What Sharps Think in the NFL

With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich


We saw a sign this week that sharps believe that the oddsmakers have finally adjusted to "The Year of the Underdog."Maybe overadusted. Most of the money that came in early this week from sharps (professional wagerers) took small favorites up a bit...rather than knocking big favorites down.

Often, I'd attribute that to sharps taking positions to set up middles when square money (from the public) came in over the weekend. Key numbers weren't really involved in a lot of these though. My read was that short favorites were getting support that all of us should at least respect. If a sharp bets a favorite at -4, he's not setting up a position for a middle at -7. Games aren't likely to move that much without injury news. A sharp who bets a favorite early in the week at -4 likes the favorite at -4!

Let's run through the games in rotation order, as we do every week here at the website.

CHICAGO AT BUFFALO (in Toronto): An opener of Chicago by 2.5 when immediately to -3. It's not like sharps think Jay Cutler has suddenly figured things out. But, the Bears are coming off a bye, while Buffalo is coming off back-to-back overtime games. This game isn't a true home spot for the Bills either. So, laying something under the key number of three appealed to a lot of sharps. And, moving the game out of the basic strategy teaser window was fine for sportsbooks. Buffalo +8.5 would have been a popular two-teamer option. Sportsbooks don't want to root for Jay Cutler -8.5 no matter how tired Buffalo is!

SAN DIEGO AT HOUSTON: Sharps, particularly some big name sharps, have been in love with San Diego lately. They got hurt against New England, but made it all back (and more) when the Chargers covered against Tennessee last week. The same bettors were involved in driving an opener of San Diego -1.5 up to San Diego -3 here. Nothing on the totals yet. I'll only mention those when there are moves.

NEW ORLEANS AT CAROLINA: Not much interest here...with New Orleans still sitting at -6.5. That actually tells you a lot. If the sharps liked the Saints, they would have jumped on anything below a TD. They didn't do that, which means they're hoping the public hits the favorite Sunday so they can step in at +7 with the home underdog. Openers near critical numbers help you determine sharp interest very quickly. They took Chicago -2.5, but didn't take New Orleans -6.5. The total here is up a half a point from 40.5 to 41.

ARIZONA AT MINNESOTA: Not much betting interest at all here. Minnesota is at -8 and hasn't moved. Now, that's right in the basic strategy teaser window, meaning A LOT of bettors will have Minnesota -2 in two-teamers if there isn't a change. The fact that we haven't seen a change tells you that sportsbooks are okay with rooting for Arizona here. They don't trust Minnesota to play well given everything going on there of late. Sharps will see if the public nibbles on Favre before stepping in on the dog. Maybe they get +8.5 or more to go along with Minnesota -2 or 2.5 in teasers.

TAMPA BAY AT ATLANTA: A rare dog sighting so far, with Tampa Bay currently at +8.5 after opening at +9.5. I'm interested to see how sportsbooks handle this one on Sunday. You stick Atlanta at -8.5 on the board Sunday, and the whole world will have the Falcons at -2.5 in teasers. If you put a 9 up...sharps will probably come back for more on the dog. Sportsbooks have some time to figure out what kind of position and risk they want to take here.

NY JETS AT DETROIT: The Jets go on the list of favorites being bet early. They opened at -3.5, and went up to -4. This is actually showing STRONG sentiment for the Jets. If sharps liked the Lions, they would have taken the hook and run with it. A popular dog +3.5 just isn't going to stay up for long. This line went to +4. What's that tell you? The total rose from 41 to 42 with the Jets getting out of windy weather and playing indoors this week. Mark Sanchez did have some good games in better scoring conditions than he saw last week.

MIAMI AT BALTIMORE: Baltimore goes on the same list with the Jets, as a small favorite going up. The Ravens opened at -4, and rose to -5. I used this specific example in the opening. This isn't taking a position to set up a middle because so few games land on five. This is sharps thinking four is too low and getting their money in. Miami's played a couple of very physical games in a row with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati. Sharps apparently think they'll wear down on the road vs. another AFC North opponent. The total is up a point from 39.5 to 40.5, possibly swayed by that Buffalo/Baltimore game on this field two weeks ago.

NEW ENGLAND AT CLEVELAND: Not much interest here...though I am seeing some support for New England at -4. At the very least, this is another dog sharps aren't interested in jumping in on. Colt McCoy vs. Tom Brady? You can see why. The total dropped from 45 to 43 with the Pats playing better defense recently, and McCoy struggling to run the offense well. Many of the 30 points in New Orleans two weeks ago weren't a result of anything the offense was doing.

NY GIANTS AT SEATTLE: The Giants opened at -5, but jumped to -7 when it was announced that Charlie Whitehurst would start for the Seahawks at quarterback. It's tough to play well against this New York defense when you're in regular season form. Whitehurst will be rusty off the bench, and is playing for a team that hasn't been hitting on all cylinders recently anyway. The total is up a point from 40 to 41.

KANSAS CITY AT OAKLAND: Oakland has impressed a lot of us in Vegas and Reno the last two weeks. They opened at -1 against their division leader, and got bet right up to -2. If that holds, Kansas City +8 will be in a lot of two-team teasers. Sportsbooks maybe okay with that because the Raiders have been winning by such big margins lately. The total is down a half a point from 41 to 40.5. We're not seeing a lot of total action this week. Oddsmakers have done a better job of anticipating sharp tendencies I believe. And, we don't have the kind of cold weather schedule that inspires early Under betting. At least, not yet. Three cold weather sites remain.

INDIANAPOLIS AT PHILADELPHIA: Philadelphia got early support at -2.5, with the line moving to -3. That's sharps asking for a good performance from a rested home team...versus a non-conference opponent that just one a big Monday Night divisional game. What a huge preparation advantage for the Eagles! Plus, Michael Vick is expected to return, and he's been getting betting respect this year. Also, a line sitting at 2.5 invites teaser play on the Colts. Sportsbooks don't want to sweat two-team teasers involving Peyton Manning +8.5. Nothing on the total, but we will see Under bets if there's any kind of forecast for wind or precipitation.

DALLAS AT GREEN BAY: Only action on the total here, with an opener of 44.5 going up to 45.5 because the Cowboys have been playing high scoring games lately. Watch for weather news on game day, because November nights can get chilly at this site obviously. Green Bay hasn't budged of 7.5 so far. Sportsbooks may bring that down to -7 just to avoid a zillion Green Bay -1.5 options in two-team teasers from a wagering public that's given up on the Cowboys.

PITTSBURGH AT CINCINNATI:  Pittsburgh goes on the list of favorites getting support, with an opener of -3.5 going all the way up to -4.5. Again, this is BIG support because dogs get  pounded at +3.5 if anybody likes them. Nobody wants a piece of this struggling Cincinnati offense against the strong Pittsburgh defense. Even if it is a third straight road game for the Steelers. The total is down to 41 from 42.5 already. That may drop on game day if weather becomes a story.

That wraps up my weekly look at what the sharps are thinking in the NFL. I have a huge weekend on tap for my clients. BEST BETS can be purchased here at the website with your credit card a few hours before kickoff on Saturdays and Sundays. This weekend I'll be providing a tutorial on what betting syndicates are capable of doing with their extreme access to great information. It's the perfect time to try out the service!

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