Welcome to Week 6 of the NFL season. For Sunday NFL analysis and betting updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself from 10 a.m.-noon on The Lombardi Line. We'll be dissecting all the big matchups and breaking down late sharp action leading up to gametime.
Until then, let's discuss four NFL matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors today.
1 p.m. ET: Chicago Bears at Carolina Panthers
After suffering their first loss of the season to the Colts 19-11 in Week 3, the Bears (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) rebounded in a big way in Week 4, upsetting the Bucs 20-19 as 3.5-point home dogs on Thursday Night Football. Now they travel to Carolina to face the surging Panthers (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS). After starting the season 0-2, Carolina has ripped off three straight wins, all of which have come without star running back Christian McCaffrey. Most recently, the Panthers are coming off a 23-16 win over the Falcons as 2.5-point road dogs. This line opened with Carolina listed as a 3-point home favorite. Despite a slight majority of bets laying the points with the home favorite, we've seen this line tumble from Panthers -3 to -1. This sharp reverse line movement signals pros backing Chicago. The Bears enjoy a rest advantage in this one, having last played on Thursday night while the Panthers played on Sunday. The over has also taken in respected money, moving from 43.5 to 44.5.
1 p.m. ET: Washington at New York Giants
These NFC East cellar dwellers have a combined record of 1-9 and already seem to be battling for the #1 pick in the draft. After a season opening win over the Eagles, Washington (1-4 SU, 1-3-1 ATS) has come back down to Earth and lost four straight, most recently falling to the Rams 30-10 as 7-point home dogs. Things have been even worse for the Giants (0-5 SU, 3-2). However, despite a winless record, New York has been a decent team to bet on this season. The G-Men have covered in three of their five games, including last week's 37-34 loss to the Cowboys as 7.5-point underdogs. This line opened with the GIants listed as 3.5-point home favorites. The public sees two bad teams and doesn't know who to back. indicates sharp action hitting Washington plus the points. Washington has value as a divisional dog. Road teams with a line move in their favor (like Washington + 3.5 to + 2.5 here) are 64% ATS this season.
4:25 p.m. ET: Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bettors are in for a treat with this late afternoon matchup. We get to see two of the game's greatest quarterbacks go head-to-head as Aaron Rodgers faces Tom Brady. The Packers (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) are off a fantastic start this season, winning and covering every game thus far. On the flip side, the Bucs (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) saw their three-game win streak snapped last week when they fell to the Bears 20-19 on Thursday Night Football, losing straight up as 3.5-point favorites. This line opened with Green Bay listed as a short 1.5-point road favorite. The public is absolutely hammering the Packers on the short spread, which has pushed some books to adjust Green Bay up to -2. That's when we saw wiseguys get down hard on the Bucs at an inflated line, dropping the line down to 1. The Bucs have heightened contrarian value as they are only getting about one-quarter of bets in what will be an extremely heavily bet game. Another edge to Tampa is the lead referee Jerome Boger. Home teams are 55.1% ATS when Boger is the head official.
8:20 p.m. ET: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers
This Sunday Night showdown pits a pair of NFC West rivals trending in opposite directions. The Rams (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) are riding a two-game winning streak, most recently taking down Washington 30-10 and easily covering as 7-point favorites. Meanwhile, the 49ers (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) are mired in a mini-tailspin. San Francisco has lost two straight, including a 43-17 blowout loss to the Dolphins last week, losing straight up at 7.5-point favorites. This line opened with the Rams listed as a short 3-point road favorite. In one of the most lopsided games of the week, more than two-thirds of bets are rushing to the window to lay the points with Los Angeles. This heavy support has pushed the line up to Rams -3.5. That's when pros hit San Francisco getting the hook. This line is now down to 2.5. The 49ers have value as a contrarian divisional dog in a heavily bet, primetime game.