Opening Line Report - Week 11
November 13, 2017
By Marcus DiNitto
OLR - NCAAFB Week 12
Here are the early betting numbers for Week 11 of the 2017 NFL season. Point-spreads are the Las Vegas consensus as of Monday at noon, and totals are from William Hill U.S.
Thursday, Nov. 16
Tennessee Titans at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7 even, 44)
While the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened Pittsburgh -6.5 before a quick move to -7 and then to -7 (even), CG Technology took a limit bet of $3,000 from a respected player on Tennessee +7, prompting a move to +7 (-120), according to Jason Simbal, vice president of risk at CG.
Sunday, Nov. 19
Detroit Lions (-3, 42) at Chicago Bears
Like for the Thursday nighter discussed above, early sharp money showed up on the 'dog at CG for this NFC North clash. The book moved from Bears +3 to +3 (-120) after that bet, Simbal said.
Kansas City Chiefs (-11, 44) at New York Giants
Las Vegas’ first number on this game of Kansas City -13.5, hung at the Westgate, was bet down to -11.5 within 20 minutes Sunday night and to -11 on Monday morning. Westgate manager Ed Salmons said that numbers from his shop’s group of oddsmakers ranged from 10.5 to 13.5, and they weren’t concerned about early money that came in on the huge home underdog.
“We decided with Andy Reid’s record off the bye to use the high end,” Salmons said of the Westgate’s opening line. “If we write a couple of dollars now on the Giants, it will probably be about the only money we write on the Giants.”
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Miami Dolphins (-3)
CG Tech inched from Miami -3 down to -3 (even) during early action, and the number is as cheap as -2.5 at some offshore locales.
Baltimore Ravens (-2.5, 38) at Green Bay Packers
The Westgate hung Baltimore -3 (even) and moved Sunday night to -2.5, the number at which most Vegas shops opened. While the Packers on Sunday got their first win with backup quarterback Brett Hundley, 23-16 at Chicago, Simbal believes the Ravens are deserving of the road favorite status in this spot, at least based on the lack of early action.
“We’ll find out soon enough if they bet it,” he said. “I would think yes, because that was not one of the games that they hit right away. If the number was that much off, these guys would have bet it, if not at our place, then somewhere else.”
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings (-2.5, 46)
The line at the Westgate for this key NFC showdown seesawed from Minnesota -2.5 to -1.5 and back to -2.5 in early wagering at the Westgate. A line south of 3 indicates the Rams are rated by the betting market as a better team than the Vikings, a notion Simbal isn’t sure he buys.
“I kind of like what the Vikings have going on more than the Rams, but I’m probably in the minority there,” Simbal said. “I’d be hesitant to take the Rams in this spot. It seems to be a better spot for the Vikings than the Rams.”
Simbal’s opinion is partly based on Sunday’s games, as the Vikings gave up 30 points at Washington but still coasted to a win, while it took the Rams more than half the game to get going at home against the Texans.
“The Rams covered easily today, but they weren’t great until the middle of the third quarter,” Simbal said.
While Los Angeles’ 32.9 points per game is tops in the NFL, Salmons said we’re about to learn more about the Rams. After next Sunday’s game at Minnesota, they host the red-hot Saints in Week 12.
“It’s obvious that all the Rams do is score a lot of points and win. They’ve been doing it for a long time now. But a lot of times it’s against bad competition, so this will be the first real test for them,” Salmons said of their upcoming game at Minnesota. “They’re going into probably the hardest environment they’ve been in this year. Minnesota’s going to have a jacked up crowd, so we’ll see how good the Rams are, but they’re getting a ton of respect with this point-spread.”
Arizona Cardinals (-1.5) at Houston Texans
While CG opened Arizona -1.5 and moved to -1 on Sunday night, William Hill U.S. opened pick ‘em and moved to Arizona -1.5. Seems Cardinals backup quarterback Drew Stanton is getting more respect than the Texans’ Tom Savage.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-7.5, 38) at Cleveland Browns
The Wynn opened Jacksonville -8 but joined the rest of the crowd at -7.5 within the first few minutes of wagering Sunday night. No matter how many points bookmakers are gifting the home 'dog, it takes gumption to back the Browns, who are not only winless but have cashed just twice all season.
Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints (-7.5, 51)
There have been Washington +8s that have showed up on Vegas boards (Coasts, Westgate), but those opportunities have been snapped up by underdog bettors.
Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers (-4., 44)
While most shops remain at Chargers -4, the Wynn moved from -4 to -4.5 on Sunday night. After two straight duds, the Bills’ record has dropped to 5-4. The Chargers’ 3-6 record, meanwhile, is misleading, according to Salmons, who puts their defense among the best in the NFL.
“The Chargers defense is so good right now, it’s ridiculous how good they are,” Salmons said, “and this team continues to lose in ways that are just impossible. They’re 3-6, and they easily, easily could be 7-2 or 8-1. That team has so much talent, it’s just absurd, and they’re 3-6, which is a joke.”
Cincinnati Bengals and Denver Broncos (-2.5/-120, 40)
The Westgate opened Denver -2.5 (-120) and moved to -3 on Sunday, before the Broncos’ latest in a long string of disasters – a 41-16 primetime loss at home to New England. The shop reopened Denver -2.5 on Monday morning with a return to -2.5 (-120), the original number, about 90 minutes later.
New England Patriots (-5.5, 51) vs. Oakland Raiders (at Mexico City)
This is the matchup many of us were anticipating and hoping for in the AFC playoffs last season, but Derek Carr’s injury eased the Patriots’ path. The Raiders aren’t in nearly the form they were in then, but coming off a bye and facing a team playing their second straight road game figures to benefit Oakland.
“It’s about as good as a spot as you can get for a team, so it sets up well for Oakland,” Salmons said.
As we spoke during the first quarter of the Pats’ blowout win in Denver on Sunday night, Salmons added, “New England’s not the same team they’ve been, even if they win tonight. When you watch them, you just know there’s something wrong, it’s obvious.”
Said Simbal, “I still think it’s going to be all Patriots money with the public. The public has been backing the Patriots slowly but surely the last three, four weeks, and they’ve cashed most of them.”
While the notion Simbal puts forth portends the line growing ahead of kickoff in Mexico City, William Hill is dealing Pats -6.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3/-120, 48) at Dallas Cowboys
Two bets from respected players came in Sunday night laying Philly -3 (-120) at CG, prompting a move to -3 (-125). The Westgate opened Eagles -3.5 with a tweak to -3.5 (even).
The Cowboys were not only without running back Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday in Atlanta, they were also missing Tyron Smith, one of the best left tackles in the league. QB Dak Prescott was sacked eight times, six by Adrian Clayborn, in the Falcons’ 27-7 win.
“Dallas looked pretty ordinary on offense today without Zeke and Smith, and the Eagles have been getting so much respect all year,” Simbal said.
Salmons agreed, “Dallas looked like a different team (Sunday).”
Monday, Nov. 20
Seattle Seahawks (-3 even, 45) at Atlanta Falcons
The Westgate is dealing Seattle -3, but the line is drifting in Atlanta’s direction, sitting Seattle -3 (even) at some shops and -2.5 at Treasure Island.
While the Seahawks are all kinds of banged up, the Falcons are getting respect with this line, thanks partly to Sunday’s performance against Dallas.
Even with the win over the Cowboys, Salmons said of Atlanta, “It’s just not the same team as last year. The offense is just not the same. It reminds you of New England – you think they can be what they were last year, but they’re just not.”
Instead of the Week 11 Monday nighter being a battle at the top of the NFC, it features a pair of teams that figure to be fighting for a wild-card spot as the season nears its end.
“Once the sharp guys get a sense for where this line may go, then they’ll play around with the number, but to me, this is a tricky one for the public,” Simbal said. “They’re going to have a little trouble figuring out what to do with this one.”
Marcus DiNitto is a writer in Charlotte, N.C., who covers sports betting and all kinds of other stuff. Follow him on Twitter @MarcusDiNitto.
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