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|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|09-29-13||Chicago Bears v. Detroit Lions -3||Top||32-40||Win||100||23 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Bears are 3-0. The Lions are 2-1. The Bears were 2-0 in the series last season and have won nine of the last 10 meetings. Yet, its the Lions who are listed as small favorites. That will have many tempted to take the points. I believe the Lions are favored for good reason though.
The nationally televised blowout of Pittsburgh is fresh in people's memories. Keep in mind that the Bears barely eked out wins in each of their first two games, a 3-point win vs. Cincinnati and a 1-point win vs. Minnesota. (The Lions beat the Vikings by 10.)
While the Bears' defense has been scoring points, they've also been giving up some. They're tied for 19th in scoring defense at 24.7 points per game and rank 25th in yards allowed at 383. Note that Chicago starting defensive tackle Henry Melton will undergo season-ending knee surgery. Also, note that Tillman, who normally covers Calvin Johnson, is questionable.
For all their trouble over the years, the Lions are actually a profitable 18-13-1 (21-11 SU) the last 32 times that they were listed as home favorites of three or fewer points, 1-0 SU/ATS the past couple of seasons. They know they desperately need to find a way to beat this team and I look for them to finally step up and get it done. 8*
|09-22-13||Chicago Bears v. Pittsburgh Steelers +3||Top||40-23||Loss||-125||52 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. The Bears beat the Bengals. And, the Bengals beat the Steelers. So, the Bears must be able to beat the Steelers, right? That's the type of logic a lot of recreational bettors apply. Sounds reasonable enough in theory. However, in reality, it rarely holds much weight. There are always many other factors to consider. For example, the Bears hosted the Bengals while the Steelers had to play at Cincinnati.
In addition to playing at home, the Steelers figure to be the more desperate team. The NFL is so competitive that coming back from 0-2 to make the playoffs is extremely difficult. Coming back from 0-3 is practically impossible.
On the other hand, while a Monday night game is always a big deal, the 2-0 Bears could potentially be a little more complacent.
The Bears are 3-8-3 ATS the last 14 times that they were road favorites of three or fewer points, going 0-2 ATS their last two in that role During that time, the Steelers were 1-0-1 ATS as home underdogs of three or less. With their season on the line, I expect Big Ben and co. to dig deep and to deliver their best effort. 10* main event
|09-22-13||St. Louis Rams +4 v. Dallas Cowboys||Top||7-31||Loss||-110||133 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. The Rams have been forced to rally from behind in each of their first two games. They battled back for a win against Arizona in Week 1 but were unable to dig out from a bigger hole at Atlanta last week. They did fight hard though, making a game of it, despite the early deficit. Taking on a team with a few issues of its own. I expect their best effort.
The Cowboys want to be able to run the ball, but have been unable to do so. They're off a tough 1-point loss and have some key players nursing bumps and bruises.
While the Rams have a slight edge in total yards in their two games, note that Dallas has been outgained by an average margin of 395.5 to 324.5.
While I did successfully play on the Cowboys in their win over the Giants, its worth noting that they're still only 4-13 ATS here the past couple of seasons, including 2-4 ATS as home favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range. Overall, they're just 6-14-1 ATS as favorites.
The Rams have seen both games decided by seven or less while the Cowboys have seen both theirs decided by five or less. I won't be surprised if this one also comes down to the wire and am grabbing all the points I can get. 10* best bet
|09-22-13||Cleveland Browns +5 v. Minnesota Vikings||Top||31-27||Win||100||132 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on CLEVELAND. Not many people are giving the Browns much of a chance here. After all, they're 0-2, they're down to their backup or third-string QB and they just traded away their running back. While all that may be true, keep in mind that the Vikings are also 0-2 and that they too have QB issues.
While you'll hear much about the Browns' problems, note that Cleveland gets back top receiver Josh Gordon. Gordon, who led the team with 805 receiving yards and five touchdowns in 2012, was suspended for the first two games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
QB Campbell noted: "He's a huge difference. He's a big target. He's a big guy. He's a big part of what we do offensively. Not having him out there, definitely hurts a little bit, because he is a big part of what we do. So it'll be good to get him back, get him going, try to get him back into a rhythm."
Of course, Campbell isn't expected to start, that job goes to Brian Hoyer.
Cleveland coach Rob Chudzinski said this of that decision: "I feel like based on our current situation - where we're at offensively as well as getting into the game planning for Minnesota - that Brian's strengths are the best fit for this week and that he gives us our best chance to win. The things that he does well fit what we need. For me, it's about who gives us the best chance to win."
While Peterson is obviously a great running back, the Vikings remain fairly one dimensional on offense. Worse, the defense is allowing an average of 32.5 points and 440 yards per game. (Cleveland is allowing 18.5 ppg and 285.5 ypg.)
The Vikings, who are off a 1-point loss last time out, are very capable of covering when getting points. However, their tendency to play close games makes covering difficult when they're the ones laying points. In fact, they're only 3-8-1 ATS as favorites the past couple of seasons. I'm grabbing all the points I can get. 9*
|09-22-13||Arizona Cardinals v. New Orleans Saints -7||Top||7-31||Win||100||77 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ORLEANS. I successfully played against the Saints last week. They were on the road, off an emotional divisional win and facing what I felt was going to be a very determined divisional rival. Things set up much differently here.
This time, the Saints are at home. This time, they're facing a defensively challenged opponent from outside their division.
Give the Cardinals credit. They're 1-1 SU and 2-0 ATS. They've scored points in both games and the offense does appear to be considerably improved. Note that Larry Fitzgerald is banged-up. While the Cards are hopeful he can play, if he does, he may be at less than 100%.
Still, the Arizona offense isn't as good as the one they'll be up against here.
Neither is the defense. While its obviously a small sample size, the Cards are allowing an average of 24 points and 344 yards. On the road, those numbers are 27/366.
The Saints, on the other hand, are allowing just 15.5 points per game, on only 320 yards.
While the Saints' offense has yet to really get rolling, Brees has to be licking his chops. Sam Bradford and Matthew Stafford combined to complete 68.9 percent of their passes for 577 yards and four touchdowns against the Cards, who have only one interception and one sack.
The Saints are 12-5 ATS their last 17 as favorites in the 3.5 to 9.5 range. I expect a breakout game from the offense, en route to a big win. 10* personal favorite
|09-19-13||Kansas City Chiefs v. Philadelphia Eagles -3||Top||26-16||Loss||-123||74 h 43 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. Reid returns to Philadelphia, bringing his new 2-0 team with him. Needless to say, emotions will be high, as are the stakes. Reid will want to win his old team. The Eagles will want to beat their old coach. The Chiefs want to stay perfect. The Eagles want to climb back above .500. Both teams and QBs feel they have something to prove, a nationally televised Thursday game provides the perfect opportunity.
While the Chiefs may have the better record, keep in mind that one of their wins came vs. Jacksonville. The other was at home, by only a single point. Obviously, this will be a much tougher venue.
While the actual distance the Chiefs travel isn't that great, I still feel that the short week favors the home team.
The Eagles' offense has yet to be stopped. Rivers and co. were able to keep up. I don't expect the Chiefs to be so fortunate. 9* thurs main event
Long known for his "Big Game Prowess," Ben Burns is already off to a PERFECT 6-0 start to the season w/ his NFL primetime (Sunday Night, Monday Night, Thursday Night) plays. His latest is another ABSOLUTE BEAST. You know what to do!
|09-16-13||Pittsburgh Steelers +7 v. Cincinnati Bengals||Top||10-20||Loss||-115||147 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. Admittedly, the Steelers didn't look too good in Week 1. They're also off a down year and a winless preseason. Meanwhile, the Bengals looked better in losing their opener. That combination of events has caused many bettors to steer clear of the Steelers this week. In my opinion, that's created excellent value with what I still believe is a dangerous Pittsburgh team.
While Rothlisberger no longer has all previous weapons at his disposal, I still consider him to be a very talented QB - one who works with the talent around him and finds a way. While losing a center is rarely good, note that they've now had a week to adapt. While I won't count on it, its also possible that Miller could be back.
Either way, I expect this proud and well-coached team to be much better than it was in Week 1.
The Bengals saw their opening game decided by a field goal, blowing a double-digit lead in the process. Those type of losses aren't always as easy to bounce back from as people expect them to be.
Both games between these teams last season were also close. The Steelers won by seven here at Cincinnati. The Bengals won by three at Pittsburgh. With last year's victory, the Steelers are 17-5 ATS (18-4 SU) their last 22 visits here. That includes an 11-1 mark their last 12 here.
Including the losses vs the Steelers, the Bengals are just 6-9-1 ATS here the past couple of seasons. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way. 10* AFC North GOM
|09-15-13||New Orleans Saints v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5||Top||16-14||Win||100||118 h 34 m||Show|
I'm playing on TAMPA. The Saints are off a win and cover. The Bucs are are off a tough 1-point loss at New York. This week, the Bucs are playing at home though, while also getting points. I believe that's offering excellent value.
While Brees is indeed one of the elite QBs in the league, the Bucs now have one of the league's elite cornerbacks, in Revis.
As Brees noted: "Obviously, Revis and his reputation - he's one of the best corners in the league, and you've got two young corners on the other side too that play very well. So, all in all, it's an extremely solid secondary and one that you've got to be able to prepare for."
Meanwhile, the Saints had trouble running the ball last week and also had trouble stopping the run. Note that the Saints allowed a league-worst 6.3 yards per carry in Week 1 after they ranked last in that category last season at 5.2.
The Bucs have played the Saints trough here the last couple of seasons here. They lost 35-28 in last year's meeting here. However, they had an edge in first downs, time of possession, rushing yards and passing yards. The previous season, the Bucs won 26-20 here. I believe the Bucs will be ready and I won't be surprised by another upset Sunday afternoon. 10* best bet
|09-15-13||Washington Redskins v. Green Bay Packers -7||Top||20-38||Win||100||100 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on GREEN BAY. Both teams lost last week. I expect the Packers to be the team which bounces back with a victory.
The Washington defense was not good last year. Getting lit up by the Eagles in Week 1 doesn't bode well for them vs. Rodgers and co. Even against the 49'ers defense, considered among the best, the Pack still threw for 322 yards, scoring 28 points.
McCarthy and the Packers coaching staff saw Washington struggle against the quick hurry-up attack that the Eagles employed. They should devise a gameplan to exploit the vulnerability.
Just as the defense struggled, the Redskins defense wasn't too good either. The Washington ground game didn't look good at all. Meanwhile, while Griffin did throw for more than 300 yards, he also got picked off twice while fumbling.
The Packers have won 20 of their last 21 regular-season games at Lambeau Field. I believe that they're the superior team and I expect a win and cover. 10* personal favorite
|09-15-13||San Diego Chargers v. Philadelphia Eagles -7||Top||33-30||Loss||-120||100 h 58 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I successfully backed both these teams on Monday night. While both covered the spread, both had different SU outcomes. The Eagles jumped all over the Redskins early and hung on for a 33-27 win. The Chargers also jumped off to a significant lead. However, they couldn't hang on, eventually losing 31-28 vs. Houston. I believe those results favor the Eagles, even more so with both teams playing on a short week.
The Chargers left it all out on the field on Monday. To give that kind of effort - only to lose in heart-breaking fashion - is tough. Off that kind of loss, having to fly across the country to play an early game, on a short week - is even tougher.
The Chargers will have to deal with a new look Eagles attack that appeared unstoppable for much of the opener. As noted prior to the Washington game, I like Kelly and I like Vick in this offense.
While the Eagles are also playing on a short week, they're also riding an emotional high. This is a team and city which feels that its back. That emotion and positive momentum figures to compensate for the short work week. Also, unlike the Chargers, the Eagles didn't have to fly across the country to get here.
While the Chargers can be tough against their own conference, they were 0-8 ATS (1-7 SU) against NFC teams the past couple of seasons. They'll likely get a non-conf. cover at some point this season, I just don' think it'll be this week. 10*
|09-09-13||Houston Texans v. San Diego Chargers +4.5||Top||31-28||Win||100||34 h 0 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. The Texans are a talented team and they're off a very strong (regular) season. Expectations are high once again. That's not the case in San Diego. The Chargers are off a bad year and even San Diego fans aren't sure what to make of their team's chances. I believe that sentiment has created excellent value with what I believe will be an extremely motivated and dangerous home underdog.
I like the coaching changes in San Diego and believe that the new emphasis on short and intermediate routes will benefit Rivers.
While the Texans were indeed a tough defense last year, they did show vulnerabilities against the pass at times. While Ed Reed has been signed to help address that flaw, he may not be able to go here - and if he does, he may not be 100%,
The Texans, who also have a banged-up Arian Foster, are 0-2 ATS (1-1 SU) their last two Monday games, 1-5 ATS their last six. I believe all the talk about what a great season they're going to have may have them believing that they're a little better than they really are.
The Chargers have had remarkable success vs. the AFS South, going 20-3 ATS their last 23 vs. that division. That includes a perfect 8-0 ATS mark since 2009, one of them an upset win at Houston in 2010. Rivers had four TDs and 295 yards in that game. While he may not match those stats tonight, I do expect Rivers to have a solid game, en route to leading his team to AT LEAST a cover. 10*
|09-09-13||Philadelphia Eagles +3.5 v. Washington Redskins||Top||33-27||Win||100||72 h 54 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. The Skins had their way with the Eagles last season. However, that was with Foles at QB and with Reid as the head coach. Things are different in Philly now and I look for a much different team and result on the field this evening.
I like the coaching change that the Eagles made. Reid did a lot of good things, but his time here was clearly done. Kelly is a winner and he's brought a winning mentality with him.
Obviously, Griffin has some special talents and he had a great season last year. Keep in mind that he'll be taking his first snap in an NFL game since reconstructive surgery and since re-hurting his right knee in the playoff loss vs. Seattle.
While he's considerably older, keep in mind that Vick has a lot of the same skills that Griffin does. With a renewed emphasis on the ground game, Vick will finally be encouraged to utilize his running skills.
Vick was quoted saying: "I'm going to have the opportunity to do what I want to do in this offense and run the football. And yes, I will be a threat. I think you've got to take on a certain mindset that you're going to play the game all-out."
Vick's "all out" mentality might make it difficult to last the entire season - but it should make him extremely dangerous, when healthy. Note that he was 20 of 28 for 333 yards and four touchdowns to go with 73 yards rushing.
Kelly said this of his QB: "The biggest thing with Mike that you saw was just his growth and improvement. He just kept learning the system ... His willingness to learn, his passion for the game of football was evidenced since the first day we saw him."
The Skins, who ranked just 28th defensively last season, have long been terrible in the favorite role. They're 51-81-3 ATS the last 135 times that they were laying points, including a 12-24 ATS mark when listed as home favorites in the -3.5 to -7 range. While that's admittedly largely ancient history, they were also 0-2 ATS in that role the past couple of seasons.
Meanwhile, despite a poor record at the betting window overall, the Eagles have quietly gone a profitable 3-1 ATS as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range.
While they were beaten badly here last season, the Eagles remain a healthy 13-7-1 ATS (14-7 SU) their last 21 visits here. Vick has won his last three starts against the Skins, throwing for better than 900 yards while recording eight touchdowns. I expect AT LEAST another cover tonight. 10* NFC Best Bet
|09-08-13||Arizona Cardinals v. St. Louis Rams -4.5||Top||24-27||Loss||-108||170 h 14 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. With most expecting the 49'ers and Seahawks to again be very good, not many are expecting much from either the Rams or the Cardinals. The general feeling is that they'll be competing for third in the NFC West. While that may indeed prove to be the case, I believe that the Rams are closer to the level of SF and Seattle than they are to the Cardinals. I expect them to prove it on Sunday afternoon.
Looking back to last season and we find that the Cardinals were favored, albeit slightly, for both meetings with the Rams. However, the Rams won both of those games by double-digits, 17-3 here at St. Louis and 31-17 at Arizona.
Including that 31-17 rout, the Cards finished the season on a 1-11 streak. Meanwhile, the Rams finished the season by winning four of their last six.
As coach Fisher noted: "One would assume that we'll just continue to get better."
True, the Rams no longer have Steven Jackson. While Jackson did plenty of good things here, I'm not overly concerned with his departure. Keep in mind that he's 30 now, fairly old for a running back which has taken the kind of pounding that he has. Additionally, keep in mind that Daryl Richardson averaged 4.8 ypc for them last season.
More significant that the departure of Jackson, at least in my opinion, is adding tight end Jared Cook and offensive tackle Jake Long to the St. Louis offense.
Note that Bradford doesn't have to learn new schemes for once, as offensive coordinator Brian Schttenheimer returns.
That's not the case for the Cards, as they've got a new QB (Palmer) and a new coach.
Keep in mind that the Cards had the worst offense, in terms of yards per game, in the league last season - they were second worst in points allowed. Throw in the fact that the Rams also scored more ppg and St. Louis appears stronger on both sides of the ball. Also, Fisher and the Rams coaching staff should have an edge over the Cards. Add it all up and I expect another win and cover for St. Louis. 10* personal favorite
|02-03-13||Baltimore Ravens +4 v. San Francisco 49ers||Top||34-31||Win||100||301 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing BALTIMORE. I've been riding the Ravens these playoffs, backing them in their victories over the Colts, Broncos and Patriots. Once again, I believe they're offering us excellent value.
The general consensus seems to be that the 49'ers are better in all facets of the game, with the exception of kicker. At least, I sure seem to hear a lot of people making that claim.
I don't see it that way.
Let's start by looking at the quarterbacks, the most important players on the field.
While I know many/most would probably choose Kaepernick but if I had the choice to have either QB for this game, I'd personally take Flacco.
There's no denying that Kaepernick has been really good. He's deadly on the ground, can beat you with his arm and has made good decisions.
That said, since the playoffs began, I believe Flacco has been every bit as good, some could argue better. I like the fact that he's got more playoff and overall experience. I like his demeanor and believe that he's peaking at the right time.
When making my Super Bowl pick, I probably give more weight to the head coach than many other handicappers. While I lost with Belichick last year, I've successfully backed the likes of Green Bay and New Orleans in recent years in no small part because I respected McCarthy and Payton.
Both Harbaugh brothers have obviously done a great job in getting their teams this far. I consider both to be very good coaches.
However, if given the choice, I'd take the older brother, John.
I backed Baltimore when these teams met on Thanksgiving a couple of years ago. I remember Jim saying: "John's the smartest guy I know.
Growing up, as brothers would do, the two brothers competed against each other. Jim was born with the better physical gifts. However, John made up for it with smarts. Obviously any athletic advantage Jim might have, won't play a factor here. The older and typically calmer brother, I feel John has the edge.
True, the 49'ers defense had the better regular season stats. However, this Raven defense is peaking at the right time - having shut down the likes of Luck, Manning and Brady. Meanwhile, the 49er defense has shown some vulnerability in the playoffs.
I believe that the two weeks in between games may also favor a Baltimore team which was forced to play one more playoff game to get here. Aging defenders like Lewis and Reed will benefit from the rest. (I also believe the experience of those type of players will prove invaluable.) Perhaps more importantly, the Ravens will have extra time to compare for the unconventional SF offense.
Note that the Ravens are 14-5 SU and 13-6 ATS the last 19 times that they played with two week's worth of rest, going 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS their last four in that situation.
While I like the Ravens to win, in a game that could come down to the wire, getting more than a field goal, I'll happily grab the points. *10 Best of Best
|01-20-13||Baltimore Ravens +10 v. New England Patriots||Top||28-13||Win||100||34 h 31 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. The Patriots remind me a of a school yard bully, a bit like Mike Tyson in about the mid 90s. Not Tyson like he is today and not Tyson like he was before losing to Buster Douglas. Rather, the Tyson that would beat up on guys with names like Peter McNeeley. Buster Mathis Jr. and Frank Bruno.
While he was no longer invincible, the Mike Tyson was still considered to very good. He'd only lost once and many were writing that loss to Douglas in Japan off as a fluke.
Other fighters were typically still very intimidated by Tyson and he'd routinely destroy any opponent that was lacking confidence. However, when matched up against an opponent that wasn't scared of him (Holyfield) Tyson found the going far more difficult.
It seems to me that some, perhaps many, teams are intimidated by New England. Like Tyson, the Pats annihilate a lot of opponents.
While it remains to be seen if they can pull off the upset, I believe the Ravens will have the type of mentality that Holyfield had in the Tyson fights. I don't believe that they're intimidated. They believe that they're on a mission and they're confident that they can beat this team. After the fashion in which they won at Denver - a game nobody was giving them a chance for - they truly believe that anything is possible, many believing fate is on their side.
I feel that type of confidence will serve them well here.
Lets not forget that the weather figures to be fairly nasty and Brady won't have Gronkowski to throw to.
These teams met at Baltimore in September. The Ravens won 31-30. They also faced each other here in last year's playoffs. New England won by a field goal, 23-20. That was also the exact same score in the previous game here, a 23-20 win by the Pats in Oct. 2010.
I'm expecting another close one, with the Ravens refusing to be intimidated and am grabbing all those generous points. *10 annihilator
|01-20-13||San Francisco 49ers v. Atlanta Falcons +5||Top||28-24||Win||100||30 h 22 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. Last week, Russell Wilson and the Seahawks were the talk of the town. This week, its Colin Kaepernick and the 49'ers who are all the rage. I feel that they're over-valued.
While they've had an extra day in between games, the 49'ers are still a West Coast team playing on the East Coast. While he may indeed be pretty "special," Kaeparnick is still a rookie making his first playoff road start.
While they are obviously a very talented team, I've found that every time that the 49'ers start winning a couple in a row, everyone wants to start handing them the Super Bowl. More often than not, that's when they've stumbled. (They were just 2-5 ATS and 2-4-1 SU after two straight wins.)
Many aren't giving the Falcons any credit for last week's win. They only see a team which nearly blew it and can't get over Atlanta's past postseason failures. I see a team which jumped all over a very opponent and a team which had the poise to come back and win, when it really mattered. I also see a team which exorcised some demons by earning that elusive playoff win.
Last week, I said the Falcons were being "disrespected," as they were barely favored against Seattle. This week, they're getting more than a field goal against the 49'ers, a team which was recently destroyed (42-13) by the Seahawks. Needless to say, I feel that the #1 seed is again being dis-respected.
Seemingly tired of being "disrespected," the Falcons were 3-0 ATS as underdogs (or in pick'em games) this season. All three of those resulted in outright victories. In fact, the Falcons didn't just win, they crushed those opponents.
When getting three points at San Diego, they won 27-3. When getting three points at Philadelphia, they won 30-17. Then, when listed at pick'em here at home against the Giants, the Falcons won by a score of 34-0. That's a combined score of 91-20 in the Falcons' favor, in the three games when they weren't favored.
The Falcons are 21-5 here the past few years, including 8-1 here this season. I'll happily take the points but expect them to win outright. *10 nfc main event
|01-13-13||Houston Texans +10 v. New England Patriots||Top||28-41||Loss||-115||120 h 26 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. You probably remember that these teams faced each other here about a month ago. If so, you'll recall that the Pats crushed the Texans in that game. That result is one of the factors causing this line to be much higher than it was for last month's meeting. I believe it will prove to be too high.
The Texans were among the best teams in the league for much of the season. Right up until the time they played here, at least. That loss sent them into a bit of a tailspin. The Texans flipped the switch back on last week though, knocking off a tough Cincy team which was playing very well. With their "mojo" back and having earned some "relief" in bouncing back, I expect the revenge-minded Texans, who are now 5-0 ATS their last five January games, to be at their best here.
Note that Houston is 10-2 ATS the last 12 times it attempted to avenge an earlier loss, going 3-0 SU/ATS its last three in that situation.
The Texans rode Arian Foster hard in the win over the Bengals. He had 140 yards on 32 carries. While Foster deserves a lot of that credit, the Houston offensive line did an excellent job of opening holes for him, against a touch Bengals' defensive line. I believe that strong running game will serve the Texans well here.
The Pats are only 1-3 ATS their last four playoff games and they're also a somewhat surprising 0-4 ATS (1-3 SU) the last four times that they played with two or more week's worth of rest in between games. When in that situation this season, they eked out a 6-point win over the Bills.
This O/U line is a bit lower than it was for last month's meeting. Therefore, its worth noting that the Pats are a poor 2-7 ATS the last nine times that they played a home game with an O/U line in the 45.5 to 49 range. Going back further finds them at just 9-23 ATS their last 32 in that situation. I expect them to have their hands full the entire way. *10 AFC Best bet
|01-13-13||Seattle Seahawks v. Atlanta Falcons -1||Top||28-30||Win||100||117 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. Talk about a lack of respect. The Falcons are the #1 seed in the NFC. They've got an experienced QB who practically never loses here. They're well-rested and well-coached. Yet, they're barely favored. While I'm well aware of their past postseason shortcomings, I feel that the low number is providing us with excellent value.
The Seahawks rallied for a win at Washington last week. That was against a team which also had a rookie QB though - one which wasn't close to being 100% healthy. That was also against a team which had (arguably) over-achieved just to make the playoffs. Additionally, the Hawks got to play a game in the later part of the day.
Now, however, this West-Coast based team will be contending with an early starting time, while playing its second straight road game. Now, they'll be facing a healthy QB and a team that has been fully focused on the playoffs and on improving its "legacy." I believe that the Hawks, who are much bettere defensively than the Skins (and also arguably better offensively) will prove to be a far tougher opponent.
The Falcons did lose their final game of the regular season, a 22-17 loss vs. the Bucs. They're 6-0 SU the last six times that they were off a divisional loss though and that was a meaningless game. The last time that they were really "motivated" for a game here, the Falcons destroyed the Giants by a score of 34-0. While we may not see another destruction like that one, I expect to see that type of resolve and focus from Atlanta.
While they've got a great homefield advantage, the Seahawks are still 8-17 SU their last 25 road games. During that stretch, the Falcons are 20-5 here at Atlanta. That includes a 6-3 SU/ATS mark as home favorites of three or fewer points. That also includes a 7-1 mark here this season. They outscored teams by a 24.5 to 17 margin here.
The Falcons beat the Seahawks each of the last two seasons. While Russell Wilson wasn't on the team at the time, each of those games came at Seattle, where the Hawks are a much better team. Playing at home and playing with a chip on its collective shoulders, I expect the #1 seed to again take care of business. *10 Playoff GOY
I'm also playing ATLANTA on the MONEYLINE for the first half. While it may seem too obvious to mention, the Falcons have the significant advantage of playing at home. They're dominant here. The Seahawks are also excellent on their homefield. They're thousands of miles from home now though, playing an early game.
We did see the Hawks rally for a win last week. However, we also saw the Skins jump all over them right out of the gate.
The Falcons have outscored teams by a 12.9 to 9.5 margin in the first half here at home this season. They've got something to prove here and I expect them to come out strong.
While I do expect the Falcons to be leading a halftime, I am recommending the money-line rather than the short pointspread. The price is quite reasonable and it gives us a push in the event of a tie at halftime and the win if the Falcons are leading by only a single points. *8 annihilator
|01-12-13||Baltimore Ravens +10 v. Denver Broncos||Top||38-35||Win||100||97 h 59 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. Denver had a great season and comes in riding the longest winning streak in the league. Throw in the fact that they're led by Peyton Manning and we find the Broncos laying a very big number. I believe it will prove to be too big.
For starters, entering the playoffs on an extended winning streak doesn't always guarantee success in the playoffs. Just ask the teams that lost in the Wildcard Round, all four of which were on winning streaks.
The Redskins entered the playoffs off seven straight victories. The Vikings entered the playoffs off four straight wins. The Bengals entered the playoffs off three straight victories and having won seven of their previous eight games. Lastly, the Colts had won back to back games and five of their previous six. With the exception of Seattle, none of the teams that won (Houston, GB, Baltimore) entered the playoffs on a winning streak. In fact, all three of those teams had lost their regular season finale.
We can kind of throw out the Seattle/Washington game, as those teams were both "hot." But, in all three of the other games, the "hotter" team was defeated.
Note that I'm not saying that Denver's winning streak should be ignored - only that it may not be quite as important as many likely assume.
You may recall that these teams faced each other on 12/16, at Baltimore. The Broncos dominated that game by a 34-17 count. Everything that could go wrong for Baltimore did go wrong and what appeared like it was going to be a 10-7 (or 10-3) halftime score, turned into a 17-0 Bronco lead due to a "pick-6" right before halftime. I expect a MUCH better effort from the revenge-minded Ravens here.
That 12/16 defeat vs. the Broncos was one of only two games all season long which saw the Ravens lose by more than six points.
The Ravens have won five of their last eight when playing with "revenge." They've also now won five of their last seven in January. I expect them to give the Broncos all they can handle with an excellent shot at the outright win. *9 annihilator
|01-06-13||Indianapolis Colts v. Baltimore Ravens -7||Top||9-24||Win||100||17 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on BALTIMORE. I believe that the Ravens are better on both sides of the ball. While Luck has certainly done an admirable job, he's still prone to making rookie mistakes and the playoffs are new ground for him. Flacco, on the other hand, has plenty of playoff experience. While he hasn't taken the Ravens to the Super Bowl yet, he has enjoyed some playoff success.
Of course, the fact that Ray Lewis is (likely) playing his final game here is also a significant factor. Lewis is a legend here and one of the best leaders in the game. I expect the entire team to be fired up to "win this one for Ray."
While there will be a lot of emotion with it being Lewis' last game there, Flacco is the type of QB that keeps an even keel no matter what the situation. I expect him to have his team able to use the emotion to the Ravens' advantage.
Obviously the Colts badly want to win this game too. However, I don't think that they'll feel the same sense of urgency. This is a young team and they'll have plenty of opportunities to return to the playoffs. No matter what happens here, they can already hold their heads high.
Keep in mind that while they were 4-4, the Colts were outscored by an average 29.1 to 21.1 margin on the road. They eked out a win in their last road game (at KC) but were outgained by a whopping 507-288 count, in terms of total yards.
The Ravens are 5-1 SU/ATS in the Wildcard Rd of the playoffs. During that time, they're 22-11-2 ATS as home favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range, 4-1-1 ATS the last six.
Throw last week's loss at Cincinnati out. The real Ravens showed up the previous week, beating up on the Giants by a 33-14 margin while getting their "swagger" back in the process. I expect them to step up and get it done. *10
I'm playing BALTIMORE on the moneyline for the first half. There's going to be a ton of emotion in Baltimore, with this likely being Ray Lewis' last game here. Flacco is the type of QB that keeps an even keel no matter what the situation. I expect him to have his team ready to use that emotion to their advantage.
The Ravens have outscored teams by a 15.1 to 10.9 margin in the first half of games here this season. The Colts, on the other hand, have been outscored by a 16 to 11.7 margin in the first half of their road games. While the price may seem a bit steep, getting a push if the game is tied and a win if the Ravens are up by 1-3 points makes this line preferable, in my opinion, to the first half ATS line. *6
|01-05-13||Minnesota Vikings v. Green Bay Packers -7.5||Top||10-24||Win||100||27 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on GREEN BAY. You guys likely know the story-line here. These teams just faced each other at Minnesota last week. In an exciting game which they needed to have, the Vikings eked out a 37-34 victory.
That Week 17 loss at Minnesota was the reason that the Packers are playing here. If they'd won that game, they would have earned a bye. So, its not like the Packers weren't trying to win. Still, there's a difference between playing for a bye and playing for a playoff spot, or playing to stay alive in the playoffs.
Of course, there's also a big difference between playing in the dome at Minnesota and playing a January game at Lambeau Field.
Adrian Peterson has proven to be a very special runner and Christian Ponder has certainly had a respectable season . However, Aaron Rodgers gives the Packers a significant advantage at the most important position in the game.
If he's not the best QB in the league, Rodgers is right there near the top. He tends to carve up the Vikings too, as he's got a 132.5 passer rating his last five games against them, throwing 16 TDs to just one interception while completing 74.7% of his passes.
While Peterson has had some personal success at Lambeau, the Vikings are still 1-5 in AP's career there. Peterson has averaged better than 100 yards there, scoring five TDs. It hasn't mattered.
Green Bay has beaten the Vikings convincingly here, too. In fact, in addition to having won five of six outright, the Packers are also 5-1 ATS the last six times that they were a host in the series. The Pack beat the Vikes by a combined score of 68-21 the last two meetings here.
Rodgers said this on the difference of playing at home as compared to playing at Minnesota: "The road got a little tougher having to play on opening weekend, but we've got a home game and that's why you win the division. You get to go back home and the game will be a different type of game. They won't have the home-crowd advantage and hopefully that will make a difference.''
Including this season's result here, the Packers are 17-8 ATS (22-3 SU) at home the past few seasons. During that stretch, the Vikes are only 9-14-1 ATS (7-17 SU) away from Minnesota.
The Pack are outscoring teams by an average of 11.6 ppg here this season. They lost their first game of the season here and have since won their last seven here. They won those seven games by an average margin of 13 points.
Th Packers, who have won nine of their last 10 (7-2-1 ATS) when playing on a Saturday, are battle-tested in the playoffs and I believe that they've got a significant coaching edge. I look for them to take care of business on Saturday, earning the cover along the way. *10
|12-30-12||Dallas Cowboys +3.5 v. Washington Redskins||Top||18-28||Loss||-113||12 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. Unlike many of the Week 17 matchups, this game means everything for both teams. Throw in the long-standing rivalry between the NFC East foes and the stadium will clearly be buzzing.
Griffin and co. have surely been a great story. However, at this stage of Griffin's career, with Griffin recently banged-up and Romo playing great, I'll still take Romo for a single winner-take all showdown. I may be proven wrong and RG3 has certainly shown to be a very talented individual but I believe that there's something to be said for experience.
Griffin will be playing his first game under the Sunday night lights. He says his knee is healthier. However, his running plays may still be a little limited. Still dangerous, obviously, but perhaps not as much as a few weeks ago.
Outside of the QBs, I believe that Romo has the better overall supporting cast. While all teams have plenty of injuries at this time of the year, the Cowboys are in better shape than they were for the earlier meeting, when the Skins upset them at Dallas.
The Skins are still only 4-6 ATS the last 10 times that they were favored, going an ugly 50-81-2 ATS when laying points over the long-term.
The Cowboys are 5-2 ATS on the road and 4-2 ATS as underdogs. While Griffin and co. will have many years to get more chances, Romo and co. have a limited window. I look for them to step up and get it done. *10 Main Event
|12-30-12||Houston Texans -6.5 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||16-28||Loss||-110||6 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. The Colts are playing their starters and they have their head coach back - for the first time all season. While they appear to be serious about wanting to win, the fact is that a victory can't help their positioning. On the other hand, the Texans still could have a chance at helping themselves. I expect them to be the more motivated team.
Defensive end J.J. Watt noted: "We know what it takes," said defensive end J.J. Watt, two sacks shy of Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22 1/2. "We're going to get focused, and then we're going to come out there and earn ourselves home-field advantage."
The Colts, who are great against losing teams but only 1-2 ATS against teams with a winning record, may have eked out a win last week but they didn't exactly look dominant doing it. Indeed, they were outgained by a lopsided 507-288 margin, giving up a whopping 352 yards on the ground. I expect that to spell trouble against the Texans, who are surely licking their collective chops.
The Texans are 3-1 ATS the last four times that they were listed as road favorites in the 3.5 to 7 range. They know what's at stake and I expect them to take care of business. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-30-12||Chicago Bears v. Detroit Lions +3||Top||26-24||Win||100||5 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Lions rank near the top of the league, in the category of most disappointing season. A talented team, they lost close games in a variety of different ways. That string of close losses eventually caught up with them - fighting so hard to to come up just short, over and over again, will do that. They've been blown out each of the past two weeks. Neither of those were divisional games though. Neither had playoff implications like this one.
The Lions have had an extra day of rest and preparation time here (last game was a Saturday) and that often can be more helpful than it sounds. More importantly, they get to host the hated Bears, a team which beat them by six at Chicago back in October. Better yet, they can play a role in keeping them out of the playoffs. I don't believe that lack of motivation will be an issue. This is an opportunity to show some pride, get some revenge and to give the home fans something to take into the offseason.
As Cutler said of the Lions: "It's safe to say the Lions are disappointed in their season, so they would love nothing more than to make us disappointed for the rest of the year."
Coach Schwartz would note: "You want to end the season on a high note. Last year we were a playoff team ... It does give you a little bit of feeling going into the offseason. It's one of 16, but it is the last one that we play.
Nobody wants teams to celebrate at your own expense. I think that's important."
The Lions beat the Bears 24-13 here last season. I expect them to be at their best again this afternoon. *10 Best Bet
|12-23-12||Washington Redskins v. Philadelphia Eagles +7||Top||27-20||Push||0||6 h 32 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I really like how this one sets up for the home team.
Obviously, the Eagles have had a very disappointing season. Nobody is certain what next season will bring but change is inevitable.
Playing their home finale, this game offers one last chance for this current group of players and coaches to earn the home fans a victory. Reid, who has been through an awful lot this season, has taken this team to the playoffs nine times since becoming coach in 1999. I expect his players to fight their hardest for him.
All the talk will be out Robert Griffin III, who is expected to return. He may not be quite 100% though. Either way, I don't expect him to find the going easy here. (Same goes for Cousins, should he happen to play.)
The Eagles are playing with revenge from an earlier blowout loss at Washington. They've been playing better since that time with two covers in their last three games. Prior to the loss at Washington, they'd beaten the Skins three straight times.
The Redskins did win big at Cleveland last week, even without Griffin. And, as noted, they did beat up on the Eagles last month. However, prior to last week's win, their previous three victories had come by just 11 combined points, none by greater than a touchdown.
The Eagles are playing with some extra preparation time, as their last game came on a Thursday. They're 55-33-3 ATS the last 91 times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss. I expect them to step up and close out the current era (at Philadelphia) with at least a cover. *10 Best Bet
|12-23-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||13-10||Loss||-115||4 h 25 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. This is a huge game for both teams. While they've struggled lately and are off a heart-breaking loss, the Steelers are still a team that knows how to win and which has been involved in many of these must win games in the past. They've also dominated the Bengals for years and that should give them confidence here. I feel that the current line is providing excellent value.
Yes, the Bengals have played well of late. Yes, they desperately want to win this game. At the end of the day, the Steelers are still 18-6 here the past few seasons, including a 35-7 blowout of these same Bengals the last meeting here.
The Bengals are 4-10-2 ATS their last 16 in the division going an awful 56-86-3 ATS their last 145. The Steelers are 10-6-1 ATS their last 17 division games and 82-62-6 their last 150.
I respect Dalton, Marvin Lewis and the Bengals. However, I still respect Rothlisberger, Tomlin and the Steelers more. Until proven otherwise on the field, the Steelers still own this team. The only other time that the Steelers had lost two straight this season, they stepped up and won outright at Baltimore. With everything on the line, I expect them to step up and get it done again. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-22-12||Atlanta Falcons v. Detroit Lions +4.5||Top||31-18||Loss||-110||35 h 17 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. Most people will assume that Atlanta has more to play for here and therefore they'll assume that the Falcons will also be the more motivated team.
True, the Falcons are trying to wrap up home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs while also building momentum for more important games. True, the Lions are playing out the string.
That doesn't tell the entire story though.
The Falcons will still control their own destiny, in terms of home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, even if they lose there.
Meanwhile, Detroit has another chance to show the national audience than its better than indicated by its record.
I believe that the Lions are indeed better than their record indicates. I also believe that they'll be highly motivated by the chance to beat this year's best NFC team, particularly after getting embarrassed last week.
QB Stafford noted: "People are competitive, people have pride. People have confidence in themselves. I think that's what helps people bounce back from stuff like this.''
The Falcons showed that they can dominate when fully focused last week. However, keep in mind that they were dominated by Carolina the previous week. Off the big "revenge" win vs. the defending SB champions and with their regular season home finale on deck - and against a division rival - I could easily see the Falcons experiencing a bit of a letdown here.
The Lions are 4-2 ATS the last six times that they were home underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range. I expect them to bounce back with AT LEAST a cover on Saturday. *10
|12-16-12||San Francisco 49ers +6 v. New England Patriots||Top||41-34||Win||100||56 h 40 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN FRANCISCO. I lost playing against the Patriots last week. While they admittedly looked very good, while also making me look pretty bad, I'm still willing to go against them here.
After last week's blowout victory over Houston, the line is higher than it otherwise would have been. I feel that's providing us with excellent value.
Brady seems to be able to throw to just about anyone. However, injuries to targets Gronkowski, Edelman and Stallworth figure to catch up with the Pats against this defense.
While the Texans defense was exposed by the Pats' high-powered offense, this SF defense allows the fewest points in the entire league, at just 14.2 per game.
Kaepernick is obviously not in Brady's class yet (and may never be) as Brady has been getting it done for a decade while Kaepernick has only made four starts. Still, the fact that Kaepernick has completed better than 67% of his passes can't be ignored. He's gaining more than eight yards per attempt, too. Nor can his ability to beat teams with his feet.
Despite the limited number of games, he's already third among NFL quarterbacks with 351 rushing yards. He's averaging a whopping 7.6 per carry and already has five rushing touchdowns.
While the Pats are 5-6-1 ATS their last 12 non-conference games, the 49'ers are 8-3 SU/ATS their last 11 against AFC teams.
The 49'ers are also 7-4-1 ATS as underdogs the past 2+ seasons, including a perfect 3-0 ATS as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range. I believe that their physical rushing attack and powerful defense matches up well against the Pats and I won't be surprised to see them score the outright win. *10 Main Event
|12-16-12||Seattle Seahawks v. Buffalo Bills +6||Top||50-17||Loss||-110||52 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on BUFFALO. The Seahawks figure to be a popular pick here. After all, they're off a 58-0 victory last week. Plus, they're battling for the playoffs while the Bills are most likely "playing out the string."
I don't expect the Bills to just roll over though. In fact, while the playoffs aren't really going to happen, this team is still mathematically alive and I believe that they're offering plenty of value.
Its true that the Bills would have preferred to play this game at Buffalo, instead of Toronto. However, I still feel the venue will provide them with an advantage.
Keep in mind that the Seahawks are thousands of miles away from home. Playing away from home doesn't bother some teams. However, its something that the Seahawks haven't really figured out yet. They've won only two of seven games away from Seattle. Note that both of those victories came by less than a touchdown, too.
The Seahawks, who are dealing with several banged-up players, are an awful 21-42 the last 63 times that they were off a divisional victory, going 3-4 ATS (2-5 SU) their last seven in that situation.
Perhaps worse than the potential letdown from the Arizona win is the potential for a "look-ahead" to next week's critical home game vs. San Francisco.
While they're only 3-5 their last eight games, four of the Bills' last five losses have come by less than a touchdown. I look for them to step up and earn at least a cover. *10 Best Bet
|12-16-12||Minnesota Vikings v. St. Louis Rams -1||Top||36-22||Loss||-132||49 h 5 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. Don't tell these teams that they've got nothing to play for. Both the Vikings and Rams kept their hopes alive by winning last week. Both are still on the outside looking in. Both need another win. With the game being played at St. Louis, I feel that the Rams will have the advantage.
The Vikings are 6-1 at home but only 1-5 (SU and ATS) on the road. They've won just five of 22 road games the past few seasons. The Rams are 2-3-1 on the road, 2-4-1 if you count the game at London. They're 4-2 in games here at St. Louis though.
With a healthy Adrian Peterson in the backfield, the Vikings are obviously a very good running team. However, the Rams have been extremely stout against the run of late.
Last week, they limited Buffalo's C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to a combined 51 yards on 16 carries. The Bills were fourth in the league in rushing coming into that game.
The previous week, the Rams limited Frank Gore to only 58 yards. A closer look reveals that Gore had 23 yards on one play and only 35 yards on his other 22 carries combined.
Jeff Fisher said this of his team's run defense: "Everybody's been contributing from the back end to defensive tackle Michael Brockers is improving, Kendall's Langford playing good, the ends are playing solid, the linebackers are flowing."
Fisher went on to say that he's not talking to his team about the playoffs: "We have the Vikings coming into this week. That's our focus ... Right now, none of that matters unless we win this game. We have to find a way ..."
The Rams are 7-2 ATS when playing a game with an O/U line in the 35.5 to 42 range, going 15-9 ATS their last 24 in that situation. On the other hand, during that time, the Vikings were just 2-10 ATS when playing a game where the line ranged from 35.5 to 42.
The Rams are also 4-0 SU/ATS the last four times that they played a game with a line ranging from -3 to +3. I look for Fisher's team to "find a way," covering the small number along the way. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-16-12||NY Giants v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||0-34||Win||100||8 h 11 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. For a team with an 11-2 overall record, including a perfect 6-0 mark at home, the Falcons sure aren't getting much respect here. I feel that lack of respect is providing us with excellent value.
One could easily make a case for the Giants needing this game more. From a playoff perspective, I'll admit that is in fact true. The Falcons, already division champs, have the best record in the entire NFC and that will remain the case, even if they lose this game. Meanwhile, the Giants have both the Cowboys and Redskins breathing down their necks in the race for the NFC East title.
That said, I expect the Falcons to be every bit as motivated as the defending champions. Indeed, this is a game that Atlanta has had circled since the schedule came out. You may recall that the Giants beat up on the Falcons (24-2) in last year's playoffs, en route to winning the Super Bowl.
I believe that this is a much improved Atlanta team from the one which the Giants defeated last season. I'm not sure that the same can be said of New York though.
While they do have a promising rookie in David Wilson, who is coming off a big game, its still worth noting that the Giants will be without Ahmad Bradshaw, their leading rusher and also his backup, (Andre Brown ) who is out for the season.
Tom Coughlin noted this about the Falcons being a different team from last season: "They have two new coordinators in defensive coordinator Mike Nolan and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. They do bring their own personality and style to the way that they're playing, so there is a difference."
As if last year's playoff loss wasn't motivation enough, the Falcons were embarrassed by Carolina last week and have had to listen to all the talk about them being a fraud all week.
Note that Falcons, who are 19-4 SU their last 23 at home, are a perfect 5-0 SU the last five times that they were off a loss vs. a divisional opponent. I expect the revenge-minded Falcons to step up and improve on those stats, making a statement and covering the very small number along the way. *10 "Revenge" GOW
|12-13-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Philadelphia Eagles +5||Top||34-13||Loss||-110||30 h 21 m||Show|
I'm playing on PHILADELPHIA. I knew I liked the Eagles in this spot. However, I also expected the line to climb above its opening number of three and therefore waited a bit before releasing it. It has now done so. As far as I'm concerned, given the situation, anything better than a field goal is very generous.
I respect the Bengals and I won with them when they beat the Giants. However, I don't feel that they are a team which should be laying more than a field goal on the road here. Not when they're off a heart-breaker and playing a road game, on a short week. Not when they're facing a Philadelphia team which finally enters a game with some much-needed momentum.
After covering the previous week, the Eagles got the monkey off their back with an outright win last week. That was on the road against a Tampa team that was fighting for the playoffs. That victory should appease the home faithful a little while also giving them some much needed confidence.
Now, the Eagles get a chance to do some more "spoiling" while getting to show the nationally televised audience that they aren't a bad as the recent skid made them seem. I expect a highly motivated effort.
Nick Foles, who threw for nearly 400 yards in leading the Eagles to last week's win noted: "It's a great feeling for the team. I think the big thing is, it's a great thing for the team sticking together. We can build off of this.''
As for the Bengals, let's keep in mind, that besides that win over the Giants that they've mostly struggled against top tier competition. They beat Washington. That was early in the season before the Skins had really started to come into their own though. Their other victories came against Cleveland, a team which also defeated them in the rematch, Jacksonville, Miami, KC, Oakland and San Diego. None of those are playoff teams. In fact, those five teams are a combined 15-48.
Obviously, the Eagles haven't been a top tier team this season. However, my point is that the Bengals, 0-6 the last six times that they played a road game when the O/U line ranged from 42.5 to 45, aren't exactly an "elite" team themselves.
Already 2-0 ATS this month, the Eagles are now 14-6 ATS (16-4 SU) their last 20 games played in the month of December, 7-3 SU/ATS the past few seasons.
While this month's ATS victories have come on the road, the Eagles have also won seven of their last eight December home games. I expect them to give their guests all they can handle with an excellent shot at another outright win. *10 Roast
Bonus First Half Play: Eagles.
Keep in mind that this line opened with the Bengals laying a field goal for the entire game. Now, we're able to get that many (or more) points for the first half. I believe that's providing us with excellent value. Note that the Bengals were up by three at halftime last week, after being down by three at the break the previous week.
The Eagles were winning 10-0 at halftime last week and they were up 17-10 the previous week. The week before that, they were winning 15-14 at half. Grab the points. *10
|12-10-12||Houston Texans +4 v. New England Patriots||Top||14-42||Loss||-110||34 h 45 m||Show|
I'm playing on HOUSTON. Obviously these are both very good teams, each of them very capable of representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. With all due respect to Belichick and Brady, I feel that the Texans are the more complete team.
Both teams can score but the Pats enter with a statistical edge on that side of the ball. They're averaging 35.8 points per game, 34.8 at home. The Texans are averaging 29.2 overall, 25.3 on the road. Still very respectable numbers.
The Texans make up for it on the other side of the ball. They're allowing 16 points per game on the road while the Pats are allowing 24.4 at home.
I won with the Pats when they beat the Broncos back on 10/7. I also won with them when they hammered the Colts on 11/18. So, I'm not opposed to backing them against "good" teams.
I feel that the Texans are stronger than either the Colts or the Broncos though. Certainly, I feel that they're stronger than Indianapolis. Also, a closer look shows that the Pats have stumbled when up against other quality non-divisional opponents.
Sure, they've beaten up on their own division. However, they know those teams and have their number - plus, the Bills, Jets and Dolphins are all sub-500 teams. Entering Sunday's action, they're each 5-7. That's a far cry from Houston's 11-1 record.
The Pats' other non-divisional wins came against Tennessee and St. Louis, teams which are a combined 9-14-1 entering Sunday.
Losses against Arizona, Baltimore and Seattle were some time ago now but shouldn't be entirely forgotten.
I did successfully play against the Texans in their only loss this season, a 42-24 pasting at the hands of the Packers. However, that's the only time that the Texans have lost all season.
They've beaten quality and/or talented teams like the Broncos (they beat them at Denver too, while the Pats beat them at Foxboro) Bears and Lions.
When matched up against the Ravens, a team which defeated New England, the Texans won by a score of 43-13.
When matched up against other AFC East teams, the Texans have gone 3-0. They won those games by scores of 30-10, 23-17 and 21-9. So, they too can dominate the the AFC East teams.
Note that the Texans are 6-0 (4-1-1 ATS) on the road and that they're also 11-5 ATS their last 16 against teams with a winning record.
Back to the Packers game for a minute; I feel that's worked in our favor. That game offered the Texans a rare chance in front of the nationally televised (Sunday night) audience and they got embarrassed. While they did manage a win against the Bears on Monday night, they didn't cover - and that game had an asterisk beside it, due to Cutler not playing. Even the win at Detroit on Thanksgiving was a little "questionable."
Those two primetime games have remained fresh in the memories of bettors as many lost with Houston in one or even both of those games. They're going to be a little hesitant to back the Texans here. That sentiment has worked in four favor, one of the factors keeping the line above a field goal.
I believe the Texans are a team seeking respect, something the Pats already have. I feel that the Texans will view this as a "statement" game and look for them to be at their very best. *10
|12-09-12||Detroit Lions +7 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||20-27||Push||0||25 h 24 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROT. The Lions have certainly found ways to lose - and they cost me last week. However, the fact is that they almost never get blown out. Their last three losses have all come by four points or less, starting with a 24-20 loss vs. these same Packers. Once again, I expect them to be in this one the entire way.
From a playoff perspective, its true that the Packers need this game more. The Lions have no hope. The Packers need every win that they can get. I don't expect the Lions to go through the motions though. This is a hated divisional rival, one which broke their hearts earlier. Also, this is a nationally televised game, an opportunity to show the nation that they're better than their record suggests. Of course, snapping a 20-game skid at Lambeau would be nice too ...
The Packers aren't that far removed from winning a Super Bowl and are certainly worthy of respect. They're missing several key components at the moment though and I don't feel that the current lineup should be laying this many points against what I still believe is a talented Lions team. The Packers did eke out a 9-point vs. Minnesota last week - but that was far from easy. The previous week, they were exposed by the Giants, a 38-10 destruction.
Note that the Packers are 0-2 SU/ATS this season, when off a divisional victory. After beating Chicago, they lost at Seattle. The blowout loss against the Giants came after GB beat the Lions in the earlier meeting.
Given their tendency to avoid being blown out, its not surprising that the Lions are a profitable 10-5 ATS the last 15 times that they were listed as underdogs in the 3.5 to 9.5 range, including a 5-2 ATS mark as road underdogs in the 3.5 to 7 range. I expect them to improve on those stats with AT LEAST a cover on Sunday night. *10 Main Event
|12-09-12||NY Jets -2.5 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||Top||17-10||Win||100||18 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on the JETS. Its surely now or never for Sanchez. Rex Ryan has given him the nod once again, after he got benched in last week's game. I may be in the minority but I like that decision. I agree that Sanchez gives the Jets the best chance to win. I feel that playing on the road will help ease the pressure, at least a little, and I expect Sanchez to rise to the occasion and remind everyone that he can actually still play.
Jacksonville figures to be an ideal opponent. Not only are the Jags terrible this season, they're banged-up at the QB and running back positions. Perhaps most importantly, the Jets hammered the Jags by a score of 32-3 last season. Sanchez was 17 of 24 with two TDs in that game. So, he should help in the confidence department.
Of course, Sanchez's job would be much easier if his team has the advantage on the ground. I expect that to be the case.
The Jags give up 144 rushing yards per game, 31st in the league. Meanwhile, the Jags run the ball for only 78.8 yards per game, worst in the league. The Jets check in off a game in which they gained 177 yards on the ground.
The Jets are 3-1-1 ATS (4-1 SU) the last five times that they were listed as road favorites of three or fewer points. They're also 12-7-2 ATS (13-8 SU) the last 21 times that they played a game where the line ranged from -3 to +3.
The Jets are also 13-3 SU and 10-5-1 ATS their last 16 against teams with a losing record. With the Titans, Chargers and Bills on deck, all beatable teams, the Jets aren't completely out of this thing yet. I say they step up and get it done. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-09-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||23-27||Win||100||18 h 42 m||Show|
I'm playing on TENNESSEE. The Colts have sure had a great year. However, that doesn't mean that they're be ready to be laying this many points.
A look at the Colts' schedule shows that they've only won one game all season by more than a touchdown. Five victories have come by a field goal or less.
While the Titans were beaten by 14 by a strong Houston team last week, that was just the second time in seven games that they've lost by more than six points.
The Titans have been at their best off back to back losses, going 3-0 ATS. Looking to avenge the earlier loss and potentially catching the Colts looking ahead, if only slightly, to Houston, I expect the Titans to take this one down to the wire with an excellent shot at an outright win. *10 AFC South GOY
|12-09-12||Dallas Cowboys +3.5 v. Cincinnati Bengals||Top||20-19||Win||100||15 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. The Cowboys may not have blown out the Eagles. However, they did enough to win. I expect them to build some momentum from that comeback victory and feel that this is an excellent spot for them.
Romo, who broke Aikman's record for TDs in that game, noted: ''It's about winning games. We desperately had to have this win tonight, and our team fought like heck to get a win.''
With that win and their hopes rekindled - but knowing they still absolutely need another one - I expect the Cowboys to again "fight like heck."
The Bengals may have home field advantage. However, they're also off a hard fought game on the West Coast, so there was some traveling across time zones involved.
Speaking of home field "advantage," the Bengals are only 2-3-1 ATS (3-3 SU) here this season while the Cowboys are 4-2 ATS (3-3 SU) on the road.
While the Cowboys may have only won four of their last eight games, all four losses came by a TD or less. I'm grabbing the points. *10 Non-Conf. BEST BET
|12-06-12||Denver Broncos v. Oakland Raiders +11.5||Top||26-13||Loss||-120||29 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. While I won with the Broncos last week, I feel that they're laying too many points here. While the Broncos have many bigger games left in their future, this arguably qualifies as the the Raiders biggest remaining game.
After all, its a nationally televised home game against a divisional opponent, one which crushed them in this season's previous meeting. With no playoffs to look forward to and only one other games coming against "playoff teams," this is about as good as it gets. The Raiders do have one more home game remaining, next week vs. KC. However, while that's perhaps a more "winnable" game, Oakland already defeated the Chiefs once this season. Beating the Broncos would be that much sweeter for them, a chance to show that they can still compete with the best in the division.
In other words, I expect the Raiders to be extremely motivated.
On the other hand, as noted, Denver has many bigger games on deck. Also, having just officially clinched the division, a bit of a letdown may be in order - even though they still want the best record possible and even though clinching the division was already a foregone conclusion.
While the Broncos did manage to hang on for the cover last week, they still only ended up winning by eight points. That's three straight games that they've played which have been decided by eight or less.
The Raiders fought hard right until the end last week, losing by three. I expect them to again take this game right down to the closing seconds, elevating their game and earning AT LEAST the cover. *10 Main Event
|12-02-12||Cleveland Browns v. Oakland Raiders +3||Top||20-17||Push||0||6 h 13 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Admittedly, the Browns have been more competitive than the Raiders in recent weeks. I like how this one sets up for the home team though.
The Browns were able to play their hearts out against a banged-up divisional rival last week, knocking off the Steelers. However, off that win and now playing thousands of miles away for a meaningless game against a non-divsional team, I feel they may have some trouble "getting up" for this one. Divisional wins don't come around often for this team. Note that they're 0-2 SU/ATS the last two times that they were coming off a divisional win.
On the other hand, I expect the Raiders to be extremely motivated. They've been embarrassed the last few weeks and know that this game is one of their best remaining chances at a victory. Keep in mind that the Browns haven't won a game on the road all season long.
From a line value perspective, note that the Browns haven't been favored for a game all season. (They were 2-6-1 ATS as favorites the previous two seasons.) Also, consider that the Raiders were laying 6.5 points when they hosted the Browns last season. Oakland won by seven, 24-17, dominating the Browns by a 151 to 65 margin on the ground.
Speaking of the Oakland ground game, note that the Raiders should have McFadden and Goodson back to bolster the ground game.
Carson Palmer noted: "...good to see them in the huddle and see them get reps and see Darren smiling and hitting the hole hard, and same thing with Goody. Good for the team but also good for the offense to have those guys back.''
The Raiders are 3-2 ATS the last five times that they were home underdogs of three or fewer points. I expect them to step up and improve on those stats here. *10 Best Bet
|12-02-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Denver Broncos -7.5||Top||23-31||Win||100||6 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on DENVER. I successfully played against the Broncos each of the past two weeks, including last week at Kansas City. In each case, I felt that the Broncos were laying too many points and had reason to believe that they'd be in for a dogfight. This week, however, the line is a little more reasonable and I like how the game sets up for them.
Give the Bucs credit. They've played well this season and have been very profitable to their backers. However, I feel that they're in a very difficult spot here. Last week's 1-point loss vs. Atlanta was extremely hard fought and coming up just short like that figures to have an effect here.
Peyton Manning is a master of taking what the defense gives him and exploiting weaknesses. In this case, he knows that the Bucs are tough against the run but also that they're the worst in the entire NFL against the pass - they're giving up a whopping 315.5 passing yards per game. I expect him to have a big day.
The Broncos have been very tough at home this season, outscoring opposing teams by an average of 31.4 to 18.6. They've outgained them in those games by an average of 425.6 to 297.2. On the other hand, the Bucs are being outgained by a 405 to a 361.4 margin away from Tampa.
While its only a formality at this point, the Broncos can wrap up the AFC West title with a win here. I expect them to do so in convincing fashion. *10 Annihilator
|12-02-12||Indianapolis Colts v. Detroit Lions -6.5||Top||35-33||Loss||-105||3 h 16 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. Andrew Luck and the Colts deserve credit for already exceeding this season's expectations. I feel that they're in tough here though.
The Lions have been the opposite of the Colts in that they've under-achieved. They're still a talented team though and I feel that they'll have the advantage here.
While they've had success at home, the Colts are only 2-3 SU/ATS on the road. Giving up 31.6 points per road game hasn't helped. The two wins came at Tennessee and Jacksonville. (Those two teams enter Week 13 with a combined 6-16 record, 3-8 at their own venues.)
You probably saw that the Lions are coming off a tough loss on Thanksgiving Day. That was against a very good Houston team though, one which is better than the opponent which they'll face here. Note that the Texans were the first non-divisional opponent which has beaten the Lions here. Also, note that the Lions have had an extra couple of days to prepare and heal, due to the Houston game occurring on a Thursday.
Counting the game vs. Houston as a push, the Lions have now gone 6-3-2 ATS against AFC teams the past few seasons, going 12-8-1 ATS at home. They've won six of eight December games, going 5-3 ATS.
While the Colts have more to play for, I expect the Lions to rise up and show some pride here, taking pleasure in doing damage to the Colts' playoff chances. *10 Personal Favorite
|12-02-12||Carolina Panthers v. Kansas City Chiefs +4.5||Top||21-27||Win||100||3 h 9 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. I was going to play the Chiefs before the recent tragedy. While some may feel that awful event will cause them to struggle, I still like them in this spot.
The Panthers are playing on a short week, while also playing their second straight on the road. They may have defeated the Eagles, a team which is in free-fall. However, they're still 3-8 on the season and I don't believe that they have any business laying more than a field goal here. Keep in mind that this team is 5-16 SU its last 21 on the road.
The Chiefs haven't won a home game all season but they've kept fighting. With only one remaining home game on deck (Colts) and that not coming until Dec. 23rd, this represents their best shot at getting the home fans that elusive victory. Note that they covered against the Broncos last season, playing Denver tough the whole way.
Also, the last time that they were underdogs in the +3.5 to 7 range, they covered vs. Baltimore, improving to 2-0 ATS the last couple of seasons, when in that role.
The Chiefs have quietly gone 8-3 ATS in games against the NFC the past few seasons. In what could well be a close game, I'll grab the points. However, I expect the recent tragedy to help bring the Chiefs together, if only for a day, as they step up and score the upset. *9
|12-02-12||San Francisco 49ers v. St Louis Rams +9||Top||13-16||Win||100||3 h 6 m||Show|
I'm playing on ST. LOUIS. I've been very successful in picking my spots to go and against the Rams this season. Getting more than a touchdown, I feel that they're providing us with excellent value here.
The Rams have already played the 49'ers very tough at San Francisco. You may recall that the teams played to a 24-24 ties there a few weeks ago. Now, they get to face them at St. Louis, where they've played well all season. I expect them to again give the division leaders all that they can handle.
Note that the early starting time may favor the Rams, over their West Coast based guests. In addition to playing an early game in the Eastern time zone, the 49'ers are playing their second straight road game, coming off a playoff rematch with the Saints.
Yes, Kaepernick has been impressive. However, he's still only made a couple of starts and at some point he's likely to experience at least some minor growing pains. Given the fact that Jeff Fisher and the Rams have seen him first-hand, unlike San Francisco's previous two opponents, I won't be surprised if Kaepernick comes back to earth a little here. (Kaepernick played in relief in the earlier game against the Rams, at SF.)
I believe that the Rams, who are 7-3 ATS as underdogs, will really want this one. Fisher had this to say: "This game is really going to tell us who we are as a team. They're the team to beat in our division. We got close but didn't get it done the first time ... "
While I respect the 49'ers, I'm grabbing the generous points. *9
|11-29-12||New Orleans Saints v. Atlanta Falcons -3||Top||13-23||Win||100||24 h 55 m||Show|
I'm playing on ATLANTA. It goes without saying that both teams badly want this one. The Saints are looking to stay alive in the playoff race and continue their dominance over a division rival. The Falcons are looking to clinch the division, while avenging the recent loss at New Orleans, which was their only defeat this season.
I won't go as far as saying that the Falcons will want it more - but I definitely think that they'll be extremely hungry.
While I really respect Brees and the Saints, I don't think we can ignore the venue. The Saints are 2-3 on the road. The Falcons are 5-0 at home.
We may not be able to see it on the scoresheet and its possible that he may never coach here again but I do also think that Sean Payton's absence can be a factor in a big game like this.
While it admittedly didn't help out much last Thursday (Thanksgiving) I do feel that playing at home is generally an even bigger advantage than normal, when playing on a short week.
Speaking of Thursday games, its interesting to note that the Saints are 1-5 ATS their last six Thursday games (1-2 ATS past few seasons) while the Falcons are a lucrative 6-1 ATS (2-0 ATS past few seasons) their last seven Thursday games.
The Saints defense may be improving. However, the numbers are still pretty bad. They're allowing 27.6 ppg and 455.3 ypg. On the road, those numbers climb to 28.4 and 466.2.
On the other hand, the Falcons allow 19.6 ppg and 344.9 ypg.
True, these teams have played some close games in last couple of years and its also true that the Falcons have shown a tendency to play close games this season. Still, the line is low enough that I feel a win will have an excellent shot at a cover. Note that Atlanta is 12-6-1 ATS the last 19 times that it was favored by four or fewer points, 5-1-1 ATS (6-1 SU) its last seven in that role. I expect the Falcons to improve on those stats, making a statement that they're the real deal. *9 Main Event
**BONUS 1ST HALF MONEYLINE PLAY**
I like the Falcons to get off to a quick start here and am playing ATLANTA on the moneyline for the 1st Half. The Falcons found themselves trailing out at halftime (21-17) of the 11/11 meeting and I feel that they'll be on a mission right out of the gate.
The perception is that the Falcons are winning their games late. That's been true to a certain extent. However, a closer look reveals that the game against the Saints was the only time, since their bye Week, that the Falcons have been "trailing" at halftime. They were either tied or winning each other time.
The Saints defense may be improving. However, the numbers are still pretty bad. They're allowing 27.6 ppg and 455.3 ypg. On the road, those numbers climb to 28.4 and 466.2. On the other hand, the Falcons allow 19.6 ppg and 344.9 ypg. *6
|11-25-12||Green Bay Packers v. NY Giants -3||Top||10-38||Win||110||11 h 1 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NY GIANTS. These teams both command respect. Both have elite quarterbacks and both are led by Super Bowl winning coaches. Either are capable of winning anywhere, any time. That said, I still feel that home field advantage is significant. And that getting the champs, laying a field goal or less, is offering very fair value.
Obviously, both teams really want this one. Its true that the Packers are playing with "revenge" from last year's playoff loss. However, they're also off a divisional game last week and playing their second straight on the road.
I played against the Giants in their last game, a blowout loss at Cincy. The champs have had two weeks to recover from that embarrassing loss though and they figure to be motivated by it.
Note that the Giants are 2-0 the last couple of seasons, after their bye. They won those two games by a combined score of 61-24. In fact, they're 4-0 SU their last four after a bye, every victory coming by a minimum of a field goal.
Manning seems to particularly benefit off a bye. Indeed, Eli has completed better than 68% of his passed for 1,290 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception over that 4-game "post-bye" win streak. I'm going with the champs to bounce back. *9 Personal Favorite
|11-25-12||Baltimore Ravens v. San Diego Chargers +2||Top||16-13||Loss||-105||7 h 8 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. The Ravens opened as slight favorites in this game and that's still the case as I write this. I understand that the books are looking for balanced action. So, perhaps this will prove to be the perfect line for them to achieve that goal. However, my own "personal line" doesn't take balancing action into consideration.
Actually I make two sets of lines prior to ever seeing the actual ones. One is a line which factors in what I expect to happen in the game, my "personal line." The other is my "projected" line. In this case, I projected the game at "pick'em," which was pretty accurate. However, my "personal line" had the Chargers laying a field goal. In fact, I expect them to win by more even than that. Here's why.
The Ravens have been "unbeatable" at Baltimore. However, they're only 3-2 on the road. A closer look reveals that they are actually being outscored in their road games by a 19.6 to 16.6 margin. Perhaps more alarming, they're being outgained by a 369 to 256.2 margin, in terms of total yards, in those games.
In fact, Baltimore is currently on pace to become only the third team in NFL history to average 20 more points at home than it does on the road.
Looking at the three victories shows that their first two road wins came at Kansas City and at Cleveland. (They beat the Browns by 10 but only beat the Chiefs by three.) Let's keep in mind that those two teams have a combined 3-17 record so far this season. Clearly, San Diego represents a far more difficult opponent.
The Ravens' third and most recent win came last week at Pittsburgh, a 13-10 affair. That sounds fairly impressive until remembering that the Steelers played without Big Ben, not to mention Polamalu and others.
Speaking of that Pittsburgh game, the Ravens have a rematch against those same Steelers next week. Those two games against Pittsburgh are arguably the two most important games on their schedule. Having to fly thousands of miles for a game "sandwiched" between those two games is far from ideal. Throw in the fact that they're without a number of players and matters become even more difficult.
Baltimore has now won three straight. That's not necessarily a good thing though. Counting last week's Pittsburgh game as a "push" (it could have been counted as a loss) the Ravens are just 6-12-2 ATS the last 20 times that they were off two or more consecutive victories.
The Chargers' playoff chances certainly aren't looking too good right now. However, there's still a faint glimmer of hope. That'll be gone if they can't win this one though.
QB Rivers had this to say: "We can't worry about that. We just have to go try and win a game. We have to hang our hat on controlling what we can control.''
The Chargers are outscoring teams by a 24 to 21.2 margin here, outgaining them 335.7 to 312.7 margin. While there are no mulligans in the NFL, if one threw out the early "stinker" vs. the Falcons, the Chargers' home numbers are actually very strong.
This Chargers team is still 13-7 its last 20 games here. That includes a 34-14 victory over these same Ravens here last season. I expect them to dig deep and to find a way to come out on top once again. *10 FF GOY
|11-25-12||Denver Broncos v. Kansas City Chiefs +11.5||Top||17-9||Win||100||4 h 10 m||Show|
I'm playing on KANSAS CITY. A friend asked me what I thought of the Chiefs against the Bengals last week. I'd won with both Cincinnati (vs. NYG) and KC (at Pittsburgh) the previous week but answered him that the game made me nervous and that I wasn't playing it.
I added that I felt the Bengals could easily go on a bit of a run but that I also felt the Chiefs had "at least another cover or two" left in them. I cautioned that I didn't like the fact the Chiefs were playing on a short week. As you probably saw or remember, Cincy won big.
While it (obviously) would have been nice to cash another ticket on the Bengals, last week's result suited me just fine. That's because it has once again made the Chiefs less appealing to the average recreational bettor. Throw in the fact that they're now playing Peyton Manning's Broncos and very few "joe public" types are going to want to back KC. The oddsmakers are well aware of this fact and are forced to put out a very high number. I believe that large number is providing excellent value on what I believe will be a highly motivated home underdog.
The Broncos are having a great season, as Peyton Manning has lived up to, if not exceeded, the high expectations of the Denver fans. That doesn't mean that we can't find value in going against them though. They didn't cover last week against San Diego. The 7-point win marked the fourth time in their last six games that the final margin of victory was 11 or less. Note that the offense could take a bit of a hit with leading rusher McGahee sidelined.
The Chiefs don't have much to play for anymore, in terms of playoffs. That makes games like Pittsburgh (because it was on MNF) and divisional games like this one even more meaningful, as the players have reason to "get up" for the game.
QB Brady Quinn should have plenty of motivation. Not only is he trying to prove that he belongs as a starter, he'd also love to show the Broncos that he can actually play. Some fans may not remember that Quinn was actually a member of the Broncos the past couple of seasons. The reason that would be easy to forget is that Quinn never attempted a single pass while he was there.
He was quoted as saying: "You take the opportunity when it's given to you. I didn't really get that opportunity."
Manning didn't even listen to the Chiefs' offer last year, instead listening to what several other teams had to say.
Romeo Crennel's teams have a way of playing Manning's teams tough. In fact, Crennel is 6-3 against Manning, dating back to his time as defensive coordinator with New England. (Sports Illustrated once calling him "Peyton Manning's Kryptonite.")
Off the hard fought win and playing their third road game in the past four games, I feel the Broncos may be a little spent here. I expect Crennel's Chiefs to rise to the occasion, earning AT LEAST the cover. *10 AFC West GOM
|11-25-12||Seattle Seahawks v. Miami Dolphins +3||Top||21-24||Win||100||4 h 58 m||Show|
cI'm playing on MIAMI. I believe we're getting great value with the Dolphins as a home underdog here. Seattle may have had last week off. However, the Seahawks are still a West Coast based team which is playing an early game thousands of miles away from home. Meanwhile, the Dolphins were embarrassed last time out and should be highly motivated to atone for that performance in front of the home faithful.
As strong as the Seahawks have been in the Pacific Northwest, note that they're only 1-4 on the road. Their lone road win came at Carolina, by four points. (The Panthers are 2-8 entering Sunday's action, 1-5 at home.)
While we can't fault Pete Carroll or these current Seahawks for the problems of the past, its still interesting to note that Seattle is a dismal 5-16-1 ATS (6-16 SU) the last 22 times that it played with two or more weeks worth of rest in between games.
While they seem to stumble against losing teams at times, note that the Dolphins are a lucrative 12-7-1 ATS the last 20 times that they faced a team with a winning record. That goes hand in hand with this season's 4-2-1 ATS record as an underdog.
The Dolphins are still mathematically alive in the Wildcard race - although with games against the Patriots and 49'ers on deck, even diehard Dolphins' fans realize that their chances are obviously extremely slim. Still, having those difficult games on deck makes taking advantage of this "winnable" one even more important. Otherwise, their current skid could go on for awhile. They're 6-4 ATS against NFC teams the past few seasons and I look for them to step up and get it done. *10 Non-Conf. Best Bet
|11-22-12||New England Patriots v. NY Jets +7.5||Top||49-19||Loss||-105||24 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK JETS. I quite liked the Patriots in last week's situation. Playing at home, I really felt that they'd have an advantage over the Colts and that they'd be out to show Indy's rookie QB that life in the NFL wasn't as easy as it was starting to seem. That proved to be the case, as the Pats pounded the Colts by 35 points. With everyone having watched that game, that lopsided blowout had worked in our favor here, in terms of line value. In fact, we're getting nearly as many points with the Jets as we were with the Colts last week. This, despite the fact that the Pats are now on the road instead of at home and facing a better team than they faced last week.
Some may disagree with the fact the Jets are a better team than the Colts. While everyone's entitled to their opinion, I backed the Jets when they crushed the Colts 35-9. So, I'll stand by mine.
At the very least, I feel that the Jets present a far more difficult matchup than the Colts. This is a divisional opponent that knows and hates the Pats. We already saw them give New England all they could handle in the first matchup, a 29-26 affair at Foxboro last month.
In addition to backing the Pats vs. the Jets last week, I also backed the Jets against the Rams. Winning at St. Louis isn't easy this year but the Jets went in there and took it to the Rams, winning 27-13. That loss has the Jets again thinking playoffs - but they know that they need a win here, in order to keep those faint hopes alive. The Pats have reason to win too and always like to beat the rival Jets. However, they're not dealing with the type of urgency that the Jets are facing.
The Pats obviously know how to put the ball in the end zone and its true that Brady seems to be able to work with just about anybody. The loss of Rob Gronkowski may turn a TD into a field goal though, while potentially stalling other drives altogether. It should also be noted that the Pats are giving up more than 440 yards per game in their division games and 390 per game overall on the season.
The Pats are on a real high right now. As noted, that's led to a big line. If you recall, the Jets were small favorites against the Pats here in 2011 and +3 against them in 2010.
The Jets are 6-2-1 ATS (6-3 SU) the past nine times that they attempted to avenge an earlier loss. This team has never lost its confidence and believes it can win this game. I won't be surprised when they do. *10 Roast
|11-22-12||Washington Redskins v. Dallas Cowboys -3||Top||38-31||Loss||-105||30 h 30 m||Show|
I'm playing on DALLAS. Last week's results have set this play up very nicely. Washington won big, easily covering. Meanwhile, Dallas had to eke out a win vs. Cleveland, failing to cover. Those results have kept this line very low, much lower than it easily could have been. Keep in mind that Dallas was favored by six points, when lines for this game were released before the season began.
Lets also remember that Dallas did still come back to win and that those type of "comeback" victories are often good, in terms of building momentum. That victory, combined with the Giants' recent swoon, has Dallas thinking division title again. Of course, the Redskins are thinking the same thing. However, I don't think they're quite there yet.
Sure, the Redskins looked good against the Eagles. Let's not get too carried away about that though. What team hasn't looked good against Philadelphia recently though? The Eagles have now lost six straight for the first time under Andy Reid, going 0-5 ATS their last five. Each of the Eagles' last four losses has come by at least 13 points, including a 15-point defeat vs. Dallas two weeks ago. Note that the Cowboys beat the Eagles at Philadelphia and with Vick still the starter, (He was knocked out in the 2nd quarter) while the Skins beat them at Washington, with Foles the starter. So, the Cowboys' 15 point road win vs. the Eagles was "arguably" as impressive as Washington's 25 point win last Sunday.
Prior to the victory vs. the Eagles, the Skins had lost three straight. All three losses came by greater than a field goal. In fact, all six of this season's losses have come by at least a field goal, five of those by more than three points.
Does Robert Griffin have some impressive skills? Absolutely. He's still a rookie though. There's much to like about Andrew Luck too and we saw what happened when he stepped up in class on the road last week.
Safety Brandon Meriweather returned for the Redskins only to suffer a season-ending torn right ACL last weekend. That's a blow to a defense already without starters Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker and with a banged-up London Fletcher at linebacker.
For the season, the Skins are allowing 383.8 yards per game, 26th in the league. That number climbs slightly to 386.2 at home. By comparison, the Cowboys are allowing 318 yards and just 282.5.
While the Cowboys have the superior defense, I don't feel they're giving up anything on offense. While there are some issues on the line, Romo continues to get it done, throwing for more than 300 yards in the victory over Cleveland. With last week's win, Romo is now 8-1 his last nine November games, throwing 17 TDs vs. just three interceptions.
The Cowboys are 6-0 against the Skins on Thanksgiving, 28-15-1 all-time on Thanksgiving, including 5-1 the last six. With the low line, a SU win has an excellent shot in also resulting in a cover. I look for exactly that to happen Thursday afternoon. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-22-12||Houston Texans v. Detroit Lions +4||Top||34-31||Win||100||16 h 29 m||Show|
I'm playing on DETROIT. The Lions have established an annual tradition of losing on Thanksgiving. While they're up against a tough opponent again this season, I feel that they've got a great shot at snapping their holiday slide and that getting three or more points is offering excellent value.
While its been a disappointing season, unlike many of those past teams which lost on Thanksgiving, this year's Lions are still a very talented group. They're only 4-6 but five of their six losses have come by eight or fewer points. So, things could easily be better .
The Texans were less than impressive last week, as they barely beat a bad Jacksonville team. They are undefeated on the road. However, each of the last three road wins came by a TD or less and any of those could have gone either way.
Note that the Texans are 1-16 SU and 4-13 ATS their last 17 in a dome, including 0-3 SU/ATS the last three. They're also 0-3 SU/ATS the last three times that they played a road game where the O/U line was greater than 49, going 1-8 SU and 3-6 ATS their last nine in that situation.
The Lions are 6-3-1 ATS their last 10 against teams from the AFC and 7-3 ATS the last 10 times that they were off a divisional loss. This is their opportunity to show the world that they're no longer a joke - while also keeping their very faint playoff hopes alive. I expect them to step up and earn at least the cover. *9
|11-18-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Pittsburgh Steelers +3.5||Top||13-10||Win||100||10 h 4 m||Show|
I'm playing on PITTSBURGH. I played against the Steelers last week. They were laying double-digits in that one. Now, thanks to the Rothlisberger injury, they're getting more than a field goal, at home. While I respect the Ravens, I believe that's providing us excellent value with the home underdog.
The Steelers are 18-4 their last 22 games here, including an 8-1 mark with the O/U line ranged from 38.5 to 42. During that stretch, the Ravens were only 12-11 on the road. Keep in mind that they only won one of this season's four road games by more than a field goal and that was at Cleveland.
Also, note that the Ravens are an ugly 6-12-1 ATS the last 19 times that they were off b2b SU victories, going 0-3 ATS their last three in that situation.
While losing Big Ben is obviously a blow, the Steelers are a team that finds a way. True, Leftwich isn't Ben Rothlisberger. But he has plenty of starting experience and he's got a lot to work with. Last week's relief effort should have helped get some of the rust off. Leftwich noted: "I try to prepare as if I am the starter every week. Nothing will change. I wish Ben the best. I hope he is healthy. Other than that I will be ready to go."
While all the talk will be about the QB situation, keep in mind that the Steelers are allowing 12 points per game here as compared to the 22 that Baltimore allows on the road.
The Steelers permit only 265.7 yards per game, just 252.5 at home. (That isn't Rothlisberger putting up those numbers!) On the other hand, the Ravens allow more than 390 yards per game.
With five of the last seven meetings decided by a field goal, I'm grabbing the points. *10 Main Event
|11-18-12||San Diego Chargers +8.5 v. Denver Broncos||Top||23-30||Win||100||7 h 48 m||Show|
I'm playing on SAN DIEGO. The Broncos have cost me a couple of times of late, so I'm certainly well aware of how well they've been playing. Still, I expect them to have their hands full against a revenge-minded divisional opponent which is playing for its season.
If you remember the earlier meeting, the Chargers were up 24-0 at halftime, before Denver stormed back for a 35-24 victory. So, San Diego certainly had a chance. Obviously, the Chargers haven't forgotten that loss and would obviously love some payback.
Looking at the previous three games between these teams and we find that all were decided by five points or less. Of course, Manning wasn't there for those. However, the point that I'm trying to make is that these teams have a recent history of playing close games against each other.
The Chargers tend to play well in road games which are expected to be high-scoring. They're 17-8-1 ATS the last 26 times that they played a road game with an O/U line in the 45.5 to 49 range. I look for them to give Manning's Broncos all they can handle. *9
|11-18-12||Indianapolis Colts v. New England Patriots -9.5||Top||24-59||Win||100||7 h 38 m||Show|
I'm playing on NEW ENGLAND. I give Luck and the Colts a lot of credit to be in this position. However, I still expect them to receive a reality check here.
This game reminds me a little of the Washington/Pittsburgh matchup earlier this season. At the time, Robert Griffin III was the talk of the town and many were taking the points with the Redskins when they traveled to Pittsburgh. When they got there, however, RG3 and co. received a dose of reality, as Big Ben and the Steelers laid a beating on them.
Perhaps Tebow's visit here last January is a more appropriate comparison. The Broncos came in off an upset over Pittsburgh and Tebowmania was ready to reach a frenzy. Brady and co. nipped it in the bud, however, destroying Denver by a 45-10 count. Seemingly intent on showing up the upstart Tebow, Brady would finish with six touchdowns, five of them in the first half.
The first meeting between Brady and Tebow was similar. The Broncos were off six straight wins and four straight 4-quarter comebacks. Brady went into Denver, however, and led the Pats to a 41-23 win.
Obviously, this is an entirely different matchup. However, the point that I'm trying to make is that the "flavor of the month QB" often gets exposed when stepping up against an established elite QB - and that Brady has a history of elevating his game when another QB tries to steal the show from him.
The Colts got smoked in their first two road games, losing 41-21 at Chicago and 35-9 at New York. Since then, they've gone 2-0 on the road. However, a closer look reveals that both of those road wins came against teams with losing records, Tennessee and Jacksonville. Now, they'll be at Foxboro against a future Hall of Fame QB/Coach combo which will be looking to bring the rookie down a notch.
In fact, a closer look at the last four Colts' opponents shows that they've faced the likes of Jacksonville, Miami, Tennessee and Cleveland. All four of those teams rank below the league average in terms of points scored and the Jags are the worst overall. Now, the Colts will take on the best offense in football. The Pats are averaging 33.2 ppg, which is #1 in the league.
New England's 430 yards per game is also by far the best in football. Only Detroit averages more than 400 and the Lions average 406, well below the Pats' number. Every other team is below that mark.
The comeback with vs. Green Bay was an accomplishment. However, that was at Indianapolis and that's arguably the only "good" team that the Colts have beaten all year.
The Colts and Patriots have had some great games over the years as the Manning/Brady rivalry was a good one. If Brady keeps going at a high level for a few more years, its possible that the Luck/Brady rivalry could also develop. For now, I think its still a mismatch. *10 Personal Favorite
|11-18-12||New Orleans Saints v. Oakland Raiders +6.5||Top||38-17||Loss||-100||7 h 36 m||Show|
I'm playing on OAKLAND. Off a victory over the previously undefeated Falcons and with five ATS victories in their last six games, the Saints are suddenly a popular pick again. I feel that this will be a very tough spot for them though.
As noted, the Saints are off a huge divisional victory. That puts in them in a potential "letdown" spot. They've also got a very big game vs. San Francisco on deck. You may recall the Saints were knocked out of the playoffs by the 49'ers last year, a 36-32 victory on 1/12. That's a potential cause to get caught "looking ahead."
Either way, the Raiders aren't much to get excited over. The Saints do have to travel to the West Coast, however, while also playing on a short week. That can be more difficult than it sounds. Lets not forget that the Saints only have one road win all year, a 7-point win at Tampa.
While they certainly didn't look too good at Baltimore last week, lets not forget that the Raiders have still won two of their last three home games. They're 6-1 ATS the last seven times that they were off back to back SU losses and I look for them to step up and earn at least a cover here. *10 Annihilator
|11-18-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Carolina Panthers +2||Top||27-21||Loss||-100||3 h 2 m||Show|
I'm playing on CAROLINA. Admittedly, the Bucs have been the better team in recent weeks. That doesn't mean that they're ready to become road favorites against a revenge-minded divisional opponent. Keep in mind that the Panthers were 3 point favorites when these teams met at Tampa, back in early September.
While they haven't been in that role often recently, note that the Bucs are an awful 5-13-1 ATS (6-13 SU) the last 19 times that they were listed as road favorites of three or fewer points, 0-1-1 ATS the past couple of years.
Note that Tampa was outgained 426-279 in last week's victory. So, that was a little deceiving. The previous week, the Bucs gave up 32 poins and 424 yards to the Raiders. This is a defense which allows an average of over 400 yards per game, 423.5 (and 26.5 ppg) on the road. By comparison, Carolina's 344.9 yards allowed per game looks very respectable. Losing linebacker Quincy Black last week won't help this Tampa defense.
The Panthers were outclassed by Manning's Broncos last week. However, I feel that the Bucs are a better matchup for them. Keep in mind that Carolina beat Washington the previous game and nearly beat the Bears (23-22 loss) at Chicago, the game before that. Even with last week's loss, the Panthers have still quietly gone 4-2 ATS in the underdog role.
The Panthers have long been tough in the revenge role. They're 50-34 ATS in 84 "revenge" situations, including 3-0 ATS the last three. I expect a big effort here, starting from "the top."
Cam Newton had this to say: "It's very embarrassing, but things are going to change ... there are brighter days ahead for the Carolina Panthers."
The Panthers crushed the Bucs 48-16 in last season's meeting here, laying 7.5 points. All they need is a win here; I look for them to get it. *10 NFC South GOM
|11-18-12||NY Jets +4 v. St Louis Rams||Top||27-13||Win||100||3 h 51 m||Show|
I'm playing on the NEW YORK JETS. I'm well aware that the Rams are a better team this year and that they tend to play much better at home. In fact, I'm 3-0 when backing them here at St. Louis as I supported them in their victories over the Washington, Arizona and Seattle. (I didn't play on them when they lost to Green Bay and their other "home" game was in Europe, a blowout loss vs. New England, a game I didn't touch.) The Rams were underdogs each of the three times that I backed them here. Now, however, they're being asked to win by more than a field goal. I believe that's asking too much.
The Rams haven't been favored yet in 2012 However, they were favored three times in 2011 (twice last season) and they lost all three of those games outright. On 11/27/11, they were 2.5 point home favorites vs. Arizona and lost 23-20. The previous week, on 11/20/11, they were three point home favorites vs. Seattle and lost 24-7. Prior to that, they lost a January 2011 game, when favored at Seattle, by a score of 16-6.
One of the reasons that I've "taken the points" with the Rams is that they have a tendency to play close games. That was certainly evident in last week's game, a 24-24 tie at San Francisco. It should be noted that they had to fly back from the West Coast after "leaving it all on the field" in the game vs. San Francisco. Prior to that, they'd had a little time off, but that was preceded by a trip to London. With a trip to Arizona up next, I believe all the traveling could well catch up to them here.
While they've gone through a recent tough stretch, the Jets are still 9-4-1 ATS (11-3 SU) their last 14 against teams with a losing record. The playoffs have become a pretty remote possibility. However, if they can win today, they'll still be alive. A loss here and their fate is officially sealed.
Sanchez obviously isn't Tom Brady but I still like Ryan's decision to stick with him. Here's what he had to say on the matter: "With me, I will never waver. I am not going to make a decision to save my job. I am in it to win games. I'm not sitting back concentrating on how do I save my job. I am concentrating on how do we win."
At the end of the day, the Rams are still 4-13-1 their last 18 games and two of those four victories came by three or fewer points. That means that the Rams would be 2-16 ATS their last 18, if being asked to lay more than a field goal. I'm backing the desperate visitors. *10 Non-Conf Best Bet
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