The oddsmakers have every single NFC East team as an underdog this weekend. Is this a sign that the NFC East stinks, or does it have to do with the way the oddsmakers set the lines for each? Probably a little bit of both.
But since all four NFC East teams are home dogs, this warrants a closer look. The lines for all four games really haven't moved all that much all week, perhaps with the exception of the Redskins game, which some oddsmakers opened as 1-point favorites but have since moved to +1.5-point underdogs. Here's an overview of how the lines have developed for each game, courtesy Bookmaker.eu.
|Home Team||Opponent||Opening Line||Latest Line|
Panthers at Giants (+4, 48)
This may be hard to believe, but the line movement this week has been on the 6-7 New York Giants instead of the 13-0 Panthers. The smart money here went the way of the motivated home dog with the entire season still left to play for. As Joe Public gets involved closer to kickoff, this line could potentially move back up to +5 or +6.
To understand what exactly was driving the line, I reached out to the oddsmakers at Bookmaker.eu earlier this week to get their perspective on what's behind the line movement.
Easily our most intriguing game of the week. The sharps absolutely love New York in this spot. Much like Monday night, they’re still in a must-win situation, and the stakes couldn’t be higher with the perfect Panthers coming to town. We opened the spread Carolina -6 and had moved to -4.5 by Thursday evening.
I’m very interested to see how the Giants defense holds up against this potent Panthers attack. The Dolphins were running up and down the field against them and that is just an average offense, at best. At this point, I’d be hesitant to bet against Cam Newton.
The Giants travel to Minnesota next week, and host the Redskins in the season finale the week after, so they could well end up 0-3 down the stretch. And even if they don't finish 0-3, there's still a good chance they miss the playoffs for the fourth straight year.
The Giants' season is on the line on Sunday, so look for New York to come out "guns blazing" in this one and score early. Can the Panthers do enough to win this one, or will they need another Eli meltdown to take this one?
Cardinals @ Eagles (+3.5, 51)
The interesting thing here is the points total, which at 51 is the highest of any game this weekend. If nothing else, this should be a high-scoring game, though probably not because the Eagles are going to put up a lot of points. The Eagles have won their last two games with a lot of smoke and mirrors, only gaining 4.7 yards per play and winning by a combined 10 points. Arizona's defense, ranked fourth in yards allowed, will smother Kelly's charges, though the Eagles might keep it tight with some special teams fireworks.
The line for this game has moved slightly in favor of the Eagles as the unsmart money has been pouring in for Philly. Bookmaker.eu explain.
The Eagles keep winning games they shouldn’t and I think this is the week it all comes crashing to a halt. Arizona has had extra preparation time for an offensive scheme that really suits what they like to do defensively. Our bettors think differently as we have around 65 percent of our handle on Philadelphia, and we’ve moved the line from an opener of Cardinals -4 to -3.
Jets @ Cowboys (+3, 42)
The Cowboys are 1-8 without Tony Romo. They don't play well at home (they are 12-26 ATS at home since 2011). They are coming off a 7-28 blowout loss to the Packers while the Jets are coming off a 30-8 blowout win over the Titans. Plus they traded for Matt Cassel while the Jets traded for Ryan Fitzpatrick. So why is the line only +3? Bookmaker.eu have the answer:
It’s our first Saturday night contest of the season and with two high-profile teams, we’ll have no shortage of action. We’ve seen the common divide among the betting community with some of our sharp clients on the Jets and the public on the Cowboys. However, some respected money has come on Dallas, which has prevented us from moving this spread off the key number of 3.
We opened the spread +2.5 and were dealing +3 on Monday. We’ve hung as high as a -130 juice on the Jets side but aren’t eager to get to 3.5. The total has seen a dip from an opener of 43 to as low as 41. Two really good defenses on display here.
From an X’s and O’s standpoint, the Cowboys offensive line is good enough to offset New York’s best defensive attribute, which is the front line. It will be interesting to see what front, the base 3-4 or an adjustment 4-3, Todd Bowles opts for. The Cowboys should look to establish the run because there aren’t a lot of other options. There aren’t many cornerbacks that can limit Dez Bryant but Darrelle Revis is certainly one of them, especially when Tony Romo isn’t on the field.
Bills at Redskins (+1.5, 44)
The early money in this one has been on the Bills.
Our clients were on the Bills last week and they’re not quite ready to back off against another NFC East opponent. We opened this spread as a pick ‘em and the action has dictated us moving in Buffalo’s favor. We haven’t seen a ton of sharp money come in on this one, and I do believe this number will regress back toward the open.
Early Week 16 lines
There are a lot of ways the Week 15 games could go, and depending on those results, NFC East fans may be looking ahead to the week 16 games to get an early read on either draft spots or playoff spots. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook already has the early lines for next week out, and the NFC East teams are once again underdogs in the non-divisional games. And given that the Week 17 games will all be divisional games, we can say with confidence that the NFC East will not be favored in any remaining non-divisional game this year.
Here are the early lines for next week.
Redskins @ Eagles (-4)
Cowboys @ Bills (-5)
Seeing the Week 15 and Week 16 lines, how are you hoping the next two weeks will turn out, for the Cowboys and for the other NFC East teams?