A unique week ahead. You regulars know that recreational bettors prefer taking NFL favorites, especially in perceived mismatches featuring top contenders. This week, we have FIVE games currently lined at -9 or higher. We also have more home favorites than usual, nine in the 13 remaining games.
That means sportsbooks will be rooting for a lot of ugly or “injury-riddled” underdogs. There’s just no way to “balance the action” when the vast majority of the market has a “favorite or pass” mindset. We’ll take our positions at fair prices, hoping 11/10 vigorish in our favor will protect us over the long haul.
Let’s see how the money’s been moving so far this week. Matchups are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.
Sunday, Dec. 12
Las Vegas at Kansas City (-9.5, 48)
I opened Kansas City -9. Sharps laid that for a pretty good amount. I’m still taking Chiefs bets at -9.5. Not enough yet to move to -10. That could happen soon. I see other stores testing 10, without getting significant buy back on the Raiders. I’m also getting teaser play on the Chiefs. Some are moving the line down six points. Others are choosing to drop below the three with seven-point moves (9 down to 2, or 9.5 down to 2.5). The Raiders are 1-4 straight up and ATS their last five. Only good outing was the Thanksgiving win at Dallas you probably watched on TV. Kansas City has covered three in a row, though the offense was sluggish again the past two weeks. My opening total of 49.5 was bet down to 49 and then 48. I went straight from 49 to 48 because Under sentiment was so strong. Looks like windy conditions are forecast for game time Sunday. You know how important that is to sharps. Plus, six of the last seven Chiefs’ games have gone Under.
New Orleans (-5.5, 43) at NY Jets
Sharps jumped on the home underdog Jets at my opener of + 6. The injury-riddled Saints have failed to cover three in a row. And, it would be five in a row if not for a late rally to get close at Tennessee. I’ve only been getting a trace of buy back on New Orleans at -5.5. Recreational bettors have so many favorites to choose from this week. Saints may be too hard a sell. My opening total of 44 was bet down to 43. I moved a full point because sentiment was so strong. A chance for breezy conditions. But, that Under money could be more influenced by New Orleans’ poor quarterback play of late.
San Francisco (-2, 49) at Cincinnati
Joe Burrow’s finger injury drew a lot of attention this week. He dislocated his right pinky last Sunday vs. the Chargers. Ineffective after that. Sharps were betting like they expect it to be a big problem against this week’s quality opponent. I opened this game Cincinnati -1.5. Sharps took the Niners + 1.5 + 1, at pick-em and -1. I went straight to -2 from -1. Very little buy back on the Bengals so far. But, if there’s good news about Burrow’s recovery this weekend, we may see Cincinnati interest develop. My opener of 48.5 was bet up to 49. You can deduce that means the weather will be okay. Forecast says sunny and clear, without much wind. You don’t have to be a meteorologist to predict the weather if you monitor sharp Over/Under play. If sharps are betting Over in December in Ohio, weather’s going to be comfortable.
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-9, 43.5)
Another big favorite that recreational bettors don’t trust. Injury-riddled Tennessee missed the market by 19.5 and 15.5 before last week’s bye. I opened Tennessee -10.5 because Jacksonville’s been playing so poorly (down 88-31 on the scoreboard the past three weeks). Sharps bet the Jags for a big amount. I dropped to 10, then 9.5. Sharps finally stopped at + 9. I am getting some teaser play on Tennessee. This is also a spot where guys can use seven-point teasers to drop a favorite below a field goal. My Over/Under was bet from 44 down to 43.5.
Baltimore at Cleveland (-2.5, 43)
Baltimore’s on the growing list of teams struggling because of injuries. The offense has only cleared 20 points once in the last six outings. But, Baltimore did beat Cleveland 16-10 two weeks ago. I opened Cleveland -2 in this quick rematch. Sharps laid -2 strong. They’re still laying -2.5. I also took sharp moneyline bets on Cleveland just to win outright at -135 (I’m at -145 now). I’m not ready to move the point spread to the key number of three because I have been getting a bit of Ravens play. Other stores are either at -2.5 with Cleveland juiced, or -3 with Baltimore juiced. All NFL team side bets are -110 here at the South Point. I’ll have to manage our position until kickoff. My opening total of 42 was bet up to 43. Conditions will be clear and sunny. But, there is a chance of wind. Keep an eye on that Sunday morning if you’re thinking of betting this total.
Atlanta at Carolina (-2.5, 42.5)
Another game in that 2.5 to 3 range. But, this one isn’t being bet the same way. My opener of Carolina -3 was bet down to -2.5. I took a pretty good whack on Atlanta at the field goal. And, respected money also took the dog to win straight up on the moneyline at + 145 and + 130. I’m currently at Carolina -140/Atlanta + 120. If the public bets Carolina this weekend, I’m sure returning to three would bring the sharps back in. My opening total of 43 was bet down to 42.5.
Dallas (-4.5, 47.5) at Washington
A lot of play in this one. Washington’s been on a good run of late, covering four in a row. Dallas always has a big betting contingent. I opened Dallas -4. I took a very big bet on the Cowboys from one of my sharpest players. Moved directly to five. Other Wise Guys took Washington + 5 pretty hard. I’ve settled at 4.5, where I’m getting good two-way play. I should also mention that I took respected moneyline action on Dallas -190 before moving to -200 just to win outright. Sharps have played this Under hard. I went straight from my opener of 49 to 48 (without stopping at 48.5). Under bets continued. I’m now at 47.5. Conditions could be breezy.
Seattle (-8.5, 41) at Houston
My opener of Seattle -8 was bet up to -8.5 even before the announcement that Davis Mills will play QB for Houston the rest of the season. Sharps aren’t fond of him. But, they don’t seem interested in laying a lot of points with Seattle on the road. Some are playing Seattle -2.5 in six-point teasers (that cross both key numbers of 7 and 3). That will likely be a popular teaser choice for the public come Sunday. I took a big bet on the Under at my opening total of 42. I dropped straight to 41.
Detroit at Denver (-10, 42)
I’ll be rooting for Detroit. Sharps climbed the ladder (with some help from the public), taking Denver at my opener of -8 and at -8.5, -9 and -9.5. I did start to take some Lions money after moving to + 10. Those are value bets from sharps that won’t offset the Denver dollars. I’m still getting two-way play at 10 because the public doesn’t think Detroit will play well two weeks in a row. Tough road site for a letdown team too. Weather should be nice. My opening total of 41 was bet straight to 42.
NY Giants at the LA Chargers (-10, 43)
Every week I note that sharps have been betting the Giants at the opener. Same story here. I opened Chargers -10.5. That was bet down to Giants + 10. Not a lot of action since the move. A little bit of play both ways. A matchup like this may draw more attention through the weekend. The Chargers have developed a betting following. But, that money went 0-3 the last three times the Bolts were home favorites (vs. Pittsburgh, Minnesota and New England). Could be a day where the public will invest in late favorites if the early favorites come home. Sharps pounded my opening total of 45 down to 44.5, 44 and 43. Giants have played six straight Unders.
Buffalo at Tampa Bay (-3.5, 53.5)
This is looking less like a “Super Bowl preview” with Buffalo playing so poorly against good teams lately. That might reduce potential handle some. But, this is still going to be a heavily bet game. My opener of Tampa Bay -3.5 was bet down to three at first. Sharps like the Bills with the hook. The public (and some Wise Guys) love Tampa Bay at -3. I’m back to -3.5, writing good two-way business. I’m also writing good two-way business on the moneyline, which is currently Tampa Bay -170/Buffalo + 150. Bettors who think Buffalo is a fraud are laying the lumber. Those expecting a shootout can’t believe they’re getting such value with a high octane offense like the Bills. That shootout expectation has driven my opening total of 52.5 up to 53.5. Very little interest on the Under yet. I expect heavy traffic for this one up until kickoff.
Chicago at Green Bay (-12.5, 43)
Sharp dog lovers took Chicago at my opener of + 13. I’m now at 12.5, getting good two-way play. But, in standalone TV games like this Sunday nighter, the public usually bets the favorite. I expect I’ll be back to -13 by kickoff. Weather is supposed to be cold (near freezing) and breezy. My opening total of 44 has been bet down to 43. That’s a lot of points for a cold-weather smash-mouth game. Might keep the pointspread from rising too high.
Monday, Dec. 13
LA Rams at Arizona (-2.5, 51.5)
One of the best Monday night betting attractions all season. I opened Arizona -3. Sharps took the points. They also bet the Rams to win straight up on the moneyline at + 135 and + 130. I’m currently at Arizona -2.5, with the moneyline at Cards -140/Rams + 120. Many bettors are laying the shorter number with Arizona. This has the look of a game that could hop between -2.5 and -3 until kickoff. You regulars know I prefer to sit on the whole number in those circumstances. I’m hoping to get back to Arizona -3 soon. The market doesn’t always cooperate! That clear support for the Rams on the moneyline might signal a solid three isn’t in the cards, for the Cards. My opening total of 52 was bet down to 51.5. I am taking some Over play since the adjustment. If this game gets hyped as another potential shootout, the total could rise a bit before kickoff.
Best of luck to you this weekend. I’ll be back Thursday with my first batch of bowl reports. Then, again Friday at the usual time for weekend NFL. These next few weeks are going to be hectic. I’m sure you’re looking forward to the football frenzy as much as I am!
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.