Playoff pushes and towel tossing teams make Week 16 a tough stretch of schedule for NFL bettors. We talk to Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage in Las Vegas, about the biggest line moves on the board:
New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys – Open: -3, Move: -1
Some online books have taken early action on the Saints, dropping the opening number to Dallas -1. The MGM Mirage is still dealing a field goal on the Cowboys, but Stoneback expects bettors side with the underdog by Sunday.
“That’s a tough game. The Saints have the capacity to play well while the Cowboys are in a must-win spot,” Stoneback told Covers. “If I had to guess, I’d have to think they’d take the points with the Saints.”
San Diego Chargers at New York Jets – Open: -3, Move: -1
New York has switched QBs for this second-last game on the sked, benching Mark Sanchez for Greg McIlroy. Stoneback says the move doesn’t impact the odds and actually believes it to be an upgrade.
“If this happened in Week 2 or 3, we’d say it definitely has an impact. But what (Sanchez) has shown, especially last week, there is no drop off,” Stoneback says. “He’s actually hurt the team. With him out, it’s probably better for the team.”
Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans – Open: -7.5, Move: -9.5
MGM took some early sharp money on Houston, bumping their spread to -8.5. However, Stoneback says Minnesota has been a favorite of wise guys in recent weeks.
“Sharp money has shown up on the Vikings,” he says. “They bet them last week against the Rams and came in late on Minnesota against Chicago two weeks ago.”
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers – Open: -11.5, Move: -14
Some online shops have Green Bay as high as a two-touchdown favorite but the early money at MGM has been limit bets on the Titans, taking that spread to -12.5 after opening at -13.
“It’s a double-digit spread with the price a little bit inflated because it’s the Packers at home,” says Stoneback. “Sharps come in on those double-digit dogs. It’s almost an automatic play with them.”
Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos – Open: -11, Move: -13.5
Surprisingly, some of the early money on this game came in on Cleveland. But Stoneback isn’t sweating a line move at his book, knowing that the public will pile on Denver come Sunday afternoon.
“Sharps took the underdog but we’ll have plenty of money on the Broncos,” he says.
New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens – Open: Pick, Move: +2.5
Some online shops opened this game at a pick’em but action quickly dictated the line move in favor of the Giants. New York is in must-win mode, tied atop the NFC East, while Baltimore is already locked into a postseason spot despite its recent skid.
“Baltimore seems to be a in a bad funk right now and is going the wrong way,” says Stoneback. “The game is much more important to the Giants and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this go off at a field goal.”
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks – Open: -1, Move: +1
This spread is teetering between the two teams, moving to San Francisco -1 after its win in New England Sunday. Stoneback says the early sharp money is on Seattle but he’s hesitant to move because plenty of Niners money will show up before Sunday night.