Andrews: Inside the betting action for NFL Week 8

October 30, 2021 05:15 PM
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Week 8 is off to a strong start for sportsbooks thanks to Green Bay’s upset of Arizona Thursday night.

Not only was Arizona bet heavily against the spread from -3.5 up to -6.5  through all of Green Bay’s COVID-19 news, but the Cardinals were also very popular in money-line parlays and six-point teasers. Those are all losing bets unless the second leg of the teaser pushes (loss-push goes down as a push at the South Point).  

The public will be trying to get its money back against a challenging slate. There aren’t any obvious teaser options this week for guys who like to bet favorites (lot of projected blowouts). A few games with injury question marks. It will be very interesting to see which games recreational bettors finally decide to sink their teeth into.  

Here’s a look at what’s been happening in betting markets so far. Matchups are presented in Nevada Rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.

Sunday, Oct. 31

Miami at Buffalo (-14, 49)

Quite a bit of action in this one, way more than you would normally think for a game with such a high spread. I opened Buffalo -14 when everyone else was at -13.5. Sharps took Miami + 14. Many fire at any outlier on principal. I joined the market at 13.5. Public money then overpowered the sharps, so I went back to Buffalo -14. I’m not sensing any sharp sentiment to spend more on Miami. I’ve only taken a couple of $100 bets on the Dolphins since returning to 14. My ticket count is about 6-1 for the Bills. Recreational bettors are also using Buffalo to win straight up in money-line parlays. Not much teaser interest on Buffalo or any of this week’s favorites. You don’t “buy” much value moving -14 down to -8. My Over/Under here opened 48. Sharps bet Over 48 hard enough that I went straight to 49. They bet that up to 49.5. Under money started to come in with the hook. I’m back to 49.

Carolina at Atlanta (-3, 46.5)

My opener of Atlanta -2.5 was bet up to -3. A number won’t stay below 3 for long if there’s any support at all for the favorite. Slumping Carolina’s not the kind of dog to put up a roadblock at 2.5. I’m writing pretty good two-way business at 3. The public is still betting Atlanta, but some sharp money taking the dog + 3. I opened the total at 46. Took one sharp Over bet and moved to 46.5. 

Philadelphia (-3.5, 48) at Detroit

It’s been rare this year to see sharps on a favorite while the public is on the dog, but that’s what’s happened here in early betting. I opened Philadelphia -3. Sharps bet the Eagles (despite losing big last week when they bet Philly as a ‘dog against the Raiders). I moved to 3.5. The public has been betting Detroit pretty enthusiastically at + 3.5. It sticks out because so few dogs have drawn public support this season. They can see Detroit keeps playing hard, and the Lions hung around with the Rams last week and stayed within the number. Recreational bettors are more likely to hold a grudge too. If they bet the Eagles last week, they’re still mad! They won’t back Philadelphia as a road favorite. Sharps just play the number. Not much happening on my opening total of 48. Some interest in the Under. Not enough to move the line yet.

Tennessee at Indianapolis (-2.5, 51)

Very interesting game. You’ve probably noticed the line movement yourself. I opened Indianapolis -1 when it was mostly pick-em in the marketplace. Sharps bet Tennessee. I went to pick-em. Quite a bit of money came in on Tennessee. I went to Titans -1. Then, a flood the other way. Sharps bet Indy + 1, Indy at pick-em, Indy -1, Indy -1.5. I then jumped straight to 2.5 because I was also getting strong money-line play on the Colts. I’m still at 2.5. I see other stores testing 2.5 with extra juice and even 3. Two possible scenarios are in play:

-A key Tennessee injury is about to be announced. “Somebody knew something” before it went public in a way that led to heavy support for the Colts.

-Sharps who loved the Colts were using early “line manipulation” to get better point spreads and money-line prices.

I personally think it’s the latter, but it’s possible a big story is about to break. My own Power Ratings made the game Indy -2. I think early shenanigans just led the line to where it was supposed to be. We’ve talked about this before and we’ll probably talk about it again: Sometimes early sharp bets are head fakes.

My total here opened 49. Sharps bet me Over 49 and 49.5. After two good-size bets on Over 49.5, I sent straight to 51. Looks like the rest of the market is about to join me there. Put all that together, and we have informed money implying that the improving (and revenge-minded) Indianapolis offense is likely to have a big game against the vulnerable Tennessee defense.

L.A. Rams (-16, 47) at Houston

I opened Rams -15 when everyone else had 14.5. Sharps that bet outliers took Houston. Since then, the public’s been on the Rams … laying -14.5, -15 and -15.5. I’m up to -16. Sharps may take Houston as a home dog at + 16 (Texans had a good home game vs. New England recently), and would certainly take Houston at + 17. My Over/Under opened 47, got bet up to 47.5, then back down to 47.

Cincinnati (-10.5, 43) at NY Jets

Cincinnati opened -10. My first bet was from a sharp who bet the Jets up to + 10.5. Another took + 10, so, I went to 9.5. Since then, it’s a been all Cincinnati money. Sharps and the public laid -9.5 and -10. I’m at 10.5 now. No wiseguy interest on the Jets has resurfaced. (That guy who “bought up” to + 10.5 wishes he waited). It might take + 11 or more to bring in Jets money now that unheralded Mike White has been confirmed as the starting quarterback. My total opened 43.5. I went straight to 42.5 (probably too quickly) after a sharp bet Under. A big bet Over 42.5 has me sitting at 43.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland (-4, 42)

There was a lot of play both ways on my opener of Cleveland -3.5. Felt like people on both sides of the sharp/public divide betting their opinions with confidence. Good ticket count. Cleveland money came in harder when Baker Mayfield was confirmed as the starting quarterback (Case Keenum played last week vs. Denver). I lifted the line to Cleveland -4 early Friday afternoon. I don’t think there’s much difference between “Mayfield playing hurt” and “Case Keenum playing for his former offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski.” We’ll see what the money says from now until kickoff. My opening total of 42.5 has been bet down to 42.

San Francisco (-4, 39.5) at Chicago

Looks like competing sharp groups going at it here. I opened San Francisco -4. Sharps took the Bears + 4. I dropped to 3.5. Other sharps laid -3.5. with the Niners. Money’s even, but at those different prices. For now, I have to hope the game doesn’t land on SF by 4. That would be a push one way, a loss for the house the other. A forecast for windy conditions may be impacting the total. My opener of 40.5 took a big Under bet from a respected player. I dropped straight to 39.5. The market joined me there soon after.

Jacksonville at Seattle (-3.5, 44.5)

I opened Seattle -4 before the Monday Night game was played vs. New Orleans. Not much business. I re-opened Seattle -3.5. First bet was on the Jaguars. I dropped down to the key number of 3. Bettors laid back the Seahawks strong. I’m at 3.5 again. There hasn’t been any buy back on the Jags since I returned to 3.5. My total opened 44. I took one sharp bet on the Over and moved to 44.5.

New England at LA Chargers (-4.5, 49.5)

The Patriots took a lot of sharp play right out of the gate. I opened Chargers -6. Sharps bet Pats + 6, Pats + 5.5 and Pats + 5. I’m down to 4.5 now, which stopped the wiseguys. We can definitely say the sharps like New England at + 5 or better. (Though not a “key” number, five is showing up more often as a victory margin in recent seasons. My friend Ralph Michaels recently posted a chart on Twitter showing its increase since 2015.) I did take some Chargers money all the way down, though. They’re getting public support. This will be a high-handle game by kickoff. Remember that Las Vegas might as well be a Los Angeles suburb for sports fandom. Both the Chargers and Rams have good betting constituencies this season. My opening total was bet up from 48 to 48.5, 49 and now 49.5. Sharps playing “Pats and Over” means they like what they’re seeing from Mac Jones and the improving New England offense.

Tampa Bay (-5, 49.5) at New Orleans

Before the Saints played Monday night, I opened Tampa Bay -5. Not much interest. I stayed at TB -5 on the re-open. First bet was a big play on the Bucs from one of my best players. I went straight to Tampa Bay -6. Other sharps jumped on the Saints + 6. I dropped to 5.5, and a different sharp outfit took those points. I’m back where I started at 5. Strong two-way play but at different lines. I see the market trending lower. Influence from that first sharp on the Bucs is getting overpowered by other wiseguys. I’ve been getting a lot of action on the total. My opener of 50 was bet up to 50.5. Since then I’ve been bet Under 50.5 and Under 50. I’m at 49.5 right now.

Dallas at Minnesota (-3, 52)

You know this one’s gotten messy because of Dak Prescott’s status. I opened Dallas -2. First bet was a big money-line play on the Cowboys -140. There’s been a flood of money on the Vikings since. We moved quickly as we followed the headlines. Sharps bet Minnesota + 2 and + 1. I skipped through pick-em and went straight to Minnesota -1. Sharps laid that, and -2, and -2.5. I’m at the key number of 3 now. Dak is still questionable. If he’s officially ruled out, I’d expect the line to rise to -4. Sharps would probably buy back on the still-talented Cowboys with a backup QB at + 4. My total opened 54.5, and I went to 55 after an Over bet. Since then, Under bets and headline watching dropped the number to 52.

Monday, Nov. 1

NY Giants at Kansas City (-9.5, 52)

I opened Kansas City -10. The Giants have been getting sharp respect all season. A couple of bettors bought it up to + 10.5 for large wagers. I dropped to 9.5. I’m seeing 9.5 and 10 out there. Recreational bettors are on the Chiefs, but with much less enthusiasm than in the recent past. Kansas City is only 2-5 ATS this year, but both covers were blowouts of NFC East teams (42-30 at Philadelphia, 31-13 at Washington). Very little play so far on my opening total of 52.

I hope you have a great betting weekend. We’ll talk football again next week. September and October have been very exciting already. The arrival of November will kick things up another notch.

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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