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Reply To: NFL Week 13 • 'Thursday Night Football' • 12/3/12

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Sharps on Lions, public pounds Packers’ Thursday night NFL odds
By Jason Logan

The NFC North takes the main stage on Thursday Night Football, with both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions coming off the Thanksgiving Day schedule.

However, the Lions enjoyed the holiday a lot more than the Packers, knocking off the Philadelphia Eagles 45-14 for their third straight victory while the Cheeseheads lost at home to Chicago 17-13 for their fourth loss in the past five games.

Those Thanksgiving results are still fresh in the minds of football bettors, who have trimmed the spread for Thursday’s game from as high as Detroit +5.5 to +2.5 as of Thursday afternoon. Most sportsbooks opened this game around a field goal, which is where CG Technology in Las Vegas opened their books at.

“We opened with the Packers -3 (-115) and it stayed at three all week until this morning when we booked a smart bet on the Lions +3,” says Jason Simbal, vice president of risk management for CG Technology, stating that the wager came from a respected bettor and was in the mid five-figure range. “That moved up to 2.5. We might get back up to three but not more than that, and based on that action earlier today I could see it actually moving toward the Lions and not the Packers.”

Simbal does expect the public to come in and bet Green Bay, thinking the Packers will be eager to right the ship and avenge an 18-16 loss to Detroit at home in Week 10. Action on the Packers has already shown up at some online markets, like Sports Interaction, which reports the majority of their bets taken are on the road favorite.

“We have been taking money steadily on Green Bay since we opened,” Greg Sindall of Sports Interaction tells Covers. “We have cut the price a few times throughout the week and currently have Green Bay -3 (-115) with 79 percent of the handle on the Packers. Bettors are expecting the Packers to get revenge tonight after the loss to Detroit at Lambeau a few weeks ago. The Packers were not great that week and neither was (Aaron) Rodgers. You have to think he had this game circled right after that loss.”

At offshore market, Sportsbook.ag, they opened Green Bay at -3.5 and took instant sharp money on the home dog which forced them to adjust the Thursday vig all week until finally succumbing to a line move down to Packers -3 (even). According to Peter Childs, supervisor of risk management for Sportsbook, that move has drawn more public action on the chalk.

“The public is betting the Packers pretty good with us, with 75 percent of the action on the Packers at -3. Just this morning, we went from -3 (even) to -3 (-120) on the Packers,” Childs. “This is a game where the sharps and public are on opposite sides and, even though the liability on the Packers is getting a bit high, we’re fine with our position knowing sharps are on the dog.”

As for Thursday’s total, most sportsbook opened the Over/Under around 47 points. Sharp money took the Under earlier in the week but with this being a standalone primetime game, bookmakers are confident Over action will show and move this total up before kickoff.

“You have the sharps betting the dog and Under and the public betting the fave and Over,” says Simbal.

According to Childs, the total may be a bit inflated because of its primetime slot and he’s already handle a lot of money on the Over.

“Both these teams are playing better football on the defensive side of the ball and if you throw out what the Lions did against an Eagles team that has flat out quit on their season and coach, they’ve only scored more than 18 points once all year. That was against a bad Bears defense,” Child notes. “Again, we’re fine with our position of needing this game Under.”

The Packers and Lions have played Under in five of their previous seven meetings while NFL primetime game boast a 13-23-1 Over/Under record on the year – finishing below the total 64 percent of the time.

Primetime underdogs have also been a hot bet in night games, with teams getting the points posting a profitable 23-12-2 ATS record (66 percent) including a 4-1-1 ATS mark the past two weeks.