Week 14 of the NFL season kicks off with what on the surface is a dud of a game. OK, even below the surface, it may be a dud. But thankfully, you can wager on this contest, so that should keep your interest. Covers checks in on the action and line movement for the Thursday nighter, with insights from Eric Osterman, manager at The SuperBook at Westgate, and Will Bernanke, lead analyst for CG Analytics in Las Vegas.
Tennessee is still in the AFC playoff chase, though it’s on the outside looking in at this point. The Titans (6-6 SU and ATS) followed a 3-1 SU start with a 2-5 SU slide, then narrowly ended that nosedive with a 26-22 victory over the New York Jets as 10.5-point home favorites in Week 13.
Meanwhile, after reaching and nearly winning the AFC Championship Game last season, then getting off to a 3-1 SU start this season, Jacksonville has become inexplicably bad. The Jaguars (4-8 SU, 4-6-2 ATS) lost seven in a row SU (0-5-2 ATS) before slogging to a 6-0 victory over Indianapolis as 4-point home underdogs last week.
After an initial dip in the line at The SuperBook, the number rebounded to Titans -5.5 for this 5:20 p.m. ET kickoff. But the move has little to do with wagering on this lackluster matchup.
“It’s not because of the money. This has been one of the slowest Thursday night games I can remember,” Osterman said. “When the total is as low as 37, the general public
doesn’t seem too interested. We need the Titans for a little bit in the game, but mostly we need them for the first half (at -3). The bigger decision is on the first half.
“We haven’t really seen very much Titans support. What we have seen is mostly on the Jags. Sharps are probably pushing this number up, but we haven’t really seen any of that action here.”
CG books, including at The Cosmopolitan and Venetian on the Vegas Strip, opened Tennessee -4.5, went to 5 and then down to 4 by Tuesday, then got back to 5 on Wednesday afternoon.
“Pointspread action is running fairly even,” Bernanke said, adding the total dropped from 38 to 37. “It’s low volume, with 68 percent of the cash on the Under. As of now, either side covering would be OK.”
The SuperBook opened the total at 37.5 and also dipped to 37, but Osterman doesn’t expect to need the Under.
“I don’t think people will be flying in here to bet Under 37,” he said. “I could see some Titans-and-Over parlays by kickoff. I imagine we’ll need the Under.”
Patrick Everson is a Las Vegas-based senior writer for Covers. Follow him on Twitter: @Covers_Vegas.