Welcome to Week 8 of the NFL season. For Sunday NFL analysis and betting updates be sure to join Michael Lombardi, Patrick Meagher and myself this morning on NESN from 10 a.m. ET to 12-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 a trio of NFL matchups receiving notable sharp action from respected bettors today.
1 p.m. ET: Las Vegas Raiders at Cleveland Browns
These two AFC foes are trending in opposite directions, which creates a buy low, sell high opportunity for value-driven bettors. The Raiders (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) have lost three of their last four games, most recently falling to the Bucs 45-20 as 4-point home dogs. On the flip side, the Browns have won five of their last six games and just beat the Bengals 37-34, although they failed to cover as 4-point road favorites. This line opened with Cleveland listed as a 3-point home favorite. Spread bets are split down the middle and the public doesn't know who to back. However, we've seen this line tumble from Browns -3 to -2. In a vacuum, a line shouldn't move at all if the tickets are split. So we know this move was caused by respected pro money backing Vegas. The Raiders have value as a short road dog, a road dog with a line move in their favor and a dog off a 20+ point blowout loss. The Raiders are 6-0 to the over and the Browns are 5-2 to the over. The public sees an auto-bet over, but sharp money sees a bit of an inflated total. Sharps have hit the under, dropping the total from 55.5 to 48. Weather is a huge factor here, as the forecast calls for 25 MPH winds. Bill Vinovich, the lead ref, has historically favored road teams (56% ATS) and unders (59%).
1 p.m. ET: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens
This AFC North showdown features a pair of bitter rivals with Super Bowl aspirations. This will also be one of the most anticipated and heavily bet games on Sunday. The Steelers (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS) are the only undefeated team left in the NFL and just beat the Titans 27-24, winning outright as 1-point road dogs. Meanwhile, the Ravens (5-1 SU, 3-2-1 ATS) are riding a three-game winning streak, having just beat the Eagles 30-28 their last time out, although Baltimore failed to cover as a 10-point road favorite. The Ravens will also enjoy a big rest advantage here as they are coming off a bye week. This line opened with Baltimore listed as a 5.5-point home favorite. Pros and Joes are both rushing to the window to grab the points with the streaking Steelers. This lopsided action has forced oddsmakers to adjust the line down from Ravens -5.5 to -3.5. We saw some buyback on Ravens at -3.5, pushing the line back up to -4 where it rests now. Pittsburgh has value as a road divisional dog, a road team with a line move in their favor and a short road dog + 6 or less. We've also seen a steady stream of under money, dropping the total from 49 to 46.5. Weather could be an issue as the forecast calls for 10 MPH winds and some rain.
4:35 p.m. ET: San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
This NFC West showdown has big divisional implications. The Seahawks (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS) are coming off their first loss of the season, falling to the Cardinals on Sunday Night 37-34 and losing straight up as 3.5-point road favorites. Meanwhile, the 49ers (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS) are riding on a two-game win streak and just demolished the Patriots 33-6, winning straight up as 3-point road dogs. This line opened with Seattle listed as a 4-point home favorite. The public sees Russell Wilson at home off a loss and has no problem laying the short number. However, despite a majority of bets backing Seattle, we've seen a notable adjustment toward San Francisco, with this line falling down to the key number of 3 thanks to smart money backing the 49ers. San Francisco has value as a contrarian road divisional dog with a line move in their favor and a short road dog. Jimmy Garoppolo is 2-0 ATS this season as a dog and 11-3 ATS as a dog in his career. The lead official is Craig Wrolstad. He has historically favored road teams (58% ATS).
More notable line movement
Vikings + 7 to + 6 at Packers
Patriots-Bills Under 46 to 40.5
Titans -4 to -7 at Bengals
Titans-Bengals Under 55.5 to 51
Jets + 21 to + 20 at Chiefs
Rams-Dolphins Under 47 to 45
Saints-Bears Under 45.5 to 42.5