Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:52 AM
Vegas Money Moves - Week 15
Brees, Saints on the Radar
Quarterback Drew Brees is back for NFL Week 15 action and the point-spread barely moved as the Kansas City Chiefs remain listed as three-point road favorites at New Orleans as of Friday in what is shaping up to be the most bet among any of the 12 Sunday games.
“The Bills-Broncos Saturday matchup is our largest volume game,” Station Casinos sportsbook director Jason McCormick said on Friday. “But if you toss that game out, it’s the Chiefs at Saints.”
South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews says the Saints game is their largest handled game. So does Jason Scott of BetMGM.
“Sharps are on the Saints and the public is all over the Chiefs,” Scott said, who also mentioned they’ll be needing the Saints.
The Saints (10-3) had their nine-game win streak snapped last week at Philadelphia and lost their No. 1 seed lead in the NFL to the Green Bay Packers as well. The loss also ended a five-game covering streak, dropping New Orleans to 7-6 ATS on the season.
“The public action hasn’t been as large during the week as previous weeks,” said SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay.
“They don’t like the spreads they’re seeing, numbers like 17, 11, 12, 5, and 13. Just some light parlay play so far with the most popular being the Bucs -6, 49ers -3, and Chiefs -3, and with the Chiefs game, most of that action was before Brees was announced to start so we’ll see what happens now.”
Another reason annually for light handle this week is Christmas approaching and mapping out the budget to buy gifts which usually means dipping into their regular betting funds to accommodate.
Adding much more intrigue to the game is Friday’s news of Brees starting at QB after missing the last four games with capable backup QB Taysom Hill going 3-1 in his absence.
“Even with Brees back, I don’t think this line will go below 3,” said William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich. “I don’t know how much of a difference there is between Brees and Hill. It seems like all this news is doing is that it’s allowing the masses to get the Chiefs at a cheaper number. There’s just so much money on the Chiefs, both for straight bets and parlays.”
The SuperBook opened the Chiefs -3.5 and were -3 (-120) following the news after being -3 for most of the week.
Brees is basically worth nothing to the number because Hill is so good. But opening odds had the possibility of Brees starting built into the number, so maybe it’s a bit unfair to say Brees is worth nothing.
Also, it's fair to say that this won't be a 100% Drew Brees under center on Sunday. His ribs were crushed as a 49ers lineman dropped all his weight on him on a pass rush in Week 10 on Nov. 15. I’m surprised he’s back this quick.
The Chiefs sit at 12-1 and are in control of the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but betting them lately against-the-spread has been a losing proposition as they’re only 6-7 for bettors.
They’ve failed to cover their last five games while maintaining an eight-game win streak. It’s their second-lowest spread of the season for Kansas City. The first being +3.5 at Baltimore in Week 3, which was a 34-20 Chiefs win.
Sharps show hand early
Along with the Saints as a top sharp play at most sportsbooks for the week is also the Broncos (now +5 vs. Bulls) on Saturday, and the Patriots (+1.5 at Miami) on Sunday.
The move on the Broncos at the SuperBook was at +6.5 and +6, but they also took +5.5 on Friday afternoon to force the move to Bills -5.
The South Point took sharp money on the Jaguars (+12.5 at Baltimore) and Bears (+3) at Minnesota. Gardner Minshew will be the starting QB for the Jaguars.
The Washington Football Team will be starting back up QB, Dwayne Haskins, this week as Alex Smith still has a leg injury.
The SuperBook has moved the Seahawks from 3.5-point road favorites to -6.5, but the Haskins move happened Friday and the move from -5.5 to -6 happened after the announcement.
The total is sitting at 43, which is interesting because the Seahawks have stayed under in their last five games. Washington has won and covered its last four games.
This Seattle-Washington game could be a preview to a Wild Card game in the upcoming NFC playoffs.
William Hill sportsbooks have four other teams along with the Chiefs that are getting at least 80% for both total number of tickets and total dollars wagered: the Colts (-7.5 vs. Texans), Buccaneers (-6 at Atlanta), Steelers (-13 at Cincinnati) and Browns (-6 at NY Giants).
The Browns (-3.5 to -6) are also one of four teams at William Hill to have a Week 15 spread shift in their direction by at least 2.5 points, joining the 49ers (pick’em to -3 at Dallas), Seahawks (-4 to -6.5 at Washington) and Buccaneers (-3.5 to -6).
Happy Christmas shopping everyone!
I have a feeling this might be your week to beat up the book.
Week 15 - Public vs. Sharp Leans
Here’s a recap of the sharp-public divide:
Bettors love Alabama
I usually don’t mention college football games in this piece, but handle disparity in Saturday’s SEC Championship game with No. 1 Alabama playing No. 7 Florida startled me.
I had to do a double-take. But it was true, Alabama laying -17.5 points has 95% of the cash wagered on the game, which is by far the most heavily weighted game on Saturday’s card.
“This game will be our biggest decision for sure,” said William Hill’s Nick Bogdanovich.
“It very well could be an NFL-sized decision. It’s the 5:00 (p.m. PT) game, every parlay will have Alabama and/or the over. The early returns are scary. In money, parlays are 35/1. Straight bets are like 8/1. I’m not sure why anyone would want to step in front of Alabama right now. Florida hasn’t shown they can stop anyone, just look at LSU last weekend.”
Alabama leads all teams playing this weekend in total number of tickets and total dollars wagered for all spread bets in their respective game. The Crimson Tide are generating 88% of the total number of tickets.
VI Expert Brian Edwards, a noted Florida Gators alumni, doesn't believe his school will win but the cover is possible and the guys behind the counter are hoping the SEC guru is right.
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 16 years.