Andrews: Inside the betting action for NFL Week 1


We put up opening lines for NFL Week 1 way back in May here at the South Point. That has given the sharps and the public plenty of time to bet. Let’s review what’s been happening in the long build-up to the first big Sunday of NFL action. Games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedule. 

Sunday, Sept. 12

Pittsburgh at Buffalo (-6, 48)

I opened Buffalo -6. Sharps laid the -6 and -6.5 When I got to -7, we took a $100,000 bet on Pittsburgh plus the points. I dropped to six. We’re probably going to need Buffalo, needless to say. This total opened at 50.5. Sharps bet it all the way down to 48. Should be a heavily bet game by kickoff. Highest-profile game of the early starts.

NY Jets at Carolina (-4, 44.5)

Not much interest yet. We opened Carolina -5. I moved down to -4 after one relatively sharp bet on the dog. Money is starting to come back on the Panthers. What you could call “New York money” used to find its way to Las Vegas when the Jets or Giants were good. New Jersey legalizing sports betting probably changed that. Neither is expected to be good this year anyway. The total has been bet up from 43 to 44.5 on fairly sharp action. Probably not going to be a heavily bet game unless major news breaks. 

Jacksonville (-3, 45.5) at Houston

Another quiet one. I opened Jags -2.5. It was bet up to the key number of three. I also had some decent money line play on Jacksonville at -145 (correlated to -2.5). Why are the inexperienced Jags favored? I only gave Houston one point for home field advantage. Sharps are definitely starting to take the Texans at + 3. The opening total of 44.5 was bet up to 45.5. Some sharps are now hitting the Under at that price. 

Arizona at Tennessee (-3, 53)

My opener of Tennessee -2.5 was bet up to -3. Sharps definitely liked the Titans at less than a field goal. They weren’t laying the three, though. No interest showing yet on Arizona. I think this game will settle on the three. Smart money would probably fade any half-point move in either direction. Sharp action drove my opening total of 51 up to 53. You can pretty much assume all early totals moves are sharp. The public doesn’t start betting totals until very late in the week. Sharps particularly make Over bets right away, knowing the public likes rooting for points. 

LA Chargers at Washington (-1, 45)

We’ve had a favorite flip here. I opened Chargers -1.5. Sharps took + 1.5, + 1 and kept playing Washington at pick-em. We weren’t at pick-em very long. Pretty even action right now at the one. This game could get tricky for books on Sunday if Washington goes to -1.5 That would bring in a lot of six-point teaser players on the Chargers + 7.5 (crossing both the three and the seven). Something to watch for. A lot of bettors (and pundits) are looking for somebody besides San Francisco and the Los Angeles Rams to use in six-point teasers. 

Philadelphia at Atlanta (-3.5, 48)

I opened Atlanta -4. Bettors took the + 4, and took + 3.5. But, money came back strong on Atlanta at -3. Tough for casual observers to understand, but sharps can like both sides in the same game depending on the line. It’s very clear from the money that wiseguy action comes in on Atlanta -3 and Philadelphia + 4. The right answer to “who do the sharps like?” always depends on the line. This total opened 47, and was bet up to 48. Another example of sharps betting an Over before the public acts. 

Seattle (-3, 49.5) at Indianapolis

We’ve been all over the place on this one. I opened Seattle -1 a few months ago. Then, all the Indianapolis injury news hit this summer. We went up to -3 on the news. Sharps took the three. But, after a drop to 2.5, sharps came in hard on Seattle. We’re heavy on the Seahawks at -2.5. This total has also moved a lot. I opened 48, went as high as 52, then came back down to 49.5. Sharps like the Over at 49 or better and Under 50 or better. 

Minnesota (-3, 48) at Cincinnati

I opened Vikings -3.5. They took Cincinnati + 3.5, so I dropped to 3. Bettors are laying -3 right now, but probably not enough to make me move back to 3.5. I see numbers trending lower elsewhere. On the total, sharps bet Over my opener of 47.5, but I’m getting a lot of Under play at 48. 

San Francisco (-8, 45) at Detroit

My opener of San Francisco -7.5 was bet up to -8 on a combination of sharp and public play. This may end up being a replay of Tampa Bay/Dallas, where the Bucs were bet up to -9 and beyond because of team side and teaser play. You probably know a lot of guys who teased Tampa Bay with San Francisco or the LA Rams. Everyone still wants to tease the Niners. Sportsbooks may have to defend again by lifting SF to -9 or -9.5. Nobody’s betting Detroit yet. This total dropped from 46 to 45 on sharp play. A little more meaningful because sharps didn’t wait to see if the public would drive the Over. They were happy to get Under 46. 

Cleveland at Kansas City (-5.5, 54.5)

The sharper side is definitely Cleveland so far. We don’t have to go begging for Kansas City money from the public. But, sharps were aggressive on the dog at + 6. I’m pretty well-balanced on the game right now at 5.5. No movement on the total. That tells you sharps don’t like the Over, or they would have already acted. Assume the wiseguys are waiting to see if Under value presents itself. 

Miami at New England (-3, 43)

We opened Patriots -2 months ago. Bettors laid -2, then laid -2.5. When I got the news about Mac Jones being named starter a couple of weeks ago, I went straight to -3 without taking any bets. It’s not that I love Jones. But, seeing coach Bill Belichick be so decisive is probably a good sign for the team. Money is still coming in on New England. I believe we’ll at least test -3.5 before kickoff. Nothing but Under play on the total. Sharps took Under my opener of 45, and then bought more at 44.5 and 44. They must have figured the public wouldn’t bet the Over with inexperienced quarterbacks on the field. 

Denver (-3, 42) at the NY Giants

This one opened pick-em. Sharps bet Denver at pick, -1, -1.5, -2, and -2.5. I finally stopped the wiseguy onslaught at -3. I’m evening out at that price. I’ll definitely need the Giants. On the total, I got one sharp bet Under the opener of 42.5 and dropped to 42. 

Green Bay (-3.5, 50) vs. New Orleans (in Jacksonville)

When the game was scheduled to be played in New Orleans, I opened Green Bay -2.5 and got bet up to -3. When it was moved to Jacksonville because of the damage done by hurricane Ida, we announced a refund for all of those earlier bets. then reopened Green Bay -4. I’m down to 3.5 with pretty even action. No movement at all on the total. Again, that means sharps don’t like the Over, or they would have jumped in by now. 

Chicago at the LA Rams (-7.5, 46.5)

I opened this game Rams -7. Sharps bet me up to -7.5 I’m seeing a lot of guys buying the favorite down to seven. Here at the South Point, you can pay -125 on the money line to move -7.5 down to -7. (If you’re wondering, it costs -135 to move -3.5 down to -3, -120 on other half points). I mentioned earlier that the Rams will be a very popular six-point teaser choice as long as bettors can cross the seven and the three. Sportsbooks may have to move to nine to defend. That may be what it takes to bring in Chicago money. Not much showing yet. A lot of action on the total. We opened at 44.5. Then we see-sawed about a bit around 45. Over money has been coming in stronger of late. I’m at 46.5 now. Prime time TV games often drive Over money because of public preferences.  

Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.

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