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Football bettors can’t miss these important NFL Week 5 line moves
By Jason Logan
The NFL season is past the quarter mark and marches on in October with Week 5 hitting the board last Sunday. We talk to bookmakers in Las Vegas and online about the biggest line adjustments and sharp action to come in midway through the week.
St. Louis Rams at Green Bay Packers – Open: -9, Move: -10
The Packers are earning these lofty spreads and find another substantial pile of chalk waiting for their Week 5 bettors. Some sportsbooks opened as low as Green Bay -9, with some even dealing -8.5 at the mid-week points, but the majority are at -9.5 or -10.
John Avello, sportsbook director for the Wynn Las Vegas, opened the Cheeseheads as 9.5-point favorites and has stayed on that line as of Wednesday. He feels good about his current spread, but knows his action on this game will be split between the squares and sharps come Sunday.
“I don’t know if this number will be going up any higher,” Avello. “The public isn’t going to bet the Rams but the sharps may bet them in this one.”
Buffalo Bills at Tennessee Titans – Open: +3.5, Move: +2.5
Early sharp money on Tennessee knocked this spread down, dropping it past a field goal, with the Titans coming off the bye week and the Bills hitting the road for only the second time this season. Avello believes this spread isn’t done moving and expects to make another adjustment before kickoff.
“I could see this going back to three,” says Avello. “The early sharp money was on Tennessee but I could see them switching roles with this one.”
Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons – Open: -9, Move: -7
Regardless of their undefeated record, wiseguys are predicting a down game from the Falcons, who opened as high as 9-point favorites. Avello’s book opened Atlanta -8.5 and immediate got hit by money on Washington, trimming their spread to -7.5. He notes that there was similar movement against the Falcons in last Sunday’s game against Houston, dropping Atlanta from 6.5-point chalk to a closing spread of -4.
“This could reach seven,” says Avello. “The NFL sharps are always looking for an underdog that will stay in the game, and they see that in Washington. They think that Atlanta is due for a downer.”
At online market, Sportsbook.ag, director of risk management Peter Childs says this game is shaping up to be a “Sharps vs. Squares” battle, with wiseguys grabbing the dog early and the public coming back on Atlanta at the discounted spread.
“There’s no question this is a game where the ‘pros are against the joes’, as in sharp money is against Joe Q Public,” Childs. “So at this point, we have no problem taking the action on the Falcons at -7.5 and I suspect this is going to be one of our bigger games come Sunday.”
Seattle Seahawks at Cincinnati Bengals – Open: -2.5, Move: -3
In Las Vegas, the opener of Bengals -2.5 has jumped to a field goal with money coming in on undefeated Cincinnati versus a Seattle squad that’s lucky to be 2-2 after a Monday night fiasco finish. Avello was a bit stunned by the money showing up fading the Seahawks.
“You’d never see a move like this in past seasons,” he says.
Online, Sportsbook opened Cincinnati -3 but expected money on the underdog, so they juiced the Seahawks +3 (-120). But when action poured in on the Bengals, they quickly dropped the price on the underdog to +3 (Even), which has started to stir up Seattle bets.
“I understand the sharp money on the Bengals for several reasons. It’s a real bad spot for the Seahawks. They’re off a dramatic – and controversial – win at home on Monday night. Now they have to travel east, play an early East Coast start time all on a short week.”
New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys – Open: +7, Move: +10
This game has jumped as much as three points if you like to shop around. The Patriots are coming off a bye week following an impressive 3-0 start to the season. Dallas battled hard in an overtime loss to New Orleans Sunday night, and while it is missing some major offensive cogs, the Cowboys do return some top defensive players.
According to Childs, who opened New England -8 and went to -10 in less than two days, the Patriots will undoubtedly be the most-bet teams – and biggest decision for bookmakers – in Week 5.
“Within 48 hours, we moved two full points on an NFL game, that hardly happens unless it’s injury related and this line move wasn’t,” says Childs. “If anything, the Cowboys get healthier on defense with (Greg) Hardy and (Rolando) McClain coming back from suspension. So this is bettors backing (Tom) Brady and (Bill) Bellicheck off a bye and fading the Cowboys and their starting QB Brandon Weeden.”