Friday, October 1, 2010

Las Vegas Line Moves Heading Into Week 4 of the NFL

By Micah Roberts 

The bettors come in limping to week 4 of the NFL with not a lot to offer in the forms of wagers through the first four days of open windows. The sharps bounced back a little last week, but for the little guy the who makes these big weekends for the sports book obtainable, they are overextended in their budgeted funds. Because of being tapped out to a degree, Las Vegas books haven’t seen the average type of small play that is normally seen.

It does happen quite often when they get beat on consecutive weeks like just happened, but when Friday night rolls around, somehow the players always come back firing with a renewed vigor and excitement to get their money back. Sure, they may have to dip into the ATM for a little back up ammo and instead of taking the wife to Outback Steakhouse, she may have to settle for Olive Garden.

Plays have to be made, that‘s just how guys are -- even some girls. Once you get into that regular routine of having action with varied success, it’s hard to take a week off. I’d be willing to bet that no matter how quiet things are at the moment inside the sports books, that after all the final handle is tallied from Saturday and Sunday that it will be equal to what it was last week -- with two less NFL games -- or even last year during the same week.

We are breeding players in Nevada who have a starvation for the action that will keep them always coming back for more. It’s not quite as sinister as it sounds, but it is an addiction that we all thrive on and welcome like watching HBO on Sunday nights. Spending $100 to $200 a week on football action is far less pressing on the pocket book than actually going to a weekly NFL game, where after parking, tickets, beer, food and accessories, the entertainment of the NFL has cost you way more than it would have by just staying home, betting and watching the games.

And going to the game doesn’t give you shot at doubling or tripling your money, all the live football games do is just keep taking money with no return like the slot machines in England Pubs. A live football game’s excitement can easily be duplicated and then some. Hitting a four-team parlay is pretty exciting stuff.

Having gone through all that, here’s a look at this weeks Las Vegas line moves in the NFL beginning the game of the week between the Ravens and Steelers where Baltimore opened as a slight 1 ½-point favorite. It didn’t stay that way for long as the Steelers money came in pushing them to the favorite at -1 ½. You can’t argue with Mike Tomlin’s success in this series as he’s gone 5-2 in regular season and playoff games against the Ravens. The Steelers will be looking for their first 4-0 season since 1979, the last of their four Super Bowls with Chuck Knoll.

The only problem I have with the Steelers is Charlie Batch coming off a good game, actually it‘s just Batch in any game. He’s always been good enough to not make the big mistake and let the defense dictate field position, but I have hard time seeing him do it again flawlessly this week and I have a time seeing this team being 4-0 without Ben Roethlisberger. The last time he started against the Ravens was a 27-21 loss in 2007. I can’t see the score being that high this time around, but I can see the margin of victory being the same.

The big Sharp play of the week came in on the Jaguars getting 7 ½-points at home against the Colts. The Colts are now -7 flat around town and the books are going to reluctantly root the Sharps in because the public will be all over Indianapolis after traditionally being swayed drastically by what happened the previous week. The Colts looked better than ever in a cover at Denver and the Jaguars looked awful losing as a home dog to Philly. The public thinking will be, “What has changed so drastically over the week that will make me believe taking Jacksonville at home, plus points, is a good deal.“

The public also has a long term memory that spans to last season where the Colts covered as a road favorite at Jacksonville on a Thursday night isolated game. It was a barn-burner and went to the final moments with a 65 yard scoring play by Reggie Wayne to win by 4, but faith in the Colts added another chapter as just about everyone in the books had a winning two-team parlay with Colts to the over.

The Jets have been pushed from their opener of 4 ½-point favorites to the dead numbers of 5 and 5 ½ in their match at Buffalo. The Bills cover last week with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm has a few people miffed at what to expect this week, but most are all in with the Jets this week as Mark Sanchez has made the public believers the last two weeks by throwing six touchdown passes. Hard to believe he doesn’t have any interceptions through three games.

The Falcons, Chargers, Browns and Titans are gaining support as well. West coast teams traveling to the east coast usually fare very poorly. We saw the Falcons handle the Cardinals quite easily in week two while the Broncos played well, but lost at Jacksonville in their opener. San Francisco couldn’t have got a worse first four games of their schedule if they tried; three road games and home date with the Super Bowl champs.

College Football Action
Some of the Sharp plays this week went with Kentucky, Iowa State and of course a few MAC games with Kent State and Buffalo. The marquee games of Texas-Oklahoma, Florida-Alabama and Stanford-Oregon have all remained basically unchanged with good two way action on each side.

Here’s a look at some of the larger large line movements of the week:
North Carolina moved 2 ½-points to -14 against East Carolina
Temple opened -4 at Army and is now -6 ½
Memphis was getting +12 at home against Tulsa, but is now +9 ½
LSU moved 2 ½-points from their opener against Tennessee to -16 ½
Florida International opened at +20 ½ at Pittsburgh and is now +17 ½

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