NFL opening line report: Books limp into Week 9

Oct 28, 2013 |
NFL opening line report: Books limp into Week 9
Oddsmakers expect Case Keenum to be under center for Houston in Week 9.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Oddsmakers expect Case Keenum to be under center for Houston in Week 9.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Sportsbooks in Nevada limp into Week 9 of the NFL schedule after taking a beating from the betting public this Sunday.

NFL Week 8 favorites are 8-4 ATS, heading into the Monday nighter, serving books their worst week of the 2013 football season, according to media sources in Las Vegas. On top of that, the Over hit in eight of those 12 games, another popular parlay pick of the public.

“The public is 7-1 and going for the throat (Monday) with residual parlays overflowing to Seattle,” Jay Kornegay, sportsbook director at the LVH Superbook, told Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

That rough weekend may or may not prompt sportsbooks to inflate the spreads for Week 9’s action. Favorites are 63-53-3 (54.31%) on the year, with home chalk boasting a profitable 42-31-3 record (57.53%) heading into Monday.

“I preach it every week, ‘Jack up those favorites’,” Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, tells Covers. “I tell them every week, stick a number out there and if you start taking money on it, move it. Get to that number where you’re getting money on the underdog.”

“The thing is, a lot of places are too worried about getting middled. That rarely happens,” Korner says. “They’re afraid to put the favorites too high. They’re afraid of money on the underdog. I say get as much money on the underdog as you can before the weekend.”

Korner is pointing at next Monday’s game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, which his oddsmakers sent out with Green Bay as an 11-point favorite.

Korner believes the injury to Chicago QB Jay Cutler will push this line higher and says books only have to look to this Monday’s game between Seattle and St. Louis as an example. That spread has climbed as high as Rams +14 with QB Sam Bradford out for the season.

“It’s basically a good team versus a bad team,” Korner says of the Green Bay-Chicago matchup. “On Monday, books should jack up the favorite and the total. Be higher than the guy next to you.”

San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins
(Pick, 51)

Robert Griffin III is the big “What if?” in this matchup. The Redskins QB left Sunday’s game against Denver with a knee injury in the fourth quarter but told the media his knee was fine and that the team held him out as a precaution.

Korner says his stable of oddsmakers brought spreads from Washington -2 to a pick’em to the table, settling on Redskins -2 with the expectation that RG3 would be in action versus San Diego.

“They’re playing much better and should be the favorite if he’s in,” Korner says of Griffin and the Redskins. “San Diego is a good team and we do respect them, but San Diego is in double trouble being in the AFC West, with Denver and Kansas City heading to the playoffs and everyone else - besides division leaders - fighting for one spot.”

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans
(+1, 45)

The Texans and Colts both come off a bye week, heading into this Sunday Night Football matchup. Korner says some of his oddsmakers had Houston as a favorite, however, they sent out Colts -1.

“I had to fight for this one,” he says. “I didn’t yield to the other guys.”

Korner is interested to see how Houston’s QB situation impacts the line. Matt Schaub is questionable to return from a leg injury in Week 9, leaving third-stringer Case Keenum as the starter. Keenum was impressive in his first NFL start versus Kansas City in Week 7, passing for 271 yards a score in a close loss to the Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium.

“He looked good and confident,” Korner says of Keenum. “As bad as Schaub was playing, there’s not much of a drop off here. Now, perception wise there is. We did this (spread) with Keenum playing. We’ll see if the line moves if Schaub comes back.”

Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-7, 44)

A few years ago, this matchup would be a possible AFC Championship preview. But, with the Steelers stumbling and Tom Brady and the Patriots looking less like contenders every week, this AFC showdown has lost its luster.

Korner sent out this game at New England -7.5 but had some of his oddsmakers bring a spread as high as Patriots -9 to the table. Most books opened with the spread at a touchdown.

“This is now just an average game,” says Korner. “And where New England is playing better, it warrants more than a touchdown. It’s a boring game really. New England is the better team and I think (the spread) goes a little higher.”

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