Week 7 of the NFL season features a Sunday night rematch of the Super Bowl. Covers checks in on the action and line movement for that game and a few others, with insights from Will Bernanke, lead analyst for CG Analytics in Las Vegas, and Mike Jerome, lines manager for offshore sportsbook TopBet.eu.
When these two teams last met, New England rallied from a 28-3 third-quarter deficit and went on to a stunning 34-28 overtime victory in the Super Bowl. Neither team has looked championship-worthy this season, though the Patriots are at least leading their division. Bill Belichick’s troops are 4-2 SU (2-4 ATS) after holding off the New York Jets 24-17 last week while falling short as a 9-point road favorite.
Atlanta has lost back-to-back games, with the bye week sandwiched in between, and both setbacks came at home laying a healthy amount of points. The Falcons (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) fell to Buffalo in Week 4 23-17 as an 8-point chalk, had a week off, came back to take a 17-0 lead over Miami, then threw that all away in a 20-17 loss as a 14-point fave.
“They’re actually backing Atlanta,” Bernanke said of action for this 8:30 p.m. ET kickoff. “Sharps, six times more money on account is on Atlanta, and over-the-counter’s been even. New England’s starting to lose some of their betting luster, so to speak, the last few weeks, burning some backers, and Atlanta as well. So you kind of have two teams struggling here to find their way.”
TopBet.eu opened the Pats -4.5 but spent most of the week at 3.5, with a cup of coffee at 3 on Wednesday morning.
“One player who still has a bad taste in his mouth from that epic Super Bowl game is Julio Jones, who has yet to find the end zone this season,” Jerome said. “We would prefer a decision as much as possible, so that’s why we are staying on Patriots -3.5, instead of going to -3, and shading the juice in favor of Atlanta.”
That juice went to +3.5 (-120) for the Falcons, whom Jerome said were drawing 68 percent of pointspread money and 66 percent of pointspread bets.
Green Bay won’t have the services of Aaron Rodgers today and perhaps for the rest of the season. Rodgers broke his collarbone early in last week’s game at Minnesota, and the Packers (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) went on to lose 23-10 as a 3-point fave.
New Orleans (3-2 SU and ATS) has won and cashed three straight, and last week did so by hanging a 50-plus burger on Detroit. The Saints built a 45-10 lead and held off a furious Lions rally for a 52-38 victory giving 6 points at home.
Rodgers’ absence wreaked havoc on the pointspread for this 1 p.m. ET clash, but the underdog Pack is drawing some action.
“This look-ahead line, before the Rodgers injury, Green Bay was -7. So we’ve seen a shift of 11 points,” Bernanke said. “This line opened up after the injury at (Saints) -4, quickly ticked up to 5.5, then back down to 4.5. We’ve seen two times more money on account on Green Bay, and the public – over-the-counter money – has been even. The sharps seem to be taking Green Bay, buying into Brett Hundley.”
The line dropped a full point on Saturday, going to Saints -4 early in the afternoon, then 3.5 late in the evening.
New York lost its first five games and some big-time key players along the way, including wideouts Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall for the season. So the Giants (1-5 SU, 3-3 ATS) were expected to fall to 0-6 last week at Denver, where they were 13.5-point underdogs, but ended up winning outright 23-10.
Seattle (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) had its bye last week and enters this 4:25 p.m. ET start on a two-game SU and ATS uptick. In Week 5, the Seahawks edged the Los Angeles Rams 16-10 as a 2-point road underdog.
“Just when you are ready to write off Eli Manning and start the Sam I Am Campaign – as in Sam Darnold – the Giants went into the Mile High City and shocked the NFL world to win their first game,” Jerome said. “Wiseguys were impressed, as on Monday morning, we got a sharp bet on the Giants +6, so we moved to +5.5.”
Jerome said market moves led TopBet to go to 4.5 on Thursday, and the line dropped to 4 on Saturday morning.
Pittsburgh hasn’t exactly looked pretty this season, but did get a solid victory in Week 6. The Steelers (4-2 SU, 3-3 ATS) traveled to unbeaten Kansas City as a 3.5-point ‘dog and emerged with a 19-13 victory.
Cincinnati (2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS) dumped its first three games, but comes into this game having won two in a row SU and three in a row at the betting window. The Bengals had a bye last week, after besting Buffalo 20-16 laying 3 points at home in Week 5.
“This game has received a lot of attention,” Bernanke said. “We’ve seen five times more money on account on the Cincinnati Bengals, moving this line from 6 to 5.5. And the public is sold on Pittsburgh, four times more money over-the-counter is on Pittsburgh. So we have Pros vs. Joes, shaping up to be one of those types of games.”
Kickoff is at 4:25 p.m. ET.
Through five games this season, Dallas is nowhere near where it thought it would be, so perhaps having a bye last week was helpful. The Cowboys (2-3 SU and ATS) are coming off back-to-back home losses, 35-30 as a 5-point chalk against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4, then 35-31 as a 2.5-point favorite against Green Bay in Week 5.
San Francisco hasn’t won a game yet under new coach Kyle Shanahan. However, the 49ers (0-6 SU, 4-2 ATS) have played all but one opponent extremely tight, with five games decided by a field goal or less, including two overtime setbacks. In Week 6, the Niners lost at Washington 26-24 as a healthy 12-point ‘dog.
“Now that Ezekiel Elliott’s playing, this is gonna receive a lot of attention,” Bernanke said, alluding to the Cowboys’ star running back again getting a favorable court ruling to at least delay his suspension. “The line is at 6, it’s holding.”
Through Thursday, Bernanke said CG was seeing four times more money on account on Dallas and three times more money over-the-counter on the Pokes. But that action, along with what’s come in the past two days, hasn’t yet been enough to push the line higher.
“This line could get to 6.5 – I don’t know if it’ll get to 7 – and then you’ll start to see some buyback,” Bernanke said of this 4:05 p.m. ET meeting.
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.