Where the action is: NFL mid-week line moves

Oct 2, 2013 |
The NFL Week 5 lines have been among the most volatile of the season, with numerous spreads and totals jumping way off their original post.

We talk to Peter Childs of Sportsbook.com and Las Vegas veteran oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro about the biggest adjustments on the Week 5 board and where the lines could end up come kickoff:

New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears – Open: Pick, Move: -1.5, Move: +1

Despite an awesome performance on Monday Night Football, the Saints opened a pick for their trip to the Windy City and have moved to 1.5-point underdogs at some books. However, money is coming in hard on New Orleans and some shops are dealing the Saints as favorites with 80 percent of the action on the road side.

“We opened the Saints-Bears a pick’em and sure enough, our bettors are all over the Saints in this game,” says Childs. “Just this morning we made the Saints a small 1-point road favorite.”

Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams – Open: -14, Move: -11.5

Bettors didn’t think the Rams were good enough to be two-touchdown favorites, even if they are hosting the Jaguars Sunday. Action on Jacksonville has taken this spread down as many as 2.5 points at some markets.

“Overpriced is a term that doesn’t seem to fit the Jaguars any more. Early action has come in on Jacksonville the last few weeks,” says Vaccaro. “You kind of have to play defense with these bad teams. People have been betting the big spreads on teams like Seattle and Denver. So while the Jaguars line will come down, it could be right where it started on Sunday.”

New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals – Open: Pick, Move: -1.5

Some books have moved off a pick to Bengals to -1.5 while others opened Cincinnati -1.5 and moved to pick’em. According to Childs, Sportsbook.com went from Cincy -1.5 to Pick with the betting public eating up New England after a strong showing Sunday night. So far, 75 percent of the action is on the Pats.

“None of that action was sharp, it’s all public money but when our bettors all land on the same side of a game our liability gets a bit out of control, so we’ve been aggressive with this game,” he says. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots are eventually the favorite come Sunday.”

Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals – Open: Pick, Move: +2

Another tight spread which opened at a pick’em at most shops has moved in favor of the road side. Arizona squeaked out a win over Tampa Bay in Week 4 while the Panthers enjoyed a bye week after crushing the Giants the week before.

“It’s the same old thing (with bye weeks),” says Vaccaro. “It can’t hurt them. But everything is in the number now, so there’s no real edge in betting these teams coming off the bye. If you’re betting this game, and betting a team because they’re coming off the bye… well, let’s put it this way. You aren’t going to retire soon.”

Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys
– Open: +7, Move: +9

Oddsmakers opened Dallas as a touchdown underdog hosting the NFL’s hottest team. That wasn’t enough for early bettors, who pumped this line up as many as two points. The Cowboys are one of the most public teams in football betting and have begun to see buyback with the spread sitting at +9.

“Unless a sharp betting group hammers the Cowboys, I doubt we’ll move off our current number,” says Childs. “But it’s still very early and all the wiseguys are just sitting on the sideline for now waiting to see how high this line will get. In my opinion, they’re going to jump all over the Cowboys at some point, especially now that the game is over a TD in our shop and most of our competitors are getting there as well.”

“This is by far the biggest bet game at this point in the week, with 80 percent of the action on the road favorite,” he adds.

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