As of last Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were posted as a two-point favorite at home against the Green Bay Packers. But the sports betting market reacted, and there has been a lot of action on the game, so the Vegas odds have moved. The last we looked, the Packers were a one-point road favorite for this 4:25 PM ET start on FOX, and they were actually as high as 2.5 points.
Both of the quarterbacks are high-profile, to be sure. Tom Brady’s every move is being watched, it seems. And his club had a difficult time in its Thursday game against the defensively-stout Chicago Bears. But Green Bay, which is off a bye week, has been rolling with 38 points per game and is second in the NFL in yards per contest. One defensive edge for Bucs might be their ability to dig in and stop the run, as they have allowed just 2.7 yards per carry. Everyone knows that the Packers consider running the ball (mostly behind Aaron Jones) to be an essential element.
Bettors have also been looking at the injury report for the Bucs and there is some uncertainty, especially when it comes to Brady’s weapons. Mike Evans’ ankle, Chris Godwin’s hamstring, Leonard Fournette’s ankle and Rob Gronkowski’s shoulder were all a concern. In the meantime, Green Bay is confident that wide receiver Davante Adams will be ready to go after missing a couple of games. The status of skill players is often something that drives public action. And in terms of action, this will be one of the most anticipated games of the season.
There has also been some recent interest in the Pittsburgh Steelers, as they went up a half-point, from 3.5 to four points in the Vegas odds, as their opponents, the Cleveland Browns, were still not certain about Odell Beckham (who had been sent home due to an “illness”), or had not reported details.
The Indianapolis Colts began the week as nine-point favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals, and then dropped to 8.5. After news about positive coronavirus tests came across the wire, that number dipped as far as 7.5. But the word on Friday afternoon was that the individuals who tested positive were re-tested, and those tests came back negative. So the number rebounded – to 8.5 and may go higher. The Colts had shut down their practice facility, but it has re-opened.
A lot of people have gotten excited about the Carolina Panthers lately, and why not? They have won three in a row, and are tied for the lead in the NFC South. Matt Rhule and Joe Brady look like nice hires on the coaching staff. Teddy Bridgewater leads all of pro football with 73.4% completions. At one point during the week, the Panthers were as high as a three-point favorite in the Vegas odds for their Sunday encounter with the Chicago Bears. But at that point bettors at BetOnline and elsewhere saw some value in the “buy-back,” so the price has been moving downward. Perhaps they’re looking at the fact that the Bears have permitted only 57.4% completions, which is the best figure in the NFL. In any event, Carolina was just a one-point favorite as of Friday.
And speaking of “buy-back,” there’s been some of that this week in the area of totals, which have been absolutely skyrocketing this season.
We were seeing the Falcons-Vikings total at 56.5 earlier in the week, but sharp bettors swept in and sensed some possible value, taking the under and bringing the number down to 54.5. We’ve seen the Giants-Washington total move from 44.5 to 43; The Broncos-Patriots game is at 45; we had seen it at 46.5 earlier in the week. The Jets-Dolphins total has been reduced as well (48.5 to 47).
The Giants-49ers total has moved up. Just a few days ago we were looking at 49.5, but now we are at 52. Somebody must have some faith in the Giants based on last week’s effort in Dallas. And Jimmy Garoppolo has NOT been benched in San Francisco (although he is still dealing with that ankle sprain).
And on Monday (5 PM ET, FOX), the rescheduled Chiefs-Bills game has been holding steady at 57.5.
That’s a very big total. And this is where we are in 2020.