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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:52 PM

Vegas Money Moves - Week 14

Sharps on Miami, Public wavering

The Dolphins are an NFL-best 9-3 against the spread and have won and covered seven of their last eight while positioning themselves for the playoffs and possibly an AFC East title, but most casual bettors are still skeptical of them weekly.

In Sunday’s Week 14 action there is a sane reason for being skeptical because the mighty Kansas City Chiefs are seven-point favorites at Miami.

William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich says they’ve taken sharp action on the Dolphins and the Chiefs aren’t one of their most weighted sides by the public showing some respect.

Ever since the Dolphins wrecked the 49ers, 43-17, at Santa Clara to start their 7-1 run, I think a lot of us wanted to see them do it again to prove it’s not an anomaly. This has been happening for the last nine weeks.

Prove it, again! 

We make excuses for their play citing the luck with the special teams and defensive scores. The reality is they’re well-coached in all facets and the players are executing. The Dolphins are No. 2 in scoring defense, allowing 17.7 points per game.

The Westgate SuperBook opened the Chiefs -7.5 in the look-ahead spreads two weeks ago and re-opened them -7.5 on Monday and it stayed there for three hours until moving to -7.

On Tuesday they moved the juice up on the Chiefs -7 (-120).

SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay has a theory on why the public hasn’t collectively jumped in on Miami like they do with most of their favorites.

“I think it’s in the brand name,” Kornegay said. “They don’t trust the Dolphins and they question the QB consistency.”

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has gone 4-1 as a starter with seven TD passes and no interceptions. The coaches are working him in slowly and being conservative while his teammates in all other areas are upping their ante carrying the load. Last week against the Bengals he had his best day with 296 yards passing and a TD pass in a 19-7 win at home, plus they covered a healthy number (-10).

The Chiefs roll in with a seven-game win streak but have failed to cover the spread in their last four which has helped the sportsbooks very much along the way.

The Chiefs are one of those popular public teams like the Packers that are always given the benefit of the doubt which is aided by trusting the quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers.

Tua’s time to join that group and be a popular weekly bet thereafter could happen Sunday if he beats the Chiefs. That will be the biggest sign seen yet that skepticism is gone. The SuperBook has the Dolphins +280 on the money-line while bettors backing Kansas City will have to pay a price of-340.

Bettors buying Buffalo

Bogdanovich also said they had sharp action on the Bills (-1.5) at home against the Steelers in the Sunday Night Football game.

The Steelers come off their first loss of the season and have looked sluggish in recent games without running back James Connor but he is expected to play this week.

The Steelers defense is ranked third overall, allowing 300 yards per game and first with 44 sacks. The effort by the consistent group has aided the Steelers to go 8-4 ATS for bettors.

Meanwhile, the Bills have covered their last four games and won five of their last six.

Following last Monday’s games where the Bills rolled and the Steelers lost to Washington, I had the Steelers rated 1.5-points higher than the Bills and gave a half-point for home-field despite no fans allowed in Buffalo.

But respected bettors felt differently on Tuesday and bet the Bills at pick ‘em, -1, and -2.

When +2.5 got there, Steelers money pushed back and the SuperBook is now a steady -1.5. The point I’m trying to make is that Monday’s results influenced the spread much more than it should have.

Kornegay said sharp money was on the Steelers +2.5, as well as Ravens -1, and Lions at +8.5 and +8.

Keep an Eye On...

The Ravens have blown out the Browns in the last two meetings, but this version of the Browns might be the most talented and most football fun Cleveland has had since the Bernie Kosar days. And they’re on a roll with wins in their last four games to go 9-3 heading into the Monday Night matchup.

They have four games left with a great shot at 12 wins for the first time since Kosar’s 1986 Browns.

The Ravens shook off a three-game skid and COVID-19 with a Tuesday win versus Dallas where QB Lamar Jackson was running with authority again. The problem the public has with the Browns is that they don’t cover, evidenced by their 5-7 ATS mark. The Ravens have moved from -1 to -2.5. Rest in peace Art Modell.

The Lions are fresh off their 34-30 win at Chicago and now get the Packers who are now 7.5-point road favorites at the SuperBook. The Packers are the overwhelming public favorites at the South Point and Willaim Hill.

The Lions have covered six of the past seven meetings with the Packers but Green Bay has covered eight of 12 games this season for the public.

Chris Andrews at the South Point said the Chiefs and Saints are the top public selections after the Packers. He also informed that the Lions, Bears, and Chargers were the top sharp money choices this week.

The Saints opened -6.5 at Philadelphia and have been bet up to -7. The Eagles have benched QB Carson Wentz and will start rookie Jalen Hurts, the former Alabama Crimson Tide and Oklahoma Sooners standout.

Including Hurts, we have three rookie QBs starting in Week 14. One of them is the Chargers signal caller Justin Herbert, who comes off the worst game of his young career, a 45-0 home loss to the Patriots. The Falcons opened as 2.5-point road favorites and sharps took the number with the Chargers down to 1.5.

Doug Castaneda said his Wynn Sportsbook’s biggest risk so far is on the Jaguars who welcome the Titans (-7.5 EV). Veteran QB Mike Glennon has shown he can move the ball and make NFL throws. No word on how big of a six-figure wager the Wynn book took on the Jags.

BetMGM’s Jason Scott says the Buccaneers are their biggest risk so far. The Vikings have won five of their last six games to reach .500 again, but have failed to cover the spread in their last three, all of which were at home. The Bucs come in as losers in their last two to drop to 7-5, and both teams are 6-6 ATS. The Bucs are steady at -6.5 and Kornegay says they’re a popular public bet this week.

Week 14 - Public vs. Sharp Leans

Here’s a look at the most bets sides from the sharp and public:

Sharp

  • Lions
  • Bears
  • Chargers
  • Ravens
  • Steelers
  • Bills
  • Dolphins

Public

  • Packers
  • Chiefs
  • Saints
  • Cardinals
  • Buccaneers
  • Titans
  • Ravens

Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 16 years.

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