Last Updated Dec 24, 2021, 7:00 PM

Vegas Money Moves - Week 16

The COVID strain sweeping the world right now has altered the way most of us bet. We’re still looking for good numbers, but a lot of these NFL Week 16 games don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle to make a proper number. This milder strain of COVID called Omicron is very contagious and it’s got teams scrambling in all leagues. Last week, three teams played with skeleton lineups with multiple starters out.

But they played and we bet it.

Merry Christmas my friends, good luck handicapping during the pandemic.

I’ll do my best to pass along key players that are questionable to play this weekend and relay what the sportsbooks did with the number.

Sharp money has already shown their hands on a few games around Nevada sportsbooks, including two different groups on different sides of Saturday night’s feature with the Colts at Arizona. Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay said their Colts action was played lightly by sharp money. Station Casinos and the South Point both took sharp action on the Cardinals.

Two weeks ago the SuperBook posted the Cardinals as 5-point favorites, which was before the Cardinals lost at Detroit and before the Colts beat the Patriots. Bettors took the points and dropped the number down to Cards -3.5 and eventually to -2 after the Week 15 results.

Tuesday the game was at pick ‘em and then the sharp money pushed the Cards to as high as -2.5 where it stood at multiple books on Friday afternoon. The Colts have a few players on the COVID list with G Quinten Nelson being the big name missing. The Cardinals are without WR DeAndre Hopkins for the rest of the regular season.

The question we all have to ask ourselves when betting the game is whether the Colts' two-game win streak and momentum are more important than the desperation of the Cardinals who have lost their last two in the three games since Kyler Murray returned as starting QB.

This is a big game for both teams, choose well. The total has been steady at 49 all week.

The Colts have the most dangerous RB in the NFL with Jonathan Taylor and they also lead the league in turnover margin at +14. Arizona is +10 in turnover margin. Colts LB Darius Leonard is wrecking every opponent's game plan up weekly.

The Cardinals just lost to the Lions and looked really bad in the 30-12 loss. Kyler Murray pouts when losing, but rides high when winning. He’s a good front-runner. Hopkins was his security blanket, too.

The Saturday afternoon game has the Browns at Green Bay with a number that started at Packers -8 at the SuperBook and has gotten as high as -8.5 and gotten as low as -7 which is where they were on Friday afternoon.

Circa Sports and the South Point are both -7.5. The Browns still have multiple players out or questionable as they did Monday night, but QB Baker Mayfield is expected to play. WR Jarvis Landry and DE Myles Garrett are both questionable.

The total has jumped from 45 to 47. The move might have something to do with the Packers defense that has helped their last four games get over the total allowing 28 points or more in each. Respected faces have bet the Browns at the South Point and Station Casinos. The Packers are the top public team this week in tickets written and parlays.

Sharp money has also bet Washington at Dallas in Sunday’s lineup taking the +10.5 and +10. Circa Sports is -9.5 as of Friday and the SuperBook is -10.

Both teams have several players on the COVID list but starting QB Taylor Heinicke isn’t one of them but is listed questionable (knee).

The Chargers are likely to be without RB Austin Ekeler and DE Joey Bosa but WRs Kennan Allen and Mike Williams are both expected to play as well as QB Justin Herbert. The Texans will be without the bright spot on offense, WR Brandin Cooks, and kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn.

Houston comes off a win at Jacksonville and the Chargers come off an embarrassing overtime loss to the Chiefs last Thursday. The SuperBook opened the Chargers -9 and have been bet up to -10.5 and they’re also a very public play in parlays.

The killer public parlay for the sportsbooks is the Packers, Chargers, Rams, Buccaneers, and the Eagles. That 5-teamer is a stocking full of coal for the sportsbooks.

The Buccaneers come off a 9-0 home loss to the Saints and are 10-point road favorites at Carolina where Cam Newton will start at QB, but Sam Darnold is expected to have a role in the game. This is easy to figure out: on run downs, it’s Newton, and throwing downs is Darnold.

Who knows how the Panthers deal with the QB issue, but their defense is ranked No. 2 and Tom Brady’s No. 1 ranked passing offense will be missing WR Mike Evans, WR Chris Godwin, and RB Leonard Fournette while WR Antonio Bryant is expected back from a suspension. The Panthers have lost their last four (0-4 ATS) and went over the total in their last five games. The total has dropped from 45 to 43.

The Rams went from -3 to -3.5 shortly after it was known Vikings RB Dalvin Cook wouldn’t be playing. This looks like another Vikings nailbiter, but sharps don’t want either side which is telling – a home dog getting +3.5 and no one is running to the bet window, the Rams are could have RB Cam Akers back from an Achilles injury.

Vikings' WR Adam Thielen is questionable (knee). The Rams have won and covered their last three games. The Vikings have won and covered their last two after a loss to the Lions.

The Eagles have moved from -9.5 to -10 against the visiting Giants who are all banged up in addition to players on the COVID list with Mike Glennon expected to start at QB. The Giants have gone 1-6 SU and ATS. The Eagles have won four of their last five and are legitimate playoff contenders.

The Giants have covered the last three meetings with all three going 'under' the total, including a Giants 13-7 win four weeks ago. The Giants have stayed under in eight of their last nine.

The Chiefs are likely to be without TE Travis Kelce and WR Tyreke Hill at home against the Steelers and the spread has dropped from -10.5 to -8.5 and the public isn’t jumping on board despite the Chiefs winning their last seven and covering their last five games.

The Bills get a shot at the Patriots again Sunday but will be without WR Cole Beasley and WR Gabriel Davis. The Patriots have been 2-point home favorites for most of the week with a few -2.5's out there.

Buffalo has lost two of their last three, which includes a 14-10 home loss to the Patriots. The Patriots lost at Indianapolis last Saturday to end a seven-game win and cover streak. The total is steady at 43.5. Sharp money bet the Patriots at the SuperBook.

Lamar Jackson is doubtful at QB Sunday for the Ravens and Cincinnati and the spread went from Bengals -2.5 to -4.5 when it became more likely that backup Tyler Huntley would start. Not much of a dropoff as Huntley has proven effective in moving the ball. Sharp money at the Atlantis-Reno sportsbook took the Bengals.

Sharp action also took the Broncos at +1 down to pick at Las Vegas in a matchup between two want-to-be-playoff teams. Both teams mired in bad losses all season but still managed to get to 7-7.

Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater is out with a concussion and backup Drew Lock gets another shot to impress after making dumb decisions in loss last week against the Bengals. My advice to Lock is to just hand the ball off to one of the Broncos stud RBs and get out of the way.

The last sharp bet to discuss is the 3-win Jets getting action at home against the 2-win Jaguars. The Jags have a banged-up roster but maybe they’re just bad and it wasn’t all Urban Meyer’s fault. Bettors played the angle of the Jaguars playing better without Meyer last week and the Texans rolled them in Jacksonville.

The Bears are expected to start Nick Foles at Seattle and the spread went from Seahawks -7 to -6.5. Actually, the move happened on Tuesday, but it sounds better that the bookmakers boosted the Bears rating with Foles.

The Saints were favored by 3-point at home Monday night against the red-hot Dolphins, but Taysom Hill caught COVID and is out meaning that Notre Dame rookie QB Ian Book will make his first start. The Dolphins are now -2.5.

Lions QB Jared Goff also caught COVID and will be out at Atlanta which caused the spread to jump from -4.5 to -6.5 as backup Tim Doyle gets the nod.

Have a holly jolly weekend.

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