Here's why betting Week 1 of the NFL season is so hard unless you are truly paying attention -- in the spring and summer. Because that is when so many books, in Vegas and offshore, are posting their opening numbers for the regular season. And if you don't get in on the action early, then the opportunities are lost. Take a look at some of the moves that have taken place over the past few months: San Francisco going from pick to minus-3 over Seattle, Green Bay going from plus-1 to minus-3 versus the Eagles, Tampa Bay going from minus-1 to minus-3 over Cleveland. All of these are examples of games that wiseguys bought in June and July that the rest of us are just starting to think about. This is what the sharps call getting the best of the number. It'll be easier for us as the season goes on, when lines go up just seven days before a game, not 17 weeks. But in this first week, the best we can do is understand why the moves were made and then decide for ourselves if there is any value left in the line or not.
To help me parse the options this week I called up 'capper Jim Kruger, a reformed University of Kansas journalism student, turned Kansas City standup comic, turned joke writer, turned commodity trader turned stock broker turned tech exec. The guy's had more jobs than Bill Parcells. Ba-da bum! Thank you very much. Since the turn of the century he's been in Vegas and spent most of those years making his living as a professional bettor. I sat next to Jim at the wiseguy breakfast when I was in town a few weeks ago and he actually was funny.
Hopefully we won't look back at his analysis Monday and think the same thing. Here we go with the Week 1 NFL line moves.