If you think the shopping malls are busy this time of year, take a look at the odds for Week 14 of the NFL season. Oddsmakers have been frantically juggling numbers this week with early action forcing some notable adjustments.
We talk to Bert Osborne, sportsbook manager at the South Point in Las Vegas, about the biggest line moves heading into the weekend.
Philadelphia Eagles at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Open: -9, Move: -7.5
Some online books opened the Bucs as big as 9-point home favorites but early money on the Eagles has dropped that spread just outside of a touchdown. Osborne opened this line at Bucs -7.5 and expects money to come back on Tampa Bay by Sunday.
“This could easily go to -8,” Osborne told Covers. “Besides the sharp guys coming in and pushing it, I don’t know who would bet the Eagles right now.”
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings – Open: +1, Move: +3
Oddsmakers put their faith in Minnesota’s home record, setting the Vikings as slight 1-point home dogs. However, money has been steady on the Bears and has moved this spread to a field goal as of Thursday afternoon.
“I bounced between 2.5 and 3, and right now we’re at -3,” says Osborne. “The money, in straight bets and parlays, is pushing towards Chicago. But the percentage of bets on this one will come in on Saturday and Sunday.”
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins – Open: Pick, Move: -2.5
Some markets opened this game as a pick’em, but after a big win on Monday Night Football, the betting public is siding with the Redskins and has this line on the verge of a key number. Osborne expects this line to creep to a field goal very soon with early limit plays on Washington.
“They’re on the bandwagon now with the Redskins,” says Osborne. “Ever since that impressive Thanksgiving Day showing in Dallas, people have decided to stay with them. We won’t bother sitting at -2.5 and playing with the money. We’ll go straight to -3.”
Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns – Open: -4.5, Move: -7
The Chiefs head to Cleveland just a week removed from tragedy and an emotional win at home Sunday. The early action on this game is fading an emotionally-drained Kansas City, with nothing but Browns bets.
“It’s going to be a big one with both straight bets and the cards,” Osborne says of the split in action. “We took some limit plays at -6 and sit 6.5 but it will tough to push through to -7.”
New York Jets at Jacksonville Jaguars – Open: +1, Move: +3
We’re not sure if bettors are siding with Mark Sanchez, like Jets coach Rex Ryan, or just fading a terrible Jags team, but the early money is on New York. Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew remains a question mark for Sunday after missing the past six games with a foot injury.
“We’re a little higher on the Jets right now,” says Osborne. “This looks like one everyone will be taking to round out their eight-teamer on Sunday morning.”
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants – Open: -6, Move: -4.5
It seems the public has more faith in the Saints than they do in the Giants for this battle of two-faced teams, dropping the spread to as low as 4.5 at some online shops. Osborne says action has been a two-way street since he opened at -5 but that will change come game day.
“When Sunday comes around, we’ll need the Saints for this one,” he says.
Houston Texans at New England Patriots – Open: -4.5, Move: -3
The sharps grabbed Houston as big as they could get them, taking the spread as low as a field goal at some books. Most Las Vegas spots are dealing the hook at Patriots -3.5 and that has garnered a slight lean for New England action in both straight-up wagers and parlay cards.
“We won’t be going back up to -4 on this one,” says Osborne.