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Andrews: Inside the betting action for NFL Week 2

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Week 2 got off to a good start for sportsbooks with the New York Giants covering against Washington Thursday night. Would have been better for us if they won outright. Can’t complain about the result. Great to see such an enthusiastic market so far this season.  

Here’s a look at betting action for Sunday’s games. As always, matchups are presented in Nevada Rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules. 

Sunday, Sept. 19

New Orleans (-3.5, 44.5) at Carolina

I’ve been hopping back and forth between three and 3.5. Excellent two-way action. But, we’re flooded with New Orleans -3 and Carolina +3.5. That’s a big problem for me if the game lands exactly on three (Saints bets push, Panthers bets win). I’m trying desperately not to move it again. I already know I’ll have to dodge a three. It’s my job to limit exposure. On the total, sharp play so far on Under my opener of 46, and then again at 45. I’m at 44.5 right now. Both teams stayed Under by more than a touchdown last week. 

Houston at Cleveland (-13, 48)

I opened Cleveland -12.5. Line is up to -13 on an accumulation of public bets. Nobody’s taking the dog yet. Sharps typically bet double-digit dogs in the NFL on principle. They’ll wait to see if the public drives this one even higher before stepping in. No reason to bet Houston +3 now if +3.5 or maybe even +4 will be available before kickoff. If there’s no move, sharps will settle for +3. Nobody is betting the Over/Under yet. 

Cincinnati at Chicago (-2.5, 45)

I opened Chicago -3. Sharps took the three with a vengeance. I dropped to 2.5. Almost no buy back on the Bears. Sharps also took Cincinnati to win the game outright at +2.5 on the money line. I’m down to +1.5. Looks like nobody believes in the Bears right now. I see some twos popping up across the market. As I write this, Cincinnati +2.5 is the only NFL team currently in the “basic strategy” teaser window where a six-point move would cross both the three and the seven. Cincy will be (and already is) a popular teaser leg for sharps. The public is usually more interested in teasing favorites of -7.5, -8, or -8.5 down rather than taking short dogs up. Small two-way action on the total at the opener of 45. 

Las Vegas at Pittsburgh (-6, 47)

Good betting game here. I opened Pittsburgh -6. They took the six. I went to 5.5 and they laid back the 5.5. I’m at six again. Recreational bettors and some sharps are starting to lay -6 with the Steelers. So, this one may go a bit higher.

“Situational” bettors know that the Raiders are dealing with a bad body clock and a short preparation week off a Monday Night overtime game. Right now, the sharper money seems to be on the Steelers. That might flip if the line goes up. Something like Raiders +7 would attract sharp play. This will be a heavily bet game here in Vegas obviously. A lot of Under interest at my early totals of 48.5, 48, and 47.5. I am getting some play back on the Over at 47. But, there are still more Under bets than Over bets at that number. 

Buffalo (-3.5, 47.5) at Miami

Good two-way action here at Buffalo -3.5. I was at three for a while after the first bet I took was from a sharp on Miami. Recreational bettors love Buffalo in the bounce back. My highest ticket count right now is on the Bills. But, sharper bettors are taking Miami with the hook. Some may be waiting to see if they can get +4 before kickoff. Sharps and bookmakers will be rooting for the same team here. Very little action on the total. 

LA Rams (-3.5, 47.5) at Indianapolis

I opened the Rams -4. Sharps took the Colts pretty aggressively. I’ve been at 3.5 since. My ticket count is overwhelmingly on the Rams. The public watched the Colts get crushed by Seattle, then the Rams bullied the Bears. But sharps really love Indy at +4. Sportsbooks will have to leverage their positions with that knowledge. Oddsmakers have known for years it’s better to be positioned with the sharps rather than against them. Doesn’t work every single time. Works more than enough to justify the risk. My opening total was 47.5. They bet me Over pretty good, so I went to 48 late Friday morning. 

San Francisco (-3, 49) at Philadelphia

Another good betting game here. I opened San Francisco -4. Sharps took the Eagles +4, then the Eagles +3.5. I’m at three right now, and I can see it’s trending lower across the market. I also took a big money line bet on the Eagles at +3.5. That’s down to +4.0. Obviously sharps were very impressed with Philadelphia’s blowout of Atlanta last week (not a fluke if you look at the stats). You teaser fans should keep an eye on this one through the weekend. Should San Francisco drop to -2.5, a new option (Philadelphia +8.5) would enter the two-team six-point teaser window. Of course, a line of SF -2.5 would bring in a lot of 49ers money. This market could get extremely interesting before kickoff. On the total, I took a big early bet Under my opener of 50. I’m at 49 right now. 

Denver (-6, 45) at Jacksonville

Not much interest at all. It’s like nobody knows they’re playing. A few public bets on the Broncos. Not enough to move the number. Nobody wants to bet the Jags. Tough to ask a road favorite like Denver to play well two weeks in a row far away from home. 

New England (-6, 43) at NY Jets

The Jets are another team nobody wants to bet. I opened Patriots -5. They laid me the five…they laid me -5.5…and they’re still laying me -6. I’m not ready to move beyond the six just yet. I do think this one will go higher. Might take a full seven for dog money to show. My Over/Under is up from an opener of 42.5 to 43 based on an accumulation of one big and mostly small bets. 

Minnesota at Arizona (-3.5, 50)

I opened Arizona -4. First bet was a pretty good-sized wager on the Vikings. I dropped to -3.5. The market has been laying Arizona -3.5 since. I have a feeling I’ll be back to Arizona -4 soon. I’m not getting anything on the Vikings +3.5. Ticket count is very heavy toward Arizona. Maybe sharps will take +4 if/when it reappears. A lot of play on this total. I opened 51. One guy bet Under for a lot. I dropped to 50. We’ve been getting good play back on Over 50. I have a feeling we’ll settle at 50.5. 

Atlanta at Tampa Bay (-13, 52)

I opened Tampa Bay -13. Took some pretty decent-sized bets on the Falcons right away. Mostly sharp. As I mentioned earlier, sharps almost always bet double-digit dogs for value. Historical percentages justify the approach.  I didn’t drop the line initially because I thought the public would come in on Tampa Bay throughout the week. That turned out to be right. My ticket count is already about 4/1 on the Bucs. I’ll see where the money takes me between now and kickoff. My total opened at 52. We’ve had a little bit of play on the Under. Not enough to move the number.  

Tennessee at Seattle (-6, 54)

Tennessee’s not finding many takers after playing so badly vs. Arizona last week. Seattle looked great at Indianapolis. My opener of Seattle -5.5 was bet up to -6 on an accumulation of bets. The trend is definitely up. I think it may get to Seattle -7 before there’s any buy back on the Titans. Another game with a one-sided ticket count heading into the weekend. Decent action both ways at the opening total of 54. 

Dallas at the LA Chargers (-3.5, 55)

I opened Chargers -2.5. I moved to three based on early betting and Cowboys injury reports. Money kept coming in on the Chargers. I’m at LAC -3.5 now. Sharps (and Cowboys fans) are starting to take back +3.5. Might turn out to be one of those 3/3.5 games where all the money is either on the favorite at -3, or the dog at +3.5. I’d have to dodge a three again. We’ve had a lot of play on the total. I opened 56. Sharps bet Under 56. But, money came in on Over after I dropped to 55. I see other stores with 54.5. I’m not dropping that far when people are already betting me Over 55 here at the South Point. 

Kansas City (-4, 54.5) at Baltimore

I opened this matchup Kansas City -2.5 before the Monday night game started. We closed betting at kickoff. Customers had hit the Chiefs -2.5 pretty hard. When I reopened the game, I went up at Chiefs -3.5. I didn’t like what I saw from the Ravens in their loss to the Raiders. A lot of problems in the defensive backfield and on offense (though I thought Lamar Jackson played very well in tough circumstances). The line is now up to Chiefs -4. I’m not exposed to a middle yet because nobody’s bet the Ravens! Quiet for now. Nobody’s laying -4 with the Chiefs either. My opening total of 55.5 was bet down to 55 and 54.5. I’m starting to get Over play at 54.5. A prime time attraction like this will draw a lot of action late. Remember that the public usually bets favorites and Overs in these solitary TV games. 

Monday, Sept. 20

Detroit at Green Bay (-11, 48)

I opened Green Bay -10.5. Early bets were on the Packers. I knew we’d get to 11 eventually, so I went there quickly. By late week I was getting two-way action with some buy back on the Lions. I wouldn’t be surprised if the line moved higher before kickoff based on public tendencies. We’ll see how much of a stand sharps want to make on another double-digit dog. My opening total of 48.5 was bet down to 48. Public will probably like Over on game day unless weather becomes a factor. 

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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