Opening Line Report - Week 12
By Marcus DiNitto
Here are early betting numbers for Week 12 of the NFL season, with thoughts from some of Las Vegas’ most prominent bookmakers sprinkled in. Point spreads and totals are the Vegas consensus as of Monday afternoon, with early moves and differences among books also noted.
Thursday, Nov. 23
Minnesota Vikings (-2.5, 45) at Detroit Lions
Detroit opened -1 at the Wynn, but the line was driven to Minnesota -2.5 by Monday. At the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, the game opened pick ‘em, with an adjustment to Minnesota -2.
Westgate oddsmaker Ed Salmons isn’t on board with the early sentiment on the Vikings, who his shop listed as 1.5-point underdogs in look-ahead lines last week and booked sharp action on the other side.
“We got money that we respect laying the 1.5,” Salmons said. “I disagree with this (early move on the Vikings).”
Recency bias resulted in the line flipping to Minnesota being the favorite, Salmons believes.
“Everyone is (saying), ‘Minnesota beat the Rams, they’re great, and Detroit struggled against Chicago, so make Minnesota -2.5 on the road,’” he said. “The public will bet Minnesota, I think the sharps will be on Detroit. So I think this game will go back where it came from toward pick.”
But John Avello, sports book director at the Wynn, notices a trend regarding the Lions. When the play Chicago, Cleveland and Green Bay without Aaron Rodgers, they win. When they play Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Carolina, they lose.
“The good teams they lose to, the bad teams they beat,” Avello said.
But the Lions have beaten the Vikings. In the first meeting of the season between these NFC North foes, in Week 4, Detroit (+2.5) won outright at Minnesota, 14-7.
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas Cowboys (-1, 48)
The Chargers took money at the Westgate’s opening numbers of +3.5 and at +4.5 at CG Technology, according to CG vice president of risk Jason Simbal, the line adjusting to between +2.5 and +3 even before Dallas’ second straight dud, a 37-9 shellacking by the Eagles on Sunday night.
When the Westgate reopened the game Monday, Dallas was just a one-point favorite, and few hours later, the game was down to pick ‘em.
“The more I was thinking about this game, I’m like, how can Dallas lay more than 3, and the way they went out and played (Sunday, the move against them) is justified,” Salmons said. “Unless Tyron Smith comes back and plays left tackle this week, it’s going to be awful tough for Dallas, from what I saw (Sunday) night.”
Added Avello, “The Cowboys are in trouble without a running game. Dak Prescott is just an average, second-year quarterback trying to find his way...Without that running game, this team looks in trouble. I don’t think the Cowboys should be, if a favorite at all, much of one (vs. the Chargers).”
Avello and Salmons share the opinion that the Chargers are far better than their 4-6 record suggests, and a line south of Dallas -3 indicates that, at least according to the betting market, the Chargers are the better team.
Asked if he agrees that the Chargers are better than Dallas, Salmons responded, “Right now, yes, head and shoulders a better team.”
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-7/-120, 44.5)
Early action showed up on the Giants for the Thanksgiving night cap, the line opening Washington -7.5 at the Westgate and moving down to -7 flat within about 90 minutes of wagering, before an upward nudge to -7 (-120). The Giants could still be had for a touchdown plus the hook at multiple Vegas bet shops Monday afternoon.
Sunday, Nov. 26
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-8, 38)
Cincinnati opened as cheap as -7.5 at the Golden Nugget and as pricey as -9 at MGM Resorts, and on Monday afternoon the line still ranged from 8 to 9.
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-13.5, 44)
The Westgate opened Philly -11 ahead of the prime time game in Dallas on Sunday, and after watching the Eagles boat-race the Cowboys, the book reopened Philly -13.5 for next week’s home game vs. Chicago. A few shops are dealing -14.
Before you rush to the window to lay the wood, consider these are the most points the betting market has asked the Eagles to lay this season (they were -13 vs. San Francisco), and that the Bears are 6-3-1 ATS this season.
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-16.5, 47.5)
Vegas’ first line on this AFC East clash Sunday night, New England -15.5 at the Westgate, wasn’t large enough for the market’s tastes, as it was pushed to -16.5 in early action. The 17s that were hung at the Wynn and William Hill were bet down to 16.5.
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5, 45)
While Bills coach Sean McDermott said he’s not sure who’ll start at quarterback next week, Salmons said the point-spread is based on Tyrod Taylor getting the nod over Nathan Peterman, although bookmakers are hedging with the number.
“There’s no way they’re going to play Peterman, I don’t care what they say, there’s no chance,” Salmons said. “If you trot him out there, I think the whole team would walk off the field.”
Once Taylor is confirmed as the starter, the number may shift to 7.5, Salmons said. The opening line reflects a hedge not only against McDermott’s decision but also against anticipated teaser action on the Chiefs.
“Everyone’s going to look to tease the Chiefs in this so-called must-win spot,” Salmons said.
Handicappers with an ‘under’ lean on this game may also want to consider taking the points.
“They could maybe hang around,” Avello said of the Bills. “This may be a low-scoring game, and if it stays a low-scoring game, I guess it’s worth 9.5”
Tampa Bay Bucs at Atlanta Falcons (-8.5, 48.5)
While Atlanta opened -8.5 and remained there ahead of Monday night’s game at Seattle, CG Technology adjusted north to -9 on Monday morning.
Carolina Panthers (-4.5, 40) at New York Jets
Carolina opened -4.5 and was adjusted to -5 at the Westgate and Wynn, a move against the Jets’ perfect spread record at home (5-0 ATS).
While the Jets have outplayed modest expectations this season, Avello senses them losing steam down the stretch.
“They lose to Miami tight, they lose to Atlanta tight, they lose to Tampa Bay tight – those kind of things will wear you out,” Avello said. “If you don’t win eventually (and) you run into a team like Carolina who could run up the score on ‘em, I don’t know if they Jets can stay with them.”
Tennessee Titans (-3.5, 44) at Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee opened -4.5 at CG, but sharp money showed up on Indianapolis, Simbal said in a text message, driving the line to -3.5 by Monday.
Seattle Seahawks (-6.5, 42) at San Francisco 49ers
The +7s this game opened at seem to have been bought up by underdog bettors.
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5/-120, 53.5)
Early bettors laid the points, pushing the line up from openers of Rams -2. A few shops are dealing Rams -3 even or -3 flat.
Avello, though, wonders if Los Angeles will regress in the second-half of the season.
“Everything positive they were doing came to a halt (in Sunday’s 24-7 loss at Minnesota). The question is, does that continue?,” Avello said. "Everything’s been working for them, the question is does it come to halt now, because that happens sometimes when teams aren’t expected to do well and do. Can they keep that up?”
Salmons, though, thinks it’s the Saints’ turn to lose.
“I like the Rams (in this game),” Salmons said. “The Rams have been awful tough. They got derailed up in Minnesota – that’s a difficult place to play.”
He added of the Saints, winners of eight straight, “New Orleans should have lost (Sunday vs. the Redskins). They were so lucky to win that game. There were open receivers all over the field, so I expect the Rams to win. New Orleans, it just feels like they’re kind of due for an L here, and it feels like a good spot for the Rams.”
Bettors may have different ideas.
“I look for that line to come down a little bit. I think there’s going to be New Orleans money,” Avello said.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5, 38) at Arizona Cardinals
Jacksonville opened -4 and moved to -4.5 at the Westgate and Wynn, while laying as many as -5 at Coasts Resorts.
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (-5, 53)
The Westgate opened Oakland -5.5 but joined most of the rest of the market at -5 about an hour after posting numbers Sunday. Coasts went the other way, from -5 to -5.5, and Treasure Island is dealing -4.5 for this matchup of what’s turned out to be a pair of AFC also-rans.
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-14, 41)
Early bettors at the Wynn laid Pitt -13.5. and pushed the line to -14. The rest of us may be able to get some sleep Sunday night.
Monday, Nov. 27
Houston Texans at Baltimore Ravens (-7/-120, 38)
The Texans +7.5s that showed up early on Vegas boards have been bet down to +7 with varying degrees of vig, the exception being Coasts, which is dealing Baltimore -7.5 even.
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NFL Opening Line Report
By: Patrick Everson
Week 12 of the NFL season kicks off with a trio of Thanksgiving Day games, although only one of those matchups appears to be worth pulling you away from the kitchen or the dining room table. Covers checks in on the opening line for that contest and three others this week, with insights from Scott Cooley, odds consultant for offshore sportsbook Bookmaker.eu.
Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (pick)
Minnesota continues to get it done on the field and at the betting window, winning six in a row while cashing in the last five. The Vikings (8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) pulled away from the Los Angeles Rams in the second half Sunday, nabbing a 24-7 victory as a 1-point home favorite.
Detroit (6-4 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) followed a three-game skid with a three-game win streak (2-0-1 ATS), though it was a struggle to get that last one. The Lions went to Chicago as a 3-point chalk and twice trailed by 10, but rallied for a 27-24 victory.
Bookmaker.eu opened the game pick ‘em, but the Vikings moved to -1.5 late Sunday night for the first game on Turkey Day, a 12:30 p.m. ET kickoff.
“The Lions can’t afford to fall behind here, as they seemingly do week after week,” Cooley said. “Minnesota has proven to be one of the best teams in the NFC, but Detroit is a quality club as well. It feels like the public will be on the chalk, but sharps may side with the home squad. We’ll just wait and see where this one goes.”
New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams (-2.5)
Two of the NFL’s more surprising teams this season get together, with New Orleans riding a huge hot streak to the top of the NFC South. The Saints (8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS) lost their first two games, but have ripped off eight in a row since (7-1 ATS). The only game New Orleans didn’t cash in during that stretch came Sunday, a 34-31 home overtime victory against Washington laying 9.5 points.
Los Angeles (7-3 SU, 6-4 ATS) had its four-game SU and ATS run halted at the hands of another surprise team, Minnesota. The Rams were in a 7-7 tie on the road at halftime, but scored no more in a 24-7 setback as a 1-point underdog.
“I maintain that the Saints aren’t as good as their record indicates, but the public loves to play them each and every week,” Cooley said. “Meanwhile, the Rams’ loss wasn’t as lopsided as the score looked. Everyone will be expecting a shootout here, so we pumped up the total.”
Indeed, Bookmaker opened the total at 53.5.
Green Bay Packers at Pittsburgh Steelers (-13.5)
After a bumpy first few weeks, Pittsburgh looks to be rounding into playoff form, with five consecutive wins (4-1 ATS) heading into this Sunday prime-time contest. In last week’s Thursday nighter, the Steelers (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS) thumped Tennessee 40-17 laying 7 points at home.
Green Bay is a shell of itself in the absence of Aaron Rodgers (broken collarbone). The Packers (5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS) are 1-3 SU and ATS in their last four and hit rock-bottom Sunday in a 23-0 home loss to Baltimore as a 2.5-point pup.
“Brett Hundley is proving why Aaron Rodgers is worth so much to a line,” Cooley said. “The current Green Bay club is in the bottom third of the NFL. Pittsburgh is gaining momentum and finally finding its footing, so we wanted to be generous with this number. It’s doubtful we see any Packers money from the public.”
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-17)
Defending Super Bowl champion New England is really dialing it up to 11. The Patriots (8-2 SU, 6-4 ATS) have won six straight, cashing the last five, including in Sunday’s 33-8 rout of Oakland as a 7-point fave in Mexico City.
Miami (4-6 SU, 3-5-2 ATS) has dumped four in row in falling below .500. The Dolphins went off as 1-point home ‘dogs to Tampa Bay on Sunday and lost 30-20. Quarterback Jay Cutler left the game with a concussion at the end of the first half, yielding to Matt Moore the rest of the way.
“There’s really no difference in terms of value between Jay Cutler and Matt Moore,” Cooley said. “It really doesn’t matter who’s under center for Miami in this game, it had to be the biggest spread of the season. Not sure what else to say here. It’s going to be ugly.”
The line actually ticked down to 16.5 Sunday evening.
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NFL Line Watch Week 12
By Art Aronson
Game to bet on now
Green Bay at Pittsburgh (-13.5)
Lots of good things are happening in Pittsburgh, there the Steelers have won five in a row and have built up a head of steam as they match the Patriots win for win in preparation for their AFC showdown game a month from now. The Steelers should have little trouble taking care of the disorganized Packers this coming weekend, then will polish of the Ravens and Bengals before dealing with the Patriots. Piece by piece Pittsburgh has been rebuilding its once-great defense, and now the Steelers have the 4th-rated defensive unit in the NFL. That meshes nice with an offense that is just outside the top 10. So things are humming, which makes you wonder if Ben Roethlisberger is still questioning himself and whether he still has the chops to play in the league. This line opened at 14.5 and dropped a point to 13.5, so there probably won’t be another move.
Game to wait on
Los Angeles Chargers at Dallas (-1)
Have to scratch your head at the early line movement on this one. Dallas opened at -4 and it was immediately bet down to -1 despite the Cowboys’ embarrassing beatdown by Philadelphia at home on Sunday night. Between the national anthem mess, Ezekial Elliott suspension and Jerry Jones’s maniacal mission to get Roger Goodell out of the league, you have to wonder if the Boys are really focused on football. Dallas has playoff talent, but the numbers (5-5 SU, 242 points scored and 242 allowed) don’t lie. And if things are bad enough, here come the Chargers, who scored 54 on Sunday. The loser of this one will be playing the rest of the season only to comply with NFL rules.
Total to watch
New Orleans at Los Angeles Rams (54)
Over players need to be cautious on this one. The Rams had been putting up huge numbers against mediocre opponents heading in this past Sunday’s game against the Vikings, but got stoned by Minnesota’s defense. The Vikes held Jared Goff without a TD pass and limited Todd Gurley to 37 yards on 15 carries. Oddsmakers obviously figure that neither of those numbers won’t be replicated on Sunday; thus the high total, which opened at 53.5 and has already been bet up. This is a very important game for both teams, and that sometimes means a more conservative game plan.
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