NFL Betting: Identifying Early Sharp & Public Wild Card Round Line Movement

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, January 5, 2016 11:55 AM GMT

We take an early week look at two smallish moves and justify why or why not the perceived Smart on these two games and offer up a couple of NFL picks of our own.

So far there has been only minimal Point Spread movement on the Wild Card Round of games this coming weekend, but that’s to be expected, and no doubt there will be more movement both on the Sides and well as the Totals for the four games coming on Saturday and Sunday. So far the early steam has been on the host Bengals against the Steelers and on the visiting Seahawks at Minnesota, and the money may keep tumbling in on Russell Wilson and the defending NFC champions who may get Marshawn Lynch back in the fold for the Postseason.

 

Saturday, January 9, 2016
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Line Low: Steelers -1½ Jan. 3 (Treasure Island)
Current Lines: Steelers -2½, -3 
Current Line Low: Steelers -2½ (Almost everywhere)
Current Consensus: Steelers -2½
Current Line High: Steelers -3 (Sportsbook.ag, CarbonSports.ag)
Analysis: The Point Spread here is all about who the starting QB of the Cincinnati Bengals is expected to be, and for now it seems backup AJ McCarron is the man for the AFC North champions on Saturday night at Paul Brown Stadium against Pittsburgh, although rumblings starter Andy Dalton may try to give it a go, thus the likely early Bengals steam almost everywhere (Las Vegas, Offshore, Online) which has driven this Point Spread down from the NFL Key Number of 3 to 2½—likely mostly Smart/Sharp or Wiseguy money—which opens up the possibility for a Middle should the Steelers go to 3½ with an influx of General Public money from Tuesday until Saturday. But with rumors Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams (Ankle) may miss the game—he’ll undergo an MRI on Monday with his status to be determined later—the Steelers won’t be as strong, and if Williams can’t go, Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman will get the bulk of the carries for the visitors from The Steel City with starter and star RB Le’Veon Bell (Knee, Injured Reserve) already Out for Pittsburgh.
Should Dalton (Thumb, Questionable) be able to play, expect maybe a 1- to 1½-point movement, but Cincinnati will likely be mum about announcing this, should it be a reality. No doubt the Bengals know (and want) Dalton to go here, especially this wonderful season. Thoughts he may play may also be part of the reason behind this early (Monday) ½-point movement from Bengals money. With Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger likely throwing the pigskin a bunch here with his many weapons, including superstar WR Antonio Brown, WR Markus Wheaton, WR Martavis Bryant and TE Heath Miller, points should be scored and the Clock should stop a lot. This should be good for the Over, and the Bengals talented Roster is chock full o’ productive Offensive guys like WR AJ Green, TE Tyler Eifert, RB Giovani Bernard, RB Jeremy Bernard, WR Marvin Jones, WR Mohamed Sanu and others. Still, Cincinnati and 13-year Head Coach Marvin Lewis (106-98-10 ATS) have L7 straight Playoff games and getting their rival Steelers (4-1 ATS L5 in series, 5-1 ATS L6 here in Cincinnati) here is a negative and that just can’t be overlooked. It sure seems like a 28-27-type shootout in the Queen City with Dalton playing (and theoretically surprising everyone) but Big Ben, stud Antonio Brown and Pittsburgh 9th-year Head Coach Mike Tomlin (77-73-3 ATS) prevailing. The Steelers simply won’t want to lose to the Bengals here. We are taking that into account when making our NFL picks.

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Free Wild Card Pick: Steelers Money Line -133
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Sunday, January 10, 2016
Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings

Line Low: Seahawks -3½ Jan. 4 (William Hill)
Current Line Low: Seahawks -3½ (William Hill)
Current Consensus Lines: Seahawks -5, 5½ (Majority)
Current Line High: Seahawks -6½ (CarbonSports.ag, Sportsbook.ag)
Analysis: Seldom when writing these assignments does a perceived big (current) Middle exists, but that’s what it seems we have right here, right now (Monday, 3:33 p.m. PST) with this game. as you can see, the current low in the marketplace sees visitors Seattle as just 3½-point chalks (William Hill) with Russell Wilson and Seattle as high as 6½-point favorites at a couple of Offshore joints (Sportsbook.ag, CarbonSports.ag). Having a potential Middle in an NFL game with the three “Spots” of 4, 5 and 6 is very rare and no doubt that this will smooth out like freshly laid concrete in no time. The bulk of the early movement here is on the Seahawks, and this early in the marketplace, the thought is that the vast majority is Sharp money, maybe not so much for Point Spread positioning in the NFL odds boards, but because they have seen this Seattle Movie before (and probably won Money on it). History repeats itself and Time is a flat circle, right Timmy? So the defending NFC champion Seahawks seem like the “Right Side” here and as South Point’s Jimmy Vaccaro just said on the local Sin City radio, the sportsbooks will probably be pulling hard for the Vikings in a really big way come Sunday. Why does this seem like the “Right Side”? Because the red-hot Seahawks and LB Bobby Wagner have the #2 Total Defense in the NFL and are #2 against both the Run and the Pass and humbled the Vikings here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes—where Apollonia purified herself in the wrong lake because The Kid said nothing—earlier this year, so the Vikings are maybe now focusing on how they can maybe score points on Special Teams?

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Free Wild Card Pick: Seahawks -3½
Best Line Offered: at William Hill

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