This is a very challenging week for oddsmakers. None of us wants to fall behind the information. We want to provide betting entertainment for our customers while simultaneously protecting the bottom line of our bosses.
As I take you game-by-game through Week 3 of the NFL preseason schedule, you’ll see that I moved some point spreads because of betting action at the South Point, while others I moved because I needed to stay in sync with the overall market. Sharps get information before oddsmakers do. I must respect sharp money no matter where it’s being bet.
Note: Games are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can easily make notes on your schedules.
Friday, Aug. 27
Indianapolis (-2, 33.5) at Detroit
A big line move here based on betting action at the South Point. I opened Indianapolis -4. Sharps took the dog at + 4, + 3.5 and + 3. I still haven’t taken any Colts bets even though the line is down to -2. Respected money liked the Lions at + 3 or more, but stopped betting below the field goal. No action yet on the total. If I don’t mention a total in the games below, that just means nothing of interest has happened yet.
Philadelphia at NY Jets (-4, 33.5)
No early betting interest at all in this one. There will be plenty to talk about in other games.
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Pittsburgh at Carolina (-4, 35.5)
An opener of Carolina -1 has been bet all the way up to -4. I’m surprised by this move. Apparently, sharps aren’t high on Pittsburgh reserve QB Dwayne Haskins. He’ll see a lot of action. You regulars know I’m from Pittsburgh so I watch this team closely, and Haskins has played pretty well this month in my opinion. No buy back yet on the Steelers. I have to respect that lack of interest even after the move through the key number of 3. I opened the total at 34.5. I’m up a point on very little business to stay in line with the rest of the market.
Minnesota at Kansas City (-4, 38)
Here’s a good example of a game that I moved to keep up with the market. I opened -3.5 and 35. Even with very little betting action at the South Point in this particular matchup, I went up with the rest of the market to -4 and 38. It was telling to me that early interest on Kansas City -3.5 was moving away from the key number of 3. If sharps don’t take that “hook” right away, the underdog probably isn’t a good bet. That’s a good general rule you should keep in mind for college and pro football in the future.
Saturday, Aug. 28
Green Bay at Buffalo (-8, 35)
I opened Buffalo -7 and moved to Buffalo -8 on a little action, mostly to stay in line with the market. No buy back on the Packers, who are down four touchdowns in two home games so far this month.
Baltimore (-4, 32.5) at Washington
Another game that opened at -3.5 and got bet up to -4. It’s only a half a point, but when that half point moves away from a key number, it’s very meaningful. Respected money knows what John Harbaugh does in August. Another win and cover last week for Baltimore (Ravens won 20-3, laying four points at Carolina).
Chicago (-2, 36.5) at Tennessee
A 6-point move! I opened Tennessee -4. They took Chicago + 4, + 3.5, + 3, all the way down to pick-em. Then sharps bet some more on the Bears at pick-em! And -1. And -1.5. I may have to go to Chicago -2.5. I haven’t yet found the number that will make somebody bet Tennessee. Justin Fields will get the start for Chicago this week. Respected money thinks that he’s going to be the difference-maker. My total here rose from 35 to 36.5 to keep up with the market.
Tampa Bay (-4, 36.5) at Houston
A mix of action and market sentiment here. I opened Tampa Bay -3.5 and 35, and took some early bets on the Bucs and Over. Other shops did as well. I’m at Tampa Bay -4 and 36.5 now. Another game with a half-point move on the favorite away from the key number of 3.
Arizona at New Orleans (-3.5, 34.5)
Only example so far this week of good two-way action. I opened at New Orleans -3. They laid the 3, so I went to -4. I took some bets at -4, so I went up to -4.5. That’s when Arizona money came in. Respected money took + 4.5 … and came back in at + 4. I’m down to Saints -3.5 now.
L.A. Rams at Denver (-8.5, 33.5)
I opened Denver -7, which is already high for a preseason game. The Broncos have looked great, while the Rams offense has been sluggish. Sharps laid -7, and -7.5. I jumped to -8.5, which put an end to Broncos bets. No buy back yet on the Rams. Sharps bet Under my opener of 34, so I dropped to 33.5.
L.A. Chargers at Seattle (-5.5, 35)
Here’s a crazy one. I opened pick-em. I got a Seattle bet at pick-em and moved to -1. Then I took three full-limit Seattle bets on the app within a few seconds of each other. I moved to Seattle -2.5. I took two more full-limit bets on the Seahawks at that price. We went as high as Seattle -6 before getting some buy back on the Chargers. That was a big bet too. We’ll be sweating that middle at the South Point Saturday night.
Sunday, Aug. 29
Jacksonville (-3.5, 36.5) at Dallas
An opener of Jacksonville -3 was bet up to -3.5. No buy back yet on the Cowboys as a home dog with that extra half point. The opening total of 36 rose half a point on a little bit of play.
Miami at Cincinnati (PK, 36)
I opened Miami -2. Sharps took the + 2, so I dropped quickly to pick-em. Nobody’s bet it since, though other stores are showing Miami -1. On the total, sharps bet Over my opener of 33.5 … and then Over 34.5. Over bets stopped when I went to 36. No buy back on the Under yet.
Las Vegas at San Francisco (-3.5, 35.5)
Another game that’s moved through the key number of 3 without yet generating any buy back. I opened San Francisco -1.5; early play lifted it to -2.5, and then -3. Even at -3, I took a decent-sized bet on the Niners, which is why I’m at 49ers -3.5. now. Not getting any bets on the Raiders yet from sharps or locals. That’s an aggressive market move.
New England (-3, 35.5) at NY Giants
I opened New England -3.5 and sharps hit the ‘dog right away. Sharps will bet a ‘dog early if they don’t think line value will be there later in the week. I’m still taking some bets on the Giants at + 3, but not enough to drop the line any further. I think going down to Patriots -2.5 would definitely bring in money on the favorite. I prefer not setting up a middle on the key number of 3 if I can avoid it. The total opened 34, and has been bet all the way up to 35.5.
Cleveland (-5.5, 35.5) at Atlanta
An opener of Cleveland -7 attracted ‘dog money. Sharps took Atlanta + 7. I went down to six. I actually took some bets on Cleveland -6, but the rest of the market fell to 5.5. This is not a good week to be out of sync with the market, so I matched the move. My opening total of 36.5 was bet down to 35.5.
It was a nice bounce-back week last week, and the skies were much brighter in sportsbooks. I wouldn’t call it “great,” but it was “very good” with a ton of action. It helped that football bettors also took some shots in golf, baseball and European soccer. Big handle for August.
Best of luck with your NFL bets this weekend.
I’ll be back Thursday for my first college football report of the season. We’ll talk about betting action and market dynamics in Nebraska-Illinois, Hawaii-UCLA and the rest of the Week 0 slate. I look forward to discussing the NFL and marquee college football games with you all season long. Thanks very much for all the great feedback VSiN has already received for this new feature.
Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas, and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.