Las Vegas Money Moves
December 22, 2012
By Micah Roberts
We have a few teams in must-win situations this week, but bettors are only believing in one of them -- the New York Giants. And why not? No team has been better with their backs against the wall than the Giants in recent years. They almost seem to play better in elimination-type games.
Last season, the Giants' playoffs started in Week 16 and they not only won the NFC East with a 9-7 record by winning their final two regular season games, but they also went on to win the four playoff games ending up with another Super Bowl win over the Patriots.
Even though the Giants have lost four of their last six games, bettors still bet them from a two-point underdog to a 2 ½-point favorite at Baltimore. A lot of that can be attributed to the Ravens recent meltdowns, but there seems to be an overwhelming confidence with bettors that Eli Manning and the Giants will come out on top.
While the Giants have lost four of their past six games, it's the two blowout wins over the Packers and Saints over that span that still resonates with most of us, showing that this team isn't dead.
As for the Ravens, it was only two home games ago when we were talking about them as having the best home-field advantage in football, having won 15 straight at home. That was until a Steelers squad took them down without Big Ben and then the Broncos cleaned their clock.
You could say the Ravens are fortunate to even be in the position they're in at 9-7, and could have easily been coming in on a five game losing streak at 7-7. They barely beat Byron Leftwich at Pittsburgh, 13-10, and then the following week it took a fourth-and-29 miracle at San Diego to keep them alive.
Despite some of the Las Vegas sports books getting burned by the Giants last season at odds of 25-to-1 and higher to win the Super Bowl at this juncture, they're 25-to-1 again right now.
On the other side of things we have the Dallas Cowboys, who opened as a 2 ½-point home favorite against the Saints. Despite winning four of their last five and being competitive in virtually every game this season, no one has faith in them the same way they do for the Giants. In fact, money has been coming in on the Saints and the Cowboys are now -2 ½ (EV).
The same goes for the Steelers, even though they are in a much different situation as far as current form goes. They have lost four of their last five games. They opened as five-point home favorites against the Bengals and Cincy money has pushed the number to -3 ½.
We used to kind of have the same feeling about the Steelers and Roethlisberger as we do for the Giants and Manning, but the Steelers look out of synch. They throw the ball too much, can;t run when they try and have too many turnovers.
Regardless of how we feel about the Steelers, the move is more about the Bengals. They have won five of their last six games and have the look on both sides of the ball that could give any one of the top AFC teams in the playoffs some problems. Bengals are playoff ready, the Steelers are not.
Here's a look at some of the other moves over the week at Las Vegas sports books:
-- The Packers went from 10 ½-point home favorites over the Titans to -12. The total in this game dropped from 47 to 44 ½.
-- The Dolphins went from 4 ½-point home favorites over the Bills to -5.
-- The Patriots went from 14-point home favorites against the Jaguars to -14.5. The total went from 48 ½ to 50 ½, not surprising considering the Pats have gone OVER the total in 11 of their past 12 games.
-- The Colts opened as seven-point road favorites at Kansas City and Chiefs money has bet the number down to -6 ½.
-- The Redskins opened at -4 ½ at Philadelphia with expectations that Robert Griffin III would play -- and he is, but when the official announcement came out, the line moved to -6 ½, which appears to be a little excessive considering Griffin isn't 100 %.
-- The Broncos opened as 10-point home favorites against the Browns and the number has been bet up to -13.
-- The Bears are sliding fast, but still opened as a 6-point favorite at Arizona. Cardinals money has dropped the number to 5 ½. Whenever I think of the Bears playing in Arizona, former Cards coach Dennis Green's classic tirade a few years ago after losing a tough game always come to mind. They are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook.?
-- The Jets have a new quarterback starting this week, and it's not Tim Tebow, but another former SEC star QB, Greg McElroy. The Jets dropped from -3 to -1 ½ for their home game against the Chargers after the announcement, but have been bet back up to -2 ½.
-- The Seahawks have gone from 1-point home favorites against the 49ers to pick-em. The Seahawks have won and covered every one of their home games this season against some pretty good competition like the Packers, Patriots and Cowboys. Both teams have been playing extremely well offensively, which makes the total in this game set at 39 appear quite low.