The massive growth of sports betting in Nevada and across the country has created an environment of extremes that will often result in very one-sided results week-to-week. I don’t think this has been talked about enough.
Why? Markets have been FLOODED with new bettors. And, inexperienced bettors all play the same way. Bet favorites. Bet too many parlays using favorites. Bet too many teasers using favorites. A flood of new recreational bettors. Hardly any new sharps.
When all the favorites cover, sportsbooks will now suffer historically large losses compared to past seasons. When upsets galore (like the past two weeks), sportsbooks will enjoy the best sessions they’ve ever had.
There’s no way oddsmakers could come close to “splitting the action” in that framework. It’s either “favorite or pass” for the vast majority of the market. We have to take positions and let vigorish and time take care of us. Lately, it was time for underdogs to shine.
Through the past several days in particular, recreational bettors tumbled downhill in an absolute avalanche of losing bets.
*They assumed Dallas would crush Denver. Instead, Denver crushed Dallas.
*They assumed Buffalo would bully Jacksonville. Shocker!
*They assumed Kansas City would embarrass Green Bay backup QB Jordan Love. Chiefs won, but didn’t cover.
*They assumed San Francisco would coast against Arizona and Colt McCoy. Colt played like a thoroughbred. Never a game.
*They assumed the LA Rams would be an easy six-point teaser leg with Derrick Henry out for Tennessee. The Rams lost straight up by double digits.
*They assumed Baltimore would be one of the easiest teaser legs EVER against Miami this past Thursday night. There’s no way two straight 7.5-point favorites in the NFL would lose outright! Baltimore? Lose to Miami? Also by double digits.
Parlays and teaser legs have to SWEEP to cash. When so many favorites are playing poorly, there’s just no way for the public to win.
I hope you’ve been driving carefully through this stretch of dangerous potholes. Studying the market helps you realize the importance of betting smart. Sharps look for value. They don’t assume anything is a sure thing.
Let’s get to weekend action in Week 10. Matchups are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.
Sunday, Nov. 14
Jacksonville at Indianapolis (-10.5, 47.5)
A “nobody knows they’re playing” game. At least there haven’t been too many of those of late. I’ve taken hardly any bets at all on the side and total, or with parlays and teasers. Sharps weren’t interested in the dog at + 10.5, but would probably come in at + 11 if the public does lay chalk before kickoff. Dog lovers may have to settle for + 10.5.
Cleveland at New England (-2.5, 45)
Everyone knows about this game. A lot of two-way action up and down the ladder. I opened Patriots -2.5. Sharps bet Cleveland + 2.5, + 2 and + 1.5, so I got as low as Patriots -1. Money drove the line the other way, laying -1, -1.5 and -2, so I’m back to my opening number of 2.5. I also took some respected moneyline bets on the Browns + 110 to win the game outright. And, there’s been decent six-point teaser play moving the Browns up past the 3 and the 7. You’d get + 8.5 now. Sharps look for value wherever they can find it. The public is now looking to bet on teams that are playing well. Both the Browns and Patriots covered by double digits last week. This should be a heavily bet game all the way to kickoff. My opening total of 45 got bet up to 45.5 on mostly public action. I dropped back to 45 Friday morning to stay in line with the rest of the market.
Atlanta at Dallas (-9.5, 54.5)
I opened Atlanta + 10 and sharps took it. I had one bettor pay -120 to buy up to Atlanta + 10.5. I’ve since dropped to + 9.5 and am still taking Falcons bets so I might have to go to + 9. It looks like the public is afraid to bet the Cowboys after losing so much money on them near this price vs. Denver last week. They’re not even taking Dallas in moneyline parlays to win straight up. Not yet anyway. A lot of action on the total. I took a strong bet on Over my opener of 53.5. Moved straight to 54.5. I’m getting a little play back on the Under. Not enough to adjust.
Buffalo (-12.5, 47.5) at the NY Jets
Sharps bet the Jets at my opener of + 13 and I dropped to + 12.5. Not much buyback yet on the Bills, even though something right below 13 should appeal to the public. They’re still in shock Buffalo lost to Jacksonville last week. Also, Mike White was announced as the starting QB for the Jets. He played well as a big dog vs. Cincinnati before getting hurt at Indianapolis. That makes it harder to auto-bet the Bills. I may have to go lower. I see as low as 11.5 elsewhere in the market. Just a little bit of play on my opening total of 47.5. Not enough to move in either direction.
New Orleans at Tennessee (-2.5, 44)
Sharps really liked the Saints at + 3 or better. I opened Tennessee -3.5 and sharps hit that hard, then kept right on betting, so I dropped to + 2.5 Friday morning. I also had a lot of moneyline play on New Orleans + 140. I’m down to Tennessee -150/New Orleans + 130 right now. But, this isn’t a one-sided betting game. The public started showing interest in Tennessee at -3 and even more at -2.5. Some sharps even jumped on the Titans at -2.5. This could be a game that hops between 2.5 and 3 until kickoff. Interesting that sharps aren’t yet betting the Saints in six-point teasers (crossing the 3 and the 7). They do that on many short dogs, but not all of them. We might see that over the weekend because this is a relatively low-totaled game. I opened 45. After a strong Under bet from a respected player, I went straight to 44. Tennessee’s offense didn’t play well vs. the Rams (remember, the Titans scored two very cheap TDs last Sunday night). New Orleans + 8.5 or + 9 in teasers will appeal to some statheads, even with Trevor Siemian at quarterback.
Tampa Bay (-9.5, 51.5) at Washington
I opened Tampa Bay -10 and sharps took Washington. My guy who likes to buy half points bought up again to WFT + 10.5. Interesting that sharps hit some of the big dogs so quickly this week. They must have figured the public would sour on betting big favorites after recent losses. I am getting some buyback on Tampa Bay -9.5. I’m also getting some 7-point teaser play on the Bucs, moving -9.5 down through the 7 and 3 to -2.5. I have a feeling I’ll be going back to TB -10 soon. Limited interest so far at my opening total of 51.5.
Detroit at Pittsburgh (-8, 42.5)
Another dog that got bet right away. Story of the week. I opened Pittsburgh -9 and sharps took Detroit + 9 and + 8.5, so I’m down to + 8. No buyback yet on the Steelers. I’m not even seeing Pittsburgh in six-point teasers, which is a shock. Pittsburgh’s offense struggled to move the ball consistently vs. Chicago this past Monday night. The public doesn’t want to bet them, even if a win would put Pittsburgh in first place in the AFC North. My total opened 43. I took a sharp bet Under Friday morning, which dropped the line to 42.5. Good example here of a “value dog” that sharps will consider because points are at a premium with a low total.
Minnesota at the LA Chargers (-3, 53)
I opened Chargers -3. Sharps took the Vikings and I dropped to 2.5 for a while. Money came in on the Chargers, so I went back to three to stay in line with the rest of the market. Risky to be an outlier sportsbook near the most important number in football. I have to stay ahead of that risk. I’ve written pretty even business at the three. Interesting that sharps haven’t been re-investing in the Vikings since I returned to + 3. I have been getting a lot of teaser play with the Vikes, at + 8.5 and + 9. But, also a lot of moneyline play on the Chargers at -150 and -155. I’m currently LAC -170/Minnesota + 150. I think I’ll be writing a lot of tickets in this one all weekend. I opened the total at 52. After taking a respected Over bet, I moved straight to 53. Very limited action since the move.
Carolina at Arizona (-10, 44)
Sharps bet the dog at my opener of Arizona -10.5, so I dropped to -10. I am getting a lot of public play on the Cardinals at -10, but not enough yet to move the line. If and when Kyler Murray is confirmed as the starting QB, I expect the line to go up. P.J. Walker will start for Carolina (Sam Darnold is hurt, Cam Newton isn’t ready to play yet). Walker’s passing line against the New York Giants was a measly 3 of 14 for 33 yards. The public is likely to bet Arizona hard Sunday if the “pitching matchup” is Murray vs. Walker. Not much play yet on my opening total of 44.
Seattle at Green Bay (-3, 49.5)
I opened Green Bay -3.5 and sharps took the points. I’m currently at Green Bay -3. That’s getting bet back the other way. I’ll have to decide how I want to be positioned with these quarterbacks. Russell Wilson could be rusty after a long injury layoff. Aaron Rodgers may take a while to recover from covid even if he’s ready to start. Other sportsbooks can vary their vigorish in the 3 to 3.5 range. At the South Point, all football bets are 11/10. People will either be betting Green Bay -3 or Seattle + 3.5 with us. Which side do I want to root for? Split play so far at my opening total of 49.5.
Philadelphia at Denver (-2.5, 45)
Interesting game. I opened Denver -3 and the wiseguys took Philadelphia pretty strong, so I’m down to Denver -2.5. But, I’ve noticed that the sharps aren’t yet betting the Eagles in six-point teasers, nor have they been taking Philly on the moneyline to win straight up. I’m getting some play back from the public on Denver -2.5, but not enough yet to move the line back to three. I’ll be watching the indicators on this one very closely at my shop and across the market. My opening total of 44.5 got bet up to 45. I’m still writing Over tickets, but not enough to move any higher. The market is projecting a tight 24-21 type game with these lines. I’m more hesitant to move off the 45 in that context.
Kansas City (-2.5, 52) at Las Vegas
I’m really surprised about this one. I opened Kansas City -2.5 and I’ve only taken Chiefs bets against the spread so far. Even though Kansas City’s been playing poorly of late (three straight losses ATS, 2-7 for the season), and even though I’m in the hometown of the Raiders! I am getting some teaser play on the Raiders. Some sharps like playing short divisional dogs when they can cross the 3 and the 7 with six-point moves. Wiseguys also like teasing the Sunday night game because of the investment flexibility it provides. If other teaser legs have come home already, sharps can choose to “buy off” the remaining exposure with a bet on the Chiefs that creates a big virtually risk-free middle opportunity. My opening total of 51.5 got bet up to 52.
Monday, Nov. 15
LA Rams (-4, 49.5) at San Francisco
This is already a heavily bet game. It’s too early to know how it will stack up historically. But, a high handle is a lock. I opened Rams -4 and have gotten a lot of action both ways. Both teams have strong local betting constituencies in this great rivalry. Sharps are shaded toward the underdog and I see the line dropping elsewhere. I’ll let money force that move for me here at the South Point. I’m also getting good two-way play on my opening total of 49.5. Great to see after there was relatively little interest in Bears/Steelers last week for a Monday nighter.
I should also mention that we took a lot of bets on the Rams to win the Super Bowl this week after they signed Odell Beckham Jr. Fans believe the franchise is all-in for this season. I’ve told you often that Las Vegas might as well be a suburb of Los Angeles whenever that city has a championship contender. We had the Rams at 7/1 before the signing. They’re down to 5/1.
Best of luck to you in the NFL this week. The betting schedule is about to intensify as the championship chases in both college and pro football heat up. I look forward to letting you know what’s happening behind the line for all the big games. Thanks again for your time and positive feedback all season.
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.