What Sharps Think in NFL


Time once again for our weekly look at what the sharps (professional wagerers) are thinking about the week's NFL action. As always, we take the games in rotation order.

SAN DIEGO AT ST. LOUIS: Early support for San Diego, which is odd considering how badly they've played on the road. But, St. Louis hasn't run into a perennial playoff team yet this season, and they may be outmatched by Philip Rivers and the Chargers. An opener of 7.5 is up to 8.5. Note that we're in the basic strategy teaser window there. Sportsbooks may be less concerned about that here though given San Diego's inability to win on the road against opponents like Kansas City, Seattle, and Oakland. The total is up a point from 44 to 45. Biggest factor here is probably the St. Louis blowout loss in Detroit last week. The Rams are still way below the really good teams in Power Ratings.

KANSAS CITY AT HOUSTON: An opener of 3.5 moved up to 4.5 for Houston. Sharps didn't think the squares (public bettors) would come in on the dog regardless of the price...so they went ahead and bet early. I've told you often that sharps will hit +3.5 immediately if they like the dog because the key number of three is involved. If they like the favorite, and the public isn't going to bet the dog to give them any line breaks, they'll come in immediately there as well. Houston is in a bounce-back spot after a very badly played game. Kansas City is playing back-to-back on the road, and hasn't shown much offense all season. Not much interest yet on the total.

BALTIMORE AT NEW ENGLAND: New England opened at -3 with a total of 46. The big move has been on the total, which has seen a drop to 44.5. Sharps realize that New England had a bunch of cheap points vs. Miami the last time they played. They also remember the Pats/Jets game landing on 42...and the Jets and Ravens are very similar teams this year. We're seeing definite sharp interest on the Ravens at +3. Some places are now charging extra vigorish to take the dog. Others have toyed with a line of New England by 2.5 just to see what happens. The best books don't want to play with the teaser window though, and invite Baltimore +8.5 money in on two-teamers.

NEW ORLEANS AT TAMPA BAY: Sharps have made a lot of money this year betting against the Saints. They stepped in again here, driving an opening line of Tampa Bay +6.5 down to +4.5. The total has also moved dramatically, dropping from 46 to 43.5. Tampa Bay impressed the sharps last week with that outright win in Cincinnati. New Orleans still hasn't covered a game yet. And, the offense isn't anywhere near last year's form. Sharps tend to like dogs and Unders anyway in general. They REALLY like that against the Saints this year...particularly the opposing dogs.

ATLANTA AT PHILADELPHIA: The only interest here so far has been on the total, where an opener of 41.5 is now up to 42.5. The team side line of Philadelphia -3 will probably sit there most of the week. My read on the sharps is that they like Atlanta plus the points. They're waiting to see if they can get better than +3, or favorable juice if the public bets the home favorite. Sportsbooks will have to decide if they want to drop that three down to 2.5 on game day, which would invite a lot of Atlanta +8.5 teasers into play from sharps who are already thinking about Atlanta at the regular spread.

DETROIT AT NY GIANTS: A small tick down from Giants -10.5 to -10 early on. Detroit is getting respect from sharps because they are showing fight every week on both sides of the ball. They rallied for a back door cover recently against Philadelphia, and didn't need the back door at Green Bay. Last week's rout was a bit misleading...but Detroit was clearly the better side. Sharps like taking double digits anyway. A money team like the Lions (who thought I'd ever be typing a sentence like THAT again?) will have obvious appeal.

SEATTLE AT CHICAGO: Not much going on here. The total went up from 37 to 37.5. Jay Cutler is supposed to play. Sharps want to see what kind of form he's in before betting for or against him. That first half against the Giants was horrible. To this point Seattle isn't generating much of a buzz one way or the other. Sharps don't trust college coaches at the pro level. Seattle will get support at value prices at home. Not so much on the road.

MIAMI AT GREEN BAY: No line had been posted as I was putting this report together because of the injury to Aaron Rodgers. Sharps will look for value on the dog (like always). They'll fade the backup, or go against a concussed favorite that hasn't been covering spreads anyway unless oddsmakers post the perfect line.

CLEVELAND AT PITTSBURGH: The total has dropped from 40 to 37 because of Cleveland's quarterback situation. As we go to press, Colt McCoy is getting strong consideration as a 'feed somebody to the lions' starter. If you're top two guys are banged up, you don't want them facing that great Pittsburgh defense! McCoy looked to be in over his head in limited Preseason action. How will he thrive here? The line of 13 hasn't moved yet. Sharps have made their move on the total, and probably won't touch the game otherwise. They don't bet untested rookies, and they don't lay big numbers in the NFL as a general rule unless they're taking a position for a later buy back.

NY JETS AT DENVER: The total jumped from 40 to 41.5. The Jets are doing more on offense than many expected, which is why their games keep going Over. Oddsmakers have been slow to fully adjust. Sharps keep hitting the openers. It doesn't hurt here that Denver is likely to pass the ball at least 40 times, helping to lengthen the game. No movement yet on the team side line of Jets -3. That's one of those games that will see sharps fade the public if the public gets involved. If there's little game day interest, we may see some sharps on the home dog with the field goal, particularly with the road favorite coming off a short preparation week.

OAKLAND AT SAN FRANCISCO: Some support for the 49ers in a must-win situation. Though, part of the move from -6 to -6.5 may have just been early position-taking on the thought that the public will bet the favorite up to a full touchdown with the season on the line. Nothing happening yet on the total.

DALLAS AT MINNESOTA: This will be a popular betting matchup on game day with the big name teams involved in a playoff rematch. Early support for Minnesota from -1 up to -1.5 because they showed signs of life in the Jets game. And, Dallas didn't exactly play well on this field back in January either. Tough to trust either team in a game they have to win...and the spread is so close to pick-em that you're asking your team to win the game outright. Wouldn't be surprised to see sharps fade public money on game day here rather than make a call themselves.

INDIANAPOLIS AT WASHINGTON: Indianapolis was overpriced at Houston and Jacksonville. Sharps played that card again with money bringing and opener of Indy -4 down to Indy -3. The total dropped a point as well, falling from 44.5 to 43.5. Washington's offense has struggled most of the year. The combination of dog and Under makes sense in that light. If Washington can't score enough to cover, the game is probably staying Under.

TENNESSEE AT JACKSONVILLE: Big move here on the total, as an opener of 42 has jumped all the way up to 45. Jacksonville has scored some points the past two weeks...but continues to struggle on defense. Tennessee's defense has been inconsistent so far...shutting down bad offenses but failing to do so vs. better teams. Sharps see a shootout here. Not interest on the team side line at -3. We're seeing a lot of three's this year. When two even teams play each other, the home team is going to be -3. When 'pretty good' is on the road against 'hard to trust,' then the visitor will be -3. A lot of parity once again this season in the NFL.

by Nick Bogdanovich, Sportsbook Director at Club Cal-Neva


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