What Sharps Think About This Weekend?s NFL
What Sharps Think About This Weekend's NFL
By Las Vegas Linesmaker Nick Bogdanovich
Sportsbooks put up Week One lines in the NFL in the summer to encourage betting action during a relatively dead time on the calendar. So, there's been A LOT of time for sharps (professional wagerers) to express their sentiment!
To help you see how much expectations have changed through the summer, today I'm going to post what the lines were back in late June when they first went up (at low limits by the way). Below that I'll post the current number as we go to press. Now, not all of these moves are the result of betting action. Oddsmakers made a big move when Peyton Manning was ruled for Indianapolis for example. Arizona moved when they acquired Kevin Kolb and immediately improved their quarterback position.
I would say most of the moves do express sharp sentiment. Like always, they got the best of the number when plenty of value was available. They're no longer betting their preferred teams at the numbers you see right now.
I'll take the games in rotation order...
PITTSBURGH AT BALTIMORE
Late June: Baltimore by 3, total of 37
Currently: Baltimore by 1, total of 36
Sharps were impressed with Pittsburgh in their Preseason win over Philadelphia and Michael Vick. Not much has changed since last year's Super Bowl campaign. I'm definitely getting a sense from sharps I'm talking to that there's a lot of respect for Pittsburgh this season, but fading respect for Baltimore. The Ravens taste has gone sour.
DETROIT AT TAMPA BAY
Late June: Tampa Bay by 3, total of 40
Currently: Tampa Bay by 1, total of 41
Same exact line move here on the team side. A home favorite of a field goal was seen as overpriced, and money on the defensive road dog dropped the line down to one. Detroit's a popular darkhorse team this year in the media and with sharps.
ATLANTA AT CHICAGO
Late June: Pick-em, total of 41
Currently: Atlanta by 2.5, total of 40
Chicago's another playoff team, like Baltimore, that sharps aren't as excited about this year as you might expect. Atlanta's been bet up to -2.5. Note, though, that the line didn't go all the way up to a field goal. I think a lot of sharps (and even the public) would hit the Bears if they saw a +3. This is a game where Atlanta money hit early...while smarter Chicago money is waiting to see if they can hit that key number of three.
BUFFALO AT KANSAS CITY
Late June: Kansas City by 7, total of 42
Currently: Kansas City by 6, total of 40
Sharps aren't fond of either of these teams based on what they've been telling me. Some sentiment on the dog just because the Chiefs aren't seen as deserving of this kind of chalk. Plus, Matt Cassell is banged up at quarterback for the Chiefs. More support for the Under than either team side.
INDIANAPOLIS AT HOUSTON
Late June: Pick-em, total of 47
Currently: Houston by 9, total of 43.5
The monster move was mostly caused by Manning's injury situation of course. But, I should note that sharps liked Houston at pick-em, -1, and -2 back before it was clear how serious the injury was. Once Manning was ruled out, we saw a jump of about a touchdown. It's rare to see THAT big a move in the NFL because no one player is normally worth that much. Indy's backup quarterback situation was so dicey that there really was that big a difference (according to the market) between Manning and either Kerry Collins or Curtis Painter. Note the big totals move too.
PHILADELPHIA AT ST. LOUIS
Late June: Philadelphia by 4, total of 45
Currently: Philadelphia by 4.5, total of 44
Sharps like both of these defenses, and were made believers of Michael Vick last season at least in terms of normal regular season action (they still don't trust him vs. elite teams). The line is in a quiet zone between the critical numbers of 3 and 7. I don't expect it to move much this weekend. Sharps think the numbers right.
CINCINNATI AT CLEVELAND
Late June: Cleveland by 3, total of 38
Currently: Cleveland by 6.5, total of 35.5
The confirmation that rookie Andy Dalton was going to be the Cincinnati quarterback knocked the line from one critical number almost all the way to another. The total has come down too. That's a very low number when the weather's supposed to be nice in early September. Sharps are optimistic about the Browns getting better this year. They're probably more pessimistic though about the Bengals getting worse.
TENNESSEE AT JACKSONVILLE
Late June: Jacksonville by 2.5, total of 41
Currently: Jacksonville by 1, total of 37
The transaction that saw Jacksonville cut David Garrard brought this line down a smidge. But, we're down in an area where few games actually land. So, there wasn't a lot of passion behind the move. We may or may not see the line go all the way down to pick-em this weekend. Another big Under play as both teams will be starting new quarterbacks.
NY GIANTS AT WASHINGTON
Late June: NY Giants by 3, total of 39
Currently: NY Giants by 3, total of 37.5
I'm really not hearing much about either team. Sharps didn't have a preference between Rex Grossman and John Beck at the quarterback position for Washington. Many figured Grossman would get the nod anyway.
CAROLINA AT ARIZONA
Late June: Arizona by 3, total of 38
Currently: Arizona by 7, total of 37.5
Sharps are generally high on Kolb, and generally down on rookie quarterbacks like Cam Newton of Carolina. But, we haven't seen this line move past the key number of seven. So, there is a limit to how much excitement Kolb brings to the table.
SEATTLE AT SAN FRANCISCO
Late June: San Francisco by 5.5, total of 41
Currently: San Francisco by 5.5, total of 37
Big interest on the Under here, but not on either team side. Both starting quarterbacks had horrible exhibition slates. Sharps will be looking to fade both teams on openers down the road if neither impresses here.
MINNESOTA AT SAN DIEGO
Late June: San Diego by 9.5, total of 42
Currently: San Diego by 9, total of 41.5
Not much betting interest here. Sharps do have respect for San Diego as a league power...but the lines are always very high at home because squares (the public) love betting the Chargers as home favorites. We might see sharps get involved on the dog at +10. Note that sharps didn't drive the favorite up to -10.
DALLAS AT THE NY JETS
Late June: NY Jets by 4, total of 41
Currently: NY Jets by 5, total of 40.5
A relatively quiet game, because 4 and 5 aren't key numbers. It is interesting that the line moved against America's Team. Will squares bet a New York home favorite or a popular dog in the Sunday Night game? Vegas books expect a ton of action here. And, they feel safe with any position at numbers like that.
NEW ENGLAND AT MIAMI
Late June: New England by 4, total of 46
Currently: New England by 7, total of 45.5
Sharps have learned in recent years that you have to respect the Pats when Tom Brady is healthy. Some new acquisitions may have made this team even better than they were late last year. Sharps got in before the public did. Now, if YOU want to bet New England, you have to lay a full TD. If the public does well Sunday, they may come in hard on New England and take this line over the TD.
OAKLAND AT DENVER
Late June: Denver by 1, total of 42
Currently: Denver by 3, total of 40
Oakland looked like a potential train wreck most of the summer. Kyle Orton of Denver may not be a true star, but he knows how to move the ball and beat train wrecks. John Fox also has sharp respect as the new Denver coach. I know a few sharps who hit Denver as hard as they could up to a field goal. They didn't drive the line beyond that though.
Best of luck to you this weekend. If you'd like some help in football and baseball, my daily BEST BETS will be posted here at the website for credit card purchase. I'll be leaving VSM after baseball, but will provide college and pro football for those who are interested up until that time. If you have any questions, call my handicapping office at 1-877-822-2276. Whether it's from me or one of my VSM cohorts, the best information will always come to you DIRECT FROM LAS VEGAS!
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