Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM

Vegas Money Moves - Week 16

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Quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Browns have won and covered four of their last five games and their point-spread rating keeps rising on most oddsmakers charts. They're 8.5-point home favorites in NFL Week 16 action against the Bengals, the largest favorite the Browns have been since 2010 when they were -8.5 against the Panthers.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the Browns -7 on Sunday night and by Tuesday they were forced to move to -7.5 and -8, and then Wednesday they went to -8.5 and -9 and then back down to -8.5. The total has dropped from 45 down to 44. SuperBook Vice President Jay Kornegay said they took a $20,000 wager on the Bengals money-line at +300. Despite the risk, the SuperBook currently has the game -425/+325.

Jeff Driskel will get another start at QB for the Bengals and has looked better each week as he gets more reps with the first-string offense. He led the Bengals to a 30-16 win against the Raiders last week to end a five-game losing streak, one of which was a 35-20 Browns win at Cincinnati in Week 12. The win halted a seven-game win and cover streak by the Bengals in the battle of Ohio.

William Hill sports books in Nevada and New Jersey has 56 percent of the tickets written on the Browns as well as 64 percent of the actual cash. The South Point has the largest number in Nevada on this game with the Browns -9.5.

Kornegay said they also took a large bet on the Patriots laying -12 at home against the Bills. They opened the Patriots -10.5 on Sunday night and after a series of moves they ended up going to -13.5 Thursday. Along with Wynn, they have the largest number on this game. Most bet shops are -13 with Station Casinos being the lowest at -12.5.

The Bills have failed to cover their last three games, but come off a 14-13 home win against the Lions. The Patriots have lost two straight, both on the road. They won at Buffalo, 25-6, in Week 8 covering -13.5 for their fourth straight win and cover in the series. The Patriots are 6-0 at home (5-1 ATS) this season winning by an average score of 33-19.

The most lop-sided games of the week at William Hill books are the Falcons and Vikings each getting 91 percent of the cash in their games.

The Falcons are -3 at Carolina with backup QB Taylor Heinicke making his first career start with Cam Newton out (shoulder). The Panthers have lost six straight while the Falcons ended a five-game losing streak last week with a 40-14 win against the Cardinals.

The SuperBook opened the Panthers -4 on Monday when Newton was expected to start before he got hurt in the 12-9 Monday night loss against the Saints. They reopened the Panthers -3.5 Tuesday and then news of Newton came Wednesday morning and the Falcons were flipped to the 3-point favorite. On Friday morning, they got some Panthers action and went to +3 (-120), as did Wynn, Boyd Gaming and MGM books.

The Vikings won the first meeting with the Lions in Week 9, 24-9, as 4.5-point home favorites. It's part of the Lions 2-6 run. The Lions have also stayed 'under' the total in their last five games. The Vikings finally got their running game going last week in a 41-17 win against the Dolphins. They've averaged only 95 yards per game on the ground this season, but busted loose for 220 yards led by Dalvin Cook's 136 yards and 2 TDs. The Vikings are 2-4-1 straight-up on the road this season.

Last week, the most lopsided game was the Patriots laying -2.5 at Pittsburgh and the Steelers won 17-10. Sometimes the public weight heavy on a side is too much for a team to live up to.

William Hill books will be rooting for the 49ers on Sunday as well with 81 percent of the cash on that game coming on the Bears who have won and covered seven of their last eight. The Bears are 4-point road favorites at every Nevada book. The 49ers have won their last two, both at home as 3-point dogs. It's hard to believe the 49ers could have played 14 games and have only 5 takeaways. They're last in turnover margin at -22, the Bears are No. 1 at +13.

Wynn Las Vegas sports book director Doug Castaneda said he's gotten sharp play on the Ravens, Cowboys, and Bears so far.

The Ravens play Saturday night at Carson, California against the Chargers and the SuperBook and South Point have dropped from -4.5 down to -4. Wynn hasn't moved off -4.5 all week. The Chargers are going for the AFC West title and home field throughout the playoffs while the Ravens are trying to win the AFC North, or just hang onto the No. 6 seed. The Ravens have won four of their last five with Lamar Jackson proving effective running the ball. The Chargers have won four straight and come off their signature win of the season at Kansas City last Thursday.

The Cowboys had their five-game win streak snapped last week in a 23-0 loss at Indianapolis and will look to regroup at home against the Buccaneers on Sunday. The Cowboys have been a solid -7 all week.

Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 14 years.

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