We examine the betting patterns from the early weekend and try to determine where the sharps are going with their first NFL picks of the new season.
Jason's 2015 record as of Sept. 12: 1-0 ATS; 1-0 Total
It's a pleasant Saturday afternoon here at the ranch. The birds are singing, the beer's exactly the right temperature, and we've got 15 NFL games on our plate for Week 1. Most of the work has already been done with our NFL picks, but before we call it a day, it's time to look at the consensus reports and see where the first action of the weekend has been landing.
This is the time of week when recreational bettors usually open up their wallets – but there will be some sharp action in the mix. Sorting out the two is a bit more difficult than it is earlier in the week; for example, sometimes the sharps will make a bet when the NFL odds first come out, then they'll make an even bigger bet in the other direction after the lines have moved in their favor. Clever.
As we go to press, there are four games on the Week 1 sked where the lines were adjusted on Saturday. Here's the list:
Tennessee Titans vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Oakland Raiders (4:25 p.m. ET, CBS)
New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons (Monday, 6:55 p.m. ET, ESPN)
According to our consensus reports, we're seeing an uptick in support for the Titans (53 percent), Bengals (55 percent) and Falcons (38 percent). The Cowboys are holding at 51 percent support, but their NFL odds have moved slightly from –7 (+110) to –7 (+115), so we'll interpret that as a lean toward the Giants.
Is any of this sharp action? The first two games on our list feature four small-market teams, only one of which (Cincinnati) has been any good in recent years, so we'd expect a limited amount of recreational money on those teams anyway. Our focus is more on the Giants, and especially the Falcons. These clubs have seen their odds driven all the way to +7 and +3, respectively, albeit with a premium on vigorish at most books. If that was the plan, the sharps have done their work.
As you may remember, we picked the Giants earlier this week for a small bet. Action was very light at the time, and according to our expanded consensus reports, it remains that way. The average bet size on New York ($26) and Dallas ($37) is much smaller than anyone else is pulling in at the moment. Having said that, our surveys show five $1000+ bets on the G-Men and just one on Dallas. I like big bets, and I cannot lie.
That Eagles-Falcons game looks more and more interesting the closer we get to kick-off. Philadelphia was our original choice, again with enough reservations to keep the bet size small, but we can definitely see the sharps unloading on Atlanta now that the spread has hit +3. Our expanded consensus numbers show four $1000+ bets on either side of the line, even though over 62 percent of bettors are on the Eagles. One of these birds is going to get cooked Monday night.