How Sharps are Betting the NFL Dress Rehearsals
Once the regular season starts, we'll be back to the normal schedule studying how sharps (professional wagerers) have been betting important college games and the NFL. I definitely wanted to do that for the preseason dress rehearsal games too. Those start TONIGHT, so let's get busy.
PHILADELPHIA AT CLEVELAND: Cleveland went up at -2 initially. That went up to as high as -3.5 before it was clear that Nick Foles was going to play for the Eagles. That brought the line back down to -3. But...sharps like the Browns on the key number, and have driven the line back up to -3.5 as I write this. We'll have to see if there's a tug-of-war all day between -3 and -3.5...or if the game just sits with the hook. The total is down from 42.5 to 41.5. I'll only talk about other totals if they've moved at least 1.5 points. I now most of you aren't betting exhibition Over/Unders.
NY GIANTS VS. NY JETS: This is a "neutral" site game because both teams play home games at the Meadowlands. An opener near pick-em or Jets -1 has been bet up to -2.5. That's pretty high for a neutral site "rivalry" game. The last two meetings were Giants victories by just one point. We might see the full three come into play at more stores. The Westgate was there Wednesday, but everyone else in Vegas is still at -2.5. Offshore sites are showing extra vig on the favorite.
DENVER AT WASHINGTON: Not much happening here. Washington opened at -3 and is still there. Sharps do respect Alex Smith when it comes time to execute. Denver may get the best of second half quarterbacking. Sharps are passing.
NEW ENGLAND AT CAROLINA: An opener of Carolina -2 has been bet down to -1.5. So, some interest on the Pats, but not enough to move the game to pick-em. Over/Under is down from 46.5 to 45 at many spots. Weird to see "Patriots and Under" getting support. Suggests sharps are expecting a quiet second half.
DETROIT AT TAMPA BAY: Another game that's been sitting on the home team -3 all week. Home field is often given the full three points in dress rehearsals (more like -1.5 or -2 in earlier preseason games). Many sharps think of it more like -2.5 in these games. So, it's telling that the Wise Guys AREN'T taking the Lions +3 (similar to Denver above). Sometimes you learn a lot by what sharps aren't doing.
SEATTLE AT MINNESOTA: A tug-of-war so far between Minnesota -3 and Seattle +3.5. Different syndicates betting the most favorable number. Minnesota does have a strong preseason history under this head coach...though the team barely showed up vs. Jacksonville last week. Seattle's defense usually gets August respect. Big move Under on the total, dropping from 41.5 to 39.5.
GREEN BAY AT OAKLAND: Oakland opened at -3. But, the line jumped all the way to -7 when it became clear that Green Bay was going to sit most or all of its starters this week. Their first team actually served as the "scout" team the other day. Some interest on the dog at +7 because the Packers do have good "preseason" quarterbacks this month. We'll see if that creates a tug-of-war or not. Some sharps like GB +7. The public may want to back Oakland's starters vs. Green Bay's backups at -6.5 or less. The Over/Under fell from 45 to 41 on the earlier news. Now down to 40.5.
KANSAS CITY AT CHICAGO: Slight move toward Chicago, with an opener of -1.5 going up to -2. We may see bigger moves in Saturday action on game day...when it becomes more clear how long the starters will be on the field. Sharps like to know that stuff! Over/Under is up from 45 to 46.5, and may test 47.
TENNESSEE AT PITTSBURGH: Nothing happening here. Pittsburgh is -4, which is higher than you would have seen in earlier weeks. Steelers playing better than normal this August.
HOUSTON AT THE LA RAMS: We blew through the key number here. Rams opened -2.5, but are now up to -3.5 at many spots. Texans are getting interest with the hook. That could set up a tug-of-war on game day between Rams -3 and Texans +3.5. To bad this isn't a regular season game. Heckuva matchup.
SAN FRANCISCO AT INDIANAPOLIS: This one went up late because the Colts and Ravens didn't play until Monday night. Line has hopped between pick-em and Indianapolis -1 all week. Definitely a lot of "locals" in Nevada who want to bet the Niners this season. They may come out of the woodwork on game day. Sharps seem more interested on SF +1 than on Indy at pick-em.
ATLANTA AT JACKSONVILLE: Only interest here has been on the total. Opening Over/Under 41.5 is down to 41. Jags favored at -3.
BALTIMORE AT MIAMI: Game went up late at pick-em. Sharps are leaving it alone so far. They know that the Ravens haven't lost a preseason game straight up since 2015. But, victories over both Chicago and Indianapolis this month were by just one point. No love for either side yet.
NEW ORLEANS AT THE LA CHARGERS: As I write this, the Chargers are laying -2.5. Some spots tested -2 yesterday. Because the public likes betting cheap home favorites in TV games (this will be on CBS), I would expect it to stay at -2.5 rather than dropping back down.
CINCINNATI AT BUFFALO: Buffalo is up to -1.5 after opening at pick-em. Still too early for serious money to get involved, if it's even going to.
ARIZONA AT DALLAS: Sports books made a big adjustment when the Cowboys announced that Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot were going to sit this one out. Line fell from Dallas -3 to pick-em. Since then, support for Arizona has created a rare road favorite in a couple of spots. We may see a tug-of-war between Arizona at pick-em and Dallas +1. Though, that would really be a tug-of-fade between sharps who want to bet AGAINST the Cowboys at pick-em, and other groups who want to bet AGAINST the Cards -1. The total is down to 41 after the announcement. It had been 43.5.
Thanks for reading. I'll see you again Monday. Then, late next week, we'll look at sharp betting in the marquee matchups from the first big week of college football action. Summer flew by. Looking forward to regular season football just like you are.