Dec 26, 2020
Vegas Money Moves - Week 16
Monsters of the Midway
Check out the Chicago Bears. They got all kinds of fans jumping aboard the bandwagon in Sunday’s Week 16 action where they are a 7-point road favorite at Jacksonville. William Hill’s head bookmaker Nick Bogdanovich said the Bears are their biggest risk Sunday, the side with 90% of the cash taken on the game.
The Westgate SuperBook opened the Bears -4.5 for this game two weeks ago in their look-ahead lines, readjusted to -6.5 on Sunday night after the Bears won at Minnesota where it was quickly taken and moved to -7. On Monday they moved to -7.5 where it stayed all week until moving down to -7 on Saturday. Almost all Nevada sportsbooks are -7.5.
The Bears are one of the top public plays of the week at all books on the basis of wooing them with two straight wins to get to 7-7 and they’re doing it with their new old QB, Mitchell Trubisky. The public had dropped the Bears from their betting projections during a string of six straight losses (1-5 ATS) which the move was made to start Trubisky over Nick Foles who was given the job early in the season after Trubisky struggled.
But let’s not give the Bears all the credit for attracting the public’s attention this week. Let;s give the Jaguars some credit, like maybe all of it. Since shocking the Colts in Week 1, the Jags have lost their last 13 games (5-8 ATS). The Jaguars are as stinky as it gets in the NFL and everyone knows it, so let’s make some money betting against them.
The action has been mostly public as sharp money is skeptical of trusting the Bears to cover on the road. Laying seven points on the road with a team that has gone 0-5 ATS in their last five as a favorite isn’t wise, or at least that’s been a way professional bettors stay in the profession.
Along with the Bears, the top public plays include the Browns -9.5 (at N.Y. Jets), Ravens (-9.5 vs. Giants), Chiefs (-11 vs. Falcons), Chargers (-3 vs. Broncos), and Eagles (-3 at Dallas). That’s three of the largest spreads Sunday, a fascination with a rookie QB, and betting against the Broncos who were buried 48-19 at home last week by the Bills.
SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay said sharps and the public are on the same side with the Eagles. Sharp money laid the Eagles -2.5 on Saturday afternoon pushing the game to -3.
The look-ahead line last week had the game pick ‘em. They reopened the game -1 on Sunday and it’s been a slow drip up to -1.5, -2, -2.5, -3 EVEN. Rookie QB Jalen Hurts gets more respect for going 1-1 in his first two career starts than I’ve seen out of a rookie in quite a while. Meanwhile, the Cowboys have won their last two games. William Hill books have 88% of the cash on the Eagles.
Kornegay said they got sharp play on the Broncos +3 EVEN and also the Titans at +3.5 for their frigid match-up at Green Bay Sunday night. It’s supposed to be 17 degrees with winds at 10 mph and a 60% chance of snow. Both teams run the ball well. The Packers have won four straight while the Titans have gained some confidence by walloping the Lions and Jaguars in the last two weeks.
Steel City Blues
The game I’m most interested in seeing what happens is the Colts at Pittsburgh as the Steelers team rating has taken a nosedive South. The lookahead number was Steelers -3 last week and on Saturday it went as far as Colts -1.5 until settling at Steelers -1.
The Steelers have lost their last three, the Colts have won their last three and have gone 4-0 ATS in their last four road games. This game also features two of the best defenses in the league. The total is set at 43 with weather not being an issue.
NFC West Showdown
Another game hovering around -1 is the Seahawks at home against the Rams who come off the loss of the year losing as 17-point home favorites to the winless Jets. The Seahawks have gone down from -2 to -1.
“I don’t understand that move,” said Bogdanovich. “These teams seem pretty even to me and the Rams losing Cam Akers is a pretty big blow. Seattle is always a tough out at home and Russell Wilson is still one of the best quarterbacks in the game.”
WEEK 16 - PUBLIC VS. SHARP LEANS
Here’s a recap of the sharp-public divide:
Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 16 years.