Ever since the 2015 NFL schedule was released in late April, we’ve been talking about pro football whether it was the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s Week 1 numbers that were immediately posted or CG Technology posting lines on the first 16 weeks.
We’ve got player props posted at William Hill, a Super Bowl exacta at the Golden Nugget and a Week 1 no-points $25,000 Parlay Card Jackpot at South Point.
We finally get to see real NFL uniforms battling against each other on television with a line posted in the books for us to bet on. Sunday’s Hall of Fame Game at Canton, Ohio may only be preseason, but it’s a sign Labor Day and the regular season is right around the corner.
The Vikings are 2.5-point favorites over the Steelers in a retro matchup from Super Bowl IX. Pittsburgh won its first Super Bowl, 16-6, while Minnesota would lose the second of four trips to the big game in the 1970’s. The opening game doesn’t see the starters play too much and defenses are always in synch more than offenses this early so we get a low total at 34.5.
You can expect starters to play two or three series (no Adrian Peterson, as usual in preseason) and then the back-ups will come in and try to impress. By the time the fourth quarter comes around you’ll be relying on rookie free-agents and players to make plays that likely won’t even be on the team by third week of preseason.
It’s important for the coaches to win, but they’re mostly trying to evaluate talent. Most of the time winning is secondary, which shouldn’t make you feel too confident going to the bet window.
If for some reason you really want to bet large, you can’t because the sportsbooks all post low limits at around $1,000 on sides and $500 on totals. With the preseason games being such a crapshoot you might think the books would be willing to take more, but they take the cautious approach.
Because of the low limits, it’s not uncommon to see 3- and 4-point moves on games, and the moves usually have to do with the head coach’s rotation and game plan. The dress rehearsal for the regular season usually occurs in Week 3 of the preseason.
I like that Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has been rotating his starters and back-ups on a regular basis. One wideout for the Vikings who has been destroying both the rookies and starters in camp so far has been Stefon Diggs, drafted out of Maryland with the 146th pick.
Diggs has been their most impressive player so far and should get to show his stuff well against a revamped Steelers secondary that only had 11 interceptions last season.
The Vikings QB rotation will give us Teddy Bridgewater for two series, then one of the best backups in the league – Shaun Hill, followed by Mike Kafka and maybe Taylor Heinicke. The Steelers will have Ben Roethlisberger, Bruce Gradkowski, Landry Jones and Tajh Boyd.
Hill should be able to move the ball a little better in the second and early third quarter for the Vikings, which is the angle I’ll go with for a super small wager just to make the game a little more exciting for me. I’ll go with the Vikings to win 16-6.
Brady/Goodell: It took Roger Goodell quite a while to make a decision on Tom Brady’s four-game Deflategate suspension appeal and as most suspected he let stand the four game penalty.
Before the suspension the Patriots were 6-point favorites over the Steelers for the Sept. 10 Thursday night regular season opener. Once the suspension was handed down, most books went to Patriots -3. Once the appeal was denied CG Tech had Patriots -1.5 while William Hill went to -2.5.
In the case of CG, they actually got Patriots money pushing them up to -2.5. Limits are only $1,000 on these games and will be upwards to $20,000 on the week of the games. Those lines tell us Brady is worth only 3.5-points to the number.
Are you kidding me?
Brady is worth at least 6 to the number and maybe even closer to 8. Backup Jimmy Garoppolo is getting rave reviews, but real game action is an entirely different story.
So why isn’t the number moving with sharp money taking the Steelers? Basically because they can’t get the amount wanted on the game so why show the sportsbooks their move for only $1,000.
By kickoff the Steelers will be favored and it might even go as high as -2. The value play right now is Steelers for as many points as you can find.
Baseball trade deadline: Westgate SuperBook manager Ed Salmons was having tons of fun last week following every GM’s move leading up to Friday’s MLB trade deadline. He came away liking the Blue Jays, Astros and Royals moves the most.
After picking up Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, the Blue Jays dropped from 25/1 down to 10/1 and then later adjusted to 14/1. The Astros dropped from 18/1 to 8/1 and the Royals went from 4/1 to 7/2 as the favorites to win it all. KC also presents some serious risk for the Westgate.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, one of The Linemakers on SportingNews.com , and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Follow Micah on Twitter @MicahRoberts7 Contact Micah at [email protected].