We’ve all been analyzing Week 1 NFL lines posted at the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book since April, awaiting for this weekend to finally come and now it’s finally here.
The thought of a lockout is a distant memory and while a few have already made their wagers, this week is when the masses will come out to play. It will be like throwing a steak to a starved stray dog.
Visitors will be flying in from all over the country to be a part of the excitement that only a Las Vegas sports book can offer on football Sunday’s. Locals begin to alter their normal spring and summer Sunday routines, like going to church or doing yard work earlier to accommodate the Sunday games and watch their action unfold.
The top story of the weekend is whether or not Peyton Manning will start Sunday at Houston. Based on the current line of Houston -7, it appears the sports books don’t think he will despite no confirmation from the Colts. In the Hilton’s April opening line, the Colts were a 1-point favorite.
There is no player in the NFL – maybe NFL history – that has been worth eight points. But with Manning, the move is easily justified. He’s everything to that franchise. He’s kept a marginal team in contention to the highest levels almost single handedly the last few seasons.
When Manning is officially ruled out, the starting job will be given to newly acquired veteran Kerry Collins. The Colts never play well in preseason and part of that is because of Manning’s limited playing time. This year was no different as they went 1-3 and looked awful offensively in each contest. This would be the first regular season start Manning has missed during his entire 14-year career.
One of the other big disparities from the early April line was how far the Bears have fallen out of favor with the bettors. They opened up as 1-point home favorites against the Falcons and coming into this weekend, the Falcons are now 3-point favorites.
The Cardinals also got a 4-point boost with the signing of Kevin Kolb. They opened as 3-point favorites against the Panthers and are now -7. Arizona still has plenty of issues on defense. However, after getting a glimpse of Larry Fitzgerald blossom in pre-season with Kolb slinging it to him relentlessly, they look like they’re going to be one of the more entertaining teams in the league.
The Lions have been respected by many to contend for a playoff spot. That respect is showing through the bet windows as the Buccaneers have dropped from a 3-point home favorite to -1½. The Lions defensive line is going to beat up a lot of opposing quarterbacks up this season.
We also get to see how the super-Eagles mesh for four quarters as a 5-point road favorite at St. Louis. The Rams are an interesting team to look at early on because second year quarterback Sam Bradford will have a pretty good wide receiver corps for the first time.
But the public is going to be all over the Eagles. The four-team parlay from the public that will destroy the sports books if it comes in will be the Eagles, Patriots (-7 at Miami), Giants (-3 at Washington) and the Falcons.
For Thursday night’s kickoff game, the sharps have already come in and grabbed +5 with the Saints at Green Bay. It may seem like a dead number, but in the same game last season, the Saints beat the Vikings as 5-point favorites 14-9.
A tip of the cap goes out to the crew at the Hilton for being the first in the world to offer the lines and not have too much of a variance in the numbers and where they eventually settled. The sharps nibbled away at some of the numbers early on while also adjusting the numbers based on pre-season performance. It’s pretty sound odds making with a solid forecast on what both the sharps and public would play.
One of the best values a sports book offers that isn’t played as much as it should is the two-team six-point NFL teaser. The sharps have been playing them for years, but the public hasn’t jumped all in opting to play more options for less money getting higher returns.
When looking at what the sports books want you to play, you can just look at the limits offered. The lower the limits, the less they want you to play. The limits are based on how they do in each particular category. They’re either low because they don’t get enough two-way action or they’re low because they don’t win consistently enough at it. In the two-team teasers case, it’s the latter.
The bulk of the action the sports books get on two-team NFL teasers is sharp action. Some books have completely taken the option away starting their pay chart at three-team teasers. MGM Resort properties had not offered the two-team six-point teasers for seven years, but have recently put the option back on the board at -120 with a $5,000 limit, a very fair price considering most books offer -130.
The value with the teaser simply rests with the NFL line being the most sound line of any sport in the world. There isn’t a more solid number than a pro football game. When you can add six points to the best line in the world, that is some great value, especially when crossing over key numbers like 3, 7 and 10 when laying or taking the points.
Caesars Rivalry Props
The Caesars Palace properties will be offering weekly rivalry props putting teams like the Packers and Bears against each all season despite not actually playing each other.
A line of the side and total will be set between the two teams and the final score from the game they’re playing that week will be inputted. The Packers are -6½-point favorites against the Bears this week.
The Saints are pick’em against the Falcons.
”We wanted NFL fans to have more appeal to the teams they’re rooting for than just the individual games those teams are playing in,” said the Rio’s Todd Fuhrman. “It gives the Packers fan now the opportunity to bet their teams performance against the hated Bears every week. We want to keep the rivalries going all year which is why we’ll also have a weekly line up on the Steelers vs. Ravens all season.”
Other rivalries you can bet all season beginning this week include the Redskins vs. Cowboys (-1 ½), Patriots (-3 ½) vs. Jets, Jets (-2) vs. Giants, and 49ers (-4) vs. Raiders.
Lucky’s Opens at Riv
Just in time for the first week of the NFL, Lucky’s will be having a Grand Opening party at their new location inside the Riviera this Thursday as the Saints and Packers kickoff the season. Appetizers and drinks will be offered, see you there.
This Friday night at 8 p.m. on HD Theatre, ‘The Linemakers’ TV show will start the first of 26 episodes for that will run through the Super Bowl. A show of this kind was long overdue in this television world we live in where exterminators, bakers, and tow truck drivers have their own shows.
What is more interesting than real bookmakers talking about spreads and how the number got to where its at?
The linemakers on the show are a regular who’s who of Las Vegas bookmaking legends starring Jimmy Vaccaro, Vinnie Magliulo, Richie Baccellieri, Lou D’Amico, Rick Herron and Kenny White. The show is hosted by Sports Book Radio’s Brian Blessing.