What a mess!
As you probably know by now, there have been some schedule changes this week in pro football. I usually write my NFL market reports for you on Friday mornings Las Vegas time. News was breaking all over the country when I was putting this together.
For the three games that were moved due to covid outbreaks…Las Vegas/Cleveland from Saturday to Monday, Washington/Philadelphia from Sunday to Tuesday, and Seattle/LA Rams from Sunday to Tuesday…I’m going to only talk briefly about those matchups until the dust settles. I’ll provide Twitter updates on game day (@andrewssports) to let you know the very latest betting news in those important meetings.
For now, let’s run through the rest of the card. Games are presented in their original Nevada Rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.
Saturday, Dec. 18
Las Vegas at Cleveland
Now it will be played on Monday. The game day line (and total) will be greatly influenced by whether or not Baker Mayfield is able to start at quarterback for the Browns. Impossible to know now how many players will be in or out of COVID protocol.
New England at Indianapolis (-2.5, 45.5)
A potential playoff preview that everyone’s looking forward to. I opened Indianapolis -1.5 and sharps laid it, and then laid -2 after my first move. I’m currently at Indy -2.5. I have been getting good play on the Patriots along the way. My ticket count is about 2/1 for the Pats. I respect the wiseguys. But, there’s no reason for me to go to the key number of 3if the public is already betting New England. Recreational bettors have been playing the Patriots on the moneyline at + 120. I’m currently at Colts -135/Pats + 115. There’s also a good amount of six-point teaser money on the Patriots at + 7.5, + 8, or + 8.5. My opening total of 45 has been bet up to 45.5. I’m still taking some Over money. Not enough yet to move to 46.
Washington at Philadelphia
Now it will be played on Tuesday. Game day line (and total) will be largely influenced by who’s starting at quarterback for Washington.
Carolina at Buffalo (-12, 45)
I opened Buffalo -10.5 and took some early money on the Bills, so I moved to -11. As Josh Allen became more likely to get the start (foot sprain), the point spread rose to Buffalo -12. I moved on a mix of money and news. Not all the big favorites are being used in moneyline parlays this week. Buffalo is a popular choice because the Bills need a win after losing to the Patriots. Sharps bet Over my opening total of 43.5. I moved to 44, and then straight to 45 when Overs stayed popular. That must mean the weather will be nice! Forecast shows cold temperatures, but not too windy.
NY Jets at Miami (-9.5, 41.5)
Miami went on the board at -9 and sharps laid -9 and also -9.5, so I went to -10. Underdog play at the relatively key number dropped the number back to 9.5. I’m seeing some 7-point teasers on Miami, bringing the line down through 7 and 3 to -2 or -2.5. My opening total of 43 was bet down to 42 and 41.5. A 70 percent chance of rain with some wind may be a factor. The Jets play sloppy even in good weather.
Dallas (-10.5, 44.5) at the NY Giants
First time in a while that I won’t be talking about early sharp money on the Giants. Wiseguys have given up on quarterback Mike Glennon. My opening line of Dallas -10.5 hasn’t budged. I’ve taken a lot of small, recreational bets on the Cowboys, but not enough yet to lift the line to -11. The Dallas offense isn’t exactly firing on all cylinders of late. That makes it hard for the public to lay a big number on the road. My opening total of 45 was bet down to 44.5. Seven of the last eight Giants’ games have gone Under, six of the last seven Cowboys’ games.
Green Bay (-6.5, 43.5) at Baltimore
Note that this was changed to a later kickoff Sunday on FOX. It was originally an early start. My opening line of Green Bay -4.5 was bet to -5.5, -6 and -6.5. That was from a mix of money and news. Sharps laid up to -5.5 with the Pack, but stopped at -6. Followers kept laying -6. Headlines are suggesting Aaron Rodgers will be able to play productively for Green Bay, while Lamar Jackson is a hobbled question mark for the Ravens. I’ve been taking a decent amount of teaser action on the Packers. Almost no action on my opening total of 43.5. Bettors want to know more about Jackson’s game-time status. Keep an eye on the weather here. Supposed to be windy Sunday in Baltimore.
Tennessee (-1, 42.5) at Pittsburgh
I opened Tennessee -2. Sharps took Pittsburgh and the points, so I dropped straight to Tennessee -1. I’m getting two-way play at 1, but there’s more money on the Steelers. I may end up at pick-em. Tennessee’s only cover the past month was against lowly Jacksonville last Sunday. I took a pretty big Over bet at my opener of 41.5. I went straight to 42.5. Weather should be okay based on that alone. But, always keep an eye on game-day forecasts in these northern cities in December just in case.
Houston at Jacksonville (-5, 39.5)
So much has been happening these past few hours that Urban Meyer’s firing has already been lost in the shuffle! I had opened Jacksonville -3 and sharps laid that, so I went to -3.5. Then Meyer was fired. I moved straight to -5 on the news. Most observers thought he was dragging the team down. There’s been very little interest in Houston after the move. I’m glad I adjusted that much. Bettors have been playing Jacksonville on the moneyline through the drama. They laid -155, -170, and -175. I’ve moved all the way to -220 now. I moved my opening total of 40.5 down to 39.5 based on one sharp Under bet.
Arizona (-13, 47.5) at Detroit
Sharps liked Detroit at my opener of + 13.5 and they’re still taking + 13. But, I’m getting enough Cardinals money from the public to keep the line right there. We’ll see what happens through the weekend. Sharps may drive the number down to + 12.5 if public enthusiasm for this big favorite softens. Not much action yet on my opening total of 47.5.
Atlanta at San Francisco (-9.5, 46)
I opened San Francisco -8.5 and sharps laid it. They kept betting at -9, so I moved to -9.5 as I was writing this article during a turbulent Friday morning. The public was teasing San Francisco -9 down to -3 in 6-pointers. I expect to see some 7-pointers that drop the adjusted line below a field goal. There’s been a little bit of Over play on my opening total of 46, but not enough to move it.
Cincinnati at Denver (-3, 44)
As best I can tell, the move from my opener of -1 up to -3 was based on pure handicapping. By that, I mean that sharps saw Cincinnati in a fatigue spot at altitude on the road after losing a tough overtime game. There aren’t major injuries, or a thought that the Broncos are now a juggernaut. Visiting Denver late in a tiring season is brutal enough. I opened too low. That said, I have been getting buy back on the Bengals at the key number. Sharps loved Denver at -1, liked them at -2 and -2.5, but stopped betting at -3. Be careful being late to the fatigue-angle bandwagon. My opening total of 43.5 was bet up to 44. That means nice weather. Forecast says sunny and clear.
Seattle at the LA Rams (-4, 45)
Moved to Tuesday because of a COVID outbreak on the Rams. I’ll provide market updates on Twitter come game day.
New Orleans at Tampa Bay (-11, 45.5)
A lot of action here, but it’s been pretty well split. Haven’t moved off my opener of Tampa Bay -11. Saints’ coach Sean Payton will miss the game with COVID. That didn’t affect team side interest as the Saints were already a big dog. But, I did adjust the total down. Early money had already knocked my opener of 47 down to 46.5. I went straight to 45.5 when the Payton news broke.
Monday, Dec. 20
Minnesota (-7, 44) at Chicago
The Bears are dealing with some COVID issues right now. Too early to know if that will cause scheduling problems in a couple of days. Sharps took the Vikings at my opener of -3.5, so I went directly to -4.5. Sharps kept betting and I had to go all the way to Minnesota -7 to find a roadblock. I’ve only taken a bit of play on my opening total of 44. More on this on Twitter Monday. Minnesota/Chicago is now part of a Monday doubleheader that also includes Las Vegas/Cleveland.
Best of luck to all of you through this crazy weekend. Stay safe! Covid is disrupting schedules in all the major sports. Don’t let it disrupt your holidays. I know more than anyone that health and family should be everyone’s top priority at all times.
I’ll see you again online Monday afternoon for my next college football bowl report. Remember to check Twitter for updates through the adjusted NFL schedule.
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.