Covers Expert Steve Merril looks at the NFL odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.
Spread to bet now
San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (+2)
After winning last week in Lambeau Field, the 49ers will be backed by the public this week.
That public money is going to go up against the sharp, professional money as those bettors will be on the underdog in this game.
San Francisco is a known commodity with the public after playing in the Super Bowl last season. The 49ers also have revenge in this game after losing at home 10-9 to Carolina as 6-point favorites earlier this season. Revenge is a strong betting angle for public bettors.
There’s also liability for the sportsbooks with teasers in this game, especially with the current line of Panthers +2. They make a strong teaser bet, especially with the total low at 42. The sportsbooks want to get this line down to at least 1 for that reason, and since we expect the sharp money to be on the underdog, we suggest betting Carolina now as the current number will be gone soon.
Spread to wait on
Indianapolis Colts (+7) at New England Patriots
The world was against Indianapolis in their game against Kansas City last week.
The Colts went from a 2.5-point favorite to a 2.5-point underdog at one point in the betting last week. The public and sharps were both on the Chiefs as a small underdog and the big money move showed dislike for the Colts.
The way the game played out swayed nobody’s opinion as the Colts trailed 38-10 in the second half. While they wasted all their energy, the Patriots were sitting at home and getting rest.
Some sportsbooks have already moved this line to New England -7.5 and it will most likely go higher once the public starts betting. If you like the Colts in this game wait until right before kick off as the best number will be available then.
Total to watch
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos (54.5)
It will be interesting to see what the bettors do with the total on this game, especially since this is the third meeting of the season between San Diego and Denver.
The oddsmakers opened this total high at 54.5, which is the highest of the four games this weekend. The first game in San Diego had 48 points scored and the second meeting in Denver had 47 points scored.
San Diego has played 14 of their 17 games Under 55 points and two of those Overs came in Weeks 1 and 2. So over their last 15 games, the Chargers are 14-1 to the Under based on the posted total.
Denver went 10-6 to the Over based on the current total with two of those Unders coming against the Chargers. In Denver’s home playoff game last year, the Broncos and Ravens combined to score 73 points.
Overall, it’s hard to play Denver games Under the total. But the numbers suggest that’s the way to play this game. Some sportsbooks have moved the total to 55, so we’ll see which way the money moves this total come Sunday afternoon.