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Oddsboard is doing a lot of talking on tonight's NFL games

Jeff Fogle  
VSiN City newsletter

August 16, 2018 12:10 AM

Market alert! Important line moves this week in all three Thursday night NFL preseason games. Plus, the hard-charging St. Louis Cardinals win their eighth straight. All the latest from the sports you love to bet right now in VSiN City.

NFL Preseason: Sharps active in all three Thursday night matchups
Some big line moves in tonight’s pro football trio. And, the game that only moved half a point rose from a key number. We’ll start with that one as our Market Watch covers the action in Nevada Rotation order…

Philadelphia at New England (7:30 p.m. ET, 4:30 p.m. in Las Vegas) 
The opener of Patriots -3 has been bet up to -3.5…where it’s held ever since. Though “three” isn’t quite as important in August as it is during the regular season, that’s still the single most important point spread. The fact that Eagles money at plus 3.5 hasn’t pulled the number back is important. Sharps like the Pats -3. No respected influences (or high-volume public influences) are pounding the defending Super Bowl champs at that price.

Why hasn’t there been more support for Philly? Particularly with the team qualifying for a trend Gill Alexander discussed Wednesday on “A Numbers Game?” Psst…Gill’s saying one hundred, fifty-eight, and three (100-58-3), not 158-3! Even though Philadelphia is in a bounce-back spot off a loss, while New England is in a letdown spot off a win…smart money may be reacting to performances from backups last week.

*Philadelphia was outscored 9-0 in the second half last week by Pittsburgh
*New England won its second half 23-0 vs. Washington

Pittsburgh is notorious for no-showing exhibition games, so it’s not a good sign at all that the Eagles were shut down by the Steelers in the final two quarters. New England played like it was trying to get a result. Can’t hurt Patriot sentiment that Tom Brady will see action this week after sitting out the opener.
 
NY Jets at Washington (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. in Las Vegas; on ESPN) 
The opener of Washington -3 has been bet down aggressively all the way to -1. That’s not just a half-point move off the key number. That’s a TWO-POINT move! Sharps won easily with the Jets last week as a 4-point favorite over Atlanta. That 17-0 shutout impressed, with Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater both looking sharp in a quarterback war. Smart money loves quarterback wars in August! You already know Washington fell apart in the second half vs. New England last week. 

The total opened low at 40, and was bet down even lower to 38.5. This despite many market totals sitting in the low 40’s after last week’s surprising volume. As we mention in our Thursday “tip” for the New York Post, both of these head coaches are 1-4 to the Under in their last five preseason games. Looks like smart money is expecting another defensive battle, with the Jets’ quarterback war being relatively restrained. Jets did only reach 17 points even with the QBs making headlines. 

Pittsburgh at Green Bay (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. in Las Vegas) 
Wow…Green Bay opened at -2.5, and has blown through the key number of three all the way up to -5!

Green Bay often sleeps through the preseason. But, last week’s second-half rout of Tennessee (24-7) sure got people’s attention. Aaron Rodgers didn’t play. Three motivated Packer backups all passed for more than 100 yards.

Brett Hundley: 9-14-108 (long of 48 yards)
DeShone Kizer: 9-18-134 (long of 51 yards)
Tim Boyle: 7-15-0-130 (long of 52 yards)

Hundley wants to keep his spot as top backup behind Rodgers. Kizer wants to show he still belongs in the league after struggling for Cleveland. Tim Boyle is a rookie from Eastern Kentucky who realizes this is the best chance he’s going to get to impress the league. Not exactly a “quarterback war,” but a situation that sharps love to see, particularly against a disinterested opponent. Pittsburgh has a history of August no-shows, and may not bring much fire off a win right before a dress rehearsal.

Note that the Over/Under is up from 42 to 43, also suggesting an expectation of QB production.

Be sure you watch VSiN broadcasts all day Thursday for the latest from the markets.

We’ll run box score numbers from all three of those games for you Friday in VSiN City. Let’s take a look at the South Point’s lines for the rest of the weekend. Live national telecasts are noted in parenthesis. Of course, if you live near an NFL city, your team’s game will be televised locally. 

Friday
NY Giants at Detroit (-3/40.5)
Kansas City at Atlanta (-1.5/39)
Miami at Carolina (-3.5/43)
Buffalo at Cleveland (-3.5/40) (on the NFL Network)
Arizona at New Orleans (-3.5/41)

Saturday
Jacksonville at Minnesota (-4/40) (on the NFL Network)
Oakland at the LA Rams (-2.5/38.5) (on the NFL Network)
Cincinnati at Dallas (-3/41) (on the NFL Network)
San Francisco at Houston (-2.5/41)
Tampa Bay at Tennessee (-3/41)
Chicago at Denver (-3/41)
Seattle at the LA Chargers (-3/39.5) (on the NFL Network)

Monday
Baltimore at Indianapolis (-1/40.5) (on ESPN)

We’ll post some key stats for Friday/Saturday games in our Monday report. Ravens/Colts will get more personal attention Tuesday. 

MLB Interleague Wednesday: Houston got sick of hearing about its home losing streak! And Philadelphia bounces back versus Boston
After NINE straight home losses, the Houston Astros retaliated HARD Wednesday night against the Colorado Rockies. They would have liked to have some of these runs earlier in the slump…

Houston (-200) 12, Colorado 1 
Total Bases Plus Walks: Colorado 6, Houston 31
Starting Pitchers: Anderson 4.1 IP, 9 ER, Cole 6 IP, 1 ER
Bullpen: Colorado 3.2 IP, 3 ER, Houston 3 IP, 0 ER

Laugher early, as Houston scored three runs in each of the first two innings. Gerrit Cole had 12 strikeouts in six innings of work. Houston moves to 74-47. Colorado falls to 64-56. 

In another IL meeting matching a pair of teams in the playoff picture…

Philadelphia (pick-em) 7, Boston 4 
Total Bases Plus Walks: Boston 15, Philadelphia 17
Starting Pitchers: Eovaldi 5 IP, 1 ER, Vazquez 2.1 IP, 3 ER
Bullpen: Boston 3 IP, 4 ER, Philadelphia 6.2 IP, 0 ER

Lower TB plus W counts than you’d expect for an 11-run game. Basically a 4-all tie with the Phils doing a better job of clustering their offensive bases. Huge performance from the Phillies’ bullpen after Vazquez was knocked out early (63 pitches in 2.1 innings).

Boston falls back to exactly 50 games over .500 with the loss. Phillies now 66-53, which keeps them very much in divisional and wildcard hunts. 

Other early IL finishers…

*The NY Mets (-125) won Baltimore 16-5, giving us another chance to talk about their road scoring prowess. Has anyone besides VSiN noticed this? Mets now a very respectable 27-30 on the road (considering their reputation for haplessness), which is better than Philadelphia at 27-34. Per-game road scoring average is now 4.93 runs per game. Better than the Yankees at 4.75, and even the Cubs at 4.86.

*Cleveland (-170) beat Cincinnati 4-3. A series sweep to clinch the Ohio Cup. Tribe now 10-2 their last 12 games. 

AL Wednesday: Seattle avoids series sweep with extra-inning win at Oakland 
Sympathies to any of you who had tickets to the game. You needed extra baseball just to see any runs. Seattle finally broke through in the twelfth inning with a Dee Gordon two-run homer. 

Seattle (pick-em) 2, Oakland 0 (in 12 innings) 
Total Bases Plus Walks: Seattle 14, Oakland 13
Starting Pitchers: Leake 8 IP, 0 ER, Anderson 7.2 IP, 0 ER
Bullpen: Seattle 4 IP, 0 ER, Oakland 4.1 IP, 2 ER

Tough scoring park. Second only to Citi Field (Mets) in scoring reduction this season. ESPN’s ballpark chart had it at minus 24% before this yawner. Home runs were down 32%. 

Seattle soars to 70-52 with the win. Oakland falls to 72-49 with the loss. Still time for either (or both) to make a run at Houston at the top of the AL West, or the Yankees for the top wildcard spot. 

The Yanks continue to stand in place as the days go by…

Tampa Bay (plus 170) 6, NY Yankees 1 
Total Bases Plus Walks: Tampa Bay 22, New York 14
Starting Pitchers: Faria 3.1 IP, 1 ER, Cessa 3.1 IP, 5 ER
Bullpen: Tampa Bay 5.2 IP, 0 ER, New York 5.2 IP, 1 ER

Cessa’s not a guy you want throwing critical innings as a starter. Easy win for Tampa’s bullpen ride-sharing plan. Yanks still 30 games over .500 at 75-45. Tampa Bay two over at 61-59.

VSiN ran these post-All-Star-break rankings graphics in Wednesday’s New York Post

Yanks’ AL Hitting Rankings since ASB
#8 in batting avg. 
#7 in on-base pct.
#8 in slugging pct.
#8 in on-base slugging

Yanks’ AL Pitching Rankings Since ASB 
#10 in ERA
#9 in WHIP

A 6-1 Wednesday night result is in line with the story those numbers were telling. The Yanks have been just another generic team for weeks…a stunning fall from excellence out of the gate. 

Through June 21: 50-22
From June 22 on: 25-23

They’ve also fallen into a recent pattern that doesn’t bode well for playoff success. If you consider Tampa Bay a “tweener” because the Rays have hovered around .500 for so long…check out these records since the All-Star break…

NYY is 11-5 vs. losing teams
NYY is 2-3 vs. tweener Tampa Bay
NYY is 0-4 vs. the only playoff caliber opponent (Boston)

That’s 2-7 lately vs. non-doormats. No softies in October. Though, at least Aaron Judge will be back in the lineup by then.

NL Wednesday: Cubs coast, Cards CALIENTE
Chicago’s feast or famine tendency had everyone well-fed Wednesday. Big day at the plate in a must-win spot vs. the Brewers.

Chicago Cubs (-140) 8, Milwaukee 4
Total Bases Plus Walks: Milwaukee 14, Chicago 26
Starting Pitchers: Guerra 3.2 IP, 6 ER, Hendricks 6 IP, 4 ER
Bullpen: Milwaukee 4.1 IP, 1 ER, Chicago 3 IP, 0 ER

You can see the damage was done early vs. Guerra. Cubs now 69-50, three games ahead of the Brewers at 68-55. Cards are still zooming up in the rearview mirror like Ghost Rider in a bad mood. 

St. Louis (pick-em) 4, Washington 2 
Total Bases Plus Walks: Washington 18, St. Louis 14
Starting Pitchers: Hellickson 4.1 IP, 2 ER, Gomber 6 IP, 0 ER
Bullpen: Washington 3.2 IP, 1 ER, St. Louis 3 IP, 1 ER

Cards helped a bit by a wild pitch and a throwing error on the way to their EIGHTH straight win. 
St. Louis still the hottest team in the NL since the ASB (18-9). Nobody was expecting that from a five-man starting rotation of Gomber-Gant-Mikolas-Ross-Flaherty. Cards now 66-55 for the season.

Nats should have scored more than two runs from this game’s raw production. A homer, a triple, two doubles, three singles and four walks drawn. Now below the .500 mark at 60-61. We’ll have to take them out of the analytical rotation! 

Also in the National League, Atlanta (-240) beat Miami 5-2 after a first inning brawl. 

Let’s close today’s baseball coverage with some pennant race shorthand. The numbers you see by each team are games above (or below) the .500 mark.

NL East: Atlanta plus 17, Philadelphia plus 13, Washington -1
NL Central: Chicago plus 19, Milwaukee plus 13, St. Louis plus 11
NL West: Arizona plus 11, Colorado plus 9, LA Dodgers plus 7 (pending late finish vs. SF) 

AL West: Houston plus 27, Oakland plus 23, Seattle plus 18
AL Wildcard (best two qualify): New York plus 30, Oakland plus 23, Seattle plus 18

WNBA: Washington and Las Vegas take care of business
Two games to recap from Wednesday night. Favorites with “need” won and covered both games vs. non-contenders. 

Washington (-10.5) 76, Indiana 62 
2-point Pct: Washington 44%, Indiana 40%
3-pointers: Washington 9/22, Indiana 3/18
Free Throws: Washington 9/12, Indiana 9/10
Rebounds: Washington 36, Indiana 39
Turnovers: Washington 7, Indiana 8

The result wasn’t a surprise. Though, Washington had to win the fourth quarter 18-2 to sneak past the point spread. Washington moves to 21-11 as it tries to chase down Atlanta for the #2 seed or lock in #3 and home court in a one-game quarterfinal. Indiana is now 5-27.

Las Vegas (-11) 85 New York 72 
2-point Pct: New York 48%, Las Vegas 63%
3-pointers: New York 8/23, Las Vegas 3/16
Free Throws: New York 8/12, Las Vegas 12/17
Rebounds: New York 32, Las Vegas 36
Turnovers: New York 14, Las Vegas 9

New York sat a lot of injured players. Las Vegas was ahead 22-3 before some fans even found their seats. Liberty fall to 7-25 in a shockingly wasted season. They were supposed to be a playoff team! Las Vegas still controls its own destiny heading into a huge Friday night game in Dallas.  

Let’s update the playoff picture. All nine teams on the list are through 32 out their 34 regular season games. 

WNBA Playoff Picture (top eight qualify)
1…Seattle 24-8
2…Atlanta 22-10
3…Washington 21-11
4…Connecticut 19-13 (owns tiebreaker vs. LA)
5…Los Angeles 19-13
6…Phoenix 18-14
7…Minnesota 17-15
8…Dallas 14-18
9…Las Vegas 14-18 (currently out via tiebreaker)

We’re not going to adjust our estimate of “market” Power Ratings from tonight because both favorites were getting respect for “need.” This is about what it will look like heading into next week’s playoffs…

88: Seattle 
83: Los Angeles, Washington, Connecticut
81: Atlanta, Minnesota
80: Phoenix
78: Dallas, Las Vegas (home)
77: Las Vegas (road)
75: Chicago
73: New York
72: Indiana

Plenty of drama still ahead. 

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