Why does Vegas set lines? What is their goal? Well, Vegas sets lines in an attempt to get exactly half of the action on each side of every line they post. In this case, they take the rake, guarantee a profit, and move on. So, does that mean Vegas lines are perfectly set? Furthermore, does it mean they are always perfectly set early in the week? No! Every week this season (starting Week 2), we’ll be jumping into early-week betting line inefficiencies to take advantage of before they move. This line movement can be caused by a number of factors, but the primary reasons for movements after initial line release are public sentiment and recency biases (shark money typically doesn’t come in until later in the week, when bettors have more complete information). With that, let’s jump in!
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+EV LINES (Week 11)::
ARIZONA CARDINALS (-2.0) @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-105 BET MGM):
This one is quite simply a case of a line that would likely move in favor of the Cardinals should Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins return to action for Week 11. We currently don’t know the statuses of each respective player for the coming weekend, but both appeared to be nearing a return in Week 10 but couldn’t quite make it back. If, or when, they are removed from the injury report this week (could happen as early as Wednesday), this line is sure to move in favor of the away favorite, and once it does, it will enter the dreaded “magic spread with the hook” range. Get it now before that happens!
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM @ CAROLINA PANTHERS OVER 43 (DK):
I have this line a full four points too low at open (assuming a healthy CMC), which is likely being held down by Christian McCaffrey’s modest involvement in the second half of the Panthers Week 10 game. CMC paid a visit to the medical tent in the second half and appeared to be working out the same hamstring that caused him to miss five games this season. The reason I like this early week over so much is we are presented with multiple outs. The first relates directly to CMC’s health. If he proves healthy as the week progresses, we should see this line jump three to four points fairly quickly. Even if he’s not, this Panthers offense is going to look very different moving forward with Cam Newton back at the helm. The threat of what he can do with his legs really opens up the intermediate areas of the field, providing additional space for CMC or Chuba Hubbard and DJ Moore to work.
GREEN BAY PACKERS ML @ MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-135 BET MGM):
As opposed to fighting a spread that lands in the “magic spread with the hook” range (current line is GB -2.5), hunt for the best odds on the money line for this one. Currently, that resides on BET MGM with -135 juice. The Packers complex zone defense is really coming together over the previous five weeks, during which they have surrendered zero points to the Seahawks (with a healthy Russell Wilson), 13 points to the Chiefs on the road, 21 points to the Cardinals in Kyler Murray’s last healthy game, 10 points to Washington, and 14 points to the Bears. The line and juice are likely being held down by Aaron Jones, who picked up an injury in Week 10. AJ Dillon should be considered one of the top three or four “backup” running backs in the league, as he put on full display in Week 10 once Jones left. Continue to ride the “Aaron Rodgers F-U tour” here.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ers @ JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS:
The line on this one opened at SF -6 but they have yet to play their Week 10 game, which comes at home against the Rams. The Rams are currently instilled as 3.5-point favorites for Week 10 Monday Night Football, but I have them winning that game comfortably. Should that transpire, we’re likely to see this line tick down half a point or more, which makes waiting to bet the 49ers the +EV move. There is an obvious risk to that plan of attack, making this an “honorable mention” for me this early in the week. The absence of the hook is a big deal with a line set at six points, so if you want to avoid the unknowns of MNF and take this one now, I won’t talk you out of it.