What Sharps Think in the NFL

With Oddsmaker Nick Bogdanovich


One game is in the books already (Thursday Night's Baltimore/Atlanta affair), but we still have a very busy Sunday and Monday to look at in terms of sharp interest (betting from professional wagerers). As always, games are presented in rotation order...

CINCINNATI AT INDIANAPOLIS: Early support for the Bengals as an opener of +8 is down to +7. Sharps generally fade the Colts because they're a public team...though they've regretted that so far at home this season. With the new injuries that keep hitting Indy on a weekly basis, sharps decided eight was just too high. The total is down a tick from 47.5 to 45 because the Colts will probably avoid trying to play a shootout.

HOUSTON AT JACKSONVILLE: Clear interest in Jacksonville, as we've flopped favorites here from Houston -1 to Jacksonville -1.5. That means the Jaguars were a sharp bet at +1 and pick-em, with some support holding even at -1. The Houston defense has really faded badly lately...and the Jaguars are rested after a bye week. Nothing happening yet on the total. From this point forward, if I don't mention the total in a game there hasn't been any early betting interest on the proposition.

TENNESSEE AT MIAMI: Big move here, as Tennessee opened +2 but is now -2. That's not just a favorite flipping, that's one of the biggest moves you can have without crossing a critical number. Let's note though that support did stop before it reached Titans by 3. The market didn't take the switch to Chad Pennington at Miami quarterback as a good sign for the Dolphins. Plus, Tennessee had a bye last week while Miami was still grinding through a very tough schedule. The total is up a point from 41.5 to 42.5. The sharps see a more wide-open game with Pennington on the field apparently.

MINNESOTA AT CHICAGO: Interest here has been on the total, with an opener of 38 jumping up to 40.5. That may come back down if there's a forecast for unfriendly scoring weather on game day. Right now, the sharps are projecting decent days for Jay Cutler and Brett Favre, even if their respective offenses haven't really been on fire in recent weeks. Something like 38 is a very low total for those quarterbacks. Minnesota's -1 everywhere as we go to press. Looks like sharps are more interested in rooting for both QB's to either score, or set up cheap points for the other side...rather than choosing somebody to win a coin flip game.

DETROIT AT BUFFALO: The total here is up a point from 42.5 to 43.5. This suggests weather isn't going to be a factor in some of the cold weather cities this week. I've always said you can deduce weather reports from sharp betting action in November and December. Buffalo's offense has been more productive since the move to Fitzpatrick. The line of Buffalo -3 will probably stay there because squares (the public) won't touch this game, and sharps haven't expressed early sentiment at the key number. That could mean they're waiting to see if the dog offers more value on game day. Some old school sharps will go against any bad team that's a favorite. Buffalo is winless, yet laying points here.

NY JETS AT CLEVELAND: Sharps took the hook early at +3.5 so we're now seeing Cleveland +3 everywhere. The Browns have really impressed recently with their defense and running game. New York was lucky to beat Detroit last week, and is playing a better team here. Sharps were happy to take that extra half point just in case the game goes down to the wire. The total is up a point from 36.5 to 37.5, again hinting that it will be a mild Sunday in the Midwest for mid November.

CAROLINA AT TAMPA BAY: A lot of support for Carolina at +7.5 on the opener. We're now seeing +6.5 everywhere...which means that sharps also like the divisional road dog at +7 too. Carolina has looked pretty ugly lately. But, they do have a solid defense...and sharps like defensive dogs in divisional action. The total is up from 35 to 36.5. It's interesting how much Over betting we're seeing this week. I'm hearing it's the math/computer guys getting projections across the board that were higher than what oddsmakers were putting up.

KANSAS CITY AT DENVER: Kansas City opened at -2.5, but has been bet down to -1. That may be related to Denver coming in off a bye while KC had to go overtime last week vs. Oakland, and a few times in recent weeks because the same thing happened with Buffalo. The total is up a point from 42 to 43. Given Denver's poor defense this year, we might see that go even higher if the weather isn't going to be a factor at altitude.

ST. LOUIS AT SAN FRANCISCO: San Francisco got early support at -5.5, which surprised some people. We're seeing -6 everywhere right now. I know some dog lovers are waiting to see if they can get a better line before kickoff on the divisional rivalry theory. There are some sharps who expect a strong second half from the 49ers based on discussions I've been having. I'll have to see it before I believe it myself.

SEATTLE AT ARIZONA: Very little betting interest here thus far. Sharps are waiting for more word on the Seattle quarterback situation before getting involved. Interestingly, each of these teams has received sharp backing in recent weeks...so we may see a busy game day even if the build-up is quiet.

DALLAS AT NY GIANTS: Another total lifting, with an opener of 44.5 up to 45.5. Is it July in the Northern cities or November? Sharps are looking to take Dallas at +14, but are sitting back with patience at +13.5

NEW ENGLAND AT PITTSBURGH: Pittsburgh moved from -4 to -5, as sharps were not impressed at all last week with the Patriots in Cleveland. They didn't impress vs. Minnesota either. So, this is a team that hasn't been up to standards since they dumped Randy Moss. Pittsburgh's finally at home after a three-game road trip. Sharps expect a big increase in productivity with the home cooking.

PHILADELPHIA AT WASHINGTON: Not much interest yet here. Maybe it will get busy on game day with a Monday Night Home Underdog on the card. Some old school sharps take those sight unseen (particularly in divisional rivalry games). Many of the younger guys try to find ways to back a cheap favorite figuring the market is overreacting to an out-of-date strategy. The total is up a tick from the opener of 41.5 to 42.

That wraps up our look at what sharps are thinking this weekend in the NFL. I can't tell you what I'M THINKING because that information is for my paying customers. Sometimes I agree with the sharps. Sometimes I go the other way. And, much of what I learn on Sunday mornings from action in the markets strongly influences my game day card for clients.

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Back Sunday morning with some more NFL notes. Thanks for checking in once again to see why the best information comes DIRECT FROM NEVADA!

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