. They stepped in early. Also, sportsbooks were anxious to get this game out of the teaser window, because the Colts -1½ would have been a very popular choice in two teamers. It will still be popular for squares. Sharps preferring crossing both the 7 and the three with a move. There was strong support for the Over early, with a line of 43½ moving up to 45.

ATLANTA AT CLEVELAND: No interest here, with the opener of Atlanta -3 and 41½ unmoved as we go to press. Sharps seem to think that's a solid number, and they'd step in the other way if the public supports one side or the other because of the power of three.

TAMPA BAY AT CINCINNATI: The dog and Under were hit early, with Tampa Bay +7 coming down to +6½, and the total of 38½ dropping to 38. Carson Palmer looks awful to the naked eye so far this year, and sharps watch all the games on the big screen TV's. This was definitely a vote against Palmer based on my discussions with sharps. And, they didn't expect the public to hit a low profile game like this very hard on game day, so sharps took the +7 figuring that would be the best they'd get.

CHICAGO AT CAROLINA: Here was the big move...based on the Jay Cutler news. They couldn't move the ball at all without him last week in New York. Carolina's got a good defense, but not much offense...so the total here has dropped as well. An opener of 36 is now 33. We haven't seen a total that low yet this season.

GREEN BAY AT WASHINGTON: Interest on Washington +3 has brought the line down to +2½ as we go to press. Some places are sticking on the three and charging extra juice. They don't want to move the underdog into the teaser window when they've already seen support on the dog at the regular line. Washington +8½ would be popular in teasers with everyone who liked them to cover the +3 to begin with. The total has moved up a tick from 43½ to 44. I'm a little surprised sharps are backing Donovan McNabb here. I think they've decided that the NFC is so tightly packed that no good team should be -3 on the road vs. any other decent side.

NY GIANTS AT HOUSTON: Oddsmakers anticipated support for the hot Texans, and opened this game at Houston -3½. Sharps grabbed the hook right away because they don't trust the Houston defense, and they respect the Giants against the run. The total has dropped a point from 48½ down to 47½. So, dog and Under once again. As I've mentioned often in the past, that's where sharps usually end up...either early on or late on game day once the public money is in.

NEW ORLEANS AT ARIZONA: Interesting that Arizona was getting such sharp support after playing badly last week. New Orleans -7½ has fallen down to -6½ as we go to press. Arizona has played better at home. And, New Orleans has yet to cover a game yet against a closing line. Sharps took the hook, and +7 as well. Sportsbooks are happy to have the game out of the teaser window...because New Orleans would be a popular choice for two-teamers at the low teaser line.

SAN DIEGO AT OAKLAND: Oddly strong support for the favorite and Over. San Diego has really good stats this year, but has blown some games because of poor special teams play. Sharps assume teams will fix problems like that. Surprisingly, many of the stat/quant types are getting a big math edge to the Chargers just in terms of nuts and bolts of moving the ball. Philip Rivers vs. Bruce Gradkowski is part of that equation. I'm currently seeing San Diego -6, with a total of 45.

TENNESSEE AT DALLAS: Sharps prefer the dog here based on my discussions, but they want to see if the public comes in on "America's Team" in a TV game on Sunday. The line is currently Tennessee +7. Maybe they get +7½ or more if they wait. Sportsbooks may be hesitant to raise the line into the teaser zone (Dallas -1½ would be very attractive to teaser players). It's a waiting game all the way around right now. The total is up a tick from 41 to 41½.

PHILADELPHIA AT SAN FRANCISCO: Nothing has happened yet in the Sunday night game, with the opener of 3 and 38. This  is another spot where critical numbers are involved (38 is a common ending for a game on a total too). If the public moves the game off those numbers on Sunday afternoon, sharps will probably buy back the other way no matter what direction.

MINNESOTA AT NY JETS: Sharps knew that Brett Favre needed some help at receiver. He finally got it when Randy Moss joined the Vikings this week. An opener of Jets by 5½ is down to -4. The total of 36 is up to 39...which is also a reflection of improvements from Mark Sanchez this year. Sharps have their position already, and will only buy back if the public moves the line further. That's not likely, because the public likes home favorites, and has been having success with the Jets lately.

That wraps up my look at what the sharps are thinking this week about the NFL. Sometimes I agree with them. Sometimes I go the other way. To find out what NICK BOGDANOVICH thinks about college and pro football, you have to sign up for my BEST BETS! You can do that online. Seasonal rates are available right now. Game day selections go up a few hours before kickoff right here at the website. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-877-822-2276.

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