Andrews: Inside the betting action for NFL Week 11


Recreational bettors are off to a great start this week. New England crushed Atlanta 25-0 Thursday night. The public loved the Pats -6.5 and also to win straight up in teasers and moneyline parlays. 

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That was New England’s fifth straight win and cover. Friday morning, it seemed like all the sports networks were asking if New England was the “new favorite” to win the AFC 

On the futures board, New England is far from a “new favorite” to win its own division, let alone the whole AFC. Friday here at the South Point, I dropped the Patriots from %plussign% 300 to %plussign% 250 to win the AFC East and from 9/1 to 8/1 to win the AFC. I didn’t take any bets. I just felt those were better numbers based on recent form. 

*Odds to Win AFC East: Buffalo -375, New England %plussign% 250 (Dolphins and Jets distant also-rans).

*Odds to Win AFC: Buffalo %plussign% 275, Tennessee %plussign% 300, Kansas City %plussign% 350, Baltimore %plussign% 600, New England %plussign% 800.

Look, sharps aren’t betting New England to win its division or the conference with any sort of enthusiasm. (Frankly, I need them to right now to help balance the books!) The Pats are only the fifth favorite to win the AFC. It’s one thing to imagine scenarios where they could run the table in the playoffs. It’s another to call them a favorite to do so. I think we’d all agree New England is a more serious dark horse now than a month ago. 

It's difficult to win a conference as a wildcard. Possible, but difficult. New England will have to prove to the market it’s a more serious Super Bowl threat the next month vs. Tennessee, at Buffalo, at Indianapolis and vs. Buffalo. The Pats will likely be more than a field goal underdog at Buffalo and near pick-em at home. Sweep Buffalo, then we’ll talk about who the new favorite is in the AFC. 

Many of you new to sports betting are learning it’s better to “ask the market” for answers to questions rather than putting too much weight on what cable pundits are saying. Sharps speak with money they earned in the marketplace, which means they’ve earned their respect. 

Let’s see how smart money has been betting weekend NFL. Matchups are presented in Nevada rotation order so you can make notes on your schedules. 

Sunday, Nov. 21

Detroit at Cleveland (-12, 43.5)

Tim Boyle is expected to start at quarterback for Detroit in place of Jared Goff (strained oblique). My opening line of Cleveland -10 is up to -12 based on that news. Very little money on this game so far. Sharps either don’t want any part of Boyle at %plussign% 12 or are waiting to see if they might get as much as %plussign% 13 or %plussign% 14 on game day. The public seems hesitant to lay a big number with the inconsistent and banged up Browns. I did get bet Under my opening total of 44.5. I’m down to 43.5 based on that bet and Detroit’s QB developments. 


San Francisco (-6.5, 45.5) at Jacksonville

Before Monday night, I opened San Francisco -5.5 and got limited interest. After the big win over the Rams, I reopened Niners -6.5. I have been getting public money on San Francisco. Not worth moving to the key number of seven yet. Sharps thinking about the Jaguars would likely wait until seeing %plussign% 7 to play. And, with a bad team like the Jags, it might take %plussign% 7.5 or more to draw sharp interest. Sometimes favorites of -6 or -6.5 get bet by the public in a lot of 6-point teasers and moneyline parlays. That’s NOT happening yet. We’ll see if it does this weekend. My opening total of 46 was bet down to 45.5. 


Indianapolis at Buffalo (-7, 50)

I opened Buffalo -7. Some sharps laid that price, driving me up to -7.5. But, at 7.5 sharps preferring the Colts jumped in pretty hard. I’m back to 7. This may be a game where I have to jump back and forth a few times between now and kickoff. I usually try to stick on the “whole” number as long as possible in those situations. Public interest in the Bills might make that difficult. They like laying points with “blowout” teams like Buffalo. All six Bills’ wins have been by 15 points or more (15-18-22-25-28-40) I’ll do my best to manage our risk. Buffalo has been popular in six-point teasers so far at -1 or -1.5. Some interest in moneyline parlays too. My opening total of 49.5 was bet up to 50. 


Miami (-3.5, 44.5) at the NY Jets

Sharps and the public bet Miami hard at my opening line of Dolphins -3, so I moved to -3.5. Miami interest stopped with the hook. I’m starting to get some play on the Jets, but not nearly enough to move back to a field goal. My opening total of 45 was bet down to 44.5. Can understand why bettors skeptical of new Jets QB Joe Flacco loved Miami -3 and liked the Under. 


Washington at Carolina (-3.5, 43)

I’m surprised how much respect returning Carolina QB Cam Newton is getting from bettors. Though, that could be because “anyone” would be better than Sam Darnold and P.J. Walker. My opener of Carolina -3 was bet up to -3.5 (a mix of sharps and the public). At 3.5, I have been getting some sharp buyback on Washington. Might be a game where I have to go back and forth between 3 and 3.5 a few times. Much more likely here than in Miami/NYJ. My opening total of 43 hasn’t changed. A little bit of play on the Over. Not enough to move the line. 


Baltimore (-6, 44) at Chicago

A lot of movement here because of Lamar Jackson’s evolving status for the Ravens. I opened Baltimore -6.5 and reports surfaced that Jackson was ill. Bears bettors took %plussign% 6.5, %plussign% 6 and %plussign% 5.5. Aware of the news, I was dropping quickly. Jackson’s prognosis improved Friday morning Las Vegas time. Money hit the Ravens. I jumped back to Baltimore -6. For now, he’s expected to play. Sharps bet Under my opening total of 45. I dropped straight to 44. A check of the weather shows a forecast for strong wind and possible rain in the Windy City. If that forecast doesn’t improve, that total will likely fall further. 


New Orleans at Philadelphia (-1.5, 43.5)

Haven’t moved off my opener of Philadelphia -1.5. Ticket count is almost exactly even. As I write this, just a one ticket difference. I see other shops moving to Eagles -2. I’ll take a bet before I follow suit. To this point, there’s no clear sharp/public divide in the betting. Worth noting that I’m NOT seeing teaser interest on the Saints. In games we’re about to discuss, we’ll see other short dogs that are getting moved across the 3 and 7 in six-point teasers. Sharps are less interested in trying that with Trevor Siemian. Split action at my opening total of 43.5


Houston at Tennessee (-10, 44.5)

I opened Tennessee -10.5. Sharps took the dog, probably noticing that Tennessee’s offense has been shakier than the scoreboard would suggest since Derrick Henry went out. The public is heavily on the Titans. They’re laying -10, they’re putting Tennessee in moneyline parlays and they’re even teasing the line six points lower to make the favorite feel cheaper (an unsound strategy around -10 that works often enough to get the public into trouble). I dropped my opening total of 45 down to 44.5 after some educated bets on the Under. 


Green Bay (-1.5, 47.5) at Minnesota

Sharps are expecting Aaron Rodgers to struggle in this spot. I opened Green Bay -2.5. Sharps took Minnesota %plussign% 2.5 and %plussign% 2. Sharps also bet Minnesota in six-point teasers up to %plussign% 8 or %plussign% 8.5. (Minnesota’s losses this year have been by 1, 3, 3, 4 and 7 points…with both 3s coming in overtime.) I took several moneyline bets too on the Vikings at %plussign% 125 and %plussign% 120. I’m down now to Green Bay -125/Minnesota %plussign% 105. With the total, sharps bet Under my opening total of 49, Under 48.5 and Under 48. I’m currently at 47.5, but I see 47’s out there. Sharps are speaking loud and clear. 


Cincinnati (pick-em, 51) at Las Vegas 

Split action so far. Educated bettors are shading toward the Bengals. The public is mostly on the Raiders here in their home city. We’ll see what develops through the weekend. Ticket count is almost even right now. Sharps were aggressive early on the Over. I opened the total at 49. Sharps bet Over, so I went straight to 50. They bet Over again and I went straight to 51. I am getting some buyback on the Under at 51, but not enough to drop the line yet. 


Arizona (-2.5, 48) at Seattle

I opened Arizona -2.5. Here at the South Point, the public is betting Arizona. But, I see the Cardinals as low as -2 elsewhere in the market. I’m hesitant to go up to Arizona -3 with that in mind. Seattle is popular with sharps in six-point teasers at %plussign% 8.5. Many wiseguys like teasing short divisional dogs (as we saw with Minnesota vs. Green Bay). Sharps have also been betting Under. I opened 50. They bet Under that. They bet Under 49.5, so I dropped straight to 48.5. They kept betting Under. I’m down to 48 now. Both teams are dealing with hobbled star quarterbacks.


Dallas at Kansas City (-2.5, 56.5) 

Great betting game. The public loves betting on both teams. Could have a Super Bowl feel by kickoff. Sharps decided the Chiefs offered value at my opener of Kansas City -1.5. A combination of sharp and public money laid KC -1.5 and KC -2. I’m up to KC -2.5 now. Dallas has been a popular bet in 6-point teasers at %plussign% 7.5 and %plussign% 8. I’ve also been writing moneyline bets on the Cowboys at %plussign% 120. Best way to summarize: sharps who like the Chiefs are laying -1.5 and -2. Sharps who like the Cowboys are betting on the moneyline or teasing up past the 3 and 7. My opening total of 55.5 has been bet up to 56 and 56.5 by a mix of sharp and public money. It’s expected to be a shootout. Sharps who liked the Over knew they needed to get their money in quickly. 


Pittsburgh at the LA Chargers (-6, 47) 

I opened late because there are so many injury question marks with the Steelers. Not just Ben Roethlisberger. Many significant players are questionable. I finally opened Chargers -6. I’m writing pretty good business both ways. I’ll be watching the injury wire very closely. So many moving parts to monitor to here, but it’s the Sunday night game and customers will want some action. Very little interest yet in my opening total of 47. 


Monday, Nov. 22

NY Giants at Tampa Bay (-11, 50)

I’ve been taking early sharp money on the Giants seemingly every week this season. That was the case here too, but not enough to move off my opening line of Tampa Bay -11. I know public money will be pounding the Bucs all week. Recreational players love TV favorites and really love backing a superstar quarterback after one or two bad games. Tom Brady was breathing fire after the loss to Washington. Sharps will like the G-men at %plussign% 11 or better. We’ll see if public action drives the spread higher. It’s already clear Tampa Bay will be popular to win straight up in moneyline parlays. My opening total of 50.5 was bet down to 50. 

Good luck with your NFL bets this weekend. A quick heads-up for next week. I know most of you will be busy on Thanksgiving. So, I’ll post a special market report for college football marquee matchups on Wednesday afternoon. That will cover top betting attractions scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. My weekly look at the NFL weekend will go up at the usual time Friday. 

Now, go find some winners!

Chris Andrews is the Sportsbook Director at the South Point in Las Vegas and has been a Nevada bookmaker for 30 years.

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