Last week’s NFL schedule featured a lot of good teams playing each other, and a lot of bad teams playing each other. That led to tight spreads and interesting betting challenges up and down the card.
This week? Most of the bad teams are playing good teams. That means the public will often be deciding how many points they’re willing to lay with inconsistent favorites, and sharps will be deciding how many points they’re willing to take with ugly dogs.
Not every matchup is like that. And, point spreads can make any game exciting. Plus, this weekend’s grand finale could feature two serious Super Bowl threats playing each other in a Monday Night blizzard!
Let’s get to work. Matchups are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.
Sunday, Dec. 5
Minnesota (-7, 47) at Detroit
I haven’t moved from my opener of Minnesota -7. The public is betting on the Vikings. I’m hesitant to move off a key number like 3 or 7 until I have to because the action is so one-sided. No sharp interest yet. I’ve seen other stores testing Minnesota -7.5 without getting any buyback. The Vikings are popular in 6-point teasers and moneyline parlays to win straight up. Recreational bettors must be thinking that the Lions can’t beat anybody if they couldn’t knock off struggling and distracted Chicago at home on Thanksgiving Day. My opening total of 47.5 was bet down to 47, and I do see lower numbers out there. But, South Point customers have been betting Over 47. No reason for me to match the market until I take more Under bets.
Arizona (-7.5, 43.5) at Chicago
I opened Arizona -7.5, which rose to -8 on small action. I thought the Cards might be a popular choice, so I moved quickly. But, sharps bought Chicago + 8 with enthusiasm. I’m back to Arizona -7.5. Arizona is a popular teaser choice moving down through the 7 and 3. My opening total of 46 has been bet all the way down to 43.5. I jumped a full point at a time from 45.5 down to 44.5 and then down to 43.5. You regulars are probably already thinking that the weather forecast must be a factor. Sharps seem to know before meteorologists. Currently an 80% chance of rain, with wind in the 15-20 mph range. Be sure you monitor forecasts through the weekend. Arizona or Over makes more sense in good conditions. Chicago or Under may offer value in the mud. Sharps currently are on Chicago + 8 and Under 44.5 or more.
Tampa Bay (-11, 50.5) at Atlanta
Sharps have justifiably been treating Atlanta’s all-purpose star Cordarrelle Patterson as a high-impact influence. The Falcons have been playing much better with him than without. With Patterson back in form, my opening line of Tampa Bay -11.5 was bet down to -11 and I even see some 10.5’s out there. The public will keep betting on Tom Brady. Tampa Bay has been a popular choice in moneyline parlays (but not teasers so far). Over/Under betting has shaded strongly to the Under at my store. But, I’m seeing 51’s elsewhere. I’m hesitant to move in that environment. The money says I “should” be at 50. I’ll give the overall market time to settle.
Denver at Kansas City (-9.5, 47)
This has been flexed by NBC into the Sunday night TV spot. Weird to see a game with such a high point spread moved like that. But, this is a high-profile battle featuring a Super Bowl threat and a Wild Card contender that’s just one game back in the standings. Sharps took the Broncos at my opener of + 10, so I’m down to + 9.5. The public is betting KC. But, it’s relatively small action so far. I’m not seeing much interest yet on KC in teasers or moneyline parlays. That should change by game day. Everyone wants to bet the Sunday night game. My opening total of 47.5 was bet down to 47. Weather may be a factor, as cool temperatures and some wind are in the forecast.
Indianapolis (-10, 45.5) at Houston
My opener of Indy -9 was quickly bet up to -10. I didn’t need to wait long to see that the public wanted the Colts here. No buyback from sharps yet on Houston + 10. That’s telling because 10 is a relatively key number. Sharps are nibbling at several dogs (like always), but don’t want any part of expansion-caliber Houston + 10 even at home. My total opened at 46.5. Sharps bet Under 46.5 and Under 46, so I’m down to 45.5.
Philadelphia (-6.5, 45) at the NY Jets
I opened Philadelphia -7 and sharps took the Jets + 7, so I dropped to Philly -6.5. I’ve been getting a lot of play back on the Eagles since the move. One sharp bettor paid -120 to buy the Eagles down to -6. Second straight week on the same field for the Eagles, who lost to the Giants last week despite a clear stat win. My opening total of 45.5 was bet down to 45. I’ve been getting good two-way play since at 45.
LA Chargers at Cincinnati (-3, 50.5)
This is a well-bet game. I haven’t moved off my openers of Cincinnati -3 and 50.5. But, I’ve been taking a lot of action on both. Cincinnati is coming off blowouts of Las Vegas and Pittsburgh. The Chargers have a strong betting constituency even though they haven’t been covering much of late. Weather doesn’t look like it will be a factor. Easily the best pure betting attraction of the early Sunday slate with two playoff contenders in a potential shootout.
NY Giants at Miami (-4, 40)
We’ve been all over the place on this one because of the injury to Daniel Jones of the Giants. I opened Miami -2.5 and sharps laid that, so I went to Miami -3. News broke that the Giants were probably going to start Mike Glennon at quarterback. I jumped to Miami -5 on that development. Sharps took Giants + 5 (including a big bet). I dropped straight to Miami -4. Miami money laid that. Then, Jones was officially ruled “out.” I went to Miami -5.5. I see some -6 out there. I’ll need to take more Miami bets to go that high (remember, I took a big Giants bet in the middle of all that). I’ll spare you the roller coaster on the total. I opened 42 and with Jones out, I’m currently at 40.
Washington at Las Vegas (-1.5, 49.5)
Another interesting one. I opened Raiders -3 and sharps took Washington + 3 and Washington + 2.5. I’ve also been taking sharp money line bets on Washington + 120 and + 115. With all that, I’m down to Raiders -1.5. That said, I have been taking a lot of public bets on the Raiders at -2.5 and -1.5. This is already a heavily-played game that could turn out to be our biggest afternoon handle Sunday. Sharps really like Washington to win. Locals like what they saw in the Raiders upset of Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. My opening total of 49.5 was bet down to 48.5, but then back up to 49.5.
Baltimore (-4.5, 44) at Pittsburgh
Sharps may have given up on Pittsburgh after last week’s no-show at Cincinnati. Wiseguys bet my opener of Baltimore -3.5 and Baltimore -4 and now I’m up to -4.5. The public is still taking the Ravens, but sharp money was satisfied with -4 or better. I’m not getting the sense that sharp dog lovers are “waiting” for Pittsburgh + 5. It might take as much as + 6 to get any wiseguys to wave terrible towels. My opening total of 44.5 was bet down to 44. Conditions could be breezy.
Jacksonville at the LA Rams (-13, 48)
I opened Rams -13.5. Sharps jumped on the Jags. One bought it up to + 14 for a pretty big bet. I’m down to Rams -13. The public is betting the favorite, and including the Rams in moneyline parlays. Some weeks, the public teases a lot of the big favorites down figuring it's easier for them to cover smaller spreads. We haven’t been seeing that so far. It’s been a much lighter teaser week than I expected. My opening total of 48 was bet down to 47.5, then back up to 48.
San Francisco (-3, 45.5) at Seattle
This is one of those games where the market can’t settle on 3 or 3.5 for the spread. Because the South Point doesn’t adjust its vig on team side NFL bets (all are the classic 11/10—same as -110 on the money line), we get pounded. If we have the favorite -3, that’s the best price in town for people who want to lay the points (they don’t have to pay -115, -120 or -125 to lay the field goal). If we make the game 3.5, then THAT’S the best price for bettors wanting the dog (they don’t have to pay -115, -120 or -125 to get the hook). I opened San Francisco -3.5 and I’m currently at -3 because I’d rather hold the whole number. We’ll write a lot of business and hope the game doesn’t land exactly on 3. My opening total of 46.5 was bet down to 46, then 45.5.
Monday, Dec. 6
New England at Buffalo (-2.5, 42.5)
This is the game everyone’s waiting for. And, it might be played in a blizzard. Current forecast is for almost certain precipitation and winds in the 25-30 mph range. Temperatures are expected to cool to freezing and below in the early evening. New England will be trying to win with a rookie quarterback who played high school ball in Florida before starring for the Alabama Crimson Tide. Buffalo has an “all-weather” quarterback drafted specifically because he could handle Buffalo winters. That said, “southern” quarterback Mac Jones has been great at avoiding turnovers, while rifle-armed Josh Allen is mistake-prone. A great handicapping challenge.
I opened Buffalo -3. After taking a lot of play on the Patriots I dropped to Buffalo -2.5. I also took respected money line bets on the Patriots at + 135 and + 130 to win outright. After the drop to Buffalo -2.5, bettors preferring the Bills were thrilled to lay less than a field goal. This is another game where the South Point’s “no extra juice” policy on NFL team sides will drive a very high handle. Most stores will vary their vig at either 2.5 or 3. We’ll be offering 11/10 whether we’re at 2.5 or 3. I’m interested to see if a more certain weather forecast on game day drives money in one direction or the other. Weather expectations caused a big drop in the total. My opener of 45 is all the way down to 42.5. That will fall further if winds prove to be as gusty Monday as forecast.
See you again next week at this time for more NFL market coverage. My bowl reports will begin in two weeks. Can’t wait!
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.