Bettors believe Drew Brees & Co. can't play two atrocious games in a row -- especially at home.
I'm proud of you. And you. And very, very proud of you, you, you and you. All of you degenerates out there have really impressed me.
Let me explain.
On Thursday afternoon I had a chat with legendary Vegas bookmaker Jimmy Vaccaro, who runs the Lucky's sports books in Nevada. I was quizzing him for the NFL line moves column and asked him why the Bills had gotten early money against the Chiefs. His answer, "The public might be getting smarter."
Gimme a minute to regroup. He said the public might be getting smarter! That's you, Pipeline Pete and Rich from Jersey and Attila and even you, older crazy lady who keeps sending me suggestive hints on Twitter.
Vaccaro continued: "You would think we made a killing on the San Diego Chargers last weekend because the public usually chases dominant teams. But that hasn't been the case this season. Same with the New Orleans Saints-Cleveland Browns last weekend. That game opened at 14 and, last season, by the weekend, that number might have been at 14.5. But it closed at 12. Which meant in the last couple hours before kickoff even the public was playing the Browns."
This has had an interesting impact on how wiseguys play their game, too. Remember, part of their strategy has always been anticipating what you, John Q. Public, will do in certain games. That helps them decide when to buy certain games. But this season, with the public not automatically laying high-profile favorites, the dogs are getting played much earlier than ever before.
And, well, that makes me very proud of all of you. So let's get to the line moves.
Matchup: Washington Redskins at Detroit Lions
Line moves: Lions opened at minus-1, currently favored by 3.
Vaccaro says that means: "Stafford coming back and the Redskins playing the second of back-to-back road games is why guys jumped on this. Plus, the Lions are the NFL's best against the spread this season. [Editor's note: Lions and Jets are an NFL-best 5-1.] I thought we would get early money on the Lions, and when you get games in the 1 and 1.5 category and get a limit bet you will skip over the 2 and go right to 3. We opened at 1 and took a big bet at 1.5 and it kept coming in dribs and drabs on the Lions. Now we have it at minus-3. We look for the point where wiseguys will buy back, and I think this is the number."
Matchup: Green Bay Packers at New York Jets
Line moves: Jets opened at minus-4.5, currently at minus-6.
Vaccaro says that means: "We opened at 4.5 and we took a small bet on the Jets at that number. I already favored New York so I moved it to 5.5. It's a dead zone and there's no reason to stop at 5 if you are already leaning one way. I kept it at 5.5 even when most other books were at 6 because I didn't want to move on air. When you're bookmaking sometimes you want to juggle the numbers so you can get a little action. Then I got a limit bet at minus-5.5 and moved it to 6. That is where it's painted right now."
Matchup: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
Line moves: Chiefs opened at minus-9, currently favored by 7.5.
Vaccaro says that means: "This is an interesting case, unique to this year. In the old days that wiseguys played the favorites early in the week because that's where the best value was. They waited on the dogs because the public tends to bet favorites, so those numbers might go up. This season, as soon as the sharps see a dog number, they take it. So when this opened at 9 it was gone almost immediately. Even though it's one of the better teams versus a bad team, they knew this would be the optimum number. It's a change in strategy from this season."
Matchup: Seattle Seahawks at Oakland Raiders
Line moves: Raiders opened at minus-1.5, currently at minus-2.5.
Vaccaro says that means: "Seattle is playing a lot better and [head coach Pete] Carroll has gotten this team competitive. But beating the Bears on the road isn't as impressive as it seemed two weeks ago. And you have to give the Raiders credit for the shellacking they laid on the Broncos. So that's why this jumped -- but remember, while it's a full point move, it doesn't take much to go from 1.5 to 2.5. And if this number does get to 3 you will immediately see some buyback from the sharps. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this closed close to where it opened, because the public still won't bet on the Raiders."
Matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints
Line moves: Game opened at pick, Saints currently favored by one.
Vaccaro says that means: "I thought there would be a slam-dunk move on the Steelers early in the week. But there is the Aaron Smith injury. And there are also some other players who are less well-known but sharps know are valuable that are hurt right now. Combine that with the theory that bettors think the Saints can't play two horrendous games in a row, especially at home. For what it's worth, I'm not convinced of that. We had their Super Bowl future odds longer than most other books before the season started."