Sportsbooks are coming off one of their biggest NFL weekends ever.
You probably heard that books ended a streak of three straight losing weeks with a Week 8 win. But, reports understated the magnitude. Last week’s NFL profits easily covered losses from the prior three weeks. That unforgettable Jets upset of the Bengals by itself was like “half a Super Bowl” for us here at the South Point. The biggest regular season win I can recall.
Bettors were all over Cincinnati because nobody wanted to take an “unknown” inexperienced quarterback making his debut for a bad Jets team.
Bettors used Cincinnati left and right in parlays, both against the spread and in moneyline combos.
Bettors even teased Cincinnati aggressively, though bringing a favorite of that size down six points doesn’t offer any true value when you factor in price and the need to sweep. “I don’t want to lay -10.5, but they’ll ‘definitely’ win by more than -4.5” was a disastrous approach for far too many.
I’m not telling you these things to brag. All we did was take bets! I want customers to enjoy sports betting. Many of you have visited the South Point in person. You know we’re all about friendly customer service and creating a great atmosphere. I just want to make sure you’re thinking about the right way to play when you approach the ticket window.
- Don’t bet money you can’t afford to lose.
- Don’t overexpose your bankroll on one game because you’re certain it’s “a sure thing.” No such animal in the NFL.
- Be careful with parlays. They’re much harder to hit than you realize.
- Remember when taking favorites in money line parlays that the NFL is a league of upsets. Outright underdog victories are more common than you realize.
- Limit six-point teasers to games that cross both the 3 and the 7 in one move (moving -8 down to -2, or + 1.5 up to + 7.5 for example). Even then, be careful. Teasers can “tease” you into making bad bets. They’re not free money.
While it’s great for business to have a big day, I don’t take pleasure in watching my valued customers lose this big. I’m writing these market reports every week to help you make better decisions with your college and pro football bets. I hope everyone reading will learn to think more like the sharps and less like recreational bettors.
(PS: sharps also lost betting the Bengals! But, they didn’t over-bet the game compared to the rest of the slate, or lose a lot of parlays, or tease the Bengals down through a range with negative expectation.)
A lot of Week 9 games to discuss. Matchups are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules.
Sunday, Nov. 7
Houston at Miami (-5.5, 46.5)
I opened Miami -7. Sharps took Houston, so I dropped to 6.5. Then, it was announced that Tyrod Taylor would return at quarterback for the Texans. He played well before his injury. I dropped to six on the news. After another bet on Houston, I dropped straight to five. Miami money did start coming in at that price. I’m up to Miami -5.5 and I see some 6’s popping up in the market. I may be back to six by the time you read this. Miami’s also getting bet in teasers. That’s definitely a danger area for public bettors. Yes, it could work. But, moving down from six obviously doesn’t cross the 3 and 7. It only crosses the 3. Be careful assuming teams who aren’t good enough to lay a TD will automatically win straight up. My opening total of 46 was bet up to 46.5 when Taylor’s return was announced.
Denver at Dallas (-10, 49.5)
Dak Prescott should be back at quarterback for Dallas. I opened Cowboys -9 and sharps laid it. I went straight to 10 to test the key number. Sharps took Denver + 10, so I dropped to 9.5. Dallas money returned at -9.5. I’m back to 10 now. Pretty good action already at those prices. Dallas money hits strong at -9 and -9.5, Denver at + 10. I think the game will probably stay at 10 because the public will bet the Cowboys this weekend. Not much interest in the Over/Under. I’ll only mention those today when there’s been a relevant line move.
Minnesota at Baltimore (-6, 49.5)
I opened Baltimore -6 when most everyone else was at -5.5. First bet was on the Vikings + 6. I temporarily dropped to 5.5, but quickly went back to 6. I’m writing pretty decent two-way action since. Sharps like the Vikings + 6. The public doesn’t mind laying points with explosive Baltimore against a Vikings team that looked so bad against Cooper Rush and the Cowboys last week. Baltimore is also a popular pick to win straight up in moneyline parlays.
New England (-3.5, 41.5) at Carolina
Word came Friday that Christian McCaffrey was likely to return for the Panthers after missing five games with a hamstring injury. Earlier in the week, I opened New England -3.5. First bet was on the Pats, so I went up to -4. Sharps took Carolina + 4, bringing me back to 3.5. When the McCaffrey news broke, I dropped to Panthers + 3. Didn’t stay there long! Sharp money came in immediately on New England -3. McCaffrey has clearly been a difference-maker for Carolina through his career. This lack of line impact surprises me. Maybe sharps want more ironclad confirmation of his return. My total had been bet down from 43 to 41.5 before the McCaffrey news. I lifted the line to 42. Limited betting so far at the new number.
Buffalo (-14.5, 48.5) at Jacksonville
Not much interest so far. I opened Buffalo -14.5. Some sharp nibbles on the dog (many old-timers can’t resist double digits in the NFL). Small public bets on Buffalo. I expect the public to get more involved before kickoff. Wouldn’t surprise me if we closed Buffalo -15.
Cleveland at Cincinnati (-2.5, 47.5)
Friday headlines for this game too. Cleveland released Odell Beckham Jr. It didn’t affect the market. No surprise. OBJ has been a non-factor this season. Getting rid of a non-factor shouldn’t hurt! It might even turn out to be addition by subtraction. This line could hop between 2.5 and 3 all weekend. Cincinnati money comes in aggressively at -2.5. But, so does Cleveland money at + 3. I also took a big money line bet on the Browns to win outright at + 120. And, I’ve been getting sharp teaser play on the Browns + 8.5. The public always teases favorites down. Sharps will often take underdogs up when they can cross the 3 and 7. They don’t necessarily do this on every short dog, but they’re doing it with the Browns. My opening total of 46.5 has been bet up to 47.5. I’ve taken some Under play at 47.5. Not enough to start dropping back.
Las Vegas (-3.5, 46.5) at the NY Giants
I opened Raiders -3. I took a strong bet on the Giants + 3 (early sharp interest on NYG seems to hit every week!). That pulled me down to 2.5. It’s been almost all Raiders money since. Different sharps laid -2.5. A mix of sharp and public money is on the Raiders at -3. I’m up to -3.5 right now. Might turn out to be a 3/3.5 game until kickoff. Las Vegas sportsbooks know they’ll get flooded with Raiders money at -3. Many will adjust their vigorish at either 3 or 3.5. The South Point keeps all NFL point spreads at -110. I’m more likely to stick at 3.5 to stay responsibly positioned. My opening total of 47 was bet down to 46, then back up to 46.5.
Atlanta at New Orleans (-6, 42)
Weird mix here. We’ve had some line movement. But, the game still goes on my “the public doesn’t even know they’re playing” list. I opened New Orleans -6. I took a sharp bet on Saints -6, but then a sharp bet on Falcons + 6.5. I’m back to six. I took a rather large money line bet on New Orleans -250 on the money line. That price is now up to -270. Public isn’t betting either team or looking yet at the Saints in moneyline parlays or teasers (asking six-point favorites to win straight up is usually irresistible to recreational bettors). Trevor Siemian will start at QB for New Orleans. Backup Taysom Hill will be available for special packages.
LA Chargers (-1.5, 50) at Philadelphia
Justin Herbert reportedly re-aggravated a hand injury last week against the Patriots. That, plus a blowout loss at Baltimore the prior game, has soured many in the market on the Chargers. I opened LAC -2.5. Sharps took the Eagles + 2.5 and + 2. Sharps also bet Philadelphia on the money line to win straight up at + 125 and + 110. And, they took the Eagles in teasers at anywhere from + 8.5 to + 7.5. This short dog and Cleveland are both getting heavy sharp teaser interest. That said, the Chargers still have some support. I’ve taken some bets, both ATS and moneyline, on the Chargers during the line move. The moneyline interest showed after I dropped from -145 down to -125, so I’m back to -130 now. Updates on Herbert’s status may create a lot of new action between now and kickoff. My opening total of 50.5 was bet down to 50.
Green Bay at Kansas City (-7, 48)
This game’s been crazy. Let me explain it in stages.
Before Kansas City played Monday night vs. the Giants, I had opened the game Kansas City -2.5. Not much early betting interest.
After Kansas City played poorly in a close win, I reopened the Packers game at pick-em. Sharps bet the Packers.
After star quarterback Aaron Rodgers was scratched because of COVID, I moved the line to Kansas City -7. We took a sharp bet on the Chiefs. I moved to 7.5. But, I just didn’t like that line. Kansas City’s defense is shaky and its offense is slumping. Green Bay won outright shorthanded at Arizona last time out. Davante Adams will be returning from his absence. New starting quarterback Jordan Love has the potential to be quite an impact player in this league. I dropped back to Kansas City -7 before taking a bet.
Chiefs bettors said “Thanks Chris!” They’ve been laying -7…they’ve been taking KC in money line parlays…they’ve been teasing the Chiefs down to -1. I’m buried in Chiefs bets right now. Call me stubborn. I think seven is a better line than 7.5. I may have to go up to -7.5 in self-defense. Sharps will definitely bet Green Bay big if that hook becomes available.
My total opened 55.5. Sharps bet me Under 55.5 and 55. When Rodgers was scratched, I dropped all the way down to 48. That’s not because I think Love will be horrible, but Green Bay will have to play at a much slower pace with Love. They’ll emphasize the run more (with a QB who can scamper). My adjustment was as much about pace as it was about the player.
Arizona at San Francisco (-2, 45)
Another game influenced by player availability. I opened Arizona -3 and sharps bet San Francisco + 3 strong, so I dropped to 2.5. When it became obvious that Cardinals star quarterback Kyler Murray’s status was in question, I dropped to pick-em. Sharps kept betting the Niners at pick-em and-1. I’m at -2 now. Sharps have also been betting SF on the money line. I took bets at -130 and -135. I’m up to -145 now which is a little high for a 2-point favorite. My opening total of 46.5 has been bet down to 45.
Tennessee at the LA Rams (-7, 53)
A really great betting game. I opened Rams -7.5 (it would have been -5 if Derrick Henry hadn’t suffered a major injury last week). Sharps took Tennessee + 7.5. I dropped to seven. Other sharps laid -7 with the Rams. Did that dance one more time. I’m back to seven right now. Might be a 7/7.5 game up until kickoff. That by itself will create a big handle. We’ve also taken a big bet on Tennessee + 300 on the money line. And, the Rams are “the teaser leg of the week” getting moved down to -1 or -1.5. A lot of ways to play this one if you have a strong opinion on either side. My opening total of 54 has been bet down to 53.
Monday, Nov. 8
Chicago at Pittsburgh (-6.5, 39)
Surprisingly little betting interest so far. You can’t walk 10 feet in the South Point without running into somebody from either Chicago or Pittsburgh. Nobody’s betting the game yet. Took one sharp Under bet at my opening total of 40. Moved straight to 39.
Be sure you pay close attention to injury and market developments through the weekend. Probably more important this weekend than at any other time yet this season. Good luck! See you next week.
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.