NFL Betting: Checking Early Sharp Movement For Divisional Playoff Games

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 4:50 PM UTC

Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016 4:50 PM UTC

Let’s take an early week look at these moves and try to figure out why the numbers have moved in the direction they have as well as offering up three select NFL picks.

***Key Injuries For Divisional Playoffs***
***Divisional Playoffs Betting Trends***
***Divisional Playoffs QB Matchups***

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots
SuperBook Line Open: Patriots -4½  Jan. 10 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Open Line Lows: Patriots -4  Jan. 10 (CG Technology, Jerry’s Nugget)
Current (Monday) Lines: Patriots -4½, -5, -5½
Current Line Low: Patriots -4½ (Treasure Island, Coast Casinos)
Current Consensus: Patriots -5
Current Line High: Patriots -5½ (Many places)
Analysis: Some small movement on the Super Bowl champions, with probably a majority of it early, Sharp money with a sprinkle of General Public action on Tom Brady and the Patriots who will be looking to have WRs Julian Edelman (Broken Left Foot) and Danny Amendola back together for this game, joining WR Brandon LaFell and TE Rob Gronkowski (1,176 Receiving yards) in one of the NFL’s elite Receiving corps. A question for the Chiefs is the health of their speedy WR Jeremy Maclin (Ankle, Questionable). On Monday we learned that Maclin (1,088 Receiving yards) doesn’t have a torn ACL but does have a High Ankle Sprain and is considered Questionable for this game but January logic says that when you’re playing the defending NFL champs at their House, especially in the Playoffs, it’s all hands on deck so expect Kansas City (12/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) to do everything possible to have the Missouri product Maclin ready as they will need him here. So this early movement is a byproduct on New England being New England, having the edge at QB (Brady over Smith), being at Home, having that extra week Rest, the perceived Head Coaching edge (Belichick over Reid) and likely having Brady necessities Amendola and Edelman, who said Monday he would be going “full throttle” on his broken Left Foot—meaning he’ll likely be playing—together on the football field combined to be enough to move some numbers (slightly up early on) the favorites way for this Divisional Round tilt on the FieldTurf surface at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on Saturday (CBS, 4:35 p.m. EST/1:35 p.m. PST). New England has only converted on 33% of its 3rd Down attempts with Edelman on the shelf compared to a productive 50% when he’s been in the lineup for the the Patriots (+450 to win Super Bowl, Betway). Bettors may also be thinking Crazy Uncle Bill has been resting his team and preparing them for this Divisional Round game fora month and they might be right.


Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals
SuperBook Line Open: Cardinals -7½  Jan. 10 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)
Open Line Lows: Cardinals -6½  Jan. 11 (Treasure Island)
Current (Monday) Lines: Cardinals -6½, -7, -7½
Current Line Low: Cardinals -6½ (Treasure Island)
Current Consensus: Cardinals -7
Current Line High: Cardinals -7½ (, MGM Mirage)
Analysis: Some small early movement on Green Bay with some sportsbooks moving their lines down ½ point from 7½ to 7 at one point (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, Coast Casinos, 5Dimes, Heritage) and others moving the vigorish on the (Cardinals minus) 7 but the feeling here and also the feeling of legendary oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro (South Point) is that there will likely be both Smart and Public money coming in on the Home favorite Cardinals. On local (Las Vegas) sports radio on Monday, Vaccaro said “I think we’ll close that (Arizona) at 8. That number’s going up. It’s not going down.” For now (Monday afternoon), most shops are hanging a 7 with only one major player in the marketplace (MGM Mirage) dealing a 7½. Conventional wisdom says the Public, and maybe many Sharps, will come in on the Cardinals like Vaccaro thinks and that makes the most sense with Carson Palmer and the Cardinals (13-3 SU, 9-7 against the NFL Odds) likely being able to find a way to outscore the Packers (11-6 SU, 10-7 ATS) with the WR spot being a big weakness. Green Bay and Aaron Rodgers are without stud Jordy Nelson and have Randall Cobb, James Jones and Davante Adams, Jeff Janis and Rookie Ty Montgomery (Stanford) going up against Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd (Knee), John Brown, Jaron Brown and JJ Nelson on their Home Grass University of Phoenix turf in Glendale in a game which may evolve into a track meet with the NFL’s #1 Offense (6,533 yards, 408.3 ypg, 30.6 ppg) putting up a passel of points in the Valley of the Sun on Saturday night (NBC, 8:15 p.m. EST, 5:15 PST), easily covering ATS as our NFL pick.

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NFL Pick: Cardinals -7
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers
Open Line Low: Panthers -2½  Jan. 10 (South Point)
Current Lines: Panthers 2, -2½, -3
Current Line Low: Panthers -2 (Treasure Island)
Current Consensus: Panthers -3
Current Line High: Panthers -3
Analysis: This is early Seahawks steam, Wiseguy-type movement, with some taking the 3 points with Russell Wilson and the defending NFC champions and the Treasure Island here in Sin City actually opening and hanging a (Panthers minus) 2 on Monday night, the sole ship in a sea of 2½’s and 3’s. Expect more movement Seattle’s way and Matthew Holt, Director of Development at CG Technology, said on local Las Vegas sports radio on Monday morning that the Sharps like Seattle here. So expect movement possible back to a 3 here at the places where it’s not already there as well as that for someone liking the Panthers to gobble up that (minus) 2 over at TI—’cause who has Time for syllables these days in the hurried Digital Age?—where Pirates perform nightly on the Las Vegas Strip, so hide your women. This should be a game that gives sportsbooks Offshore, Online and in Las Vegas some decent two-way action with many believing strongly in Cam Newton and the upstart Carolina Panthers here at Home at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Sunday (FOX, 1:05 p.m. EST, 10:05 a.m. PST)—where it will be 70 degrees warmer (Charlotte Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High 51° F, Winds WNW 10-15 mph) for CB Richard Sherman and the Seahawks Defense than it was in frigid Minneapolis on Sunday in the third coldest game in NFL history—and others liking Seattle as many (including myself) believe. One key here will be how well the Seahawks can get a running game going with RB Thomas Rawls (Injured Reserve List) and RB Marshawn Lynch (Hernia)—who decided not to travel with the team to chilly Minneapolis last weekend and about as reliable as an umbrella in a hurricane—not being present for this big game. Seattle started Christine Michael (54 rushes, 259 yards) at RB against Minnesota on Sunday in the Wild Card Round and the Texas A&M product was effective (21 carries, 70 yards) in the Win.

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NFL Picks: Seahawks +3  & Seahawks Money Line +135 
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek


Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos
Open Line Low: Broncos -5½  Jan. 10 (5Dimes)
Current Lines: Broncos -6, -6½, -7
Current Line Low: Broncos -6 (Heritage, Jazz)
Current Consensus: Broncos -6½
Current Line High: Broncos -7 (The Greek,, 
Analysis: The most movement—this went from 5½ straight to 7 after opening at Offshore operator 5Dimes before dipping back to 6½—of the Divisional Round it seems and almost everywhere it seems money pouring in on the host Broncos, meaning a mix of Public and early Sharp money likely with so much uncertainty with the Steelers (11-6 SU, 9-7-1 ATS) and their Injury problems to some very Key players like starting QB Ben Roethlisberger (Shoulder), WR Antonio Brown (Head, Concussion Protocol), RB DeAngelo Williams (Ankle), WR Sammie Coates (Illness) and CB Doran Grant (Groin) all listed as Questionable and starters RB Le’Veon Bell (Knee) and C Maurkice Pouncey (Ankle) out and on the I-R List. Toss in the fact Broncos (12-4 SU, 8-8 ATS) Head Coach Gary Kubiak announced last week firmly he would be starting 39-year-old veteran Peyton Manning in this Divisional game on Sunday (CBS, 4:10 p.m. EST, 1:10 p.m. PST) at Sports Authority Field in Denver (Intervals of Clouds and Sunshine, 35° Fahrenheit, Winds NE 4 mph, Humidity 42%), and you have a confident betting public and it looks pretty early on here that the sportsbooks will be needing the Steelers (16/1 to win Super Bowl, William Hill) unless Head Coach Mike Tomlin comes out early (or even late) in the week and says that both QB Roethlisberger and WR Brown are healthy and good to go against Denver (6/1 to win Super Bowl, Betway). And we all know we’ll (likely) hear nothing up until gameday. This may be one of those games to approach In-Game as the difference between Big Ben and Landry Jones is like the difference between an Automobile and a Rickshaw. And nobody wants Landry Jones on the Road in a hostile environment, at Altitude against a team who has had a week Rest and a very solid (now?) and somewhat experienced backup QB in Brock Osweiler.

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