Reinhold Matay, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Blake Bortles
- As expected, the Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) are one of the most popular bets of Week 8.
- The London game between Philadelphia (-3.5) and Jacksonville is garnering a lot of betting action.
- Sharp money has come in on the Rams (-9) against the Packers.
LAS VEGAS — Unlike this weekend’s college football card, it is pretty clear which teams the public will be backing in Week 8 of the NFL. Not surprisingly, the Kansas City Chiefs — who are undefeated against the spread — are at the top of the list.
As for big liabilities, the Westgate has taken hefty bets of $50,000 on the Bears (-6) vs. the Jets and $30,000 on the Steelers (-8) vs. the Browns.
Here are some of the noteworthy games at the betting window for Week 8.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars | Over/Under: 43
The early kick (6:30 a.m. in Vegas) for these London games usually means they don’t generate that big of a handle at the sportsbooks. Yet, this one is different.
As of Friday evening, this game made up 14% of the money wagered AND 14% of total tickets written at William Hill. That’s a hefty sum usually reserved for feature matchups for the week (Chiefs-Patriots in Week 7 made up 16% of money wagered). While I expect these numbers to come back to reality by Sunday, it’s still very perplexing what the real interest is here.
“This game was at a pick when we put this line out in our ‘look-ahead’ lines last week and it’s gone all the way to -3.” John Murray, director of the Westgate SuperBook, said. “Let’s not forget the Eagles are coming in off of a bad loss last week to Carolina and the line still moved by 3 points. That says a lot after the Jags got throttled by the Texans at home. But, on the other hand, you have to look at Blake Bortles’ record and numbers in his last three UK games. If he played every game like those he’d be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. So maybe that’s something to keep an eye on. But I still expect money to continue to come in on Philly.”
While the money at the Westgate was coming in on Philadelphia, the Golden Nugget took some smart money on the underdog.
“We’ve actually taken a little sharp money on the Jaguars,” Aaron Kessler, assistant sportsbook manager at the Golden Nugget, explained. “But I really don’t know how you can continue to support Jacksonville the way they’ve played the past few weeks. While I’m aware of Bortles’ strong history in London games he’s not going to take any more of my money, I can promise you that!”
This line opened at most books at -3 and is drifting a bit higher with a majority of the local sports books now going to -3 -120 and even a couple, including Coast Casinos and Caesars, going to -3.5.
At William Hill, the Eagles were taking 86% of the money wagered and getting 75% of the tickets written at the time of writing (see live betting data here).
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs (-9.5) | Over/Under: 53.5
The Chiefs are this season’s public darling thanks to their undefeated record ATS and their high-powered offense. Some people may wonder why these Kansas City lines aren’t even higher.
“It’s simple, each week we still see money come in on the dogs,” Kessler said. “It’s not anti-K.C. money either, it’s the sharps.”
Murray says this game is turning into a sharps vs. squares game at the Westgate, too.
“We had the line originally at -10 and it’s taken a few hits from the public and some sharp players here which dropped the number to -9.5,” he noted. “The game is also in virtually every moneyline parlay and teaser bet we’ve taken. Moneyline on K.C., teasers going both ways.”
Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Rams (-9) | Over/Under: 57
Even though they haven’t covered every game like the Chiefs, the Rams are consistently one of the most popular bets of the weekend. However, the Packers are historically a public team so the betting patterns for this game are very interesting.
“The Rams have been every bit as popular betting-wise as Kansas City has so far this season,” Kessler said. “I see Los Angeles as a more solid team all around than Kansas City.”
This game is turning into another pros vs. Joes game for the Westgate, but not the way you’d think.
“This game has gotten a lot of good two-way action. The public always loves the Packers, even though they don’t look very good right now,” Derek Wilkinson, a supervisor at the Westgate, said. “The sharps are all over the Rams. Even though our liability is on the Packers, we’re still moving with the smart money.”
Interestingly, William Hill is taking a steady stream of Green Bay money at the time of writing.
New Orleans Saints (-2) at Minnesota Vikings | Over/Under: 53
This game will end up being one of the most heavily bet contests of the weekend. Not only is it on Sunday Night Football, but it features two marquee teams that played a wild playoff game last season.
“We’ve gotten really good balanced action on this game so far,” Kessler confirmed. “Two good, feature teams going head-to-head — which doesn’t happen every week in the NFL anymore. Plus you have the narrative of the rematch from last year’s crazy playoff game and it’s the only game on in that time slot, with the potential for a lot of points. All the boxes are checked on this game for it to be a classic. Like the line indicates, this game is pretty even.”
The Westgate is seeing some professional money weigh in on this game, flipping the line.
“We opened this game Minnesota -2.5 and some of our sharper players took the Saints and pushed the line down to New Orleans -1.5.” Murray explained. “While that’s still our number, it’s down to -1 at most locations around town and I wouldn’t be surprised the way the money is coming in if it holds at that number here while other spots could have it as low as a pick.”