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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-21-12||Washington Redskins +6.5 v. NY Giants||Top||23-27||Win||100||122 h 7 m||Show|
Washington won on Sunday at home against Minnesota and now it heads to New York to play its first divisional game of the season. The Redskins are 3-3 to start the season which isn't horrible after a disappointing 5-11 season a year ago. Each of the three losses were by a touchdown or less so not only are they playing well but they are staying competitive in the games they are losing. Only five of their 11 losses last season were by a touchdown or less and the confidence building win over the Vikings moves forward.
The Giants are also coming off a victory and theirs was a big one as they defeated San Francisco on the road in the NFC Championship rematch. That was a huge win and it puts New York in arguably the spot as the team to now beat in the NFL. A trip out west and a return home is a tough grind and the Giants could be in for a letdown here despite this being a divisional game against a longtime rival. This is a better Washington team the Giants are facing than last year yet are favored by more this season.
Robert Griffin III is proving to be a great pick for Washington as he is coming off another great game where he was responsible for three touchdowns. He is coming off his third highest quarterback rating but he has yet to put up a bad game which is rare for a rookie. Overall he has a 100.5 rating which is third best in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. The Giants defense put up another solid game but they are still 19th in the NFL in total defense.
Washington has struggled on defense all season as defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has lost top pass-rusher Brian Orakpo, one of his top run-stoppers in Adam Carriker, and his anticipated starting strong safety in Brandon Meriweather. He came through with a great gameplan against Minnesota as the bend-don't-break philosophy panned out as the Redskins held the Vikings without a touchdown for nearly three and a half quarters. This will certainly be another challenge but far from undoable.
The rushing game for Washington will come into play here. Griffin had a 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings so the numbers got skewed somewhat but this is still one of the best rushing teams in the NFL as the unit is ranked second overall and second in per carry average at 5.2 ypc. Washington is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 road games after gaining 175 or more rushing yards last game while the Giants are 3-11 in their last 14 home games after allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing in two straight games. 10* (427) Washington Redskins
|10-18-12||Seattle Seahawks v. San Francisco 49ers -7||Top||6-13||Push||0||77 h 35 m||Show|
The 49ers laid an egg at home against the Giants and that makes this spot so much better for them. They were dominant in their previous two games against the Jets and Bills as they allowed just three points while scoring a combined 70 points. It was just the opposite in their NFC Championship rematch against the Giants but now they are in a bounceback spot in a divisional game where they currently sit in a three-way tie with the Cardinals and the Seahawks so we will see a very inspired effort.
Seattle continues to be very impressive at home as it is now 3-0 with big wins over Dallas, Green Bay and New England. That is certainly a very impressive and to be honest, the Seahawks feasibly could be 6-0 right now as losses against Arizona and St. Louis could have gone the other way. The fact of the matter though is coming off a last second comeback win at home and travelling on a short week spells disaster especially against a team that is pissed off.
We saw a Seattle letdown after its last home win as it went into St. Louis and lost to the Rams as road favorites. Granted, the number is much different this time around but the situation is as well. Not only are the Seahawks in a difficult travel spot but facing a team coming off a loss makes it more of a challenge. Seattle is coming off a road win in its last game but that was at Carolina so the step up in class is huge. The Seahawks have had a big home field edge over the year and it is evident this year but the road is difficult.
The Thursday setup has favored home teams when their last game was at home as the travel aspect is a big advantage seeing they do not have to do it. A short week is hard enough but when a travel day is thrown in, it takes its toll on the road team. The home team has won the last three Thursday night games and four of the five on the season. This is the second time we have the spot with a team at home coming off a home loss with the first being the Packers taking out the Bears after losing to San Francisco.
San Francisco is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games coming off a loss as a favorite and it is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 home games overall. Seattle is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog of fewer than nine points and coming off a win when playing a team coming off a loss as a favorite. Also, we play against road teams that are coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team. This situation is 47-20 ATS (70.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (304) San Francisco 49ers
|10-15-12||Denver Broncos v. San Diego Chargers UNDER 50||Top||35-24||Loss||-110||148 h 22 m||Show|
Three of the last four Monday night games have stayed below the total and that is just fine with the bookmakers as there is always heavy action on the over in these primetime games. Because both Denver and San Diego are coming of high scoring games once again, we are getting value based on this total being inflated. The early action came in on the under which has brought the number down slightly but not enough to hurt the play as we are likely going to see the number go back up once it gets closer to gametime.
The Broncos lost a high profile game at New England last week and it was the third time this season that their game went over the total. It was also the third time that the game went over because of a late Denver touchdown. They scored with under two minutes left to go over against Pittsburgh, they scored with three minutes left to go over against Houston and they scored with six minutes left go over against the Patriots. All three can be considered garbage scores and all three have added to the value of a low scoring game.
San Diego has now played two straight games that have surpassed the total. The Chargers went way over the number in Kansas City and the last game snuck over because of a late field goal depending on when the total was taken. This week's over/under is slightly less than the game against the Saints but not by much and these last two totals have been the highest they have had all season. The last game San Diego played at home was against Atlanta and the total of 47 was not close to being touched.
While both teams are known on the surface as good offensive teams, the defenses are not that bad. Denver is 13th in total defense while San Diego is 11th in total defense. Both teams are coming off their worst defensive efforts of the season so we can see both rebounded on that side of the ball this week. The Chargers are 6-0 to the under in their last six home games after a game where 50 or more points were scored while going 11-3 to the under in their last 14 home games after gaining 6.5 or more yppl last game.
Obviously Denver is a different team this year with Peyton Manning under center so past history can give us some flawed information but looking at the league as a whole, we often see divisional games being played closer to the vest thus creating more lower scoring games. San Diego is 6-0 to the under in its last six divisional home games while Denver is 4-0 to the under in its last four divisional games. I expect those to remain perfect as should see a much lower scoring game than what the total is telling us. 10* Under (233) Denver Broncos/(234) San Diego Chargers
|10-14-12||Indianapolis Colts v. NY Jets -3||Top||9-35||Win||100||118 h 28 m||Show|
The Jets are coming off a tough loss Monday night against Houston as they had opportunities to get the job done but mistakes once again did them in. they have dropped two straight games, both at home, against two of the elite teams in the league. This is their third straight home game and if ever there was a must win spot, this is it. Falling to 2-4 before heading for a big divisional game at New England is something they cannot let happen and in this situation, they won't.
The Colts meanwhile are coming off an improbable win at home against Green Bay. They trailed by 18 points at halftime but were able to mount the comeback and eventually won the game in the final minute. It was a tough week for Indianapolis with everything that went on with their head coach and providing the win in Chuck Pagano's honor was enormous. Now the Colts are in a huge emotional letdown and while confidence is sky high, they will not have enough in the tank come this Sunday.
A lot of positives can be taken from the Colts victory but it was far from a perfect performance. The Indianapolis offense was pretty pedestrian to start the game, failing to score a first half touchdown while registering just three points. It was a different team in the second as the offense opened things up while the defense shut down the Packers offense for the most part in the second half. A lot of that can be blamed on Green Bay though as something is just not right with the unit.
The Jets defense played very well against Houston, allowing only 209 yards through the air which was very solid with Darrelle Revis out for the season. New York was gashed by Arian Foster who ran for 152 yards but it will not have to worry much around the rushing game this weekend. Donald Brown has a good game but the Colts bring in the 19th ranked rushing offense. Andrew Luck showed why he is going to be a superstar but we will not see a repeat performance.
It can be argued the Jets come out flat following their Monday night games but they have been solid in these spots, going 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 Sunday games following a Monday game the previous week. Indianapolis meanwhile is 0-12 ATS in its last 12 games against losing teams and we play against underdogs or pickems that are allowing 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more ypg over their last two games. This situation is 35-11 ATS (76.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (212) New York Jets
|10-14-12||Detroit Lions +5 v. Philadelphia Eagles||Top||26-23||Win||100||118 h 16 m||Show|
Detroit is coming off its bye week and it came at the best possible time. The Lions entered their week off on a three-game losing streak and they feasibly had a chance to win the last two games. The last game against Minnesota they were hurt by two special teams touchdowns as they outgained the Vikings by 114 yards. Detroit outgained Tennessee by 146 yards prior to that but lost in overtime. This has turned into a very big game with a divisional contest on deck at Chicago.
The Eagles were involved in yet another close game as the lost to the Steelers on a last second field goal. It was the fourth game that was decided by two points or less and turnovers were the story once again as Philadelphia gave it up twice while failing to create any turnovers on defense. To their credit, the Eagles won three of those four close games but the loss to the Steelers stung. Bouncing back at home will be tough as Philadelphia has proven it cannot be trusted as a favorite.
The Lions came into the season as a consensus overrated team and now sitting at 1-3, those opinions look to be have been true. As mentioned, they have not played bad though as they are a couple plays away of being .500 at worst. There have been too many miscommunications and too many missed assignments on the offensive line so the week provided a good time to shore up some of these mental issues. The offense is still one of the best in football and should again have success here.
Defensively, the Lions have an opportunity to take advantage of the Eagles problems with giving up the ball. Detroit was one of the leading turnover-makers in football last season and it needs to get back to that to take some of the pressure off the offense of needing to think it has to simply outscore opponents. The Lions still possess a very solid defensive line and disrupting the Eagles offense, namely Michael Vick, will go a long way. His game provides the turning point.
The Eagles are just 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 home games as they remain an extremely overvalued team. Detroit meanwhile is 4-1 ATS in its last five game as scoring less than 15 points it is previous game which includes an outright win in its only spot in that situation last season. Also, we play against home teams with a winning percentage between .501 and .600 that are coming off a road loss by three points or less. This situation is 23-4 ATS (85.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (219) Detroit Lions
|10-14-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Cleveland Browns +3||Top||24-34||Win||100||118 h 10 m||Show|
We have an early revenge situation for the Browns which are still looking for their first win of the season. Cleveland remains the only winless team in the NFL but I still think the value is on the Browns this week and that is based on the fact they do not have a win yet. The Bengals were favored by seven points in that first meeting so based on the change of venue they should be a slight underdog here but the linesmakers were obviously forced to make them the favorites here.
Cleveland jumped on the Giants 14-0 early on Sunday but the defense was unable to hold back the New York offense but it catches a break this week. The Browns have faced two straight uptempo offenses and both of those came on the road so a return home against Cincinnati, which is ranked 15th in total offense, gives them a shot to turn it around. They best defensive performance came in their last home game where they allowed 344 total yards to the Bills.
The Bengals are coming off a home loss against Miami which snapped their three-game winning streak. There was plenty of talk coming into the season that Cincinnati would take a step backward and while the three-game winning streak put an end to that, the loss to the Dolphins has brought it right back. The Bengals have not faced any potent offense yet they are ranked 18th in total defense and 21st in scoring defense. The Browns offense has been much better than advertised so far.
Despite the fact it is winless, Cleveland is not ranked at the bottom of most power rankings as it has held its own in nearly every game with plenty of chances to win. One of those came in the first game against the Bengals as Cleveland actually outgained them and the difference ended up being an 81-yard punt return that the Bengals opened the scoring with. Cincinnati has owned the series of late with four straight win as well as victories in seven of the last eight but this spot provides a good opportunity to end it.
The Cleveland offense and defense puts it into a solid situation here as we play on home underdogs or pickems that are averaging 5.4 or more yppl, after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) since 1983. Additionally, the Browns are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. The underdog is on a 9-1-1 ATS run in the last 11 meetings in this series. 10* (210) Cleveland Browns
|10-11-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Tennessee Titans +6||Top||23-26||Win||100||54 h 3 m||Show|
Tennessee heads up the list of disappointing teams this season as its loss in Minnesota dropped the Titans to 1-4 on the year. There should be no excuses although the Titans have played a brutal schedule thus far as they have played the toughest slate in the league through the first five weeks of the season. Three of their five games have been on the road including the last two so a return home has come at a good time. The situation is a good one as well playing on a short week.
The reason it is good is because of the other side and that is the Steelers hitting the road on the short week. Pittsburgh was coming off its bye week the previous week and came away with a last second win over the Eagles this past Sunday in a very physical game. It took its toll as the return of Troy Polamalu was very short lived as he was re-injured and will be out this week as will LaMarr Woodley who left with a hamstring injury against the Eagles. The Steelers are now 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road.
Tennessee has the lowest average time of possession per game in the NFL (24:50) and that is due to a lack of a running game. With Chris Johnson rushing for just 210 yards through five games, the Titans have the league's 30th ranked rushing attack. Facing the Steelers may seem like a daunting task however the defense of Pittsburgh is not what it used to be as it is ranked 11th in rushing defense. The Titans have faced four teams in the top 10 in rushing defense and the only one it didn't resulted in their lone win.
Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker will miss his second straight game with soreness in his left shoulder meaning Matt Hasselbeck with be making the start. His last two games have obviously resulted in losses but he hasn't been horrible as he has completed 63 percent of his passes to go with three touchdowns. It will be up to the defense to make big strides as the unit has been gashed as Tennessee is ranked 29th in total defense. Getting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger will be the number one priority.
The Titans have struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks, ranking 30th in sacks per pass attempt (3.87 percent). Catching the Steelers at the right time is big though as Pittsburgh is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 road games including going 0-8 ATS in its last eight road games on grass. Despite the recent struggles, the Titans are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game while the Steelers are 0-5 ATS in their last five games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. 10* (102) Tennessee Titans
|10-08-12||Houston Texans v. NY Jets +9||Top||23-17||Win||100||149 h 38 m||Show|
With everything going on in the public eye right now, the linesmakers had no choice but to make this number as high as it is. The public will be hearing all week about how the Jets are in turmoil with a major quarterback controversy and how Houston is undefeated and looks to be the team to beat in the AFC. This is exactly the situation we love to see in a high profile game such as this as no team is as bad as it was last week and no teams is as good as it was last week.
The Jets are coming off a dreadful loss against San Francisco as they were shutout 34-0 while getting outgained 379-145. It was by far the worst offensive performance of the season and it was the first time they have been shutout since October, 2010. They followed that game up with a win and they are in a better situation here with this being the second of back-to-back home games. Despite everything that is going on, the Jets are 2-2 and sitting in a tie atop the AFC East so things could be worse.
You have to give credit to Houston for being one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL but it has had a pretty easy road to get there. The Texans have played the third easiest schedule thus far and the only real test so far was in Denver where they nearly blew a big lead. While many will not consider this a test , it will be a lot tougher than it looks right now. Houston has a three-game homestand coming up with Green Bay and Baltimore on deck so there could be a slight lookahead going forward.
With New York being a media Mecca, you won't be able to avoid some of the sport talk surrounding the Jets and the things they need to do to turn things around. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time this past Sunday as they were coming off a road win in overtime against the Dolphins while the 49ers were coming off a road loss at Minnesota. Now there is a quarterback controversy as Mark Sanchez is coming off a horrible game but we have seen it before and he responds more often than not with a big performance.
We play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against team averaging 27 ppg or more after a loss by 14 or more points. This situation is 32-10 ATS (76.2 percent) since 1983. on top of that, the Jets are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 home games coming off a home loss and 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games after putting up 250 or fewer yards last game while Houston is just 4-13 ATS in its last 17 road games against defenses allowing 350 or more ypg. 10* (436) New York Jets
|10-07-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Minnesota Vikings||Top||7-30||Loss||-109||121 h 50 m||Show|
The Vikings have gotten off to a terrific start this season by going 3-1 and if not for a late defensive meltdown against the Colts, they could reasonably be 4-0 right now. Minnesota has been far from dominant however and last week against Detroit, it was actually outgained by 114 total yards but used two special team touchdowns to cement the upset. Now the Vikings go from 3.5-point road underdogs to a 6-point home favorite and that is a huge swing for a pretty average team.
Tennessee was thumped again as it got hammered in Houston to fall to 1-3 on the season. The Titans were expected to make some noise this season after a solid season last year but the early schedule has been very tough to overcome. They have played the toughest schedule in the NFL as the three losses have come against teams that are a combined 9-3 and one of those came against the 2-2 Patriots which could feasibly be 4-0 right now. Tennessee now finds itself in a good situation with plenty of value on its side.
The Titans may be without quarterback Jake Locker after he separated his non-throwing shoulder against the Texans. If he cannot go, Matt Hasselbeck will get the start and wasn't horrible against Houston as he was 17-25 for 193 but two interceptions killed him as both were returned for touchdowns. This will not be a big switch. The better news is that running back Chris Johnson finally had a good game as he rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries (5.6 ypc) and he needs to build off that momentum.
Minnesota is again playing strong defense but the relatively easy schedule has helped. The Vikings have faced three offenses ranked in the bottom half of the league and while Tennessee falls into that category as well, Minnesota is in a big letdown spot here. The Vikings pulled off a huge upset against San Francisco and then pulled off a divisional road upset against the Lions so getting up for the 1-3 Titans could prove to be too much to ask for. An outright loss is far from out of the question.
Tennessee is second to last in the AFC in turnover margin which has hurt its cause immensely. The titans fall into a great league-wide situation based on that though as we play on road underdogs or pickems with a turnover margin of -1 tpg or worse after two consecutive games where they forced one or fewer turnovers. This situation is 29-9 ATS (76.3 percent) over the last five seasons. Vikings meanwhile are 9-19-1 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing fewer than 15 points in their previous game. 10* (419) Tennessee Titans
|10-07-12||Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||14-16||Loss||-123||118 h 45 m||Show|
The Steelers find themselves in a good situation coming off their bye week. They are off to a 1-2 start and are game and a half behind the Bengals and Ravens in the AFC North so that makes this a very important early season game. Pittsburgh lost its opening game in Denver and then its last game in Oakland despite outgaining the Raiders by 112 total yards so it is pretty clear that the Steelers have not traveled well out west. The off week while remaining at home is the perfect spot to recharge the batteries.
The Eagles dodged a bullet last week as they won at home against the Giants thanks to a missed field goal as the game ended. Philadelphia improved to 3-1 and it is a record that is either spot on or slightly skewed. The Eagles have outgained every one of their opponents so far sp a winning record seems legitimate. However, the turnover debacle has made games closer than they should be as the three wins have come by a total of four points. After no turnovers last week, expect a reversal of that here.
The Steelers are averaging just 65 rushing ypg which is 31st in the league, and ranks above only the Raiders anemic 60.8 ypg average. The good news however is that running back Rashard Mendenhall is ready to return this week which is a big boost for the offense that is in much need of it. Pittsburgh is not going to switch its schemes though as it has been able to throw the ball with a good deal of success as they are ranked sixth in passing offense but with a more consistent running game they can get even better.
On the other side, the Pittsburgh defense has not been very good. The Steelers only have five sacks and two forced turnovers in three games and part of the reason has been injuries with James Harrison and Troy Polamalu missing time. Polamalu should be back this week which is pretty big and even though Harrison is likely sitting again, the week off provided rest for all. The Steelers still need to find a way to generate pressure and force turnovers and the young players need to start executing better.
The Steelers have been one of the better teams in the NFL coming off a bye as they have won each of the last four years, covering three of those. They have been even better coming off a loss as they are a perfect 9-0 ATS in their last nine games following a defeat. Also, they are 8-0 ATS in their last eight home games coming off a spread loss while going 19-5 ATS in their last 24 home games after outgaining their opponent by 100 or more total yards in two straight games. 10* (414) Pittsburgh Steelers
|10-07-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Kansas City Chiefs +5.5||Top||9-6||Win||100||118 h 37 m||Show|
The Chiefs came up pretty small last week at home against the Chargers as they dropped to 1-3 on the season. Kansas City was coming off a big road win at New Orleans but it was unable to keep the momentum going as it turned the ball over six times and as we all know, it is impossible to win in this league with mistakes like that. The Chiefs are 0-2 at home, getting outscored by 33 points combined but what that now does is create value for this week and Kansas City is catching a very good number.
Baltimore won last Thursday at home against Cleveland and it was a very uninspiring win as it let the Browns hang around enough to almost be able to tie the game late. It was the third straight game that wasn't decided until very late and while the offense has been clicking, the defense has been a major disappointment. The Ravens have not allowed a lot of points but they are ranked 23rd in total defense which is a far cry of how good they have been over the past few years.
Despite being 1-3 on the year, the Chiefs have outgained every opponent so far and while they have not been able to turn those into wins, they are showing they are able to compete and hold their own. Converting yards into points has been the issue as Kansas City is fourth in the NFL in total offense but just 18th in scoring offense and turnovers is the reason. The Chiefs have 15 giveaways and their -13 turnover differential is easily the worst in the NFL. That will come back around.
Kansas City has given up a ton of points and turnovers are to blame as well. The Chiefs have allowed the second most points in the NFL despite being ranked a respectable 13th in total defense. Playing on a short field has killed them and over the last two games, they have allowed just 288 yards and 293 yards against two potent offenses. Kansas City is 24-11 ATS in its last 35 games after allowing 35 or more points while head coach Romeo Crennel is 15-3 ATS in his last 18 games after allowing 30 or more points.
Kansas City falls into a great league-wide situation where we play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against teams averaging 27 or more ppg after a loss by 14 or more points. This situation is 32-10 ATS (76.2 percent) since 1983. Additionally, the Chiefs are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games at home following a divisional game where they allowed 35 or more points so they have been a solid bounceback team. 10* (424) Kansas City Chiefs
|10-04-12||Arizona Cardinals v. St. Louis Rams +2||Top||3-17||Win||100||53 h 18 m||Show|
We rode St. Louis to victory last week over Seattle as it was catching points at home and we will do the same this Thursday as it is again a divisional home underdog. The Rams came away with the outright win as they improved to 2-0 at home while sitting 0-2 on the road and they have already matched their win total from all of last season. The Thursday night game means a short turnaround but it is a big edge for the home teams, especially when last week was at home also, as it takes out the travel.
Arizona is one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL and it is definitely the most surprising of the bunch. The Cardinals are 4-0 for the first time since 1974 and this is arguably one of the ugliest 4-0 teams we have seen in recent memory. The schedule has been somewhat of a cakewalk as three of the four games have come at home and three of the wins have come down to the final play in regulation so luck has been on their side as the Cardinals could easily be sitting at 1-3 right now.
Making the 4-0 start for Arizona even more of a farce is that it has yet to outgain a single opponent. The defense has played at a high level in keeping points off the scoreboard and despite the fact the Cardinals have the third best scoring defense in the NFL, they are just 17th in the league in total defense so their bend but don
|10-01-12||Chicago Bears v. Dallas Cowboys OVER 41.5||Top||34-18||Win||100||12 h 30 m||Show|
Dallas has started the season by going low in its first three games with all of those contests going under the total. The offense has been surprisingly inconsistent as the Cowboys are 19th in the NFL in total offense and an even worse 31st in scoring offense. Facing a Bears defense does not look like the situation to turn it around however we are catching a very favorable total for tonight and it is actually the lowest the Cowboys have seen this year. The value squarely lies on the over.
Chicago meanwhile has gone under in each of its last two games as the offense was unable to do anything against the Packers two weeks ago while the defense was able to shut down the Bears last week. The defense was ranked fifth in the league in both yards and scoring heading into Week Four and that is part of the reason we are catching a low number for tonight. The numbers are skewed somewhat however as the Bears did allow 356 and 321 yards to the Colts and Packers the first two weeks.
On the other side, the Cowboys are first in the NFL in total defense, allowing only 250 ypg. They were able to hold down the potent Giants offense but that was opening week and Dallas was not tested against Seattle and the Buccaneers in the last two games. Tampa Bay had 166 yards last week including just 96 yards before its final drive of the game so while the Bears defense has been strong, the Cowboys stop unit has quietly got the job done. Things will be tougher here though.
As mentioned, the Cowboys offense has been very inconsistent and the Bears offense has been the same. The difference though is that Chicago has not been taking a conservative approach as quarterback Jay Cutler's average pass has traveled 9.8 yards past the line of scrimmage, the fourth-highest in the league. The issue has been poor first down execution which has put them in long yardage situations on second and third down so getting that in order will help the offense immensely.
Monday nights have been low scoring so far as three of the four games have all gone under including each of the last two weeks. These nights are big for the public in betting the over and they have been stung so far but this is where we get the turnaround. The Cowboys are 18-8-3 to the over in their last 29 games after allowing less than 250 total yards in their previous game while the Bears are 16-7 to the over in their last 23 games against teams averaging 260 or more passing ypg. 10* Over (231) Chicago Bears/(232) Dallas Cowboys
|09-30-12||New England Patriots -4 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||52-28||Win||100||53 h 17 m||Show|
We used the Patriots as one of our top plays last week and they came through with a cover. They lost outright however and that actually sets us up again for another strong situation this week. New England has lost consecutive games in the regular season only three times since 2003 prior to this season. The Patriots bounced back with a win in each of those previous follow up games, winning by a combined score of 92-26. This is the first time New England has had a losing records since 2003 when it opened 0-1.
Buffalo has looked impressive the last two weeks with big wins following the season opening blowout loss against the Jets. Taking nothing away from their response but the Bills last two wins have come against some pretty weak opposition and while they are playing with confidence, this is going to be a huge test. Buffalo has improved in almost all areas and it will continue to give a lot of teams fits but this will not be one of those as the Bills caught the Patriots at the wrong time.
The Patriots defense was expected to be a much stronger unit this season but it regressed last week against the Ravens and the Bills offense will certainly provide a big test. However the running game for Buffalo is now a mess with C.J. Spiller out and Fred Jackson still nursing a knee injury although he is likely to play even though he is not at 100 percent. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been great the last two games by throwing no interceptions and that means he comes back to earth this Sunday.
Tom Brady has owned the Bills over the years and there is no reason to think he won't have another big game here. His offensive line will have to play well and the Patriots also need to get their running game going which has been non-existent over the last two games. The Bills have allowed 745 yards passing so far this season and have yet to face an offense as strong as the Patriots. The last time he was in Buffalo, Brady threw four picks so you know he will out for redemption.
The line opened with the Patriots favored by six points but it quickly came down as sharp money was all over Buffalo and the line has now settled in at four and there should not be much more movement. New England falls into a great situation as we play on favorites with a winning percentage between .250 and .400 after covering the spread in two out of their last three games, playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 37-11 ATS (77.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (205) New England Patriots
|09-30-12||Seattle Seahawks v. St. Louis Rams +3||Top||13-19||Win||100||53 h 11 m||Show|
The Seahawks came away with a very fortunate win on Monday as everyone is well aware of. Seattle moved to 2-1 with the victory with both wins coming at home in consecutive weeks and now it heads back out on the road in what looks to be a very tough situation. The Seahawks own a solid home field edge but they are very average on the road, going 5-12 under head coach Pete Carroll. High profile wins over Dallas and Green Bay has put Seattle in the false favorite role this week.
St. Louis is 1-2 after falling in Chicago last week to drop to 0-2 on the road. The Rams lone win came at home against Washington in Week Two and I expect a similar rebound this week coming off that road defeat. This team is a lot better than it was last season when it went 2-14 and that comes down to better coaching and health. Four of their seven home losses last year came by a touchdown or less so as bad as they were last season, the Rams were still competitive at home
The defense has been improving each game for the Rams as they allowed a season low 274 yards last week in Chicago. They won't have to produce any magic against the Seahawks as their offense is still a work in progress under rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle is ranked 26th in scoring offense and 29th in total offense and they it is dead last in the league is pass attempts and yards. They do have a strong running game behind Marshawn Lynch but the Rams runs defense is above average.
The big matchup will be the Rams offense against the Seahawks defense with the latter being one of the best units in the NFL. Holding Dallas and Green Bay to 19 combined points is quite impressive, but again, those games were at home. The Rams have to keep Seattle off balance and that starts with Steven Jackson who is coming off a poor game last week. Last week the Packers used some powerful runs to establish balance and keep the Seattle from going all in on the pass rush and it worked.
You cannot compare Green bay and St. Louis but Seattle goes for a home underdog to a road favorite which is very rare in the this league and the Rams benefit from it as they fall into a great situation where we play against favorites coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season. This situation is 67-32 ATS (67.7 percent) since 1983 including going 19-3 ATS (86.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. This system has not lost over the last three years (7-0 ATS). 10* (218) St. Louis Rams
|09-30-12||Carolina Panthers +7.5 v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||28-30||Win||100||53 h 45 m||Show|
People cannot get enough of the Falcons right now as just like that, they are being hailed as Super Bowl contenders. No offense to the three teams they have beat, but the AFC West is far from a power division so the 3-0 record is far from impressive in my eyes. The defense clamped down last week as turnovers again were the difference and as I will explain later, that will be going against them this week. Despite being 3-0, Atlanta is outgaining opponents by less than nine ypg.
Carolina looked great two weeks ago when it defeated the Saints and was the complete opposite team last week when it got thumped Thursday night against the Giants. This has turned into a huge game for the Panthers if they are looking to compete in the NFC South as a win here keeps them on pace but a loss drops them three games back just four games into the season. Turnover were the difference last week for Carolina as well as it lost the battle 5-0 and there is no way it can expect to compete with a negative variance like that.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is coming off one of his worst games as a pro and as a matter of fact the 40.6 passer rating was his lowest in 19 career starts. He came close once last season with a 44.6 rating and came back the next game with a 127.5 rating so don't expect a repeat of last Thursday. I am not sold on the Falcons defense as a whole. Yes they have allowed the fourth fewest amount of points in the league but they are 13th in total defense as turnovers have been the difference.
That has worked the other way also as turnover by the defense has led to short fields for the offense. The Falcons are third in the league in scoring offense but just 19th in total offense. Had they been playing from a longer field, maybe Atlanta would not have had a problem gaining yards but that remains unclear. The offense is overrated at this point as there is no running game to speak of and while the Carolina defense is going to give up its points, it isn't going to be as bad as people think.
I expect both teams being able to move the ball here which will likely mean a high-scoring game. Carolina has the ability to keep up as long as it can avoid turnovers and it falls into a situation saying it will as we play against home teams after a game where they forced four or more turnovers and have forced an average of 2.5 or more tpg, going up against teams that have forced an average of 1.25 or less tpg. This situation is 22-4 ATS (84.6 percent) since 1983. 10* (209) Carolina Panthers
|09-27-12||Cleveland Browns v. Baltimore Ravens -11.5||Top||16-23||Loss||-110||23 h 3 m||Show|
Usually the home teams have a big advantage on Thursday nights because of the short week and the travel involved for the team hitting the road. That was the case in Week Two when the Packers hosted the Bears but last week it was not the case for Carolina. The Panthers were likely in a letdown spot coming off their upset win over the Saints the previous week and they were dominated by the Giants. I feel we get back to reality with the home team this week and despite laying a lot of points, the Ravens will cruise.
Baltimore is coming off a last second victory over New England last Sunday so many will claim that they too are in a letdown spot but that should not be the case. At 2-1, a loss here takes that win away and drops the Ravens back to .500 and that need to keep the winning going and create some space ahead of the Steelers. This is a division game on top of it and even though the Browns have not given much resistance, Baltimore will be plenty fired up. The Ravens have won 12 straight games at home as well as 20 of 21.
The Browns have put up some good fights this year and the fact that they have not lost by more than what this spread is this week is going to get some people backing Cleveland. Truth be told, this is a horrible spot. The Browns are 0-3 and desperate for a win but this is not the situation for it to happen as they have lost eight straight games on the road as well as 11 straight divisional games dating back to last season. The short week in trying to prepare for an offense they have not seen before is not a good sign either.
Baltimore has turned its offense into a very powerful unit that is starting to speed things up. The Ravens are ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense and second in scoring offense while Cleveland's defense is horrible as it is ranked 25th in total defense and it is still missing their best player in Joe Haden who still has two games left with his suspension. There is no reason to believe that Baltimore cannot score at will here as motivation late would be the only cause for concern.
The Browns are even worse offensively as they have no playmakers and quarterback Brandon Weeden still does not have a grasp of this league. While Baltimore may have lost a step defensively, it is not going to hurt them here. Cleveland also falls into a negative situation as we play against road teams with a winning percentage between .000 and .333 playing on Thursday night while playing on a short week. This situation is 14-3 ATS (82.3 percent) since 1992 with the average point differential being +17.9 ppg. 10* (102) Baltimore Ravens
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers -3 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||12-14||Loss||-120||12 h 36 m||Show|
Green Bay came into the season as the favorites in the NFC to win the conference as well as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. The Packers are still at the top of the list despite looking pretty average through their first two games. They followed up a loss at home against the 49ers with a solid win last week against Chicago as the defense propelled them to the win. They allowed just 168 total yards and now it is up to the offense to get things back in order.
We won with Seattle last week as it easily took care of Dallas as three-point underdogs. Surprisingly the number is the same this week and with no disrespect to the Cowboys, there is no way the Packers should be favored by the same amount. It shows that the result from last week is being taken into too much consideration. Seattle won by 20 points but outgained Dallas by only 13 total yards. The Seahawks won the turnover battle 2-0 and used a blocked punt for a touchdown to add to their score.
As mentioned, the Green Bay offense has not been spot on. Last season, the Packers offense broke franchise records for points and passing yards and led to quarterback Aaron Rodgers producing the highest passer rating (122.5) of all time. After ranking fifth in the NFL last season with an average length of completion of 7.76 yards, Rodgers ranks 31st this year at just 4.94 yards. Teams have been playing their safeties back in a cover-2 type scheme and Seattle could break that trend meaning the offense should have a big night.
Seattle's defense has been strong thus far as it is third in the NFL in scoring defense and sixth in total yards. The rushing defense was ranked third coming into Week Two but it also had the third fewest carries against them so that skews it somewhat. Either way, this defense is no pushover but this will be the biggest test so far and while an argument can be made that the Cowboys potent offense was shutdown, Dallas' offense is far from potent after putting up just 297 yards yesterday against Tampa Bay.
The Seahawks have a potential starting quarterback for the future in Russell Wilson but as with any rookie, he is having some adjustment issues from college to the NFL. I expect the Packers to be able to put a ton of pressure on him and they now have a nice secondary rotation with seven guys and the ability to confuse quarterbacks. The Packers need to show good gap integrity to stop Seattle's running game which has been solid thus far. The great teams win on the road and the Packers will do that tonight. 10* (429) Green Bay Packers
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers v. Seattle Seahawks OVER 44||Top||12-14||Loss||-107||11 h 29 m||Show|
The under has been the theme so far in Week Three as nine of the first 15 games have gone under. After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games averaged 47.8 ppg in Week Two. So far in Week Three, games have averaged 47 ppg which is still pretty high considering the amount of games that have gone under. Adjustments were made in the totals by the linesmakers and it worked in their favor.
That being said, I feel we are getting a very reasonable number for Monday that can go over. Last night broke a string of four straight primetime games that did not go over and while the public will again be on the over tonight which is the case for most Monday night games, I feel it is justified. Neither offense has been good through the first two weeks with the Packers coming in 23rd in total offense and the Seahawks coming in 28th in total offense. We go contrarian with those units tonight.
The Green Bay offense is due. Last season, the Packers offense broke franchise records for points and passing yards and led to quarterback Aaron Rodgers producing the highest passer rating (122.5) of all time. After ranking fifth in the NFL last season with an average length of completion of 7.76 yards, Rodgers ranks 31st this year at just 4.94 yards. Teams have been playing their safeties back in a cover-2 type scheme and Seattle could break that trend meaning the offense should have a big night.
While the Seahawks have a rookie as a starting quarterback and the Packers defense has been very solid so far, the potential is there for Seattle to put up some decent amount of points. I do not think the Seahawks will be able to keep up with Green Bay but the key here will be the Packers offense forcing Seattle into a shootout type of game. As long as the Packers can be consistent with their offense, the Seahawks will have no option but to somewhat abandon the running game which has been the strength so far.
Both teams are coming off low scoring games in Week Two which has helped with this total. In fact, Seattle has played two low scoring games so far so the value will be going the other way tonight. Green Bay is 6-0 to the over in its last six games coming off a divisional win while Seattle is 17-5 to the over in its last 22 games coming off a win as a home underdog. In addition, the Over is 7-1 in Seattle's last eight games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. 10* Over (429) Green Bay Packers/(430) Seattle Seahawks
|09-23-12||New England Patriots +3 v. Baltimore Ravens||Top||30-31||Win||100||71 h 46 m||Show|
The Patriots broke a lot of hearts last week as their outright loss knocked out a ton of people in suicide pools everywhere. I'm sure people will avoid playing them in any situation now but this is exactly the time to jump on them. New England was not prepared for Arizona and that was said by many players after the game as they had a terrible practice week. Well, you can guarantee the week of practice was more productive this week and New England is in numerous positive spots pointed out later.
The Ravens looked great opening week and then laid an egg last week against the Eagles. The final score only shows a one-point loss but Baltimore was outgained by 161 total yards and the only reason it was as close as it appeared was because of Eagles turnovers which have plagued them going back to last season. Many will go back to the Ravens in a bounceback situation as they head home in another primetime game but this team does have some issues that will be hard to overcome.
The main issues revolve around the defense that is far from the same juggernaut that it used to be. They are older and the injury list keeps getting bigger. The Ravens can't seem to stop anyone as they are allowing 404 ypg which is 27th in the league and they will be facing an offense that is coming off a horrendous game and will want redemption. New England did put up 387 yards against the Cardinals but managed only 18 points as they went just 5-15 on third down.
Baltimore is trying to figure out how to overcome the loss of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. Giving Brady time under center is just suicide for a defense and even though he will be without Aaron Hernandez, they will be able to overcome that. On the other side, the Patriots defense has started strong and while they have not faced the top offenses, the young unit is starting to grow up and unlike the Ravens, the defense is healthy.
The Patriots have been moneymakers when coming off a loss as under head coach Bill Belichick, they are 14-5 ATS in their 19 games coming off a home loss and they are 13-4 ATS in their 17 road games coming off a loss as a favorite. With Tom Brady under center, New England is a perfect 5-0 straight up and ATS coming off a loss and now playing the role of an underdog, most recently, it was last year when they lost at home against the Giants and then pummeled the Jets by 21 points as a field-goal underdog. 10* (427) New England Patriots
|09-23-12||St Louis Rams v. Chicago Bears -7||Top||6-23||Win||100||63 h 11 m||Show|
The Bears were manhandled last Thursday night against the Packers as quarterback Jay Cutler was again at the forefront as he played miserably and put the blame on others. Well, there has been enough time for that to pass and now the Bears will be out to bounceback and with a game at Dallas next week, this has turned into a pretty big game. I expect the defense to step up and put up a big game after a pretty good effort against a tough Packers offense. I expect the offense to light things up as well.
The Rams have looked pretty good the first two weeks of the season as they narrowly lost at Detroit in the season opener and then won last week against the Redskins in their home opener. Those two close games shows that new head coach Jeff Fisher is making a difference however I don't think the Rams have made the jump just yet. They benefitted from numerous turnovers against the Lions and caught Washington in a letdown spot. Now they find themselves in their own letdown spot.
The Rams offense was on point last week against Washington but the Redskins lost some key defenders and I do not expect a repeat of that, especially after putting up just 250 yards against the Lions in their opener. St. Louis is extremely thin on the offensive line and the playmakers will be caught in big disadvantages this weekend. The Bears actually played a better game defensively against the Packers than they did against the Colts but in that first game, a lot yards came in garbage time.
Obviously the talk this past week has been about Cutler and the offensive line but it is completely blown out of proportion which makes it comical as the media loves this stuff. In reality it has passed. The offensive line will be fine this week as the Rams have no existence of a pass rush as they have only two sacks this year. Overall ,the defense has been very average as they are ranked 22nd in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed. Look for the Bears to return to form even without Matt Forte.
The Bears low output on offense last week benefits them this week as they are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game and it is also part of a league-wide situation. Play against road underdogs or pickems after scoring 30 points or more last game going up against an opponent after scoring three points or less in the first half last game. This situation is 39-14 ATS (73.6 percent) over the last 10 seasons. This has blowout written all over it. 10* (402) Chicago Bears
|09-23-12||Detroit Lions v. Tennessee Titans +4||Top||41-44||Win||100||63 h 54 m||Show|
Tennessee has looked dreadful the first two weeks of the season as it was blasted at home against New England and then got blasted again last week at San Diego so public perception is that it will get blasted again. That won't be the case. Teams that are coming off consecutive poor performances tend to bounce back pretty well in this league, especially those that have talent and the Titans possess that. They have not come out very good but there is plenty of time to recover.
The Lions quick start to last season is still causing them to be overrated and thus, overvalued. Detroit could easily be sitting at 0-2 right now as it caught a break against the Rams and was pretty much outmuscled against the 49ers last week. They are a team that has a potentially potent offense and gets them a lot of publicity which amateur bettors love to eat up. Detroit put a lot into the game at San Francisco last week and that will provide a letdown not to mention the physical aspect that it has to recover from.
Plain and simple, the Lions should not be favored here. They are favored because Tennessee has lost its last two games by a combined 49 points and while that may seem like a pretty obvious reason, it is based on perception of the public of that. There is no way the linesmakers could make the Titans the favorites here because the one-sided action would be astronomical. It is still pretty heavy on the Lions and yet the line has not moved which is certainly telling us something.
Titans Jake Locker has struggled but he could bounce back this week as he faced a thin Detroit secondary and even better news came on offense. Wednesday marked the first practice in about a year with both Kenny Britt and Nate Washington healthy enough that neither was on the injury report. That is huge. This is one of those instances where the passing game can set up the rushing game and allow Chris Johnson so finally bust out. The offensive line has to play its part as well.
As mentioned, teams coming off big losses in consecutive games have actually done well as they win against the number over 67 percent of the time over the last decade. The Titans also fall into a situation where we play against favorites after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in two straight games going up against an opponent after being outrushed by 100 or more yards last game. This situation is 83-42 ATS (66.4 percent) since 1983. Look for the Titans to notch that first win of the year. 10* (408) Tennessee Titans
|09-20-12||NY Giants v. Carolina Panthers UNDER 51.5||Top||36-7||Win||100||47 h 4 m||Show|
We are going with the same strategy we used to win Monday on the Denver and Atlanta under. After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games averaged 47.8 ppg in Week Two so while scoring was down some, it was a very insignificant increase. Despite this, the over was just 8-7-1 this past week and is now just 17-14-1 on the season so while scoring is high, the linesmakers have made up for it by adjusting their totals and not letting the public run away with over tickets.
Here we have a similar situation where both the Giants and Panthers are coming off very high scoring games on Sunday. New York and Tampa Bay combined for 75 points while Carolina and New Orleans combined for 62 points so both games went over without a problem. That is now providing us with a big over/under for Thursday night and because of those Week Two results, we know where the square money is going to be once again. We have not seen much movement yet but this number should slide up even more.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a pretty crazy game as he was picked off three times early but responded with a monster game, throwing for 510 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating was pretty low because of the picks and a performance like that is going to get a lot of talk gong forward. A repeat will be discussed, especially against a poor Panthers defense but this is the first road game for the Giants and with a big come-from-behind win in the books, an offensive letdown is imminent.
The Panthers offense did not match the 604 yards put up by the Giants but Carolina still put up 463 total yards against the Saints. The New Orleans defense is last in the NFL in total yards allowed after that performance coming right after a horrible one at home to the Panthers output is a little skewed. Despite 34 points allowed, New York gave up just 307 total yards as a lot of the damage was because of turnovers. Carolina managed only 301 yards of offense against Tampa Bay in Week One.
The Manning output last week puts the under in a good spot this week as the Giants are 5-1 to the under in their last six games after putting up 250 or more yards passing while the Panthers are 6-1 to the under in their last seven games after allowing more than 250 yards passing. Also, Carolina is 15-5 to the under in its last 20 home games coming off a home win while the Giants are 52-33 to the under in their last 85 games coming off a home win. The value is once again favoring an under play. 10* Under (303) New York Giants/(304) Carolina Panthers
|09-17-12||Denver Broncos v. Atlanta Falcons UNDER 53||Top||21-27||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games have averaged 47.8 ppg through the first 15 games of Week Two. While each game is a separate entity, the results of other games will not affect future games but it will affect what we are betting against and how the public perceives that. That is certainly the case here as because of all of the high scoring going on, this total has gone from an opening of 49 in most placers to upwards of 52.5 as of Monday morning.
We waited to release this one based on the fact that we wanted to get the best possible number and we still have the chance of getting a better one later in the day or night as this one could still climb. Last Monday night, the totals split in both games but again, the public was on the over in both as is the case every game on Monday night. That is where the value comes into play and it is not necessarily a bet against the public but a play against the number that the linesmakers are putting out based on that.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning made a triumphant return to the NFL as he led Denver to a win over Pittsburgh where 50 total points were scored. While it may have gone over, the game was not exactly an offensive show as the teams combined for just 618 total yards and after Week One, Denver was near the bottom third of the NFL in total offense. Obviously the offense is the main story because of Manning but the Broncos defense is a very solid and underrated unit.
The defense will have to be on top of its game against a potent Falcons offense that hung 40 points on Kansas City in Week One. After watching the Chiefs allowed 35 points against Buffalo, yesterday, the Atlanta output is not as impressive as first thought. Quarterback Matt Ryan had a near flawless game but we have seen in the past that some of his best games are followed up with pretty bad games. The offense looks to be fast-paced but we could see a slow down on Monday.
Atlanta running back Michael Turner averaged only 2.9 ypc against the Chiefs but Atlanta coach Mike Smith says he wants more from his running game in Week Two of the season and beyond. The Falcons defense will have do a better job of not letting up big plays and at home, that is a clear advantage. The under is 5-0 in the Broncos last five games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game while the under is 8-2 in the Falcons last 10 games following a win. 10* Under (225) Denver Broncos/(226) Atlanta Falcons
|09-16-12||Dallas Cowboys v. Seattle Seahawks +3.5||Top||7-27||Win||100||54 h 29 m||Show|
The Cowboys were very impressive in their opening game as they were able to get some payback against the Giants after last year's sweep and keeping them out of the playoffs. Dallas has had extra time off to rest for Seattle but it should not be a big advantage as heading out onto the road for a second straight week negates that. This was the first time in three years that the Cowboys won their season opener so things may be looking up but I'm not sold just yet. Dallas hasn't won road games in consecutive weeks since 2009.
This is a very intriguing line as Seattle went from a road favorite to a home underdog in the span of just one week and while the value was against the Seahawks last week, it is on them this week. Seattle had a chance to win last week as it had numerous opportunities to punch in a late touchdown but failed to get the job done. The Seahawks are catching a great number and they are 11-5 ATS as home underdogs over the last three years including going 5-1 ATS last season.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was pretty average in his first ever start but he ranked ahead of three of the other rookies so in hindsight, it was far from horrible. He now goes home for the first time and he should have a better game here despite facing a stronger defense. Dallas did a phenomenal job of shutting down the Giants offense as it held Eli Manning to 213 yards passing but there were a ton of drops that were not his fault. The Giants could not run the ball but they had the worst rushing offense last year as well.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had a great game in New York, posting a rating of 129.5. He gets a lot of heat for not being clutch but he is clearly one of the best signal callers in the game. Last week though cannot be taken too serious as he was facing a Giants defense that was decimated in the secondary and was forced to go with a fifth-string cornerback. Seattle will provide more resistance as it has a great secondary. It allowed a 70.9 passer rating last week and was sixth in that category last season.
The Cowboys have proven over the last few years that they have not fared well when they are supposed to win as they are 4-15 ATS in their 19 games as favorites. Under head coach Jason Garrett, they are 0-6 ATS when the line is between +3 and -3. Also, coming off a good effort has resulted in the opposite in the next game as Dallas is 13-28 ATS in its last 41 road games after gaining 400 or more yards in their previous game. Seattle is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games coming off a loss. 10* (216) Seattle Seahawks
|09-16-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Philadelphia Eagles -1||Top||23-24||Push||0||51 h 30 m||Show|
Based on what we saw last week, the Ravens look to be a power in the AFC while the Eagles are up to their old tricks , committing too many mistakes and just getting by. Because of this, we are getting excellent value with Philadelphia is its home opener. It took a touchdown with just over a minute remaining for the Eagles to defeat the Browns on the road but any road win is a good one. Obviously the five turnovers hurt but Philadelphia outgained the Browns by 246 yards and that is domination.
The Ravens started strong against Cincinnati but they let the Bengals back into the game before scoring the final 24 points to run away with the victory. They have now won 11 straight games at home and 19 of their last 20, including postseason. Playing on the road is a different story as they were just 4-4 on the highway last year and they are right at .500 over the last three seasons. A win in the spotlight puts Baltimore in the public eye but the situation now is not a good one.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was close to flawless as he posted a 128.4 quarterback rating and he has been the talk throughout the media. I have always been a fan and this could finally be his breakout year but he comes in with a career quarterback rating of 82.3 on the road and he will be facing a stiff test. The Eagles defense was dominant against Cleveland and even though it was against the lowly Browns, they allowed just 210 total yards, the fewest allowed by any team in Week One.
On the other side, Michael Vick was horrible, tossing four interceptions and putting up a dismal rating of 41. To his credit, he played sparingly in the preseason but still threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Yes he is still overrated but he is good enough to make the Eagles a winner. The Ravens defense was good but not great against Cincinnati as they allowed 322 total yards 129 yards rushing on 28 carries (4.6 ypc). That was tied for sixth highest and coming off a physical game, they could be worse here.
We are buying low here as people are already off the Philadelphia bandwagon but remember, last season, they had the largest yardage margin in the league. Turnovers need to come down obviously. The Ravens are 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games following a win by more than two touchdowns and the Eagles fall into a great situation where we play on favorites in non-conference games coming off a road win. This situation is 82-44 ATS (65.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (208) Philadelphia Eagles
|09-13-12||Chicago Bears v. Green Bay Packers -6||Top||10-23||Win||100||45 h 23 m||Show|
The Packers have two straight games that mean something as they lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the Giants and followed that up with a loss in their season opener against San Francisco. Both of those games came at home which is the most surprising after winning 13 consecutive games at Lambeau Field. Green Bay was arguably still the best team in the NFL last season and should be better this year even if the record will not necessary show that.
Chicago opened the season with a relatively easy win over Indianapolis, spoiling the debut of Andrew Luck. The Colts hung tough for a while as they trailed by only three points late in the second quarter until the Bears pulled away. The offense was very impressive for Chicago as it gained 428 total yards but that was against a pretty bad Colts defense and now it hits the road for the first time against a much better defense and one that will be better this week after giving up 377 yards to the 49ers last week.
There were some positives as the Packers sacked San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith four times on Sunday and they held ground on third down, allowing the 49ers to convert only two of nine times. Quarterback Alex Smith had an outstanding game as he moved the ball and was very efficient. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a strong games as well with the exception of an early pick-six. We all know Cutler can make bonehead moves and in six career starts against Green Bay, he has a 67.5 quarterback rating.
Green Bay struggled to run the ball against San Francisco and that ultimately hurt the passing offense. It wasn't until San Francisco's 15th game last season when the defense gave up its first rushing touchdown so the fact that the Packers struggled came as no surprise. They will have better success this week. Chicago allowed only 63 rushing yards against the Colts but Indianapolis ran the ball only 15 times so the 4.2 ypc average the Bears allowed was not good at all.
The Packers have not opened the season 0-2 since 2006 which was the first year under head coach Mike McCarthy and that also happened to be the last time Green Bay lost their season opener as well. Green Bay falls into a great situation where we play on home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points that outscored opponents by four or more ppg last season, after a playing a game where 50 total points or more were scored. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1983. 10* (102) Green Bay Packers
|09-10-12||San Diego Chargers v. Oakland Raiders -1||Top||22-14||Loss||-107||14 h 1 m||Show|
We have seen this line completely shift as the Chargers opened as the small favorites while the Raiders currently sit as the small favorites heading into tonight. The Chargers remain high on a lot of lists to make a playoff run but this has been the case for years and we have yet to see it. There is no reason to think this is finally the year as San Diego as the only big changes made were replacing both coordinators. The public is still in love with this team and for no real good reason.
The Chargers are hurting on offense as two key players are out with Vincent Brown sitting on IR with a broken ankle sustained during the preseason and running back Ryan Matthews still a couple weeks away from coming back after suffering a broken collarbone, also in the preseason. Also, the offensive line could be a big issue and will be at a disadvantage tonight. Undrafted rookie Mike Harris is at left tackle as he will try to protect Philip Rivers against a very solid defensive line of the Raiders.
I think the Raiders have a big edge on defense tonight. The team has a whole new set of cornerbacks, two new starters at linebacker, and, most importantly, a brand new system after years of playing one way. This may not seem like the best situation but all indications are that it is coming through fine but most important, San Diego could be stumped. It has had to rely on film from preseason and new head coach Dennis Allen's defense last year when he was coordinator in Denver for clues about what to expect.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer's best days are behind him but he is capable of a big season as he is now comfortable with the cast around him. The Raiders exploited San Diego
|09-09-12||Seattle Seahawks v. Arizona Cardinals +3||Top||16-20||Win||100||54 h 26 m||Show|
Seattle finished 9-7 last year and was not a road favorite at all and now in the first game of this season, it is a road chalk? Russell Wilson won the job at starting quarterback after an incredible preseason but now the games mean something. He did his damage mostly against backups and in the third game he played against the Chiefs had come in 0-5 ATS in their previous week three preseason games showing there is no effort. Wilson could have a great career but this is an overaggressive line.
Arizona had an average season last year at 8-8 but it was how the Cardinals finished that tells us something. They went 7-2 down the stretch after a dreadful 1-6 start and shows how the players refused to give up and how the coaching staff was able to bring them together. Heading into this game as home underdogs is certainly to light some fires as well as the Cardinals have not been home underdogs to Seattle since 2007 which was the first season under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Defensively, Arizona was fairly average last year but there was a reason for that. The Cardinals were young on that side of the ball and because of the lockout, it took them longer than normal to come together. The response was outstanding though as Arizona allowed 68 ypg fewer in the second half of the season than it did in the first half of the season. That defense has the potential to be even better now that Sam Acho and Patrick Peterson have a year in the system.
Seattle gets a lot of the hype with its defense but it actually allowed the same yppl that Arizona allowed last season so it is not as stout as it suggests. The Cardinals named John Skelton the starting quarterback and while he was average in eight starts a year ago, he has the change to get better with an elite group of receivers around him including Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd. Arizona is hoping to see plenty of carries from Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, who both return following knee surgeries.
This line is up to three points in a lot of places and getting anything less than two and a half is pretty unlikely come gameday. Wilson was the talk of the preseason but until he can prove he can win against first team defenses for a whole game, I will be really skeptical of him being behind the role of road favorite. Arizona has covered five of the last six home meetings in this series while winning all five of those outright which is all we will need to get done here. 10* (476) Arizona Cardinals
|09-09-12||New England Patriots v. Tennessee Titans +6||Top||34-13||Loss||-110||51 h 17 m||Show|
The Patriots enter the season coming off a 15-4 and a trip to the Super Bowl, which they obviously did not win. That is going to provide some motivation for New England and while it is one of the favorite again in the AFC to return to the Super Bowl, the jury is still out on this team. The defense was atrocious last season and they did not do much to get better. The offense will again be solid but quarterback Tom Brady has to worry about the offensive line, especially early in the season.
After going 6-10 in 2010, Tennessee went 9-7 last year including wins in four of its last six games and narrowly missed the postseason. Getting to the playoffs in the stacked AFC will be tough once again but the Titans are a team on the rise and this line is based on public perception and not reality. Tennessee has been a home underdog only six times in the last four years and has covered four of those games with three of those resulting in outright wins.
As mentioned, motivation will play a big role for New England this season coming off that Super Bowl loss. You would tend to think that Super Bowl losers would come out strong to try and avenge those defeats but it has been the total opposite over the last few years as losers of the title game are 3-15 ATS in their season opener the last 18 years. This included the Steelers getting thumped by the Ravens last season, the Colts getting thumped at Houston in 2010 and the Steelers not covering in 2009.
Tennessee is treating this game with high importance. Lavelle Hawkins called it a playoff game, and Nate Washington upped the ante by saying it is being treated as a championship. In fact, Tennessee coaches and players have prepared for New England since the spring through voluntary organized team activity practices, a mandatory minicamp and training camp. This is the second year with new systems in place so more time has been used for gameplanning and not learning.
Tennessee falls into a great situation as we play on underdogs or pickems in the first two weeks of the year, after closing out last season strong with two or more straight wins. This situation is 26-6 ATS (81.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons including going 13-2 ATS the last five years with the average point differential actually favoring the underdog by +2.3 ppg. There still are some holdovers from the 59-0 debacle in New England three years ago and that can only add more motivation to the mix. 10* (462) Tennessee Titans
|09-05-12||Dallas Cowboys v. NY Giants -3.5||Top||24-17||Loss||-110||14 h 50 m||Show|
The hype for this game is huge in New York with all of the festivities surrounding last year
|02-05-12||NY Giants v. New England Patriots OVER 55||Top||21-17||Loss||-105||271 h 54 m||Show|
The Giants are coming off their second straight playoff game where they were outgained but still pulled off the win as turnovers once again played a big role. It was unfortunate the way the 49ers season ended but you still have to give credit to the Giants as the defensive intensity was once again where it needed to be as the unit is playing its best football of the season. Now comes a pretty big test for the defense and it will be a difficult challenge to slow down the Patriots offense.
New England was fortunate as well as a missed Baltimore field goal puts the Patriots back into the Super Bowl. The offense was very average as they gained just 330 total yards but that came against ones of the league's best defenses. This snapped a string of seven straight overs for the Patriots and the low scoring game will add to the value going forward. The total for the game against the Ravens was just a few points lower than what this one is and it should prove to be not enough of an adjustment based on the matchups.
Looking back at the 2008 Super Bowl showed a very low scoring game with a higher total. The next meeting did not take place until this season when New York and New England squared off in Week Nine. That game also went under the total but looking at the final score alone will not tell the true story as the teams scored all 44 points in the second half as the first half resulted in a scoreless tie. The Super Bowl total is no doubt skewed toward the over but it is not enough to make a difference here.
While both defenses picked it up in their respective championship games, these units should be less effective against these opposing offenses. Last week, the Giants played against the 26th ranked total offense during the regular season while the Patriots played against 15th ranked total offense during the regular season. The Patriots finished second in total offense while the Giants finished eighth in total offense to it certainly will be tougher this time around for both sides.
Both teams are on winning streaks and both have played high scoring games in the past as New England is 13-4 to the over after three or more consecutive wins over the last two seasons while New York is 9-1 to the over after three or more consecutive wins over the last three seasons. The Giants are 11-2 to the over against teams outscoring opponents by six or more ppg on the season and under head coach Tom Coughlin, they are 9-1 to the over against teams averaging 29 or more ppg. Also, the Patriots are 9-1 to the over against teams with a winning record in the second half of the season. 10* Over (101) New York Giants/(102) New England Patriots
|01-22-12||Baltimore Ravens +9 v. New England Patriots||Top||20-23||Win||100||100 h 27 m||Show|
We got the line we wanted and we will get this one out there early as we are over a key number. Baltimore did not look very good in winning over Houston as it was outgained although it did have chances to cover the number as a missed opportunity at the goalline proved to be the difference. The Ravens played a strong Texans defense and you have to give Houston credit for playing the way it did bit now Baltimore goes up against one of the worst defenses in the league and it will show.
The Patriots looked awesome on Saturday night and that sets us up for a great opportunity to go against them. We were on Denver in that game and it was clearly the wrong side as the Broncos defense had no answers for Tom Brady and the offense. That defense was overrated but now the Patriots will have to contend with the top ranked adjusted defense in the NFL as the efficiency is weighted to rely more on the latter games. Aging or not, the Ravens defense is still a force.
Baltimore has allowed more than 336 total yards only once in last seven games and while the Patriots possess a strong offense, it has not been tested in a while. The last time they saw a defense this good was back in Week Eight against the Steelers and New England was shut down, being held to just 213 total yards. The Patriots are averaging 32.8 ppg but that came against teams allowing an average of 23.1 ppg which averages out to a ranking of 22nd in the NFL in scoring defense. Baltimore is ranked third in that category.
Say what you want about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco but he posted a passer rating of 97.1 against the Texans which during the regular season allowed an average passer rating of 69.0 which was second best in the NFL (Baltimore is first by the way at 68.8). The Patriots are no where near that and while they made Tim Tebow look very below average, teams have been able to so that this season the second time they have seen him. The Patriots won't have many answers against Flacco and running back Ray Rice.
If you can get the nine points with Baltimore that is great but anything over seven points is just fine as the nine points that are available are mainly for teaser protections. Baltimore has been great in bounce back situations as the Ravens are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 250 total yards in their previous game. They also fall into a great situation where we play against teams with a defense that allows 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more total ypg over their last two games. This situation is 99-59 ATS (62.7 percent) since 1983. 10* (301) Baltimore Ravens
|01-15-12||NY Giants +9 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||37-20||Win||100||90 h 12 m||Show|
We saw the Giants take out the Falcons rather easily in the first round on Sunday and they are playing their best football of the season. This is especially true on the defensive side of the ball. New York did not allow Atlanta's offense to score as the two points came on a safety due to intentional grounding in the endzone. The Giants held the Falcons to 247 total yards and while I am certainly not banking on that against the Packers, I do expect another solid effort as the confidence of this unit is at the top right now.
Green Bay had the week off following a win against the Lions in its regular season finale and that game saw a lot of the starters sitting out. While the Packers may now be rested, we have to wonder if the extended time off may hinder them here. They have been playing at a top level all year but the numbers are not as impressive as you may think. The Packers have been outgained in seven of their last 10 games and while it resulted in only one outright loss, it is a pretty big concern.
Overall, the Packers are getting outgained by 6.5 ypg and for a team that is 15-1, we have to figure out if there is an issue. In this case, it is the defense that remains in question. For anyone that saw their last game against the Lions, the defense is a big liability which has been the case all season long. Green Bay allowed 575 total yards against Detroit and a unit that is doing that is allowing any team to hang around and not only get a backdoor cover, but win the game outright which New York is capable of.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning is coming off another superb game where he posted a 129.3 passer rating, his fourth rating of 100 or more in the last seven games, which included a rating of 100.7 against the Packers in the first meeting. The Giants finished eighth in the NFL in total offense with 385.1 ypg and they surpassed that mark last week against the Falcons. Green Bay has allowed fewer than 400 total yards only twice in their last 11 games and both came against teams that did not qualify for the playoffs.
The loss of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's son is a horrible situation but one that should not impact either side. When the Giants are laying well it has had a long carryover as they are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games off two consecutive home wins and 19-8 ATS in their last 27 road games against teams allowing 7.0 or more ypa. Under head coach Tom Coughlin, New York is 9-2 ATS in road games revenging a loss where opponent scored 28 or more points. 10* (115) New York Giants
|01-14-12||New Orleans Saints -3.5 v. San Francisco 49ers||Top||32-36||Loss||-110||52 h 41 m||Show|
New Orleans has won and covered nine straight games since losing in St. Louis which came right after winning that lopsided home game against the Colts. The fact that the Saints are road favorites here is no surprise at all and I actually think they should be favored by more. Taking them out of the dome is a possible way to slow them down but realistically, this offense is playing like no other and given the venue or the opposing defense, I can't see them being slow down very much.
The 49ers were the surprise of the NFC as not only did they win their division but did so with a 13-3 record. The division was a very weak one for sure so going 5-1 against divisional foes is far from a surprise. San Francisco went 4-2 against teams ranked in the top ten in the NFL but faced no team higher than fifth so this is the biggest test of the season with everything on the line. Normally we would take a strong look at the home underdog side but there is too much going the other way.
The 49ers have the fourth ranked defense in the NFL so slowing down the Saints is a definitely possibility. Stopping them is not however. The rushing defense was the strength of the unit, ranking first in the league, the passing defense was not nearly as good, finishing 16th during the regular season. The Saints no doubt have the offense that can take advantage and they don't turn the ball over much which is where the 49ers had a lot of their success on that side of the ball.
Basically it will be up to the 49ers offense to be able to stay with the Saints offense and it will not happen. San Francisco scored fewer than 24 points in 10 of its 16 games and sustaining drives is the big issue. The 49ers finished 31st in the NFL in third down offense, converting on just 29.4 percent of their third down attempts. The Saints meanwhile possess the fifth best third down defense in the league and this translates into redzone success where Sa Francisco is 30th in redzone offense.
The 49ers led the league in turnover margin but that does not translate to playoff success as the 18 teams that led or were tied in turnover margin won just seven games in the first playoff round. The Saints also fall into a solid situation as we play against underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in the second half of the season that are coming off two consecutive road wins, with a winning record playing another winning team. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1983. 10* (109) New Orleans Saints
|01-08-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Denver Broncos +9||Top||23-29||Win||100||93 h 14 m||Show|
I understand that the playoffs are different than the regular season as experience plays a big part in that. In this case Pittsburgh has it while Denver does not. But this point spread is out of control. Very rarely will you see a team favored on the road by this much in the playoffs and in the Wildcard round, a road team has been favored by more than five points only once. That happened to come last year when the Seahawks defeated the Saints last season as 9.5-point home underdogs.
This spread is pretty similar to that and the Steelers are nowhere near as good as the Saints were last season as the injuries and the age have finally taken their toll. Pittsburgh is in this position because Baltimore won last week, thus winning the tiebreaker for a first round bye. Pittsburgh is actually in worse shape this week because of additional injuries but yet it is favored by more points over the Broncos than it was against Cleveland last week which was four games worse than Denver.
The Broncos come in riding a three-game losing streak so there is not a lot of momentum on their side but playing at home is a big edge. They were at home last week so there is no travel while the Steelers are travelling for the second straight week. Denver was only 3-5 at home this season but three of those losses came by five points or fewer and while the Steelers were 5-3 on the road, they were outscored by an average of nearly three points per game.
It doesn't take a psychic to know that Denver will try and run the ball on offense as it has done pretty successfully over the second half of the season. Pittsburgh allowed fewer than 100 ypg this season but did give up an average of 4.0 ypc but which is still good but that is exactly one ypc more than it allowed last season. The Steelers have regressed as they have allowed 100 yards or more in four of their last seven games after doing so just three times in their first nine. Denver has gone over 150 yards in eight of its last 11 games.
Pittsburgh is extremely banged up on offense with Ben Roethlisberger nursing a bad ankle and running back Rashard Mendenhall lost for the season with a knee injury. The offense has been inconsistent all season so these injuries are certainly not helping. The Steelers have been horrible in this role as they are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games as road favorites 7.5 to 14 points while Denver is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 home games against teams allowing 5.7 ypa through the air. 10* (108) Denver Broncos
|01-08-12||Atlanta Falcons v. NY Giants -3||Top||2-24||Win||102||89 h 30 m||Show|
Just when you thought the Giants season was unraveling once again, they came through with two big wins at the end of the season to capture the NFC East and make it into the playoffs. Even though it is only two games, they are playing at a high level and last week against the Cowboys, they outgained Dallas by 137 total yards as Eli Manning outdueled Tony Romo and the rushing game was clearly in their favor. We give them a big edge playing in this stadium for the fourth straight week.
Atlanta had a disappointing season as it finished 10-6 after going 13-3 a season ago. The Falcons defeated only one team that is currently in the playoffs, Detroit, and went 1-4 overall against current playoff teams. They finished .500 on the road this season which isn't horrible but losses against Tampa Bay and Chicago were not good while wins against Seattle and Carolina were closer than what should have been. The biggest road win was against the Colts which is not saying much.
The Giants rushing offense has been abysmal all season as they are dead last in the league but things have been moving in the right direction. They have surpassed 100 yards in four of their last five games after doing so just four times in their first 11 games. A healthy Ahmad Bradshaw has been the difference. Even though he has not been gaining many yards, he has given Brandon Jacobs a break who has been able to be more effective with fewer carries and a great ypc average.
The Falcons rushing defense has been the exact opposite. They fared well early on but they have gotten worse as they have allowed four of their last five opponents to rush for over 100 yards, allowing an average of 126.8 ypg. That is not a good trend heading into the playoffs and neither is the passing defense that has been torched in three of its last four games. Atlanta is 20th in the league in passing defense and it will square off against one of the most potent passing offenses in the league.
Atlanta has gone over 375 yards of offense in each of its last two games and that is an important number as the Falcons are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games after gaining 375 or more total yards in two consecutive games while the Giants are 18-7 ATS in their last 25 games versus teams averaging 375 or more ypg. The Giants fall into a great situation as we play on home teams coming off two or more consecutive unders, in a game involving two teams averaging between 23 and 27 ppg. This situation is 38-14 ATS (73.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (106) New York Giants
|01-01-12||Buffalo Bills v. New England Patriots -10.5||Top||21-49||Win||100||72 h 7 m||Show|
The Patriots need to win to grab the overall top seed in the AFC and the situation could not be better for us this week. First, let's start with the scheduling of the games this week. Should the Steelers and Ravens both lose, the Patriots get the first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the big factor here is that both Pittsburgh and Baltimore do not start until after the Patriots are done which means New England will be doing no scoreboard watching. They will be going out to win.
We played the Patriots last week against the Dolphins and after falling behind 17-0, New England came back to take the lead and were covering but a late Miami touchdown game the Dolphins the backdoor cover. The outright win was obviously big for New England and an outright this week is just as big. I don't expect a repeat of last week where Tom Brady got off to a horrible start and had to play catch up as he will be more prepared to get off to a quick start and coast to an easy win.
We also played the Bills last week and they played one of their best games in a long time as they throttled the Broncos in their final home game of the season. It snapped a seven-game losing streak and while one can argue the Bills have some momentum going into this week, it won't be enough. Buffalo won its road opener this season at Kansas City and since then, it has dropped its last six games away from home with three of the last four losses resulting in blowout defeats.
Adding to the incentive for New England is the revenge factor as Buffalo won the first meeting this season, snapping a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots. Brady was horrible and he knows it. "Hopefully there's no repeat performance," Brady said of his four-interception Week 3 horror show. "When you turn the ball over four times in a game, it's damn near impossible to win. We found that out the hard way." The Bills have been ball-hawkers all season with 20 interceptions but they will not be so fortunate this time.
The Bills injury list is now bigger as center Kraig Urbik and left tackle Demetrius Bell suffered serious injuries last week and heading into the season finale they have just six healthy offensive linemen. That will be a big benefit for the Patriots defense. The Patriots are 17-5 ATS in the last two weeks under head coach Bill Belichick while going 12-3 ATS in 15 games revenging a same season loss. This includes a perfect 7-0 ATS record when revenging a loss as a road favorite. 10* (326) New England Patriots
|01-01-12||Tennessee Titans v. Houston Texans +3||Top||23-22||Win||100||68 h 51 m||Show|
This is a must win game for Tennessee as it is still mathematically alive for a playoff berth but it needs a lot to happen. The Titans would clinch the sixth seed with a win and a Bengals loss and either a Jets win or both a Broncos win and Raiders win (but not all three). Good luck Tennessee. Because of the must win situation here, the linesmakers have made Tennessee a favorite and this is never a good thing as bad teams that need to win as a chalk usually don't.
While Houston cannot move up or down in the standings, don't think this game isn't big for the Texans. They have lost their last two games, which has happened to coincide with the absence of defensive coordinator Wade Philips who is back this week, and they do not want to go into the playoffs riding a three-game losing streak. The Texans could feasibly sit their starters as to avoid more injuries but that won't happen. Houston needs to regain its swagger and build confidence heading into the playoffs.
After losing a tough game to New Orleans, the Titans went to Indianapolis and handed the Colts their first victory of the season. A team that does that should not even be considered for the playoffs. Tennessee did bounce back last week against the Jaguars but that is not saying much. The Titans last five wins have come against teams that are a combined 20-55 with four of those currently 4-11 or worse. The exception was against Buffalo which was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.
The Titans defense has been hit or miss and the worst game of the season came against the Texans where they allowed 518 total yards. Yes, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub was playing in that game but he was not the difference maker. Houston rolled over Tennessee in the first meeting this season and the top performance was not from an injured player that is now sitting out but it was Arian Foster who racked up 234 total yards and three touchdowns. Expect another big game from Foster.
The players know what's at stake this week. "We have to go into this game with the mind frame of winning it so we can have that good taste in our mouths going into the playoffs," defensive end Antonio Smith said. Quarterback T.J. Yates stated the same and he knows he needs to play well heading into the playoffs. While this is a revenge game for the Titans, they are just 8-19 ATS in their last 27 games revenging a home loss and this includes a 0-7 ATS record in road games revenging a home loss by 14 or more points. 10* (316) Houston Texans
|12-26-11||Atlanta Falcons +7 v. New Orleans Saints||Top||16-45||Loss||-110||10 h 9 m||Show|
This is a big game for both sides. Based on what the Packers did on Sunday night, the Saints could still be in line for the number one seed but just as important is the number two seed which gets a first round bye. On the other side, Atlanta is still fighting for a playoff berth and it will lock one up with a win. If the season ended now, Atlanta would be the sixth seed and end up back in New Orleans in one of the Wild Card games. With wins in four of five games and seven of nine, Atlanta is again playing very well.
The Falcons lost the first meeting against New Orleans this season in overtime and it will be known for the call that head coach Mike Smith made on fourth down which cost them the game. The fact that the game went into overtime was not a big surprise as this has been a very close series as each of the last six meetings have been decided by a possession with five of those being decided by four points or fewer. The teams know each other very well so it comes as no surprise.
The Falcons offensive line will play a big role in this game and are in better shape this tome around. In the first meeting, left tackle Will Svitek was making his third start this season and right guard Joe Hawley, who has given up 4.5 sacks, was making just his second NFL start there. They allowed just one sacks and two hits on quarterback Matt Ryan in the first meeting. The Saints are giving up 109.9 ypg on the ground, which ranks 13th in the league but they are allowing 4.9 ypc which is tied for 28th in the league.
Good news for the Falcons defense is the return of two cornerbacks as Brett Grimes, who missed three games, is set to return from knee surgery while Kelvin Hayden, who has missed four games, is questionable but could also be ready. That is obviously a big boost going against the Saints potent offense. Quarterback Drew Brees is on a record setting pace for passing yards and he is playing some awesome football now. Stopping him is impossible but slowing him down is feasible.
This is obviously a revenge game for the Falcons and while road revenge is tricky, the Falcons fall into a great scenario. Play on road underdogs or pickems with a winning percentage between .600 and .750 that are revenging a same season loss. This situation is 29-9 ATS (76.3 percent) over the last 10 seasons. The Saints are just 3-12 ATS in their last 15 home games after covering the spread in five or six of their last seven games. Atlanta is 6-0 ATS in its last six road games against teams allowing 4.5 or more ypc. 10* (131) Atlanta Falcons
|12-24-11||Philadelphia Eagles v. Dallas Cowboys -1||Top||20-7||Loss||-118||75 h 12 m||Show|
We have seen this line drop from an opening of three points down as low as 1.5 points in some places. Laying anything below three points in a divisional game is huge especially when there is so much on the line as is the case here. Dallas woke up last Saturday after a run of lackluster games including that deflating loss against the Giants. Even though it was just a win over Tampa Bay, I think that type of victory is just what was needed for the Cowboys as they head into the final two gamers of the season.
The Eagles, which were pretty much done at one point when it fell to Seattle three games back, are now right back in the playoff picture. They were not even supposed to be in this spot but after a slow start, they have regrouped and are playing some solid football. And here we once again have the public on their backs as well. Philadelphia has struggled over the last two months of putting consecutive solid efforts together and I don't think it happens here either.
We have an interesting dynamic in play for the Eagles. They are third in total offense in the league but just nine in scoring offense and they are 10th in total defense but just 19th in scoring defense. That shows they are moving the ball and not giving up yards but the points are going against them. This comes down to turnovers. They have only one game this season where they have not turned it over (Dallas) and have turned it over at least twice in 11 of 14 games including at least three turnovers seven times.
The Cowboys have not forgotten the game in Philadelphia from earlier this season as they were trounced by the Eagles 34-7 while getting outgained by 228 total yards. How bad was it? It was Dallas' worst offensive performance of the season as it managed only 267 total yards and it was its second worst defensive performance, yielding 495 total yards. While some will argue that a repeat is possible, I don't see it happening with the Cowboys heading home for revenge in their last regular season home game of the year.
The Eagles are 0-5 ATS in their last five games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game while going 0-6 ATS in their last six games after scoring 17 or more points in the first half in two straight games. Dallas meanwhile falls into a situation where we play against road teams where the line is +3 to -3 after beating the spread by more than 21 points in their previous game, after the first month of the season. This situation is 30-8 ATS (78.9 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (128) Dallas Cowboys
|12-24-11||Miami Dolphins v. New England Patriots -9.5||Top||24-27||Loss||-104||72 h 5 m||Show|
The turnaround from the Dolphins has been impressive but not to the point of where this line is at this week. Miami won at Buffalo last week in interim head coach Todd Bowles' first game after Tony Sparano was fired last Monday. Those are the types of situations that players tend to step up in and we saw it in the snow and cold of Buffalo. Now the Dolphins must head to New England for a second straight road game with a lot on the line for the Patriots.
New England has been rolling along with six straight wins following a win at Denver this past Sunday. This is a train no one should be stepping in front of right now as the offense is clicking on all cylinders as the Patriots have scored 31 or more points in all six of those games. The defense has struggled all season and despite Miami scoring 30 or more points in four of its last seven games, it has not been able to do it back-to-back. The Dolphins have followed up those big performances by averaging 16.3 ppg next time out.
New England was favored by seven points in Miami on opening week which basically meant that the Patriots were roughly 11-point favorites on a neutral field depending on your power rating so that should make them well over a two-touchdown home favorite but that is far from the case here and I feel we are catching a ton of value with New England which usually is not the case. This is the first of two straight home games to close the season for New England.
As mentioned, the Miami turnaround has been impressive but the schedule has played a big role in that. Miami's first seven opponents have a combined .561 winning percentage while its last seven opponents have a .440 winning percentage so the turnaround is pretty much explained by that. Dallas is the only team the Dolphins have faced that is above .500 and while they narrowly lost that game, it should have been more wide open than the final score indicated.
If the Patriots win out against Miami and Buffalo, they will claim the top seed in the AFC and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If that isn't motivation, nothing is. The Patriots are 17-4 ATS in the last two weeks under head coach Bill Belichick so there is no letting up and they fall into a great situation where we play against road underdogs or pickems with a winning percentage between .250 and .400 coming off a divisional win. This situation is 29-10 ATS (74.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (112) New England Patriots
|12-22-11||Houston Texans -5.5 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||16-19||Loss||-107||52 h 47 m||Show|
Indianapolis got the win it was after so while the pressure is now off, so isn't the desperation factor which can really charge up a team which we saw against Tennessee. It has obviously been a tough season for the Colts without Peyton Manning and at this point they are simply playing out the string. This is a Thursday night game in the spotlight but there more important factors going on with the other sideline so while revenge will try to be attained, there won't be enough in the tank.
Houston had its seven-game winning streak snapped by Carolina this past Sunday so it will be out to get back in the win column and keep its hope alive for a first round bye in the playoffs. The Texans have already clinched the division but the goal of winning out and finishing at 12-4 is very attainable with this game and then Tennessee at home next week to close out the season. The Texans are down some key players, namely at quarterback but that is not a concern here.
Quarterback T.J. Yates have done a very good job as a rookie to keep Houston afloat following the injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart. He put together consecutive solid performances against Atlanta and Cincinnati but it coming off his worst game so far against Carolina. I expect a bounce back against the Colts despite a short week and hitting the road. The Texans running game has been sensational and it will once again be the difference here.
Houston has rushed for at least 150 yards in six of its last eight games while putting up 167 yards rushing in the first meeting against the Colts. On the season the Texans are second in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 151.8 ypg. The Colts are ranked 28th in rushing defense and while limiting Tennessee to just 66 yards last week, they have not put together strong back-to-back performances all season. They allowed fewer than 100 yards four previous times and followed those up by allowing 184.3 ypg next time out.
The Texans defense is second in the NFL and actually played well last week but turnovers ended up being the difference. They have allowed more than 300 totals yards only five times this season. Indianapolis is 31st in total offense and put up only 287 yards last week despite the victory. Also, we play against underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are revenging a loss and coming off a win by 14 points or more as an underdog. This situation is 42-17 ATS (71.2 percent) since 1983. 10* (101) Houston Texans
|12-19-11||Pittsburgh Steelers v. San Francisco 49ers -3||Top||3-20||Win||104||10 h 17 m||Show|
After a couple of duds on Monday night, we are getting one of the bet games of the weekend this week with the Steelers traveling to San Francisco. We won going against the 49ers last Sunday against Arizona but we will back them at home this week at a very good price. Coming off a loss last week against the Cardinals puts them in a very good spot and they are still fighting for one of the top seeds in the NFC. With New Orleans winning again, this game takes on even bigger meaning.
The Steelers are coming off a win against Cleveland last Thursday so it has had some extra time to get ready for this game which is an edge but the travel to the left coast does take some of that away. The extra time is also good for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who suffered a high ankle sprain last week and is still considered questionable for this game. While that injury is significant, starting center Maurkice Pouncey will most likely miss this game and that can be considered almost as big.
These are the two best defensive teams in the NFL as far as scoring goes so points should be a premium but the feeling is that the 49ers defense has the better unit when playing at home. They are allowing over a touchdown less per game at home that what the Steelers give up on the road. San Francisco's 3-4 defense ranks first in the NFL in rushing yards allowed at 70.5 ypg and yards per carry at 3.2 and is the first unit since the 1920 Decatur Staleys not to allow a rushing touchdown in the season's first 13 games.
The 49ers fall into a very powerful situation that has been successful for numerous years. We play against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 after allowing six points or less last game going up against an opponent after a loss by three or less points. This situation is 28-5 ATS (84.8 percent) since 1983. The Steelers are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games as road underdogs while the 49ers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite and 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games following a cover loss. 10* (332) San Francisco 49ers
|12-18-11||Detroit Lions v. Oakland Raiders +1.5||Top||28-27||Win||100||75 h 41 m||Show|
As of Wednesday, the Lions are favored in this game by a point which means that Detroit is considered five points better than Oakland on an even playing field. I'm certainly not buying that. The Lions were the darlings of the NFL betting world earlier this season when they started out 5-0 but they have gone just 3-5 since then while going just 2-6 against the number. Despite the recent dry run at the betting window, the public still loves Detroit and they are clearly overvalued here once again.
Oakland was looking good in the AFC West before a recent stumble and the resurgence of Denver. The Raiders have dropped two straight games, both on the road and coming by a total of 50 points. Now heading back home, it sets them up in a great spot. This is a golden opportunity as Denver hosts New England so a win here can get the Raiders into a first place tie with two divisional games remaining. We are confident knowing that the Raiders are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a loss.
I wasn't very impressed with the Lions this past Sunday as they jumped out to a 21-0 and had to hold on for dear life to pull out the win. Elite teams provide the knockout punch in those situations and Detroit is not there yet. The previous week against the Saints, they blew numerous opportunities to stay close because of stupid penalties and you would think after that, the coaching staff would make sure they were more disciplined. Not so much as Detroit committed 10 penalties for 76 yards against the Vikings.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is struggling as he has tossed 13 interceptions compared to nine touchdowns since joining Oakland. Against Green Bay, the Raiders ran the ball better than it did in the previous two games and had 117 yards on 29 carries (4.0 ypc). Those are not earth shattering but this is a run first team that is averaging 138.8 ypg on 4.6 ypc, good for sixth and seventh in the NFL respectively. Look for them to continue pounding the ball against Detroit which is 27th in rushing defense.
The Raiders defense also needs to get moving in the right direction and something says a return home is just what it needs. Oakland falls into a great situation here as well as we play on home underdogs or pickems that are coming off a road loss by 14 points or more, in December games. This situation is 71-32 ATS (68.9 percent) since 1983. The Lions are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite and being favored on the road against a playoff caliber team should not be happening either. 10* (322) Oakland Raiders
|12-18-11||Seattle Seahawks v. Chicago Bears -3.5||Top||38-14||Loss||-105||71 h 30 m||Show|
The loss of quarterback Jay Cutler has obviously been a devastating one for the Bears as they have lost all three games since his injury. They have scored only 33 points in the three games after scoring at least 30 points in each of the Cutler's last three games. The loss of Matt Forte has not helped matters but if there is any chance of a trip to the playoffs, this is a must win game as Chicago is at Green bay next week and closes at Minnesota in its season finale.
This is just as much of a play against Seattle as it is on Chicago. The Seahawks have had a very favorable schedule, playing at home for three straight games. They defeated Philadelphia after losing to the Redskins after a fourth quarter meltdown and are coming off a win over the Rams Monday night. That came after having 10 days off after the Eagles game for now they go from extended rest to a short week and traveling at the same time. This is a horrible spot and a great fade.
All news isn't bad for the Chicago offense though. Forte has not officially been ruled out (although very unlikely he will play so don't get hopes up) while wide receiver Earl Bennett, who is widely regarded as the top wideout on the Bears roster, is getting close to full strength and he needs to get into the offense. Last week against Denver, the loss overshadowed a productive outing for running back Marion Barber, who ran for a game-high 108 yards.
The Bears defense still needs to carry the load. They were awesome for nearly the entire game last week but a miscommunication in the secondary which rotated cornerbacks Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Zack Bowman throughout the game played a role in Tim Tebow hitting Demaryius Thomas for Denver's only touchdown with just over two minutes left. Chicago has allowed more than 400 total yards only once this season, one of only three teams in the entire league to accomplished that.
Seattle has not had success in these spots in the past as it is 0-6 ATS in its last six road games following a double-digit win and 1-9 ATS in its last 10 road games following any win in its previous game. The Bears meanwhile are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. Also we play against teams after two straight wins by 14 or more points going up against an opponent after a loss by three points or less. This situation is 39-15 ATS (72.2 percent) since 1983. 10* (312) Chicago Bears
|12-15-11||Jacksonville Jaguars v. Atlanta Falcons UNDER 42.5||Top||14-41||Loss||-101||54 h 28 m||Show|
We won with the Under last Thursday with Cleveland and Pittsburgh and we will once again go that route this Thursday. This is another less than glamorous matchup but we are getting exceptional value with the total as this number is inflated because of recent results. Atlanta is coming off a game against Carolina where 54 total points were scored, which sent the Over. It should be noted that the Falcons went Under in their previous eight games before this past Sunday.
Jacksonville is also coming off a high-scoring game this past Sunday as it and Tampa Bay combined to put up 55 points which was well over the posted total of 41.5. It was the second straight Over for the Jaguars and that is rare for a team with an above average defense and an anemic offense. Prior to the game against the Chargers that had 52 points scored, Jacksonville had gone Under in its previous five games. This is another example of recent results affecting future numbers.
To be blunt, the Jaguars offense is horrendous. They are ranked 28th in scoring offense and dead last in total offense, averaging 14.8 ppg and 260.1 ypg respectively. The 41-point performance against the Buccaneers was the highest of the season and it was the first time the Jaguars scored more than 20 points all season so it shows what an aberration it actually was. They did put up a season high 325 total yards but even that is pathetic and does not correlate to the 41-points scored.
Atlanta has a strong defense that is ranked 13th overall and 11th in points allowed. The unit did struggle against Carolina as it allowed 416 total yards, the third most yards given up this season but the Panthers offense is fifth in the NFL overall. The two other times the Falcons allowed over 400 yards on defense came against Green Bay and Philadelphia and they are ranked third and fourth respectively in total offense so facing strong offenses has hurt the Falcons. We won't have to worry about that here.
The Jaguars are ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense and seventh in scoring defense so they have been very strong. The Falcons are a middle of the pack offense and they will not be able to name their score here like they have done a couple times this season. Jacksonville is 6-0 to the Under in its six road games this season while Atlanta is 7-0 to the Under in its last seven home games coming off a road win and 7-0 to the Under in its seven games this season coming off any win. 10* Under (301) Jacksonville Jaguars/(302) Atlanta Falcons
|12-12-11||St Louis Rams v. Seattle Seahawks -10||Top||13-30||Win||100||13 h 30 m||Show|
This seems to be a lot of points for Seattle to be laying, especially for a 5-7 team involved in a divisional game. The number could be higher though in my opinion as the Seahawks still have an outside shot at a playoff berth, albeit small, and they have a lot of edges on their side in this matchup. Another big factor is time off an travel. Seattle last played on December 1st in a Thursday night home game against the Eagles so they have essentially had three extra days of preparation than the Rams have had.
It has been a miserable season for St. Louis as it dropped to 2-10 following its shutout loss at San Francisco last week. They have dropped three straight games and they have been outgained in all but three games this season. Injuries have played a major factor in this which caused this line to come out late and the quarterback situation is still a mystery. Sam Bradford is questionable to all indications are that he will play as backup Tom Brandstater took all his snaps with the scout team.
The Rams are second to last in the NFL in yardage differential at -82.2 ypg and one huge factor is the inability of the St. Louis offense to move the ball. Looking at pure, raw statistics shows the Rams offense is horrendous as they are 31st in total offense and 28th in both passing offense and rushing offense. The group Football Outsiders puts out a different set of statistics based on many factors and their play-by-play efficiency has the Rams dead last overall and both 31st in passing and rushing offense.
St. Louis was expected to improve on offense from last season based on a slew of up and coming players that had gained a much important year of experience. As mentioned, injuries has derailed this but the lockout was a major roadblock for the Rams. They hired Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator and because of no offseason work, the offense was limited in its preparation so learning a new system in a short time has not been beneficial. Seattle's defense has been solid and will continue that here.
The Rams' offensive line is giving up sacks 3.3 percent more often this year than last season and after being ranked 10th in sacks allowed a season ago, they are ranked 29th this season. Monday night underdogs that have been struggling have been a losing proposition for years as we play against underdogs or pickems after having lost five or six out of their last seven games, when playing on Monday night. This situation is 41-14 ATS (74.5 percent) since 1983. 10* (134) Seattle Seahawks
|12-11-11||NY Giants +3.5 v. Dallas Cowboys||Top||37-34||Win||100||77 h 42 m||Show|
The winner of this game takes control of the NFC East. The Cowboys would have a two-game lead should they win while the Giants will fall into a first place tie but will have the tiebreaker edge by grabbing the first of the two meetings this season with the second one taking place on New Year's Day in New York. At this point, it is much bigger for the Giants which have lost four straight games and with the exception of the New Orleans game, the other three games all could have gone the other way.
Dallas is coming off a tough loss in Arizona last weekend so it can be argued that a bounceback situation is in place for the Cowboys but the same can be said for the visiting team as well. Prior to the loss in Arizona, Dallas had won four straight games but two of those came against the lowly Bills and Seahawks while the other two came against the Redskins and Dolphins on last second field goals, the latter taking place in overtime. As good as people think they are, the Cowboys are far from a dominating team.
While the Giants have lost four straight games, three have come against the Packers, Saints and 49ers, all of which are 9-3 or better, while the fourth loss came against the Eagles which are fourth in the NFL in yardage differential. Losses are certainly not good but sometimes quality losses are better than non-quality wins which the Cowboys possess. Their only win against a top team all season was in Week Two against San Francisco and it took overtime to get that victory.
The Cowboys passing defense gave up very little to the Bills, 49ers, Rams and Seahawks this season but has been torched by every other team. They have allowed 255.3 ypg over their last three games on 8.1 ypa which is exactly what the Giants have averaged over their last three games to go along with over 329 ypg. Eli Manning is having a great season as he is fourth in passing yards and sixth in passer rating with this being his highest rating in his seven full seasons in the league.
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw returned after four missed games because of injury and his presence will be big this week after playing average against the Packers. He was clearly rusty but he has had some big games against the Cowboys and has a lifetime 4.6 ypc average against them .Play on road teams where the line is +3 to -3 that are coming off a cover where the team lost as an underdog, in the second half of the season. This situation is 36-8 ATS (81.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (131) New York Giants
|12-11-11||New Orleans Saints v. Tennessee Titans +4||Top||22-17||Loss||-105||90 h 13 m||Show|
This is a bad spot for New Orleans. The Saints are coming off two straight home wins and covers, both in primetime as well, and now they hit the road for a non-conference game with a two-game lead in the division. New Orleans is a perfect 6-0 at home but it is just 3-3 on the road. Granted, one of those losses came against Green Bay but the other two came against St. Louis and Tampa Bay, neither of which will be sniffing the playoffs this season. New Orleans has covered four straight games, giving us value here.
Tennessee has won two in a row and while both came against mediocre teams, the last one came on the road and the one before that came in a driving rainstorm. The weather outlook is looking real good for this Sunday and while that may favor New Orleans and its offense, it takes away any chances of Tennessee losing this game because of the elements. The Titans trail Houston by two games in the AFC South so a win here keeps them on pace with three divisional games remaining.
All of the talk about Titans running back Chris Johnson mailing it in this season can be put to rest. He is averaging 121.5 ypg on 5.7 ypc over his last four games and his 486 yards over this stretch is 120 yard more than his first eight games combined so he is obviously peaking at the right time. He has flourished over some bad defenses and we can lump the Saints into that category as they allow 4.9 ypc which is 30th in the NFL. They don't allow as many yards because they have the fifth least attempts against them.
The Saints are all about Drew Brees and the passing game and neither the Giants nor the Lions had an answer on the turf. Playing on the road on the grass is a different story as over the last three years, he has a 108.4 passer rating at home and a 104.0 passer rating on turf but on grass fields, it dips to 93.8 over 12 starts. The Titans have a strong defense against the pass as they are 18th in yards allowed but third in ypa so they are not giving up big plays. That is the key to slowing down the Saints offense.
Tennessee is 4-2 at home this season and it is an ideal situation as home underdogs coming off a straight up road victory going up against non-divisional opponents coming off a home win are 42-14 ATS (75 percent) since 1991. The Titans also fall into a spectacular contrarian situation where we play against road favorites in the second half of the season that are averaging 370 or more ypg going up against teams allowing between 335 and 370 ypg. This situation is 56-24 ATS (70 percent) since 1983. 10* (116) Tennessee Titans
|12-11-11||Houston Texans v. Cincinnati Bengals -3||Top||20-19||Loss||-100||90 h 6 m||Show|
You have to give credit to Houston for hanging together after the loss of two quarterbacks and winning its sixth straight games last week at home against the Falcons. We cashed a ticket on the Texans but now the situation completely reverses itself as they hit the road with a two-game division lead against a team in much need of a victory. This is the first road start for quarterback T.J. Yates who has played average in his first two games but now it is a whole different ballgame.
The Bengals have dropped three of their last four games with the three losses coming against the two teams ahead of them in the division, Pittsburgh (twice) and Baltimore. Cincinnati is now two games behind the Ravens and Steelers in the AFC North so while winning that is likely done, it is still in the playoff hunt as a Wild Card as it is tied with the Jets, Titans, Raiders and Broncos at 7-5. After covering five straight, the Bengals have not cashed a ticket in their last four games, thus putting value on their side.
The Texans defense is one of the best in football this season and they have not allowed more than 14 points in any of their last six games so that is obviously the key to the winning streak. Every game that the opponent has scored more than 14 points, the Texans have lost so that is obviously the key number for the Bengals offense. They are led by a rookie as well, Andy Dalton, but he has not played like a rookie as he has put together a solid season with five games of a passer rating of 97.9 or better.
The Bengals allow 96.3 rushing ypg this season and it is imperative that they shut down the Houston rushing offense. The Bengals are giving up just 3.6 ypc which is third best in the NFL so while stopping the Texans is not easy, it is doable and that will put a lot of pressure on Yates to try and win the game in his first ever road start. Making matters worse for Yates is that his top target, receiver Andre Johnson, is most likely out with a strained left hamstring that occurred last week.
While the Bengals are tied with a slew of other teams, they actually hold the tiebreaker over all of the rest of these teams based on their current conference record and they have also won the head-to-head matchup versus the Titans. Getting a win here puts them that much closer with winnable games against St. Louis and Arizona on deck. We play against road teams off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team. This situation is 46-19 ATS (70.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (108) Cincinnati Bengals
|12-08-11||Cleveland Browns v. Pittsburgh Steelers UNDER 39.5||Top||3-14||Win||100||52 h 6 m||Show|
Cleveland is playing its third straight divisional game and it will come against a third straight strong defense as the Bengals are sixth in total defense, the Ravens are third in total defense and now come the Steelers which are first in total defense. This is a tough stretch for the Brown which are ranked 30th in the NFL in total offense and have scored more than 20 points only once this season. Conversely, Cleveland has scored two touchdowns or fewer in six of its last seven games.
The Steelers have won three straight games since that brutal loss to Baltimore Sunday night and they are coming off their second highest point total on offense this season as they put up 35 points on the Bengals. The other two times Pittsburgh scored 30 or more points this season, it followed it up with unders in the next game both times. That high point total can lead to value next time out and I feel we are getting it here even though this is the lowest posted total for the Steelers since Week One.
Because it is in the high 30's and because this is a nationally televised game (for some), the over is going to be the popular play. While the Steelers defense is ranked tops on the league, the Browns have a defense that is pretty good in its own right as the Browns are ranked eighth in the NFL in total defense as well as eighth in scoring defense. Granted Pittsburgh put up 35 points on a strong Cincinnati defense but it was due to short fields as well as a punt return for a score. The Steelers had just 295 yards of total offense.
Cleveland did manage 20 points against Cincinnati two games back but it was skewed as it put up just 274 total yards. It was worse last week with just 10 points and 233 total yards and now it only gets tougher. The Browns have put up more than 300 yards only four times this season while the Steelers defense has given up more than 300 yards only five times with two of those coming against Baltimore. If everything holds true to form, which it should, this one has a low scoring game written all over it.
Thursday night games have had some special edges over the years as the home teams have dominated for the most part and we have seen a lot of low scoring games within these parameters. As a matter of fact we play the under in Thursday night games where the total is between 35.5 and 42 points. This situation is already 4-0 to the under this season and over the last three seasons it is a perfect 16-0 to the under. This gets extended after this week. 10* Under (101) Cleveland Browns/(102) Pittsburgh Steelers
|12-05-11||San Diego Chargers -3 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||Top||38-14||Win||100||22 h 57 m||Show|
Jacksonville let go of head coach Jack Del Rio after another slow start to the season and while playing the new coaching angle is always something to look at, we simply cannot look past the fact that this team is not good. We won with the Jaguars in a Monday night game a few weeks ago when they were home underdogs against Baltimore and they won that game outright but this is a much different and more difficult situation. The Jaguars have lost three of four since that win over the Ravens.
San Diego certainly is not a very good team this season as it is struggling once again under head coach Norv Turner despite having some incredible talent on both sides. The good news for the Chargers is that the AFC West is a mediocre division and a win here means that they trail first place Oakland and Denver by two games which keeps them involved with a very doable schedule the rest of the way. While many think they have called it a season, there is still fight in this team.
|12-04-11||Dallas Cowboys v. Arizona Cardinals +5||Top||13-19||Win||100||66 h 29 m||Show|
Dallas is now sitting all alone in first place in the NFL East following four straight wins couple with three straight Giants losses. Some seem to think the Cowboys are back and are now becoming a force but I'm not one of those. We had a ticket on them on Thanksgiving and they were once again very average and snuck out a second straight narrow win. The Cowboys are 2-3 on the road this season with both of those wins coming on overtime so they have been far from dominant.
The Cardinals are back up to 4-7 following a win last week in St. Louis, their third in their last four games. While the playoffs are still very unlikely as few miracles need to take place, Arizona continues to play hard and coming off three straight road makes this a very good situational play. Seven of the Cardinals first 11 games have been on the road so the schedule-makers did them no favors early on. In to town comes their biggest rival even though they have been out of the Cowboys division for quite a while.
The Cardinals should be getting Kevin Kolb back this week at quarterback and while he is not having a great season, he is an upgrade from John Skelton who started four games in his absence. Kolb has actually only has one really bad game this season and that was at Minnesota and it is no surprise his passer rating 67.4 on the road compared to a very solid 92.3 at home in the three games he started. Beanie Well is coming off a career game and broke a Cardinals record with 228 yards rushing so he will only help Kolb.
On the other side, Tony Romo is having a solid year despite losing his top running back and playing without one of his best receivers lately. Still, this offense has been very inconsistent and as a matter of fact the Cowboys are coming off two of their three lowest offensive outputs of the season in their last two games. The Cardinals defense has been a liability this season but they have been playing much better of late, especially the passing defense which has allowed just 202.3 ypg over their last four games.
Dallas has been winning but failing to cover and that suggest an overvalued team which is certainly the case. The Cowboys are getting hammered again this week yet we have seen a big swing go the other way as sharp money has brought this line down two points from the opening number. Also we play against favorites , in the second half of the season with a winning percentage between .600 and .750 after failing to cover the spread in 4 out of their last 5 games. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (370) Arizona Cardinals
|12-04-11||Atlanta Falcons v. Houston Texans +3||Top||10-17||Win||100||64 h 40 m||Show|
The linesmakers seem to have given up on the Texans and the public is following suit. Atlanta opened as road favorites and it is getting hammered which comes as no surprise in this situation. The Falcons have rebounded after that tough overtime loss against the Saints as they have won their last two games but now after three straight home games, they finally hit the road again. Atlanta is a notoriously bad road team and there is no reason to think that it won't continue here.
Matt Schaub is out and Matt Leinart is out so the line has been adjusted because of that but that is a total insult to the rest of the team. Schaub is one of the best quarterbacks in the game and even he was limited at times when Andre Johnson was absent for an extended period of time. The Texans relied on a strong running game to get the job done on offense so even though T.J. Yates will be making his first ever start, you can bet on the fact that Houston will run the ball, and have success in doing so.
Atlanta has a defense that is very overrated. The rushing defense has been great the past four games but it faced the Vikings without Adrian Peterson, the Titans with an out of sort Chris Johnson, the Saints who didn't need to run as they threw for 363 yards and the Colts, who have hapless all season. Houston possesses the third ranked rushing offense in the NFL so it will have more success here. The Falcons have a mediocre pass rush as well so Yates will not be under constant pressure.
Speaking of defense, somebody forgot to tell the linesmakers that Houston has the number one ranked total defense and number two ranked scoring defense in the league. The Texans are second in passing defense and fourth in rushing defense so they are solid in all areas. Matt Ryan is a great quarterback at home but an average quarterback on the road (career passer rating of 96.1 at home and 80.3 on the road) while running back Michael Turner is still bothered by a groin injury.
The Texans know they are getting no respect and they will step up huge here and we see that all the time as that is simply what above average teams do. They fall into two great situations. Play against road favorites after two consecutive wins as home favorites. This situation is 41-13 ATS (75.9 percent) since 1996. Play against road favorites after a home win by 10 points or more against opponent off a road win. This situation is 78-43 ATS (64.5 percent) since 1983. 10* (360) Houston Texans
|12-04-11||Denver Broncos v. Minnesota Vikings -1||Top||35-32||Loss||-110||63 h 25 m||Show|
The Vikings are off to their worst start in team history which is saying a lot as they have been around for a long time. There is nothing but pride on the line now and coming off two straight road games, I think this is a great spot for them to snap their three-game losing streak. Minnesota has played a very tough schedule with its last five losses coming against likely or possible playoff teams with the two most recent wins coming against non-playoff contenders. I feel Denver is in that latter category.
The Broncos have won four straight games as well as five of its last six games including all four games on the road. Tebow-Mania has hit the NFL full force and he is proving every doubter wrong. I was not a doubter to begin with as Tebow is a winner and winners win. But the magic cannot continue with the way Denver is winning as eventually it will bite them. It has been a very impressive run considering the offense has registered more than 350 total yards only once.
There was an article this week on Yahoo Sports that proved how unlikely this Denver run has been. The Broncos won their third straight game by scoring fewer than 20 points and going back to the 5-1 run, four of those wins have come by way of scoring fewer than 20 points. Looking at every other game season, teams are 21-111 when scoring fewer than 20 points so what Denver has done defies all odds. Coming off three straight divisional road wins mixed with a home upset, this is where it ends.
A lot of the credit goes to the Denver defense for not giving up many points to give the team a chance to win but the defense is not as good as portrayed. The Broncos have allowed fewer than 300 yards only twice over this recent six-game stretch and they have been the beneficiaries of opponents kicking themselves in the foot. Minnesota is certainly no juggernaut but even without Adrian Peterson, it can move the ball downfield with a solid group of receivers and putting Percy Harvin in the Wildcat.
The fact that Minnesota is the favorite is a shock to some and the Broncos are getting a heavy dose of the action but the line has either not moved or gone the other way signaling a reverse line move. The Vikings fall into a potent league-wide situation too as we play on home teams with a winning percentage of less than .250 in the second half of the season after three or more consecutive losses and now playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 29-6 ATS (82.9 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (366) Minnesota Vikings
|12-01-11||Philadelphia Eagles v. Seattle Seahawks +3||Top||14-31||Win||100||22 h 15 m||Show|
The Eagles season is officially over yet they are overvalued on the road as favorite. Well, it isn't officially over but the nail in pretty much pounded through the coffin. It is a big of a surprise because Philadelphia was actually catching some value at home last week and after getting beaten by the Patriots, they lose value on the road. After losing that game, it is going to be a tall order for the Eagles to get up for this game, especially with the fact it has to head to the west coast on a short week.
Seattle is coming off a disappointing loss last week and that should have it highly motivated here. This is a chance to break even with the NFC East this season and while it means little, the Seahawks will still be mathematically alive in the playoffs. Granted, they have the same record as the Eagles but playing at home is a big advantage here and even more so in the role of a home underdog. And on top of that, playing at home last week heightens the travel advantage even more.
Michael Vick will miss his third straight game so Vince Young will once again get the start. He has been pretty decent thus far as he threw for a career-high 400 yards last week against New England, although most of it came in the second half after the Eagles were down 31-13. Along with Vick, the Eagles have already ruled out wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for a third straight week and defensively it is just as bad as cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is out while Nnamdi Asomugha is questionable.
The Seahawks will look to establish the running game as they have been very solid in that department over the last four games, rushing for 531 yards over that stretch. The Eagles have done a decent job of tightening up their run defense but teams have been able to throw all over the place. Philadelphia has allowed 294.7 ypg and a whopping 8.1 ypa over this stretch. The Eagles defense has been a very schizophrenic unit this season and this situation calls for yet another bad effort.
Seattle has a very favorable schedule going forward but losing last week was a heavy blow. Still, confidence has not been lost in what has been said early this week and that is important to try and find this time of the season. The Seahawks fall into a great situation as we play against road favorites in the second half of the season that are averaging more than 370 ypg going up against teams allowing between 335 and 370 ypg. after 8+ games. This situation is 16-3 ATS (84.2 percent) over the last five seasons. 10* (302) Seattle Seahawks
|11-28-11||NY Giants +7.5 v. New Orleans Saints||Top||24-49||Loss||-105||8 h 50 m||Show|
This game is equally important for both sides. The Saints need to win to remain a game up on the Falcons in the NFC South while the Giants need to win to avoid falling a game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East. New Orleans seems to have the scheduling edge as it is home following a bye week but that is being factored into this line in my opinion as it is a few points too high. I think anything over a field goal is ideal and anything over a touchdown is exceptional. The latter is in play many places.
New York has dropped two straight games to fall out of solo first place in the division and as mentioned, it needs to win to keep pace. The Giants offense is coming off its worst game of the season as they gained just 278 total yards, the lowest output since opening week against the Redskins when they gained 315 yards. The good news is that the Saints defense is also coming off their worst game of the season and it will be easier for an offense to fix things rather than a defense because of matchups in place.
New York needs to establish some sort of running game as one of the best rushing teams in the NFL has been unable to do so this season. Enter the Saints which are allowing a whopping 5.2 ypc, worst in the NFL. Any resemblance of a running game will help with the passing game as the Giants are fourth in the NFL is passing ypa. Quarterback Peyton Manning is solid when he faces zone coverages as he has been good at finding secondary targets. New Orleans has given up 15 touchdowns in 24 red zone chances on defense.
The Saints offense is one of the best in the NFL, raking first in total yards, passing yards and first downs while ranking second in points scored. Slowing Drew Brees is a chore but it cane be done and the Giants have a defense to do so as they lead the NFL with 31 sacks by using various fronts and they have an athletic group of pass-rushers. Pressure is the key as letting Brees sit in the pocket will allow him to pick the secondary apart. The big edge for New York should be on the edges which will fore the pocket to collapse.
The Saints are 0-6 ATS in their last six games following a road win by six points or fewer while they are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 home games following a win by three points or less. The Giants fall into a great situation as well. Play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points with a winning percentage between .501 and .600 that are coming off a loss as a division favorite. This situation is 24-6 ATS (80 percent) since 1983. The Giants are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games after scoring two touchdowns or less in their previous game. 10* (239) New York Giants
|11-27-11||Chicago Bears +4 v. Oakland Raiders||Top||20-25||Loss||-108||29 h 35 m||Show|
The Bears opened as a point and a half favorite in this game and when it was confirmed that quarterback Jay Cutler will not be playing because of a broken thumb, the line has now moved 5.5 points with the Raiders now sizable home favorites. Is one player worth a move this big? I do not think so even though it is the quarterback as there are 21 other starters that will be on the field and we have seen it before where teams pick it up even more following the loss of their starting quarterback.
The Raiders are coming off two straight road games, both resulting in wins and they are now a game up in the AFC West. That might seem like it is a good situation here for Oakland but in actuality, it is not. The Raiders have been horrible in the role of favorites, going 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games as a home chalk so the big line shift put them in a bad spot. The Raiders seemed to have turned the corner with their offense but last week they gained just 301 total yards and now face a defense that has really turned things around.
With Caleb Hanie taking over at quarterback, expect to see a heavy dose of the running game for Chicago. The Raiders are 31st in the league in yards per attempt allowed at 5.2 ypc and over the last three games, it has gotten even worse as they are allowing 6.4 ypc. Look for another big game from Matt Forte. Play on underdogs or pickems with a winning percentage between .600 and .750 after beating the spread by 28 or more points total in their last three games, playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 40-17 ATS (70.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (229) Chicago Bears
|11-27-11||Carolina Panthers v. Indianapolis Colts +4||Top||27-19||Loss||-110||26 h 37 m||Show|
The Colts are back after their bye week and at 0-10, are the lone team in the NFL without a win this season. They obviously are not getting the respect that they don't deserve but being home underdogs in this situation is just not right. After playing three straight road games, this is the third straight home game and with a bye week sandwiched in there, Indianapolis has spent all of November at home. The fact that the Colts have dropped six straight against the number in lining up the public on the side of the road team.
We had the Panthers last week and after building a 24-7 lead, things were looking pretty good. Carolina lost the lead but tied the game at 35 and then Detroit scored two touchdowns in 32 seconds no thanks to a Cam Newton inception in between. Now Carolina has to try and regroup off that devastating loss and it will be a challenge. Throw in the fact that the Panthers are 0-4 on the road this season doesn't bode well for a team that will have a tough time finding focus and being favored as well.
The Panthers defense is not a good one as they are ranked 27th overall and 31st in points allowed. They have gotten worse each of the last four weeks as after allowing a respectable 325 yards against the Falcons, the yardage allowed has increased in each game since then. Play against teams in the second half of the season that are coming off a road loss by 14 points or more, in a game involving two teams with winning percentages of ..250 or worse. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (224) Indianapolis Colts
|11-24-11||Green Bay Packers v. Detroit Lions +7||Top||27-15||Loss||-110||25 h 5 m||Show|
It has been quite a while since Detroit has even been competitive on Thanksgiving Day but that is the case this season. The Lions have covered only once in their last nine Thanksgiving Day games and are currently on a 0-7 ATS run. The last win came against the Packers in 2003 and since then Detroit has lost by an average of 22.9 ppg with all losses coming by double-digits. Those are some ugly numbers but past history is history now with the Lions sitting at 7-3 and very much in the Wild Card hunt.
The Packers have not lost a non-preseason game that Aaron Rodgers has started since last season in Detroit when the Lions defeated Green Bay 7-3. That was the game Rodgers went down and the Packers went on to lose the following game against New England with Matt Flynn at quarterback. Green Bay has won 16 straight games since then and appears in no way of slowing down. This is a different Lions team as well as mentioned though and this is one of the biggest turkey day games for the Lions in recent history.
The Packers took care of Tampa Bay this past Sunday but they were outgained for the fourth time in their last five games. The defense continues to have issues as it has allowed at least 424 total yards in four of its last five games and six times on the season. The Packers allowed Tampa Bay to pass for 334 yards, the most it has thrown for this season and the 455 total yards on offense was a season high for the Buccaneers. Even the 121 yards rushing was the second most Tampa Bay has gained this season.
The Lions have a potent enough offense to move the ball and score points so if this game does end up being a track meet, the Lions can compete. They are coming off their highest offensive output of the season. Still, I feel that the Detroit defense could be the difference maker despite the gaudy Packers numbers. Detroit's defense is close to 70- ypg better than that of the Packers. Rodgers is having a special season no doubt but the Lions are allowing 6.0 ypa which is second best in the NFL.
The breakout game from Detroit running back Kevin Smith was a good thing to see for the offense. The Packers are allowing only 102.5 ypg on the ground but that is skewed from teams passing late as they are allowing 4.7 ypc. The Lions fall into a solid league-wide situation here as well. Play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in the second half of the season after going over the total by more than 28 points in their previous game. This situation is 33-10 ATS (76.7 percent) since 1983. 10* (104) Detroit Lions
|11-20-11||San Diego Chargers +4 v. Chicago Bears||Top||20-31||Loss||-110||68 h 29 m||Show|
We finally have a situation where the public is actually off the Chargers. While San Diego has been dreadful of late with four straight losses, we catch them in a great spot as it is a road underdog for the first time in its last four road games. The public has jumped ship but the sharp money struck early as it came in and knocked this number down from +4 to +3.5 despite a huge number of bets being on the Bears. Four straight ATS losses facing a team with four straight ATS wins puts the value on our side.
The Bears have been just the opposite as they have won four straight games while scoring a ton of points along the way. Chicago was able to revenge its earlier loss against the Lions last week with a resounding 24-point win. Or was it a resounding win? Detroit outgained the Bears 393-216 but committed six turnovers which led to 24 points, two interceptions which were directly returned for touchdowns on back-to-back possessions, while Chicago also returned a punt for a touchdown.
Despite a two-game difference in records, the Chargers are +65.4 ypg in yardage differential while the Bears are -48.5 ypg in differential. To put it in perspective, San Diego is one of only three teams with a losing record that is on the plus side of the yardage variances while the Bears are one of only five teams with a winning record that is on the minus side of yardage variances. This shows how these teams are playing in regards to the results and the difference obviously has been turnovers.
This game could once again come down to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and he has been having a tough season to say the least. He is facing a weak passing defense though as Chicago is having trouble in the middle with the safeties. San Diego has a collection of big deep threats who might present a lot of problems for the Bears' deep patrol. If Rivers attacks and doesn't force the issue, he could be in for one of his bigger games in weeks. The Bears are allowing 5.1 ypc so San Diego can exploit that as well.
The Bears are just 3-16 ATS in their last 19 games after scoring 25 or more points in two straight games while San Diego is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games against teams with winning percentages between .600 and .750. San Diego also falls into a solid contrarian situation where we play on underdogs or pickems in the second half of the season in a game involving two teams that are +/- 0.4 yppl, after allowing 400 or more total yards in their previous game. This situation is 94-53 ATS (63.9 percent) since 1983. 10* (435) San Diego Chargers
|11-20-11||Oakland Raiders v. Minnesota Vikings +1.5||Top||27-21||Loss||-110||65 h 6 m||Show|
This is Minnesota's fist true winnable game since October 9th when it defeated Arizona at home. Since then, Minnesota has played three road games, and it did win one of those, while playing just one home game and that happened to come against Green Bay. The Vikings are coming off a Monday night debacle against the Packers in the rematch but while the final score shows a loss by 38 points, the game was not that much of a blowout as Minnesota did a lot of good things that can carried over.
Carson Palmer picked up his first win with the Raiders as they won at San Diego last Thursday but even though there is some extra rest involved here, it is not one of the best spots you will find as explained later. Oakland is coming off three straight divisional games and while it went just 1-2 in those contests, it takes its toll. The issue with the Raiders is their defense as they have been better but this is a unit that is still prone to giving up the big plays which gives the Vikings offense a chance.
As mentioned, the Vikings did do some good things. Aaron Rodgers lit the defense up which was no surprise seeing that he has done that to every team this season as his lowest passer rating is 111.4. Minnesota held the Packers to 90 yards on 31 carries (2.9 ypc), the fourth time this season it has held a team to fewer than 100 yards rushing. That is big as the Raiders are fourth in the NFL in rushing with 156.2 ypg and fifth in rushing average with 5.0 ypc. The Vikings allow just 3.7 ypc on the season.
On the other side, Minnesota averages more per rush than the Raiders with 5.2 ypc and the difference is that Oakland allows 5.2 ypc. Teams have been able to put up yards with off-tackle runs against the Raiders and the Vikings are huge on the right side. The Oakland passing defense has improved but a healthy dose of Adrian Peterson will open up the passing game and allow Christian Ponder to make some plays. He is coming off a bad game, his second against Green Bay but he rebounded big after the first meeting.
Minnesota has been especially effective when coming off blowouts as it is a perfect 10-0 ATS in home games coming off a road loss of 21 or more points. Oakland meanwhile is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games against teams allowing 24 or more ppg and it falls into a negative situation. Play against teams with a winning percentage between .501 and .600 after failing to cover the spread in two out of their last three games, playing a team with a winning percentage less than .250. This situation is 43-17 ATS (71.7 percent) since 1983. 10* (424) Minnesota Vikings
|11-17-11||NY Jets -4.5 v. Denver Broncos||Top||13-17||Loss||-103||54 h 30 m||Show|
The Jets have a really good matchup advantage here and while betting road underdogs in this league is a long-term killer, it is the right spot here. New York is coming off a tough loss and playing on a short week with travel involved which is going to sway some toward the Denver side but this is an even tougher game for the Broncos in my opinion. Had the Jets defeated New England on Sunday, things would be different and they may have come into Denver flat but now this game is a must.
The short week of travel is being said to hurt the Jets however let's not forget that Denver played on the road Sunday as well so it also had to head back home following a road victory. The Broncos are feeling pretty good about themselves right now as they have won two straight game, both of which came on the road. While those were big wins, we have to take into account that they were divisional road wins which makes this a big letdown situation for the Broncos.
The recipe for success for the Broncos has been a heavy dose of running ball so it is no secret what the Jets need to do on defense. Quarterback Tim Tebow is showing he is a versatile player but that is just with his running ability. He threw eight passes against the Chiefs, completing only two, while the week prior, he was just 10-21 against the Raiders. The Jets need to man up on the corners and load the box to stop the run. It is easier said than done but New York has the personnel to do it unlike the last two opponents.
After three straight wins, the Jets could not get it done last week however a lot of that was due to the matchup as the Patriots simply do not lose three games in a row period. The AFC East race is now heavily in favor of New England because of the series sweep against New York and a favorite schedule the rest of the year which makes every game important for the Jets as they will be looking to secure a Wild Card play off spot. They have a lot of teams to contend with and not much room for error.
Granted the Broncos are not going to lay down but again, this is not an easy spot for Denver. It is just 1-3 at home with the only win coming against the Bengals despite getting outgained. The Jets are 23-8 ATS in their last 31 games coming off a divisional home loss and 6-1 ATS in their last seven gamers as a road favorite between 3.5 and 10 points. Meanwhile Denver is just 5-14 ATS in its last 19 games following a game played on the road and 1-8-1 ATS in its last 10 games following an ATS win. 10* (307) New York Jets
|11-14-11||Minnesota Vikings +14 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||7-45||Loss||-115||11 h 57 m||Show|
With the playoffs almost out of reach, Minnesota's season comes down to tonight. A win here would make the Vikings season as it would not only earn a season series split, but put an end to the defending Super Bowl Champions undefeated season. And it certainly is not out of the question. The Vikings played their best game of the season against Green Bay at the Metrodome in the first meeting. They are coming off a victory over Carolina and a bye week so the spot does in fact set up well.
Everyone is high on the Packers and for obvious reasons. The went on a huge run at the end of last season to claim the Super Bowl and are off to an 8-0 start this season. They are outscoring opponents by 12 ppg which is a big differential in this league but they have not been as dominating as you might think as they are outgaining foes by 16.8 ypg. That yardage differential is only 12th in the NFL and is actually fourth worst of all teams with a positive variance.
Part of the reason for this is the Packers defense which is not very good. Sure, a lot of yards against them do come in garbage time but the fact of the matter is that it is not a lock down defense. Green Bay is ranked 31st in passing defense, allowing 299.6 ypg and Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder has injected some life into the offense with his third-down passing success, widening rushing lanes for Adrian Peterson in the process. Peterson is still one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Defensively is where Minnesota will be challenged as they allowed 421 total yards in the first meeting but 79 of those came on one play. The Vikings sacked Rodgers four times and forced the Packers into three straight three-and-outs in the second half because of the pressure. Getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers again will be important and the return of cornerback Antoine Winfield is huge for the Vikings as they will be using blitz packages utilizing him which has had a lot of success in the past.
The public is riding the Packers yet again here but the line has actually come down so the reverse line movement is in our favor. Green Bay is just 7-16-2 ATS in its last 25 games as a double-digit favorite and the Vikings fall into a great contrarian situation. Play against home teams after covering the spread in five or six out of their last seven games, in weeks 10 through 13. This situation is 31-9 ATS (77.5 percent) over the last five seasons. The underdog has covered 18 of the last 25 meetings in this series. 10* (245) Minnesota Vikings
|11-13-11||New England Patriots +2 v. NY Jets||Top||37-16||Win||100||58 h 37 m||Show|
The Patriots are coming off two straight losses and that is a rarity in those parts. It has actually only happened seven times since 2001 which was Tom Brady's first season as starter, and New England is 5-2 in those follow up games. It has only happened twice since 2006 and the Patriots are 2-0 in that third game. The point is that New England does not lose often consecutively and we will see its best effort this Sunday night and what better team to take it out on than the hated Jets.
New York is going the other way as it has won three straight games with a bye week mixed in there as well so it has not tasted defeat since October 9th. The opponent? New England. That was a big revenge game for the Patriots after last year's home playoff loss to the Jets but the Patriots are the better team. The line is telling us something as well as New England closed as a 7.5-point chalk in the first meeting which would make then a point and a half favorite here which is clearly is not.
The Patriots have lost their last two games against top quarterbacks in Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. Mark Sanchez is not on that list. Granted he is having his best year in his third year starting but his passer rating is a meager 84.0 which is right in the middle of the pack for starting quarterbacks. He gets to face the worst defense in the NFL but the Jets struggled on offense and with linebacker Jerod Mayo back in the lineup, the Patriots allowed their second fewest amount of yards on the season.
There is talk about Patriots quarterback being in a slump and saying his peak is done. Well, he has a quarterback rating of 100 on the nose this season, one of only three quarterbacks that can claim that. Granted he is coming off his worst game of the season with a 75.4 rating and the last time he had a rating in the 70's, he followed that up with a near perfect rating of 142.6. Throughout his career he rarely has back-to-back bad games and I don't expect that to change here.
As mentioned, the Patriots have done awesome following rare, consecutive losses and head coach Bill Belichick has thrived in this situation. Since taking over in New England he is 12-4 ATS in his 16 road games following a loss as a favorite, 7-1 ATS in his eight games as an underdog after a loss as a favorite and 13-5 ATS in his 18 games coming off a home loss. New England is 3-0-1 ATS in its last four games as a road underdog while going 10-2 ATS the last 12 meetings with the Jets in New York. 10* (243) New England Patriots
|11-13-11||Pittsburgh Steelers -3 v. Cincinnati Bengals||Top||24-17||Win||100||50 h 16 m||Show|
The Steelers are coming off a demoralizing home defeat against the Ravens last week. That sets them up very well this week against arguably the most overrated team in the league. More on that later. Pittsburgh was rolling along with four straight wins before losing in the final seconds Sunday night and with a big divisional game here, we can expect a big bounceback. The Steelers have covered six straight games since last season following a loss and it has not been close, winning those games a combined 179-44.
We have cashed some tickets with the Bengals this year and at 6-2, 7-1 against the number, they have been a pleasant surprise. However, who have they played? Cincinnati has played the 27th ranked schedule in the NFL and its opponents have a combined record of 26-39. They have played only two teams that have winning records, the 49ers and Bills, and those two teams are nearly as overrated. The Bengals are outgaining opponents by just 15 ypg despite what they have been handed by the schedulemakers.
The Cincinnati defense looks good on paper as it is ranked fourth in the NFL in both yardage allowed and points given up but they have played only one team with a pulse on offense and that was Buffalo which is now 12th in total offense. The other offenses they have faced are ranked 27th, 29th, 31st, 32nd, 26th, 20th and 30th in total offense which is why they have been so good on defense. This week, they face a Steelers offense that is ranked ninth in the NFL in yardage, making it the biggest challenge yet.
The Steelers meanwhile are third in the league in total defense and fifth in scoring defense so they pose a huge challenge for the Cincinnati offense. Cincinnati has already faced three top ten defenses, Cleveland, San Francisco and Jacksonville. The offense has managed just 19.3 ppg in those games (taking away a fumble return against the Jaguars) while gaining only 253.7 ypg which is nearly 100 ypg fewer (353.8 ypg) than they are averaging in their other five games against poor defenses. You make the call.
This totally goes against the theory of playing divisional home underdogs but the value in this line is simply too strong not to take the Steelers for a big play. Plus the Steelers have owned this series of late as Pittsburgh is 8-1-1 ATS in its last 10 games played in Cincinnati. They also fall into a potent situation where we play on teams where the line is +3 to -3 in conference games, off a home loss by three points or less. This situation is 43-19 ATS (69.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (217) Pittsburgh Steelers
|11-10-11||Oakland Raiders v. San Diego Chargers UNDER 48||Top||24-17||Win||100||22 h 21 m||Show|
Both Oakland and San Diego were involved in very high scoring games this past weekend and I feel that has added a tremendous amount of value in this total for Thursday night. The Chargers and Packers game finished with 83 points while the Raiders and Broncos game finished with 62 points as both contests easily went above the number. Those results along with this being a lone televised game on Thursday has forced the linesmakers to inflate the total here.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw three more interceptions in the Chargers loss to the Packers on Sunday, giving him an NFL-worst 14 on the season. He also threw the ball 46 times but a lot of that was due to playing from behind for almost the entire game. In all, he's attempted 40 or more passes four times this season and the Chargers have lost three of those games. Expect a more balanced approach this week as San Diego is now well aware that throwing the ball is not the recipe for winning.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer threw the ball 35 times and while he looked better than the previous game, he cannot be slinging it around so much and expect to win. The absence of running back Darren McFadden has been huge as the balanced attack has been disrupted but Oakland still has Michael Bush in the backfield and he is a solid player. Bush played extensively against the Chargers last season, rushing for 199 yards in the two games and Oakland will use that weapon again.
These teams have not seen a total this high since December of 2005 when it closed at 51. Last season, the two meetings has O/U's of 44 and 44.5 so we are seeing a sharp increase since then as well. Prior to the Packers game, San Diego had been 3-0 to the under in its home games this season and going back further, the Chargers are 7-0 to the under in their last seven games as a home favorite. Oakland meanwhile is 7-3 to the under in its last 10 games following a double-digit home loss.
Even better the Raiders are 16-2 to the under in their last 18 road games coming off a divisional home loss while San Diego is 9-1 to the under in its last 10 home games in the second of consecutive home games. Also we play the under with road teams where the total is between 42.5 and 49 points after allowing 30 points or more last game going up against an opponent after a playing a game where 50 total points or more were scored. This situation is 114-65 (63.7 percent) to the under since 1983. 10* Under (107) Oakland Raiders/(108) San Diego Chargers
|11-07-11||Chicago Bears v. Philadelphia Eagles OVER 47||Top||30-24||Win||100||81 h 21 m||Show|
Chicago is coming off a bye week after winning in London against the Buccaneers, a game that stayed under the total. Philadelphia meanwhile is coming off consecutive unders as it defeated both Washington and Dallas and it was the defense that kept those games low scoring as the Eagles allowed a combined 20 points in those games. With the recent results showing lower scoring games, we are getting some value with this total along with the fact we have seen four straight Monday night games cash in under.
The Eagles are averaging 25.6 ppg against defenses that allow an average of 21.9 ppg which is right around what the Bears are allowing so Philadelphia should have no issues getting to that number or above once again. Chicago has also done well as it is averaging 24.3 ppg against defenses that are allowing 22.9 ppg and Philadelphia is allowing 21.7 ppg so again, it is well within range. These are important stats because both offenses have averaged more ppg against defenses that have yielded less points overall.
Chicago and Philadelphia are the only two teams in the NFL that are averaging 4.8 ypc or more on offense and allowing 5.0 ypc or more on defense. Combined, the offenses are averaging 10.6 ypc gained and the defenses are averaging 10.2 ypc allowed. Those are very significant averages and while the thought of easy rushing on both sides signals a shorter game because of a running clock, it actually works out the opposite as these rushing edges open up the entire offenses on both sides.
As far as matchups go, the rushing games have been talked about and both teams will keep the chains moving with successful rushing attacks. In the passing game, Jay Cutler has not thrown for a lot of yardage but he should have success here even the Eagles have not given up a lot of yards through the air. Philadelphia is allowing just 212.3 ypg, which is top 10 but it is allowing 7.4 ypa which is 17th in the league. Also, they have given up 12 touchdowns in 18 redzone trips, and that puts them at the bottom of the league.
On the other side, Chicago is allowing 7.0 ypa and it is allowing the 10th highest quarterback rating to opposing signal callers. Their problem is with the safeties as they have given up too many big plays in the middle and while they have started to cheat back, it opens up even more holes for Michael Vick. He has had only two bad games this season against the Bills and Giants and he is coming off his best game of the season which means confidence going forward. Expect a lot of points tonight. 10* Over (431) Chicago Bears/(432) Philadelphia Eagles
|11-06-11||Miami Dolphins +4.5 v. Kansas City Chiefs||Top||31-3||Win||100||50 h 27 m||Show|
Kansas City is riding a four-game winning streak but it is one of the worst runs of this sort that you will witness. The Chiefs snuck out a win against the Vikings, made a 21-point comeback against the Colts, defeated a Raiders team that had to play backup quarterbacks and then won against the Chargers in overtime despite getting outgained by 106 total yards. The confidence is there but coming off that huge win Monday where mentally and physically they put everything into, it spells massive letdown.
You have to give the Dolphins credit for not quitting. After that demoralizing loss against the Broncos two weeks ago, they took to the road and nearly took out the Giants. Surprisingly that was their first cover of the season although sitting at 0-7, it may not be that surprising after all. However what is definitely surprising is this short line. A winless team getting just over a field goal on the road signals something fishy. The fact that three quarters of the bats are on Kansas City and the line has dropped a point is also a signal.
The big challenge for Kansas City is to not avoid a letdown but that is almost inevitable. The Chiefs played their asses off on Monday and in reality, they should have lost by a couple touchdowns based on how the game played out. They allowed San Diego to enter inside their 32-yard line nine times but the Chargers own mistakes resulted in just one touchdown being scored. Kansas City may have some confidence brewing from that victory but it is a false sense of confidence.
Looking at some numbers, the Dolphins are getting outgained by 61.7 ypg while the Chiefs are getting outgained 65.2 ypg. It is pretty rare to see a team that is four games better with their record getting beat more on the field as far as yardage goes. The rushing dog comes into play here as well. The Dolphins average more ypc on offense than Kansas City (4.3 ypc to 4.1 ypc) allow fewer ypc on defense (3.9 ypc to 4.1 ypc) and are plus in their own ypc average (4.3 ypc to 3.1 ypc). That's a take.
The Dolphins fall into two very solid situations. First, play against favorites coming off a divisional win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season. This situation is 34-11 ATS (75.6 percent) since 1983. Second, play on road underdogs or pickems after seven or more consecutive losses, in the second half of the season. This situation is 39-13 ATS (75 percent) since 1983. On top of it, the Chiefs are 4-12-1 ATS in their last 17 games as a favorite. 10* (413) Miami Dolphins
|11-06-11||San Francisco 49ers v. Washington Redskins +4||Top||19-11||Loss||-115||50 h 17 m||Show|
Washington is coming off a dreadful game in Toronto against the Bills and head home to lick their wounds. The Redskins have now dropped three straight games, both straight up and against the number, and while injuries can be to blame, it has been a case of bad timing. Philadelphia was in need of a win after four straight losses, Carolina was coming off three straight losses and Buffalo was coming off a loss as well as its bye week. They caught three desperate teams in a row and now the role changes this week.
There has not been a weaker 6-1 team in the NFL in years and San Francisco fits the bill. Hats off to head coach Jim Harbaugh in what he has accomplished thus far but he is somehow doing it with smoke and mirrors. San Francisco has not lost a game against the spread, as it does possess one push against the Cowboys, and that is putting the pressure on the linesmakers as they have to inflate these lines as the public has, and will, continue to ride the train out. It derails this week however.
When I say smoke and mirrors, the 49ers are 6-1 despite getting outgained by 20.1 ypg. That is certainly something that is a rare feat. On the other side, the Redskins are getting outgained by 23.3 ypg and how is that different than San Francisco? It isn't and the only reason the 49ers come in as a road chalk is because of their record and as we all know, records can be deceiving. The 49ers are +10 in turnover differential while the Redskins are -6 which is the difference and we will see those come back to the median.
Taking a quick look at line comparisons from last week to this shows a huge overadjustment. The Redskins were getting four points against the Bills which was saying that Buffalo is a point better (based on a neutral field). This weeks line is saying that the 49ers are 6.5 points better (based on a neutral field) and I will be the first to argue that the 49ers are not 5.5 points better than the Bills. And I will certainly argue that they are not 6.5 points better than the Redskins.
San Francisco is a perfect 3-0 on the road this season with all three of those wins coming on the east coast in early afternoon games. With the history of how bad that normally goes, it is impressive but time has run out on it here. Washington falls into a solid contrarian situation as we play on home underdogs or pickems that are allowing 335 or more ypg, after gaining 4.0 or less and allowing 6.5 or more yppl last game. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1983. 10* (416) Washington Redskins
|10-31-11||San Diego Chargers -3 v. Kansas City Chiefs||Top||20-23||Loss||-101||31 h 17 m||Show|
After starting the season 0-3, the Chiefs have rebounded with three straight wins to even their record at .500. We won with them last week but they weren't played because they were the better team but because it was a good situational spot. Kansas City had to come from behind against the lowly Colts prior to that and snuck out a win against the at the time winless Vikings. The Chiefs first two losses came against the Bill and Lions and in my opinion, both of those teams are not as good as their record states.
San Diego enters this game following a disappointing loss against the Jets last Sunday as it lost an 11-point lead on two different occasions. Both losses have come on the road against AFC East teams, the Patriots being the other, and the Chiefs cannot be put into that category. San Diego's four wins have been against teams that are much worse and it outgained them by a combined 649 total yards. This included a win at home against Kansas City in a game that was not as close as the score indicated.
Turnovers have plagued the Chargers but they should be better this week. Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates each practiced Wednesday and Thursday, the first time that
|10-30-11||Detroit Lions v. Denver Broncos +3||Top||45-10||Loss||-105||55 h 10 m||Show|
The Lions remain a public darling despite their recent struggles. They have lost two straight games, both coming at home, and they really have not shown much since starting the year with two impressive wins over Tampa Bay and Kansas City. The offense has managed only 19.7 ppg over its last three games and despite being 3-0 on the road, Detroit has won those games by an average of just 4.7 ppg and two of those games took miracle second half comebacks to accomplish.
I am not jumping on the Tim Tebow bandwagon but I have to admit I was impressed with what he did at the end of last week's game against the Dolphins in bringing Denver back for the win in overtime. The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Broncos and sitting sat 2-4, they have played better than that record shows. Three of the losses came by an average of 3.7 ppg while the fourth came at Green Bay which comes as no big surprise. The victory last week will provide some solid momentum.
We played against the Lions last week and won and a big reason for that was the non-existent running game for Detroit. It managed only 104 yards on the ground last week and is now averaging just 92.7 ypg on the season. Denver falls into the popular rushing dog scenario that Atlanta did last week. The Broncos average more ypc on offense than Detroit (4.4 ypc to 4.1 ypc) allow fewer ypc on defense (3.9 ypc to 5.0 ypc) and are plus in their own ypc average (4.4 ypc to 3.9 ypc).
Michael Turner rushed for 122 yards last week and prior to that, the Lions allowed San Francisco to run for a 203 yards. Overall the Lions rushing defense is 28th in the league. On the other side, Jahvid Best is once again out with a concussion and without a huge threat of a Lions' running game, the Broncos can key on Matthew Stafford and the passing game. Stafford is listed as questionable but will likely play since he has been practicing this week but his effectiveness comes into question.
Denver falls into one of the best league-wide systems you can find. We play against road teams that are coming off two or more consecutive upset losses as a favorite, with a winning record on the season playing a losing team. This situation is 24-4 ATS (85.7 percent) since 1983. Making the situation even stronger is the fact that Detroit is a favorite again this week. Denver has been a horrible spread team over the last couple years but it is 5-1 ATS in its last six games as a home underdog of a field goal or less. 10* (222) Denver Broncos
|10-30-11||Arizona Cardinals v. Baltimore Ravens -12||Top||27-30||Loss||-110||4 h 43 m||Show|
We won by playing against Baltimore on Monday night as the Ravens looked pretty inept against the Jaguars. This is a great spot to bounceback however and don't let the big spread lure you away as this number could be a lot higher. Baltimore has had success in situations like this coming off bad offensive games as it has gone a perfect 3-0 straight up and against the number under quarterback Joe Flacco after a game scoring in single digits while averaging 25.3 ppg in those three follow up games.
Arizona is coming off a tough home loss against the Steelers in a game it felt it could have won coming in. Instead, the Cardinals have lost five straight games and while the first three defeats were rather close, the last two have not been and now they hit the road once again for an early east coast game. The first time in this situation, Arizona played well against the Redskins but it has been hit with the injury bug and now it will be going into a lions den at M&T Bank Stadium.
Monday was one of Baltimore's worse games on offense in a while and as mentioned, it has come back strong in its next game. In its first loss this season, which came against a similar AFC South team Tennessee, the Ravens bounced back strong and destroyed St. Louis, another NFC West team. The best thing in our corner is that the game against Jacksonville came on Monday night for the whole world to see and that will get the Ravens even more fired up to make amends.
The Cardinals offense is struggling behind first year starter Kevin Kolb as he has posted a quarterback rating of 78.8 (ironically it is higher than Flacco) and he will be facing the best defense in the NFL in terms of both total defense and scoring defense. Running back Beanie Wells, who was having a great season up until last week when he got hurt, says he will play this week but it is not a wise decision if he does go as he could be putting the rest of his season in jeopardy.
Baltimore gained a mere 146 yards of offense last week but the Cardinals have the seventh worst offense in the NFL and the Ravens are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games after gaining 200 or fewer yards in their previous game. Baltimore also falls into a solid situation. Play on favorites that are outscoring opponents by four or more ppg, after scoring and allowing 14 or fewer points. This situation is 34-11 ATS (75.6 percent) over the last 10 seasons. Look for a start to finish romp Sunday. 10* (216) Baltimore Ravens
|10-23-11||Green Bay Packers v. Minnesota Vikings +9.5||Top||33-27||Win||100||72 h 53 m||Show|
The Vikings were throttled in Chicago with the whole world to see and now facing the Packers, they will certainly not be a popular pick this week among bettors. The game was not as bad as the final score indicated as Minnesota was outgained by only 91 total yards but an early third quarter kickoff return for a touchdown did the Vikings in. Now they are back home for another divisional game and this time the points are plentiful. The line has actually come down despite the vast majority of bets being on the Packers.
Green Bay enters the final game before its bye coming off another lopsided win although it was not as dominant as the final score showed. The Rams outgained Green Bay but were pretty inept in the redzone and thus, the Packers were able to cover their fourth straight game. If the public weren't already on them enough, this ATS run will get some stragglers to come over to the Green Bay side but they will be laying the most points in a road divisional game since 2009.
The Vikings saw enough of Donovan McNabb as he was replaced by rookie Christian Ponder last week against Chicago. The thing is that McNabb had a solid game, despite getting sacked five times and his quarterback rating of 82.9 on the season is certainly better than a lot of other starters in the league but this was a move you knew was coming. Ponder played well in relief and with a week of practice with the first team this week, he should only get better. The Packers do not have much to prepare with.
Ponder is the future of this team and his future will be bright. Even last week when he was in the pocket, he looked poised and seemed to have a great sense of where the rush was coming from. He was accurate with his throws and he did a solid job of scrambling when necessary. Green Bay has allowed 383.7 ypg on defense which is in the bottom half of the league and its 300.8 ypg allowed through the air is second to last. Granted teams have been forced to throw but allowing 8.0 ypa, 23rd in the NFL, is not very good either.
The Vikings have not been good in these spots but this one is completely different. It is unlikely that teammates quit on McNabb but you can guarantee they are going to rally around Ponder. The Vikings fall into a great league-wide situation here. Play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg on offense and coming off a loss by 14 or more point going up against teams averaging 27 or more ppg on offense. This situation is 30-9 ATS (76.9 percent) since 1983. 10* (422) Minnesota Vikings
|10-23-11||Chicago Bears v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1.5||Top||24-18||Loss||-110||69 h 45 m||Show|
This is Tampa Bay's second game in London since the NFL started scheduling games across the pond. The first one did not go so well as the Buccaneers were decimated by the Patriots 35-7 but coming in they were 0-6 while New England was 4-2 and in need of a positive end before the bye. Times have changed and Tampa Bay is now 4-2 and tied for first place with New Orleans in the NFC South. The Buccaneers are coming off a win over the Saints last week but don't expect a letdown here.
The Bears showed some signs of life last Sunday night on national television as they throttled the Vikings and that result is getting a lot of early action on Chicago. I'm still not sold on the Bears. They outgained Minnesota by just 91 total yards despite the big win and it was actually the first time that Chicago outgained its opponent the entire season. There is a good deal of momentum following the win against the Vikings but this situation taking place in London will take that away.
When Tampa Bay played in London two years ago, it did not take into account the eight-hour travel schedule and the five-hour time difference. This year the Buccaneers chose to travel to London six days before the game and that is a huge edge. "It really helps being here (early), because it definitely takes a while to get acclimated to the time change," right tackle Jeremy Trueblood said. "I'm just now starting to feel like I'm on the right time scheduled again and it's already two days later."
Tampa Bay did not get to practice outdoors before playing two years ago and it showed on the slippery field of Wembley Stadium. This time around, they took over Pennyhill Park resort as their headquarters and the rugby field will be a good place to practice heading into Sunday. The Bears will not have the same advantage as Chicago is not leaving until Thursday to make its trek. The Bears won't arrive in London until Friday, much like the Buccaneers did the last time they came.
The Buccaneers are treating this like a regular road game as they will not check into a London hotel until Saturday so they are staying right on schedule. Tampa Bay is 8-1 ATS in its last nine road games following a win so that adds to the fact there will be no letdown in this situation. The Bears meanwhile have not responded well under head coach Lovie Smith after a big win as they are 0-6 ATS in their last six road games following a win by 21 points or more. 10* (402) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|10-17-11||Miami Dolphins +7.5 v. NY Jets||Top||6-24||Loss||-110||10 h 13 m||Show|
Miami heads into Monday night coming off its bye week and it probably came at a good time with the Dolphins sitting on a 0-4 record. They have dropped their last two games on the road and both of those could have gone either way with a tight loss in Cleveland followed by a loss in San Diego that was closer than the final score indicated. Miami has been a better road team than a home team the last couple years and under head coach Tony Sparano it is 14-4 ATS on the road after the first month of the season.
The Jets are reeling as well as they have dropped three straight games to move to 2-3 on the season. Many are arguing that this is a must win for New York and while that may be the case, the linesmakers have taken that into consideration. Like Miami, the Jets have played three straight road games so this return home is being called the cure to their ills however there are a lot more issues going on than is being led to believe. The Jets have dropped the last four meetings against Miami at home against the number.
The biggest issue for the Jets has been internal problems as this week, Santonio Holmes, one of the offensive captains, blamed the offensive line for the Jets
|10-16-11||Buffalo Bills v. NY Giants -3||Top||24-27||Push||0||75 h 31 m||Show|
The Giants were never in line to get a cover last week against Seattle but they did have a chance to win the game straight up until a tipped interception return for a touchdown sealed the deal for Seattle. That loss killed a lot of suicide pools and probably killed any sort of confidence for bettors wagering on the Giants going forward. That is a good thing for us as New York is now in a great spot and because of the recent result, we are catching a solid amount of value this week.
Buffalo has been one of the many surprise teams in the NFL this season as it is off to a 4-1 start, three of those wins coming against divisional winners from last season. Following a blown lead against Cincinnati two weeks ago, the Bills returned home and defeated the underachieving Eagles as underdogs. However, the Bills have been outgained in each of their last three games so despite two wins and a near-miss win, they are hardly playing and sort of dominating football right now.
This is a typical letdown spot for Buffalo even though it does have a bye next week as the Bills have to be feeling good about their 4-1 record. They remain one of the highest scoring offenses in the NFL but their defense remains a big concern even though they have been able to do a good job in forcing turnovers. Running the ball and stopping the run are two of New York's head coach Tom Coughlin's greatest demands but so far, the Giants haven't been able to do either with much success.
Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell has to figure out a way to slow down Bills running back Fred Jackson as he has been a solid back thus far. Fewell is familiar with the Bills after he was their defensive coordinator and briefly served as interim head coach before joining the Giants in 2010 so there is a good chance that he will be able to scheme a plan. As far as the Giants rushing offense, the Bills are allowing 138.4 ypg on 5.5 ypc so they should be able to move the ball on the ground with ease.
This has been a Coughlin trait in the past as the Giants are a perfect 11-0 ATS under him after gaining 99 or fewer rushing yards in two straight games. Also the Giants are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine games following a double-digit loss at home. We also want to play against road teams that are coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team. This situation is 46-18 ATS (71.9 percent) since 1983. 10* (214) New York Giants
|10-16-11||Carolina Panthers v. Atlanta Falcons -3.5||Top||17-31||Win||100||74 h 22 m||Show|
The Falcons have nipped us twice in the last two week, blowing big leads and covers both times. They are coming off a tough loss last week against the Packers at home as they were outgained by 175 total yards and outscored 25-0 after jumping out to a 14-0 lead. Atlanta could not get its revenge against Green Bay but it remains only two games out in the NFC South and with a game at resurgent Detroit next week, this has turned into a much bigger game than initially though when the season began.
Carolina fought hard once again last week against the Saints as it had the lead up until the final minute of the game when Drew Brees once again showed why he is one of the best quarterbacks in the league. It was the Panthers fourth loss by a touchdown or less this season so this team has completely turned things around from a year ago when they were rarely competitive. The public has caught on though and it looks as though the ship has sailed as linesmakers are making the necessary adjustments.
This is a great situational spot for the Falcons based on not only the must-win scenario but from an ATS standpoint as well. Atlanta has dropped three straight against the number while on the flip side, the Panthers have won four straight against the number and that sets up a public play on the road team if there ever was one. We are seeing it in the early offshore reports as Carolina is getting the majority of the action and while we are not seeing a reverse line move, we are seeing a possible middle for sharps to attack.
Matt Ryan has gotten off to a slow start this season while rookie counterpart Cam Newton has been much more solid. Part of the problem for Ryan has been an inconsistent running game but that changes here. Atlanta is averaging 98.9 ypg on 4.3 ypc against defenses allowing 115 ypg on 4.4 ypc but this week they face a Panthers rushing defense that is allowing 135.2 ypg on 4.9 ypc against offenses averaging 108 ypg on 4.2 ypc. That shows the Falcons have a shot for a great game on the ground.
With the Packers loss, the Falcons are 21-6 in their last 27 home games including both regular season and postseason. Atlanta has not lost to a team at home under .500 since December 24, 2006 when the 6-8 Panthers came in and won 10-3. That is a stretch of 36 home games without a loss to a sub-.500 team. Play against underdogs or pickems that are allowing 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more ypg over their last two games. This situation is 31-9 ATS (77.5 percent) since 1983. 10* (210) Atlanta Falcons
|10-10-11||Chicago Bears +6 v. Detroit Lions||Top||13-24||Loss||-105||10 h 25 m||Show|
Detroit is one of just two remaining undefeated teams in the NFL with divisional foe Green Bay being the other. Obviously, the public is in love with the Lions right now and they are making that clear tonight as a huge majority of the wagering action is on the home team. Yet, we have seen this line go down in a lot of places showing a reverse line move signaling the sharp money has been on the Bears. With this being a divisional game, the line is simply too much.
A lot of credit goes out to the Lions for being undefeated but they could be 2-2 right now as they have lived on the edge the last two games, coming back from 20-0 and 27-3 deficits to win both times. They benefitted from two inception returns for touchdowns last week against the Cowboys as they were outgained by 131 total yards. Tampa Bay has been the only team on the schedule that Detroit has faced that has a winning record so the schedule has had a lot to do with the strong start as well.
The Bears meanwhile are sitting at 2-2 and for them to remain in the divisional race, this is a must win game. While the Lions have faced a somewhat easy slate thus far, Chicago has played a much tougher schedule with Atlanta, which is underachieving so far, Green Bay, New Orleans and a very improved Carolina team. Defensively, the Bears have been a huge disappointment as they have allowed at least 27 points in each of their last three games but that actually puts them in a solid situation which is explained later.
The one big edge the Bears have Monday is the running game. Matt Forte is coming off a huge game last week and on the season, Chicago is averaging 4.7 ypc. Detroit meanwhile is allowing 4.8 ypc so Forte and the Bears will once again be able to have success rushing the ball. That is imperative as Chicago wants to keep the Lions offense off the field and win the time of possession battle. On the other side, Chicago's defense has been gashed by the run but Detroit has one of the worst running games in the NFL.
The Lions are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games as favorites between 3.5 and 10 points while the Bears are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games after allowing 350 or more total yards last time out. The aforementioned situation is to play on road underdogs or pickems that have allowed 24 or more ppg on the season and have allowed 25 or more points in three straight games. This situation is 25-6 ATS (80.6 percent over the last five seasons including a 15-3 ATS mark the last three years. 10* (429) Chicago Bears
|10-09-11||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. San Francisco 49ers UNDER 42||Top||3-48||Loss||-110||75 h 27 m||Show|
Two 3-1 teams square off this week with the Buccaneers traveling to San Francisco in what has the makings of an ugly game. Both teams went over their totals last week which sets up good value this week. The 49ers and Eagles scored 47 points which eclipsed the total by just over a field goal but it took three late San Francisco touchdowns in the final quarter and a half to get it done. Prior to that, the 49ers scored only 13 points against Cincinnati and that is more the norm of this offense.
San Francisco is averaging 28.5 ppg at home but that number is severely skewed. The 49ers scored 33 points against Seattle but 14 of those points came in the final four minutes of the game and both were by way of special teams returns by Ted Ginn. They scored 24 points in a losing effort against the Cowboys but 14 of those points were because of a short field as they consisted of two drives totaling 77 yards. Despite scoring 57 points, the 49ers managed a mere 207.5 ypg on offense.
Tampa Bay is a better team on offense as it is averaging 352.8 ypg through four games. However the Buccaneers are averaging just 21 ppg in those contests as they have been held to seven field goals as the redzone offense remains an issue. Tampa Bay's redzone scoring percentage is just 35.7 percent which is 25th in the NFL. That will hurt even more this week as the 49ers have the best redzone percentage defense in the NFL at 28.6 percent. Expect to see more Tampa Bay field goals.
The Buccaneers defense is a bend don't break unit as well as the yare allowing 368 ypg but just 19.2 ppg which is ninth fewest in the NFL. It comes down to the redzone as well as Tampa Bay is seventh in redzone percentage defense at 38.5 percent. San Francisco is middle of the pack in redzone offense at 50 percent but they are 18th in redzone chances with just three per game. Third down conversion defense is also big as the Buccaneers are seventh and the 49ers are fifth, allowing just 33.3 percent and 32.7 percent respectively.
Both teams have combined to go 6-2 to the over this season and that is no doubt helping us here with value on the total. The 49ers fall into a great situation on a low scoring game as we play the under where the total is between 35.5 and 42 points with teams coming off an road win by three points or less, in a game involving two teams with winning percentages between .600 and .750. This situation is 27-7 (79.4 percent) to the under since 1983. This one is for you if you like defense. 10* Under (421) Tampa Bay Buccaneers/(422) San Francisco 49ers
|10-09-11||Cincinnati Bengals +3 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||Top||30-20||Win||100||72 h 29 m||Show|
We won with the Bengals last week as home underdogs and we will back them again this week as road underdogs. Cincinnati came into the season with arguably the lowest expectations of any team in the NFL but it has been a pleasant surprise through the first four weeks. The Bengals could conceivably be 4-0 right now as they lost to the Broncos by just two points on the road and blew a late lead against the 49ers two weeks ago. They have outgained all four opponents thus far.
Jacksonville opened the season with a win against Tennessee and with the Titans being 3-1 right now, that win is looking pretty good. However, Tennessee was entering the season with a new coach with new systems, a new quarterback and a star running back that missed all of preseason. The Jaguars have since lost their last three games as the offense is sputtering behind rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Jacksonville is averaging just 7.7 ppg in the three games he has started.
The best defense in the NFL does not belong to the Steelers or Ravens but it belongs to the Bengals. Cincinnati is allowing a league-low 275.5 ypg and there is no reason to think that the defense will be taking a step back here. The Bengals have not faced the best of offenses but Sunday they face the NFL's second worst offense in total yards and the worst in scoring offense. They held the Bills to a season low 20 points and a season low 273 total yards. As long as the effort is there, the Jaguars offense will do nothing.
As far as the offense goes, rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has been very solid. His first two games were the best and while he sputtered against the 49ers, San Francisco defense is seventh best in scoring. Jacksonville has been playing pretty solid defense up until last week against New Orleans where it allowed 503 total yards. We cannot compare the Saints offense to the Bengals offense but it showed that the early success of the Jaguars stop unit may have been just a mirage.
The Bengals have been one of the worst favorites in the league but as underdogs, they have been solid as they are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games as pups of three points or fewer. They are also 6-0 ATS in their last six road games after gaining 450 or more yards in their previous game. Also, we play against home favorites after a double-digit loss going up against an opponent after trailing in their previous game by 14 or more points at the half. This situation is 76-36 ATS (67.9 percent) since 1983. 10* (415) Cincinnati Bengals
|10-02-11||Washington Redskins v. St Louis Rams||Top||17-10||Loss||-110||110 h 7 m||Show|
This is an excellent opportunity for the Rams to grab their first win of the season. They are 0-3 and are coming off their worst effort of the year as they were blasted at home by Baltimore by 30 points while getting outgained 553-244. That humiliation does two things. It certainly adds some motivation to the table for St. Louis and it is stronger because the last game was at home and this game is at home. It also gives us line value as the public will be, and already is, staying far away from St. Louis.
Washington is not in a very good spot at all. The Redskins are coming off a tough and emotional loss on Monday night against the Cowboys in Dallas. Working on a short week already, Washington has to travel once again so based on this past week, the Rams have two extra days of preparation. The offense was not able to do much with the exception of one drive as the Redskins went 1-3 inside the redzone. This is a revenge game for Washington, having lost here last year, but the letdown negates that here.
St. Louis falls into the adage of a team is not as good or as bad as it looked last week. The Rams are not a bad team but they had a tough first quarter against the Ravens and could not recover. They punted on their first five possessions while Baltimore got into scoring position on its first five possessions, using seven plays of 10 yards or more to jump ahead 21-0 and it could have been worse if not for two missed 51-yard field goals. A lot of this can be blamed on the short week following a Monday night loss against the Giants.
While the defense was gashed against the Ravens, the offense could get nothing going. Injuries have had a lot to do with this as both Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson have not been close to 100 percent. The good news is that neither took a step back and both will be much better this week. Jackson could have a big game as Washington is allowing 4.8 ypc on the ground. There is also a possibility that wide receiver Danny Amendola could make a return. We are not banking on it but if it happens, it will be an added bonus.
Despite the majority of the bets coming in on Washington, the line has gone the other way and this reverse line movement signals sharp money landing on the Rams. St. Louis needs a win as it does not want to go into its bye week with a 0-4 record. Play on teams that are averaging between 295 and 335 ypg on offense and have allowed 400 ypg or more over their last three games going up against teams allowing between 335 and 370 ypg on defense. This situation is 22-4 ATS (84.6 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (214) St. Louis Rams
|09-26-11||Washington Redskins v. Dallas Cowboys UNDER 45.5||Top||16-18||Win||100||11 h 47 m||Show|
We wanted to wait and see the confirmed status of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo before making a move here. While he is playing, he is far from 100 percent and the whole offense is far from that as well. We are getting some excellent value in this number based on a few factors for the home team. Dallas has gone over the total in both of its games this season with 51 total points being scored in each and that is no doubt being played into this number.
The first two Cowboys games were on the road and the closing numbers were 40.5 and 41 so there is a significant increase here. The return home has a lot to do with it as does the fact this is a Monday night game. Last season the Cowboys went 8-0 to the over in their home games while averaging 58.4 ppg so a lot of those were not even close. That is a big public trend that is going in our favor tonight as the majority of the action will be on the over based on that plus it being a Monday night affair.
The Redskins have split their first two games as far as the total goes with the last game staying under by just a point and a half. The defense has done a great job against two strong offenses in the Giants and Cardinals so facing another potent offense is not a problem. Washington held New York to 315 total yards and Arizona to 324 total yards and its 319.5 ypg allowed is good for 11th best in the NFL through games of Sunday. This is a huge improvement from last season where it finished second to last.
The Cowboys defense was second worst in the NFL last season as far as points allowed and it has not shown much of an improvement through two games this year. However, a lot of the points allowed have been because of short fields as Dallas has allowed just 283 ypg through two games. Granted, the Cowboys have faced a couple of mediocre offenses but it can be fair to say that the Redskins fall right into that group. They have been solid thus far but this is their first road game of the season.
The last meeting in 2010 saw 66 points scored, one of the eight Dallas overs at home but prior to that, the series had four straight unders, averaging only 18.5 ppg. Washington is 5-0 to the under in its last five games after gaining 350 or more total yards in its previous game and going back further is it a perfect 8-0 to the under in its last eight Monday night road games. Expect to see a lot of running from both sides as Dallas protects Romo as much as possible while Washington takes advantage of its solid rushing edge. 10* Under (425) Washington Redskins/(426) Dallas Cowboys
|09-25-11||Detroit Lions v. Minnesota Vikings +4||Top||26-23||Win||100||90 h 26 m||Show|
We played against Detroit last week as the Lions completely annihilated the Chiefs 48-3. After watching the shortcut version, Kansas City was obviously hurt with the loss of Jamaal Charles but it fought hard for a long time before the Lions pulled away. The Chiefs committed six turnovers, missed early opportunities to seize control of the game and were killed by penalties. This is taking nothing away from Detroit because it capitalized when it needed to but I still think this team in slightly overrated.
The Vikings started strong against Tampa Bay but fell apart late as they allowed the final 14 points of the game to turn a 20-10 lead into a 24-20 loss. It was unfortunate that it happened when it happened because Minnesota was playing a good game but the Buccaneers executed on two long drives to steal the game. Quarterback Donovan McNabb had a solid game while Adrian Peterson busted out for a big game as well. The records of the two teams, as well as preseason indicators, are driving this line.
Part of those preseason indicators included Detroit being a playoff team this season based on its finish last year as well as a strong preseason. That may happen. However, this is one of those public trap games that is heightened with a reverse move on the line. The betting majority is all over the Lions yet the line has gone down which concludes sharp money came in on the Vikings and the linesmakers made the adjustment the other way to get more action on the square team. Divisional road chalk is as square as it gets.
The Vikings defense, which is still the strength of this team, was the blame in the fourth quarter against the Buccaneers. It can also be blamed for the fourth quarter collapse the prior week against the Chargers although that scenario was different being on the road. They get defensive tackle Kevin Williams back from his two-game suspension and he will make a difference right away. The Lions offense is considered one of the best in the NFL but until we recognize it consistently, we will take a wait and see approach.
The Lions have been bad for a long time and records are made to be broken but Detroit has not been favored in Minnesota since 1981 and has not won in Minnesota in 13 years. It is rare for a team that has struggled so long to become a public team is such a short amount of time. Also, we play against teams where the line is +3 to -3 after allowing six points or less last game going up against an opponent after a loss by six or less points. This situation is 36-13 ATS (73.5 percent) since 1983. 10* (408) Minnesota Vikings
|09-25-11||Jacksonville Jaguars +4 v. Carolina Panthers||Top||10-16||Loss||-115||89 h 15 m||Show|
Almost as annoying as the Detroit Lions bandwagon filling up is the talk of Cam Newton and how great he is. Sure he has thrown for over 400 yards in his first two games but people fail to point to the fact that he has yet to win a game, has a quarterback rating of 89.1, which is middle of the pack thanks to four interceptions. They covered against the Packers last week but they blew a 13-0 lead as Newton made a lot of rookie mistakes. He will improve but don't get caught up in his 854 yards passing.
The Jaguars are coming off a humbling game where they were hammered in New York against the Jets. This came after a solid home win against Tennessee to start the season so it was definitely a disappointment as to how bad Jacksonville lost. I still think Jacksonville is the better team so the fact that Carolina is favored by more than a field goal, despite being at home, is quite an overreaction. Jacksonville has been mired in controversy since dumping quarterback David Garrard but it is in a good spot here.
After posting a solid 91.5 quarterback rating in Week One against Tennessee, Jaguars quarterback Luke McCown put up a 1.8 rating last week against the Jets which is an almost unfathomable number. Rookie Blaine Gabbert replaced McCown to start the fourth, and completed 5 of 6 passes for 52 yards in relief. Gabbert is now the starter and while he did struggle in preseason, this is a good opportunity to get him started as he will be facing one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
Don't expect Gabbert to be thrown into the fire and be asked to throw the ball 50 times. Although, the Panthers have the worst passing defense per attempt in the NFL, allowing 10.8 ypa so he might have success even if he did. Still, when put in passing situation, he will be able to move the ball but he will be asked to hand off to Maurice Jones-Drew and even though Carolina knows it is coming, he could have a big game. The Panthers are allowing 4.8 ypc, eighth worst, while Jones-Drew is averaging 4.4 ypc and 92.5 ypg.
We have not seen a reverse move with this line yet but not seeing any move is intriguing enough seeing that over 87 percent of the betting public is on the home team. This is another case where sharp money hit the +3.5. Jacksonville falls into a very solid yet simple situation. Play against home teams that are coming off a cover where the team lost as an underdog going up against an opponent that is coming off a road loss. This situation is 27-4 ATS (87.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (409) Jacksonville Jaguars
|09-25-11||San Francisco 49ers v. Cincinnati Bengals -2.5||Top||13-8||Loss||-120||89 h 9 m||Show|
One team that is still flying under the sleeper radar is Cincinnati. The Bengals were considered to be the worst team in football coming into the season and while that still may be the case, they are not shoeing it yet. They won their opener in Cleveland and refused to go away last week in Denver as they cut the deficit to two points but could not get another score. Now Cincinnati is back home for its home opener and the fans will be much happier to see a 1-1 team as opposed to a 0-2 team.
While the Bengals are happy about their 1-1 start, the 49ers are far from it as they blew a few sizable leads last week at home against the Cowboys but ended up losing in overtime. That was a tough loss to take and now San Francisco has to hit the road for the first time and playing an early game on the east coast to top it off. More on that later. The final score of that Dallas game shows the 49ers lost by just a field goal but they were outgained by 266 total yards so the game never should have been as close as it was.
One reason that Cincinnati has looked better than advertised has been the play of rookie quarterback Andy Dalton. All of the hype and press has gone to Cam Newton and his two 400-yard passing games yet Dalton has a better passer rating, 105.7 to 89.1. He is not making silly rookie mistakes as he is not throwing into double coverages and he has been spot on with a 66.1 percent completion rate. His solid play has made it easier for rookie receiver A.J. Green who had a big game last week with 10 catches for 124 yards.
The Bengals defense remains underrated. Injuries hurt the unit last season as did a poor offense that could not stay on the field for very long. After finishing fourth in the NFL in total defense in 2009, Cincinnati fell to the middle of the pack last year but it is on its way back up. The 49ers have been horrible on offense as turnovers by the opposition and its own specials teams have led to short fields and touchdowns which the offense gets credit for. Alex Smith is not a good quarterback and we will see it again here.
The Bengals fall into a solid situation that goes against the 49ers. Play against road underdogs of fewer than three points after coming off a home loss as an underdog. This situation is 16-4 ATS (80 percent) over the last 10 seasons. As mentioned, San Francisco is playing early. We play on home teams that are playing early Sunday against teams from the west coast if they did not travel the previous week. This situation is 46-23 ATS (66.7 percent). We have another great spot with the line moving in reverse for us. 10* (396) Cincinnati Bengals
|09-19-11||St. Louis Rams v. NY Giants UNDER 44.5||Top||16-28||Win||100||11 h 28 m||Show|
The Giants and Rams both saw their games go over last weekend, part of a number of high scoring contests. This included both Monday night games which typically is a night where the over is bet hard by the public and that is the case here tonight based on offshore reports. The Sunday night nationally televised game had 66 points scored last night which is another typically heavy over bet. Because of this, we get value with the under as the number is overadjusted and that is certainly the case here.
The Giants lost in Washington last Sunday as they allowed 332 yards including 258 yards passing. Rex Grossman actually threw for 305 yards as sack yardage brought the passing total down. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford is capable of putting up similar numbers but he is banged up as are two of his offensive stars. Steven Jackson was injured without contact on a 47-yard touchdown run and Danny Amendola, who led the team with 85 catches last year, suffered a dislocated left elbow. Both are out tonight.
Football Outsiders came up with a "total pressure" rating which basically gives a better idea of how a team gets to the quarterback with it not being solely based on sacks. The Rams were first in the league while the Giants were second in the NFL last season in total pressure and they discovered that total pressure did a better job than just sack total when it came to predicting how many sacks a player would have the following season. The offensive lines could be in for a very long night tonight.
The Rams allowed 237 yards on the ground versus the Eagles in Week One and you can guarantee the Giants the be trying to pound the ball. They had only 75 yards rushing in Week One at Washington and they did not dominate in time of possession and in the trenches. With a struggling passing game, New York needs to rely on its run game with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs. That is a clock killer. In the passing game, Hakeem Nicks is banged up as well which could mean even more ball control.
This total opened at 43 and has risen a point and in some cases a point and a half. Because of the public and the Monday night effect, we could see it rise more. St. Louis is 10-2 to the under in its last 12 conference road games under head coach Steve Spagnuolo while the under is 6-1 in the Rams last seven games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game. Meanwhile, the Giants are 52-30 to the under in their last 82 games after allowing 75 or fewer rushing yards in their previous game. 10* Under (227) St. Louis Rams/(228) New York Giants
|09-18-11||Philadelphia Eagles v. Atlanta Falcons +3||Top||31-35||Win||100||58 h 21 m||Show|
The Falcons are coming off a rough season opener as they were dismantled in Chicago by 18 points. The boxscore does tell a different story however as Atlanta actually outgained the Bears by nine total yards but turnovers and other miscues did them in. Of their 386 total yards, 129 of those were empty yards which are yards lost by turnovers or missed fourth downs. Atlanta also had an 87-yard drive that was stopped at the seven-yard line as it had to settle for a field goal.
The Eagles won their opener in St. Louis and they were pretty fortunate that the Rams were decimated with injuries as Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and Danny Amendola all went down. But because Philadelphia won and covered by a comfortable margin, it is being overvalued this week once again. The Eagles are considered one of the top teams in the NFL along with a handful of other teams but one of those are the Falcons. This is a prime example where misleading results from last week help in our value this week.
Atlanta went 7-1 at home last year during the regular season and is now 20-4 in his last 24 regular season home games. The last time the Falcons were in the Georgia Dome however was in the Divisional round of the playoffs and they were torn apart by the Packers. That makes this game a big one as they need to get back that home field swagger and prove they are once again a Super Bowl contender. With two road games on deck, the term must win can be put into play even though it is only Week Two.
The Falcons possess one of the best young quarterbacks in the league in Matt Ryan but this game could come down to the running game. Michael Turner was a beast last week and was on pace for a huge game as he rushed for 100 yards on 10 carries (10.0 ypc) before Atlanta abandoned the running game. The Eagles meanwhile were shredded by Jackson and Cadillac Williams as the Rams put up 154 yards on the ground on 26 carries (5.9 ypc). I expect Atlanta to have a lot of success here which opens up the passing game.
Defensively, the Falcons were not good against the Bears as Jay Cutler had a big game as did the Chicago running game. That could prove to be fatal against Michael Vick, who makes his Atlanta return, and the high-powered Eagles offense. However, there is a silver lining. The Falcons forced three field goals and one of the Bears touchdowns came on a big pass play while another came by way of a fumble return. That bend-don't-break style will need to be put in play again in what is a huge home field edge in primetime. 10* (226) Atlanta Falcons
|09-18-11||San Diego Chargers +7 v. New England Patriots||Top||21-35||Loss||-104||103 h 33 m||Show|
What we saw from Tom Brady Monday night was something special. He was a machine with the passing game, going 32-48 for 517 yards and four touchdowns along with one interception. He tore apart the Miami defense but things will only get tougher this week. The Patriots ended up with the cover against the Dolphins and because of that, we are getting line value this week as the public will once again line up behind Brady and company. As of Wednesday, 60 percent of the early action is on the home team.
The Chargers were able to sneak out a win over the Vikings as they outscored Minnesota 17-0 in the second half. It looked like another lame effort in the early season for San Diego but it put things together in the second half and that is a huge boost of confidence heading into this big game. While they only won by a touchdown, the Chargers outgained the Vikings by 220 total yards but were hurt by their empty yards as they had 184 total yards that resulted in no points because of two interceptions and a failed fourth down.
The San Diego defense allowed only 197 total yards and 10 first downs. Minnesota was able to run the ball very effectively with 159 yards on 26 carries (6.1 ypc) as Adrian Peterson led the way. The Chargers completely shut down the passing game however as they allowed only 39 yards by Donovan McNabb and while you cannot compare McNabb and Brady as far as talent, it was still an impressive showing. Shutting down Brady will not happen but slowing him down can in fact happen.
While the New England offense was going off, the defense looked like a mess. The Patriots yielded 390 yards passing and if Chad Henne can have that success, imagine what Philip Rivers is capable of. The Dolphins also gained a very respectable 98 yards rushing on 20 carries (4.9 ypc). Remember the Chargers led the NFL in total offense a year ago and they are basically the same unit this season. San Diego scored 30 or more points in half of their games last season as well.
In last year's meeting, the Chargers were 2.5-point favorites meaning the Patriots would be roughly 3.5-point favorites at home based on the value change. That shows how much this line is inflated even though it is a new year. The Chargers, and Rivers, have been sensational as underdogs as they are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games as underdogs between 3.5 and 10 points. The Patriots meanwhile are just 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games following a Monday night affair. 10* (221) San Diego Chargers
|09-12-11||New England Patriots v. Miami Dolphins +7.5||Top||38-24||Loss||-100||9 h 28 m||Show|
The Dolphins were 7-9 last season but most surprising was that six of those wins came on the road as they went only 1-7 at home. That record will definitely steer some people off Miami in this game but a lot of those home losses could have been wins as five of the seven losses were by a possession or less with three coming by a field goal or less. This is a big number to be getting at home and even more so on Monday night football. Monday night home underdogs are 19-8 ATS in the last 27 games of opening week.
New England had the best record in football last season at 14-2 and closed the regular season with an eight-game winning streak before losing to the Jets in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The Patriots will be chomping at the bit to make up for that effort. The defense is especially in question as they are moving to a 4-3 base and that can definitely take a little bit of time to come together. They were able to control the Dolphins in both meetings last season but Miami could be much better offensively.
Chad Henne has been under scrutiny and there was a lot of offseason talk about him getting replaced. However, this is his third season and he has weapons around him so this could be a breakout type of season. Miami has a new offensive coordinator this year as it hired Brian Daboll who at one time worked under Bill Belichick. Last season, while working as the Browns offensive coordinator, Daboll managed to have Colt McCoy run a successful game plan against the Patriots defense.
The Patriots had the highest scoring offense in the league a year ago and everyone is banking on that offense to be powerful once again. New England did not look great in the preseason however as Tom Brady was just 28-of-50 for 320 yards with three touchdowns and an interception and in 17 drives from the first unit in the preseason, the Patriots punted seven times. Granted, the preseason can be deceptive at times but New England may still come out of the gate a little slow.
The Dolphins lost by a combined 79-21 against New England last season so they will be out for some payback as they have not forgotten the double dose of blowouts. It will be up to the defense to make amends as those two games against the Patriots were the worst of the season. Miami has one of the most underrated defenses in the NFL as it finished sixth in the NFL last season in total defense. Miami allowed 17 or fewer points on nine difference occasions as well. 10* (480) Miami Dolphins
|09-11-11||Indianapolis Colts +9 v. Houston Texans||Top||7-34||Loss||-115||116 h 32 m||Show|
Indianapolis was favored by a point in its meeting in Houston last season. Now the Colts are nine-point underdogs which is basically telling us that Peyton Manning is worth 10 points. No player in the NFL is worth that many points to his team and while the Colts cannot make the playoff without Manning, they are still an above average team without him. Houston has not been favored by this many points at home since laying nine against the Raiders in 2009. The Colts are nowhere near as bad as that Oakland team was.
The Texans have been the NFL's biggest underachievers over the past few seasons and once again, they are being thought of as a team that will break through and finally grab a playoff spot. Houston is loaded on offense with three superstars in quarterback Matt Schaub, running back Arian Foster and wide receiver Andre Johnson. Foster is listed as doubtful due to a hamstring injury and while rumor has it he will play, he may not be very effective as these types of injuries are not treated lightly.
The big problem for the Texans has been the defense. They were the third worst defense last year, allowing 376.9 ypg and in term of points allowed, they were fourth worst, allowing 26.7 ppg. Houston brought in Wade Phillips to help the defense and while the unit should improve, it could take some time. They have switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense and a high-risk change like that can take time to develop. Defensive end Mario Williams was inconsistent in preseason after moving to the linebacker spot.
Can the Colts survive on offense without Manning? As noted earlier, they are not a playoff team without him but they are not horrible either. If they were starting a young quarterback with no experience, things would be different but Kerry Collins is a veteran quarterback with tons of NFL knowledge. Last season, Collins led the Titans to a 31-17 victory over the Texans. In Collins' five starts against the Texans, Houston has allowed 28.6 ppg, giving up 31, 31, 12, 31 and 38 points.
Taking a look at past meetings, the Texans have not had their way with the Indianapolis defense as they have been held to under 300 yards in four of the last six meetings and have never reached 400 totals yards over this span. The Colts defense can struggle against ball-control offense as they get worn down. It is a defense that is based on speed not size and we will likely see more man defense as opposed to the Cover 2. the secondary needs to step up and that will allow more pressure from the ends. 10* (461) Indianapolis Colts
|09-11-11||Philadelphia Eagles v. St Louis Rams +5.5||Top||31-13||Loss||-110||115 h 15 m||Show|
The Eagles enter the season as NFL's equivalent to the Miami Heat in the NBA, basically a team so loaded it is being touted as the team to beat. The self-proclaimed 'Dream Team' look great on paper at individual positions but we have yet to see them play as a team. They could prove me wrong and come out of the gates and dominate all season but until we see that, we will be going against Philadelphia as much as we can. The Eagles lines are inflated now and will be inflated all year based on the offseason acquisitions.
St. Louis won two games in 2008 and one game in 2009 but emerged as a dark horse contender last year by going 7-9 and tying for the NFC West title but missing the playoffs because of a tiebreaker. The Rams should only get better and they have an excellent shot of taking the division this year because it is the weakest in football yet again. St. Louis showed huge improvements on offense and the defense is turning into one of the toughest and underrated units in the entire league.
The addition of quarterback Sam Bradford showed immediate gains as the offense scored 114 more points than the previous season. Bradford is now in his second season and all of the talk about a 'sophomore slump' is pure nonsense. He had an average passer rating but still completed 60 percent of his passes and we have to remember he was a rookie thrown right into the fire. That year of experience is huge and he will only get better. He will be challenged right away here but he has the moxie to succeed.
The Eagles historically struggle at stopping the run and while Steven Jackson did not look great in the preseason, he is one running back that goes 110 percent every time out there. While I don't expect Philadelphia to totally struggle, all of the new players will deter from the chemistry. In 2010, Philadelphia finished last in the redzone as it allowed 33 touchdowns in 43 possessions due to soft play up front. This was a priority to fix right away but even this will take time to come together.
Michael Vick had a historic season last year and he will be hard pressed to repeat that performance. I still consider him to be one of the biggest liabilities at quarterback. He can be one of the best for sure but he gets into trouble too often and his propensity to take off puts him at a big injury risk. Right now the offensive line is a mess and you can bet that Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo will take advantage and try and confuse the Eagles with different looks. The Rams finished seventh in the NFL in sacks a year ago. 10* (464) St. Louis Rams
|09-08-11||New Orleans Saints +4 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||34-42||Loss||-100||54 h 1 m||Show|
The hype for this game is huge in Green Bay with all of the festivities surrounding last year
|02-06-11||Pittsburgh Steelers +3 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||25-31||Loss||-120||315 h 4 m||Show|
The matchup of this year
|01-23-11||NY Jets v. Pittsburgh Steelers UNDER 39||Top||19-24||Loss||-110||100 h 27 m||Show|
This is a rematch of the Week 15 meeting that saw the Jets go into Pittsburgh and defeat the Steelers 22-17 as 3.5-point underdogs. The game went over the total as the posted number was only 36 and now we are getting an extra three points this time around. A lot of that is due to the results from last week as well as the Jets run of high scoring games. This one comes down to the defenses however as on the season, the two teams have allowed a combined 34 ppg and over the last three games, 26.7 ppg. The Jets went into New England last Sunday and their upset win went over the total thanks to a late Patriots touchdown. That made it three out of the last four games that have gone over for New York and on the season, it is 13-5 to the over including 9-1 on the road so that is driving this total as well. Jets games have averaged 48 ppg on the road this season but five came against non-playoff teams with bad defenses. I cannot see the Jets doing much on offense this week. I won with the Ravens/Steelers over last week rather easily as that went against the conventional thinking of two strong defenses playing a low-scoring game. We get added value this week because of that result. Baltimore scored 24 points but one of the touchdowns came on a defensive score and for the game, the Ravens had just 126 total yards. That is a huge effort by the Steelers defense and one that is overshadowed by the points given up. In the first meeting, the Steelers held the Jets to only 276 total yards as New York could not get a running game going and despite being error-free, quarterback Mark Sanchez had only 170 yards passing. Pittsburgh was without safety Troy Polamalu for that game as well and we all know how he can completely change a game on the defensive side of things. Not to be overlooked, the Steelers linebackers can stop the run, rush the quarterback, blitz from anywhere and drop back into coverage. The Jets defense regressed as they went from first in the NFL to third in the NFL so it was not a huge drop. They could be peaking at the right time as they have held Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in check the last two weeks which is impressive to say the least. Can they do it for a third straight week? Ben Roethlisberger is not on the same level but he is close however the offense has struggled at times and the Steelers will be looking to establish the running game after seeing the results from the Jets the past two weeks. Both teams are mistake free units and they both fall into a great situation calling for a low scoring game. Play the under with a total between 35.5 and 42 points in a game involving two teams that commit 1.25 or fewer turnovers per game. This situation is 26-6 (81.2 percent) the last five seasons with the average score totaling just 35.3 ppg. The over is a very trendy bet this week based on recent results and history but we will be going unconventional again this week and call for a very low scoring contest. 10* Under (305) New York Jets/(306) Pittsburgh Steelers
|01-23-11||Green Bay Packers v. Chicago Bears +4||Top||21-14||Loss||-115||91 h 41 m||Show|
Green Bay is the very popular play here which comes as no surprise as it has been playing very well over the last month and the public loves to ride these teams. I give a lot of credit to the Packers and we won with them last week in Atlanta in a rout but going for the third straight road win will be difficult. This recent surge has completely inflated this line and Green bay is over a field goal road favorite which is too aggressive of a move against the home divisional champions. The Beat are coming off an 11-point win last week against Seattle but the game was not as close as that score indicates as Chicago had a 28-0 lead before Seattle made a comeback in garbage time. The Beats outgained the Seahawks by 161 total yards and the benefit of playing at home is again a benefit as it negates the Packers advantage of having an extra day of rest. Chicago won the first meeting while Green Bay won the second by a 10-3 score and the defenses will make this one tight which benefits the home underdog. The Packers will be going for their third straight road playoff win as mentioned and they are not in a good spot as it has not been a good one throughout the years. Since 2000, six teams have won their first two playoff games on the road but only two of those went on to win the third playoff game on the road. Those four losses were by an average of 12.25 ppg and all came by at least a touchdown. They were on the wrong side of this scenario three years ago against the Giants. All of the talk is about Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense and while Rodgers is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, this is not going to be a cakewalk. Over the last two seasons covering 34 starts, he has 21 games of a passer rating of 100 or better but none of those have come against the Bears. He has two touchdowns and two interceptions against Chicago this season whose defense seems to not get the credit it deserves. The Bears allow opposing quarterbacks a 74.4 passer rating, third best in the NFL. There are other important factors that are going against the Packers here. The biggest comes from last weeks result against the Falcons. Since the 2000 NFL playoffs, when a team scores 40 or more points in a game, the following game they are 4-7 SU & 1-10 ATS. This includes a 0-5 ATS mark when that team is favored. This is based on the simple bounce theory where a team is not as good as it looked the previous week and vice versa. Also, teams winning by 21 or more points are 4-9 ATS in their next playoff game. Also, play against road teams that are coming off a win by 14 points or more as an underdog with a winning percentage between .600 and .750. This situation is 43-17 ATS (71.7 percent) since 1983. The Bears fall into a great revenge spot also. Play on teams where the line is +3 to -3 in the second half of the season that are revenging a loss where team scored less than 14 points, in a game involving two teams with winning percentages between .600 and .750. This situation is 29-7 ATS (80.6 percent) since 1983. 10* (304) Chicago Bears
|01-16-11||Seattle Seahawks v. Chicago Bears -10||Top||24-35||Win||100||136 h 58 m||Show|
We won a ticket last week on Seattle as it was able to take out the Saints outright at home. Things will be a little tougher this weekend on the road even though the Seahawks have already won once this season in Chicago. Initially at first glance, you would think Seattle has the value based on that victory as well as the fact that it was getting six points in that earlier meeting and now it is getting double-digits. However we still have to realize the Seahawks have a losing record and the run ends this week. Seattle played a great game last week but this has been a team that has struggled for the part of this season. The Seahawks are only 2-6 on the road this season, getting outscored by 12.4 ppg. Granted one of those wins came against the Bears but that only helps us here as Chicago certainly will not be taking this team lightly, especially after the wins last Saturday, and it has a good opportunity to gameplan better. Of the six road losses, all were by at least 15 points, so when it loses, it loses badly. The Bears are rested and healthy and will no doubt be out for revenge here. Chicago closed the season by going 7-2 over its last nine games with the only bad loss coming against the Patriots in a blizzard. The Bears have not been an overly dominating team this season as they have actually been outgained on average but they have a big edge in the defense in this matchup. Seattle allowed 474 yards to the Saints last week which is no surprise since it finished the regular season 27th in total defense with the Bears finishing ninth. It was a very impressive home win for Seattle in defeating the reigning Super Bowl Champions but that actually plays against the Seahawks here. We have seen this numerous times over the years and it has been a disaster next time out the majority of the time. Since 1985, 12 teams have defeated the previous Super Bowl Champion in the playoffs and it their next game, they have lost 10 of those. The only two wins happened to come in the Super Bowl, the Giants in 1990-91 and the 49ers in 1994-95. Take those out and teams are 0-10 in the next game following the win over the previous champs and this includes a 1-9 ATS record. The only cover came with the Chargers in 2007 where they lost by nine points as 14-point underdogs. The average victory in those 10 games is 13.3 ppg with six of those games being decided by 17 points or more. Basically teams that pull off those upsets have a tough time bouncing back and trying to repeat it for a second straight week. Making matters worse for the Seahawks is the fact that has not responded well from similar wins. They are 0-8 ATS in their last eight road games following a win against the spread and they are 0-6 ATS in their last six games as a road underdog between 7.5 and 14 points. The revenge factor does come into play for the Bears as they are 8-0 in their last eight games under head coach Lovie Smith revenging a home loss. Seattle won us money last week but the Bears roll this Sunday. 10* (114) Chicago Bears
|01-15-11||Baltimore Ravens v. Pittsburgh Steelers OVER 37||Top||24-31||Win||100||49 h 52 m||Show|
After looking more and more into this game, I feel there is some excellent value in the over. This number actually comes in lower than the previous meeting this season and even though it is just a difference of a point, the fact that only 23 total points were scored in that game, with the other game finishing with 31 points, makes this total very suspect. Both meetings this season stayed below the number and that is strengthening a contrarian play on this one to go over the number. As I mentioned in the side stance of this game, the defenses of both teams are the story in this game meaning whichever team can execute best on offense has the best chance of winning. Executing on offense does not mean running the ball as both run defenses are solid as the Steelers are first in the NFL in rushing defense while the Ravens are fifth in the league in rushing defense so it is safe to say that neither team is going to have success with it on offense. This is where new wrinkles in the passing game take over. As Baltimore did successfully in Kansas City, look for Flacco to attack the Steelers with a short, controlled passing game. He also has the weapons to take advantage of some big pops down the field as well and his maturity over the years provides him with the confidence to be able to throw against the Steelers defense. Slowly, over his three years in the NFL, Baltimore has handed more and more responsibility to Flacco and it has resulted in his best season so far. The Steelers offense has had its share of injuries this season and it does not have the playmakers that the Ravens possess at receiver but they manage to put points up nonetheless. I
|01-09-11||Baltimore Ravens -3 v. Kansas City Chiefs||Top||30-7||Win||100||117 h 59 m||Show|
Going against Kansas City goes against the home underdog theory but there is good reason for that here. Seattle was the worst team in the NFL to win a division title while the Chiefs were second and it isn
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