The sharps haven’t wasted any time moving the NFL lines for Week 3. They seem particularly interested in hammering the biggest underdogs on the board, the Oakland Raiders, who are getting more than two touchdowns this Sunday.
Jason’s record after Week 1: 1-4 ATS, 0-1 Totals
Profit: minus-6.6 units
Have the sharps ever met a double-digit dog that they didn’t like? Actually, yes: the Kansas City Chiefs. They were 13-point road dogs in their Week 2 matchup with the Denver Broncos, and somewhat surprisingly, it was the Broncos getting most of the early NFL betting action in that one. And the late action, and most of the action in between. Kansas City spoiled the fun by losing 24-17.
Maybe 13 points just wasn’t enough to whet the sharps’ collective appetite. How about 15.5 points? That was the opening spread for this Sunday’s Week 3 matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) between the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots. Our very early consensus reports show the Raiders getting unanimous support from the first customers on the NFL odds board. The Patriots quickly turned the tide, but the sharps have spoken.
There was a time when the sharps would bet every double-digit dog blind. Many still do, but in the modern NFL, touchdowns are in abundance and favorites are getting better at beating the spread. We saw this in Week 1, when Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles (–10 at home) came back from down 17-0 at the half to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-17. Sorry for the painful reminder if you were on Jax like most of the sharps were.
Still, 15.5 points is a lot of points. Enough points that the sharps appear willing to overlook the “West Coast teams playing early on the East Coast” trend that we talked about elsewhere. Enough points to shrug off how poorly the Raiders (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS) played in their Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans (–3 away). Houston was up 27-0 at the end of three quarters before putting it in cruise control and winning 30-14.
Saved by Zero
At the other end of the spectrum, we had three NFL games that were in pick ‘em territory in very early betting. The San Diego Chargers are the other West Coast vagabonds playing a Sunday matinee out East; the sharps were on the Buffalo Bills at a 2:1 ratio as we went to press. They also seem to prefer the Baltimore Ravens on the road versus the Cleveland Browns, and the Green Bay Packers on the road against the Detroit Lions.
The Packers-Lions matchup is the most contentious of the trio. While Green Bay got the earliest action, it was a brief moment of glory before the floodgates opened and people started hammering the Lions, moving the spread to Detroit –2. Mind you, it doesn’t take a lot of action to move from a pick ‘em to –2. Talk to us again if the Lions make it all the way to the magic number three.
Speaking of which, we’ve got a pair of games that are dancing around that number as we go to press. After their impressive showing in Week 2, the Texans opened at –3 (+115) versus the woeful New York Giants, who are already in the hole at 0-2 SU and ATS. Our reports show 56 percent support for Houston at roughly the equivalent price of –2.5 and the standard –110 vigorish.
We also have the victorious Carolina Panthers (2-0 SU and ATS) laying three points at home to the struggling Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2 SU and ATS). The Panthers may have been one of our five overrated teams for 2014, but they’re getting about two-thirds of the early action in this matchup. Hard to argue with that after what we’ve seen so far from both teams. Make sure to stay up to date on the betting patterns for all the Week 3 games as they get closer to kick-off.