|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|12-06-12||Denver Broncos v. Oakland Raiders +11.5||Top||26-13||Loss||-115||46 h 18 m||Show|
Denver has won seven straight games and is definitely poised to give the AFC leaders a run come playoff time. With won come popularity, with popularity comes betting attraction and with betting attraction comes inflated lines. Yes, Denver is playing great and Oakland is far from it but this line is extremely overpriced. Getting anything over a touchdown at home is huge in this league and that is proven by home underdogs of 8 points or more are 27-3 ATS over the last four years.
The Raiders are coming off another tough loss as they lost by three points against the Browns to make it five straight defeats going back to the start of November. They have not been playing that badly as they have outgained five of their last eight opponents and on the season they are getting outgained by only 25.2 ppg which is very respectable for a team with their record. The issue has been miscues as Oakland has lost the turnover battle in four of its last five games.
Denver won the first meeting in this series and it wasn't even close as the Broncos won by 31 points while outgaining Oakland by 266 total yards. Despite losing the next game against the Patriots, that first meeting against Oakland seemed to have set a spark and got them rolling after a 1-2 start to the season. This is a divisional rivalry and even though one team is rolling and the other is reeling, records can be tossed out the door and I expect the Raiders to give all they have to get their revenge on national television.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen, the former Broncos defensive coordinator, left the team immediately after the Cleveland game to be with his father who eventually passed away on Tuesday. If there ever is a time for a team to come together and win one for their coach, this is the time. With the short week, the position coaches had begun some of the scouting of the Broncos last week to allow the coordinators to put together the game plan on Sunday night and Monday. Therefore there is not a big disadvantage with Allen being out.
Oakland has numerous situations on its side in this game and one of the best is to play on home underdogs or pickems that are averaging 5.4 or more yppl, after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. This situation is 30-10 ATS (75%) since 1983. Additionally, Denver is 0-10 ATS in its last 10 games against teams getting outscored by 10 or more ppg while the Raiders are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 divisional games. 10* (102) Oakland Raiders
|12-03-12||NY Giants v. Washington Redskins +3||Top||16-17||Win||100||13 h 53 m||Show|
The Giants won the first meeting in a wild game as they scored a 77-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 remaining after Washington had just taken the lead less that 20 seconds prior. Obviously the Redskins want revenge from that game but more important they need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Sitting at 5-6, they are a game out of the NFC's second Wild Card spot heading into Sunday and just as important, a victory puts them just a game behind New York in the NFC East.
The Giants looked great last week coming out of the bye and people will be riding them based on past success this time of year. Also, they have been great on the road the last couple years but the line is totally overinflated here. New York was favored by six and a half points in that first meeting at home and not a lot has changed since then so if anything, this game should be a pickem. Going against the masses here as this line has been driven up to provide a great home underdog opportunity.
New York has succeeded this season with a lot due to turnovers. The Giants have won the turnover battle in six of their last seven games and that has been a huge part to why they are fifth in the NFL in scoring offense and ninth in the NFL in scoring defense. They are 10th in total offense and just 23rd in total defense and that is where the Redskins can take advantage. Holding Green Bay to 317 yards and 10 points was a huge effort but repeating that will be a challenge here.
The Redskins offense has thrived with RGIII behind center as they are sixth in total offense and seventh in scoring offense. Those two rankings are so close and so good because they do not turn the ball over. Washington has given it up only once over its last four games and for the season its 10 giveaways are the fewest in the NFC and third in the NFL. The defense was riddled with injuries early in the season but they have been playing a lot but recently.
Washington can take advantage it is 10-0 ATS in its last 10 games in the second half of the season against teams allowing six or more yppl. Additionally, the Redskins fall into a great situation where we play against road favorites that are allowing between 18 and 23 ppg going up against teams allowing between 23 and 27 ppg, after a win by 10 or more points. This situation is 55-28 ATS (66.3 percent) since 1983. Also, the Giants are 1-5 ATS in their last six games against teams with a losing record. 10* (368) Washington Redskins
|12-02-12||Houston Texans v. Tennessee Titans +7||Top||24-10||Loss||-110||72 h 11 m||Show|
Houston is coming off two straight overtime wins which can be looked at in two different ways. It can bring a huge amount of confidence or it can produce a pretty big letdown. In the Texans case, I feel it is the latter. They were winning early in the season and winning these tight games is more of a sigh of relief than anything and it shows that they are not playing at a high level despite being 10-1. That record plays into the lines going forward and we are again catching a good number playing against Houston.
When Jake Locker came back into the lineup, the Titans looked like a different team two games ago even though he showed some rust. He had a much more productive game against Jacksonville last week but two interceptions hurt him. Still, Tennessee scored 56 points the last two games while outgaining both opponents which was the first time it has outgained consecutive opponents this season. Better yet, both of those games were on the road so the Titans should have some extra confidence going into this revenge game.
Tennessee was thumped in Houston in the first meeting by 24 points even though it outgained the Texans by 28 yards. The difference there was turnovers as the Titans lost the turnover battle 3-0 and two of those were interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. That was the game that Locker was hurt in and he missed most of that game and five others because of a separated non-throwing shoulder. The offenses needed a boost and has gotten it and now playing a very banged up Texans defense.
If coming off two consecutive overtime wins wasn't bad enough, Houston has a game at New England next Monday night so this is a very tough sandwich situation. Even throw in the previous week's hard fought win at Chicago and that adds up to a brutal three-game stretch. Head coach Gary Kubiak summed it up perfectly. "It's been very taxing on the team. Winning was so important, of course. To come out of there (Detroit) with a win because of where we're at and some of the issues we have, it was exceptional."
As mentioned, this is a revenge game for Tennessee and it falls into a terrific revenge situation where we play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are revenging a loss where opponent scored 35 or more points, off a loss against a division rival. This situation is 49-18 ATS (73.1 percent) since 1983. In addition, Houston is 4-15 ATS in its last 19 games against teams allowing 27 or more ppg while going 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game. Upset alert right here. 10* (356) Tennessee Titans
|12-02-12||Indianapolis Colts v. Detroit Lions -4.5||Top||35-33||Loss||-110||72 h 5 m||Show|
The Lions have dropped two brutal home games in a row to fall to 4-7 and are now clinging by a thread in hopes of the playoffs. There is a three-way tie for the second Wild Card spot at 6-5 so it is going to take a lot of winning and a lot of help to get it done. This is now a must win game or the season will officially be done for Detroit as three of its final four games are against the Packers, Falcons and Bears. The extra time off from Thanksgiving to go along with no travel should help.
Indianapolis won against last week to improve to 7-4 and it currently sits in the first Wild Card spot in the AFC. That win was at home though where the Colts are 5-1 compared to just 2-3 on the road with the victories coming at Jacksonville and Tennessee and it is no coincidence that those were divisional wins. Those wins happened to follow home wins but the last time the Colts won at home and a divisional game was not on deck resulted in a 35-9 loss at New York to the Jets.
This is the third straight home game for the Lions and it falls into a similar situation that Cincinnati was in three weeks ago. Since 1985 there have been 180 teams that have played a three-game homestand and only 10 times have they dropped all three of those games. 18 times teams have lost the first two games and gone on to win with the only exception being the 2008 Lions that went 0-16 that year. Cincinnati defeated the Giants in Week 10 after dropping the first two games of its homestand.
The Lions are second in the NFL in total offense but they have killed themselves with turnovers which seems to be a common theme with all of these losing teams. The good news here though is that Indianapolis does not know how to take the ball away as it dead last in the NFL with just seven takeaways. The Lions should no problem moving the ball against the 20th ranked defense and scoring against the 22nd ranked defense in passing touchdowns allowed.
Detroit's defense has struggled over the last three games but it should clamp down here. Andrew Luck is a solid rookie quarterback but the Colts also turn the ball over on offense which has cut into their scoring as they are 21st in scoring offense. We play on home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points that are outgaining opponents by 40 to 100 going up against teams with a yardage margin between +/- 40 ypg, after gaining 400 or more total yards in their previous game. This situation is 33-10 ATS (77 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (350) Detroit Lions
|12-02-12||Minnesota Vikings v. Green Bay Packers OVER 46.5||Top||14-23||Loss||-102||72 h 52 m||Show|
While many saw a closer game or a high scoring game, not many saw the Packers offense get completely shutdown by the Giants last week. Green Bay managed only 10 points which was not only a season low but it was the fewest amount of points scored in its last 32 games, a stretch that goes back to the final game of the 2010 regular season. The Packers scored fewer than 10 points twice prior that season and followed that up with high scoring games of 52 and 58 points next time out.
The Vikings are also coming off a game where they scored only 10 points which is also a season low for them. Minnesota was coming off three straight games that went over the total and while the offense played its part, it was the defense that really played poorly as the Vikings allowed an average of 30 ppg. Now they catch the Packers off their worst output of the season as well as putting up just 314 and 317 total yards the last two games which will spell some serious trouble for the Vikings defense.
Scoring on the road has been a challenge for Minnesota as it is averaging 19.2 ppg but it has put up at least 20 points in four of its five of its road games and that number should be more than enough to push this one over. The Vikings passing offense has had its problems over the last few games as Christian Ponder has been playing poorly but Green Bay has the 22nd ranked passing defense in the NFL and while Green Bay's rushing defense is better, Minnesota counters that with Adrian Peterson.
On top of that, the Packers will be without defensive end C.J. Wilson, a cornerstone of their run defense. And the news is still bad at the other two levels as linebacker Clay Matthews is likely out one more week while the secondary will be shorthanded again this week with Charles Woodson and Sam Shields remaining out. That could mean some needed balance in the Vikings offense and a chance to have a much better game than the seven points they scored here last November.
Historical scenarios are on our side here also as Green Bay is 7-0 to the over in its last seven home games against teams allowing a completion percentage of 64 percent or higher and 6-0 to the over in its last six home games in the second half of the season. Also, the Packers are 4-0 to the over in their last four games following an ATS loss while the Vikings are 4-0 to the over in their last four games after scoring 15 points or less in their previous game. 10* Over (341) Minnesota Vikings/(342) Green Bay Packers
|11-29-12||New Orleans Saints +3.5 v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||13-23||Loss||-107||58 h 17 m||Show|
Even though the Saints lost on Sunday against San Francisco, their playoff chances remained pretty much unchanged. The Falcons defeated the Buccaneers, the Dolphins defeated the Seahawks, and the Bears knocked off the Vikings which leaves New Orleans still just a game back in the Wild Card race but they hold the tiebreaker over all three. A win here is huge as it notches another conference win and those three other teams are all playing games on the road against playoff caliber teams as well.
The Falcons are coming off another close win as they defeated Tampa Bay on the road in a big divisional game, snapping the Buccaneers four-game winning streak. Atlanta has now played three straight games where it easily could have lost but was able to pull out the victory in two of those. The Falcons did lose the first of the three games at New Orleans and while they will be out for revenge here, it is not going to easy at all as the Saints are still playing at a high level.
Despite hanging with the 49ers for the first half this past Sunday, long downfield drives by San Francisco and two interceptions from Drew Brees on consecutive passes were enough to seal the deal for New Orleans. The Saints were held to just 290 yards of total offense which comes as no surprise as the 49ers defense is ranked second overall and first in scoring. The Falcons are not nearly as good as they are 15th in total defense in the NFL and allowed 440 total yards in the first meeting.
Obviously the Saints defense has some issues as they are ranked dead last in the league in total defense. They thing is though they have gotten better as the season has gone on as they are becoming more familiar with Steve Spagnuolo's defense as it is the first season with it. After allowing 459 or more yards in five of the first seven games, New Orleans has not yielded that amount in any of its last four games, giving up an average of 420 ypg including a season low 375 yards against the 49ers.
The Saints have been able to take advantage of bad teams in the past as they are 8-0 ATS in their last eight games in the second half of the season against teams allowing a completion percentage of 61 percent or worse and 8-0 ATS against teams allowing 5.65 or more yppl. Also, we play against favorites of 3.5 to 10 points in the second half of the season that are +/- 0.4 in yppl margin against teams that are -0.4 to -1 in yppl margin. This situation is 78-39 ATS (66.7 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (301) New Orleans Saints
|11-26-12||Carolina Panthers v. Philadelphia Eagles UNDER 41||Top||30-22||Loss||-110||24 h 12 m||Show|
Carolina has gone over in two straight games but both of those games were at home against a couple teams whose offenses have been piling up the points. The same cannot be said for the Eagles which will again be without Michael Vick and will also be missing running back LeSean McCoy. Philadelphia managed only six points last week against the Redskins with Nick Foles under center and while the Panthers defense is far from a stout unit, expect the Eagles to continue their struggles on offense.
This is a contrarian under call against the Eagles defense which has been lit up for 31, 38, 28 and 30 points over their last four games. However this is the type of game that a defense that has been gashed tends to step up in big situations and a Monday night game can certainly qualify. The Panthers offense has had their struggles this season as they are 22nd overall and 27th in scoring. They have been held to 331 yards or less in five of their last six games and seven times overall on the season.
On the other side, the Panthers want to step up as well. Defensive end Charles Johnson said the Panthers want to prove a point Monday regardless of who plays quarterback for the Eagles. "Hopefully, we can show up and show out. When the lights come on, you should play your butt off. The whole world's watching, so just leave it all out on the line," Johnson said. "We definitely have to show the world what Carolina Panthers defense is about. Hopefully, we can do that and come out with a W."
While the Eagles have two big names out on offense, they have been bad to begin with. They are 14th overall in total offense but 31st in scoring offense and a lot of that has been because of turnovers. Philadelphia has scored more than 23 points only once this year and has tallied 17 points or less in six of ten games on the season. History shows the struggles will go on as the Eagles are 12-3 to the under in their last 15 home games against teams with a winning percentage of .250 or less.
Additionally, the Eagles are 17-4 to the under in their last 21 games after allowing 25 points or more in two straight games while Carolina is 19-8 to the under in its last 27 games coming off a home loss against a division rival. Also, we play the under involving home teams where the total is between 35.5 and 42 points with a defense allowing 24 or more ppg, after scoring seven points or less in the first half in two straight games. This situation is 24-7 to the under (77.4 percent) over the last five seasons. 10* Under (245) Carolina Panthers/(246) Philadelphia Eagles
|11-25-12||Baltimore Ravens v. San Diego Chargers +2||Top||16-13||Loss||-105||6 h 13 m||Show|
The Chargers got us a win last week but chalked up another loss for them as they fell to 4-6 and the playoffs are looking dimmer and dimmer. They trail the Wild Card leaders by two games so there is still hope but they cannot afford to lose here, especially on their home field. Typically San Diego would be favored here but after losing five of six games, we are getting a very good number with the Chargers. They are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games following a loss and they know what is at stake here.
The Ravens won a tough game at Pittsburgh on Sunday night and not only does that setup a letdown spot here, they have a home game against Pittsburgh on deck. Traveling across country only adds to the sandwich spot for a Baltimore team that is not nearly as good on the road as it is at home. The Ravens are 3-2 on the highway and prior to the win over the Steelers, the other two wins came at Cleveland and Kansas City which are a combined 3-17. Baltimore has been outgained in six straight games.
The Chargers have a great situation on their side as we play against favorites with defense that is allowing 130 or more rushing ypg, after gaining 75 or less rushing yards last game. This situation is 51-29 ATS (63.8 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (238) San Diego Chargers
|11-25-12||Denver Broncos v. Kansas City Chiefs +11.5||Top||17-9||Win||100||3 h 18 m||Show|
We snuck out a win against Denver last week with the Chargers and we will go against the Broncos again here as they are completely overvalued. Yes, they are playing some of the best football in the NFL and because it is no secret, the lines are showing it. Denver has won five straight games by scoring more than 30 points each time and even the best NFL teams ever cannot keep that up. The Broncos have won their last three road games and this is the spot for that to come to an end.
Kansas City is playing just the opposite as it has dropped seven straight games and has yet to win at home this season, going 0-5. The Chiefs are coming off a blowout loss at home against the Bengals but we can give them a pardon as they were coming off a short week following a very tough loss in overtime at Pittsburgh. Now playing a divisional game, they step up once again. Kansas City falls into a spectacular situation as we play on underdogs of 10.5 or more points after seven or more consecutive losses going up against teams after one or more consecutive wins. This situation is 25-6 ATS (80.6 percent) since 1983. 10* (228) Kansas City Chiefs
|11-25-12||Atlanta Falcons -1 v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers||Top||24-23||Push||0||3 h 2 m||Show|
The Falcons got off to an 8-0 start before dropping their first game in New Orleans two weeks ago. It took them a while to show up last week against Arizona but eventually they did and snuck out with a four-point win. Those two effort will have them more than ready for what has turned into a bog divisional game. Atlanta actually outgained the Cardinals last week and the Saints prior to that and has now won the yardage battle in seven of it last eight games. Prior to New Orleans, the four road wins were by an average of 14.8 ppg.
Tampa Bay is playing some of the best football in the league right now as it has won and covered four straight games. That is keeping this line very reasonable as a Falcons win likely means a cover as well. The Buccaneers got away with a game last week in Carolina as it rallied from an 11-point deficit to eventually take the game in overtime. It is hard to call this a letdown situation facing the division leaders but it surely puts Tampa Bay in a tough spot and even more so by trying to keep its winning streak alive.
The Falcons fall into a great situation where we play on road teams where the line is +3 to -3 after having won four out of their last five games, in November games. This situation is 41-13 ATS (75.9 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (233) Atlanta Falcons
|11-22-12||New England Patriots v. NY Jets UNDER 48.5||Top||49-19||Loss||-110||51 h 20 m||Show|
The Patriot offense was on display again this past week as they hung 59 points on the Colts in a 35-point win. However the score is deceiving as two touchdowns came on interception returns and another on a punt return so it wasn't all offense that got it done. New England has gone over the total in eight straight games and this signals the time to go against that. This total has dropped from its opening but with it being New England in primetime, expect this one to rise once we get closer to kickoff.
The Jets halted their three-game losing streak as they won by 14 points over the Rams despite outgaining St. Louis by just eight total yards. The game went over the total and now the Jets are hit with their biggest O/U of the season so we are seeing value the other way. The defense has allowed fewer than 300 yards in three of its last five games so they are more than capable of slowing the Patriots offense down. New York is still a dismal 30th in the NFL in total offense. Hold off until later in the week to hit this under as it should rise again as mentioned. 10* Under (107) New England Patriots/(108) New York Jets
|11-22-12||Washington Redskins v. Dallas Cowboys -3||Top||38-31||Loss||-110||48 h 31 m||Show|
Dallas got another scare from an inferior opponent as it had to rally from a 13-0 halftime deficit to defeat Cleveland in overtime. The Cowboys would have taken a huge hit with a loss but they improved to 5-5 and get to remain home for their annual Thanksgiving game. The win was far from impressive and preparing for the Redskins will be tough but I think that victory is going to spark them this week. Dallas has won six of the last seven Thanksgiving Day games with the lone loss coming when Tony Romo was out.
Washington looked very impressive against the Eagles as they snapped their three-game losing streak. However you want to look at it though, the Eagles were not ready to play and they have given up on the season so the win cannot be perceived as good as it may look. Robert Griffin III had an outstanding game with just one incompletion and five touchdowns and while the defense allowed just six points, it is still 26th overall and 25th in points allowed. The short week will be too much for Washington here. 10* (106) Dallas Cowboys
|11-19-12||Chicago Bears +7 v. San Francisco 49ers||Top||7-32||Loss||-114||12 h 27 m||Show|
Last night we saw how hard the Steelers played without their starting quarterback as the rest of the team stepped up and nearly defeated the Ravens. They should have as they outgained Baltimore 311-200 as a punt return touchdown was the difference. Flash forward to tonight and we are seeing a very similar situation where the Bears will be without their starting quarterback as Jason Campbell will be starting in place of Jay Cutler so expect a similar step up in effort from the rest of the team.
Campbell is an established quarterback so it is not like Chicago is going with an unseasoned rookie or young player with no experience. Last season, the Bears went from 7-3 and looking toward the playoffs to losing five of their final six to finish 8-8 and that's why they brought in Campbell in the offseason. The Bears are in fine shape here because of their defense. They are fifth overall and second in points allowed and they are coming off a very impressive showing against the Texans as they allowed only 215 total yards.
Campbell went 10-5 over his last 15 starts with the Oakland Raiders, completing 60.3 percent of his passes with 17 touchdowns, eight interceptions and an 89.6 passer rating. Still, it will be important for the Bears to establish their running game with Matt Forte who is averaging 4.7 ypc, just 0.2 off his career best from last season, and he's on pace for 1,028 yards. Getting him going will be big as it will take a lot of pressure off Campbell and help to keep the 49ers defense off balance.
The 49ers had allowed just one opposing running back to top 100 yards in a span of 45 regular-season games before a recent stretch that began last month. In the last four games, the Giants' Ahmad Bradshaw, the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch and Rams' Steven Jackson have gone over 100 against the 49ers. Last week, the Rams seemed to physically win in the trenches versus the usually physical 49ers and were very creative in their play calling and the Bears obviously are just as physical.
San Francisco is no juggernaut on offense as it is ranked 13th overall and 14th in scoring and the only reason the rankings are that high is because of the game against the Bills where they scored 45 points and gained 621 yards on offense. Chicago is 8-0 ATS in its last eight road games after having won two out of their last three games while going 9-4 ATS in its last 13 games after allowing less than 15 points in its previous game. A low scoring game is in our favor with the undervalued Bears in this one.
Update: San Francisco announced this afternoon that Alex Smith will not play tonight which will further hinder the offense. The line has dropped so for those who locked it in early, good job. This is still a play however as the line is sitting at 3.5 across the board as of 2:45 ET. 10* (435) Chicago Bears
|11-18-12||San Diego Chargers +8.5 v. Denver Broncos||Top||23-30||Win||100||51 h 39 m||Show|
The Broncos have killed us the last two weeks as they were able to win and cover as road favorites with the public going along for the ride. The same public will not be jumping off the Denver bandwagon just yet and because of that, the books had to set a line that is substantially overinflated. It opened at -7 and has already been bet up to -7.5 and even -8 in some places. This is roughly a nine-point swing from the first meeting when Denver came back from a 24-0 deficit to win on Monday night.
The Chargers are coming off a loss, their fourth defeat in their last five games after a 3-1 start. Sitting at 4-5, this is a must win game for San Diego. If it loses, it trails the Broncos by three games in the AFC West and it is essentially four games because of the head-to-head series loss. A 3-6 record is also not in a very position for the AFC Wild Card and although the Chargers would not be eliminated, a 5-5 record and a game behind Denver in the division looks a lot better.
Similar to some other games, the Chargers goal is to slow this game down to shorten and not get into a track meet with Denver. They can do this by running the ball more frequent. The running game has been very good for the most part as they have surpassed 100 yards on the ground in seven of their last eight games. Denver's rushing defense is decent but it is not a top ten unit and defensive end Elvis Dumervil is questionable for this game and his absence would be big although we cannot count on it officially.
The Chargers do not want to get into a track meet as mentioned but they still have a very solid defense that has been playing especially well of late. San Diego is seventh in the NFL in total defense and they have allowed fewer than 300 yards in three straight games. Granted, Denver is a much stronger offense than what it has seen but the Chargers are allowing a respectable 7.1 ypa. Peyton Manning ripped them apart in the second half of the first meeting so expect the correct adjustments to be made.
San Diego falls into a very simple yet effective dynamic where we play on road underdogs coming off a road loss in the second half of the season. This situation is 100-50 ATS (66.7 percent) over the last 10 seasons. The Broncos offense is clicking as they have scored 31 or more points in four straight games and that is a great scenario to go against and Denver itself is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games after scoring 30 or more points in three straight games. Look for a close game in this big divisional battle. 10* (431) San Diego Chargers
|11-18-12||New Orleans Saints v. Oakland Raiders +6||Top||38-17||Loss||-115||51 h 45 m||Show|
The Raiders are coming off an embarrassing performance in Baltimore as they lost 55-20 but that means they are filled with value this week. Oakland actually outgained Baltimore in that game so it wasn't quite as bad as the final score shows but that is what most people pay attention to. Now Oakland heads home where it is 2-2 with wins in two of its last three games and it has the ability to keep up with the Saints offense if it comes down to that which it may not even have to.
New Orleans accomplished exactly what it wanted to do and that is hand the hated Falcons their first loss of the season. The goalline stand to end the game was impressive as the defense has been a sieve all season and that stop is still being celebrated. Now the Saints hit the road out west where they are 1-3 on the season and overvalued once again. Despite winning four of its last five games, New Orleans has been outgained in all five of those games as well as seven of nine games on the season.
The Saints offense is again playing at a high level so the key for that will be for the Raiders to keep them off the field. They can accomplish this by coming with a gameplan to manufacture a strong running game. Oakland has been very inconsistent in running the ball this year as it couldn't even get to 100 yards in the last two games combined. That changes here though as New Orleans has the worst rushing defense in the NFL and it has surrendered over 200 yards rushing on four different occasions.
When they do need to pass the ball, the Raiders have been very good this year as they are fifth in the NFL is passing offense. Carson Palmer has done a great job with what he has and Oakland has a great downfield passing attack with Denarius Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey as both are averaging in excess of 15 yards per catch. While the Saints cannot spot the run, they are also having trouble stopping opposing quarterbacks as they are 31st in passing defense and allow a league-worst 104.4 passer rating.
Oakland gave up a ton of points last week but teams tend to bounce back as they are 5-1 straight up after allowing 55 or more points since 2005. Two other situations are in our favor as we play against favorites coming off a win as a home underdog. This situation is 28-9 ATS (75.7 percent) since 1983. Also, we play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points after a loss by 14 or more points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against teams averaging 27 or more ppg. This situation is 34-10 ATS (77.3 percent) since 1983. 10* (430) Oakland Raiders
|11-18-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Carolina Panthers +2||Top||27-21||Loss||-110||50 h 45 m||Show|
We lost a tough one with Carolina last week as Denver scored 16 point via defense and special teams. Once that pick six took place, the whole dynamic of the game changed. The Panthers were getting three and a half points against Denver and now they are getting a point and a half against Tampa Bay? Denver is clearly two points better than the Buccaneers so we are not only getting line value here but we get to buck a team that is now a public darling after three straight wins.
The Buccaneers have been playing very good of late but the wins have not been that impressive in my book. Defeating Minnesota and Oakland on the road were good but not great and against the Chargers, Tampa Bay was outgained by 147 total yards. The Buccaneers took advantage of a blocked punt return and an interception return for touchdowns so they were the beneficiaries of those fortunate plays as opposed to Carolina which was on the other side of those last game.
Overall, the Carolina offense was not very good last week as it managed only 250 total yards which was a surprise as it had a very solid run going following a horrible performance against Seattle. The Panthers should be able to turn that around here against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are second to last in the NFL in total defense and they have allowed an average of 419.3 ypg over their last four games. The defense on the road has been even worse as they are allowing 423.5 on the highway this season.
The Carolina defense held Denver to its second lowest yardage total in its last seven games so it can take that positive away. The Broncos did score 36 points but 14 of those came way of defense and special teams. Tampa Bay's offense has really picked things up as it has been scoring a ton of points but this is a trend we are going to buck as the Buccaneers are coming off their third worst performance on offense of the season as they managed only 279 total yards against the Chargers.
Despite the records, Tampa Bay is -35.8 ypg in yardage margin while Carolina is -10.6 ypg in yardage margin which shows the team that has been better from endzone to endzone. Despite this, Carolina goes from a three-point road favorite in the first meeting to a home underdog this meeting which sets up playing on teams with a winning percentage of .250 or less with a line between +3 and -3 revenging a loss as a favorite, in the second half of the season. This situation is 23-3 ATS (88.5 percent) since 1983. 10* (418) Carolina Panthers
|11-18-12||Jacksonville Jaguars +15.5 v. Houston Texans||Top||37-43||Win||100||48 h 2 m||Show|
I will gladly take this many points in an NFL game no matter good or how bad the teams may be. The situation sets us up even better. Houston is coming off a hard-fought, physical game at Chicago on Monday night in which it was able to sneak out with the win. Now it heads home on a short week laying over two touchdowns in a meaningless game. On top of that, the Texans have a short week coming up as they play at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day meaning they will be doing preparation for that game this week.
The Jaguars are not a very good team as we all know but even bad teams cover in the NFL. That includes Jacksonville which is 4-5 ATS so while still not profitable, it has been far from a money burner on the season. Double-digit underdogs are not as common in the NFL as they used to be but since 1990, they are hitting at a 65 percent clip including a perfect 3-0 last week. I am well aware that Houston has covered all three as double-digit favorites this year but none of those were spots like this.
The Jaguars offense has been bad all season but it has been inconsistent which is actually okay when dealing with a negative since there have been some good performances. They were completely shut down in the first meeting at home against the Texans but there will be a different plan here as the Jaguars will go more no-huddle on offense. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert seems more at ease when playing the hurry up and it help be beneficial going against Houston which likes to use a lot of situational substituting.
Jacksonville has taken a step backwards from last season on defense but it still has shown to be very stout at times. Allowing 238 total yards in their last road game at Green Bay is a perfect case in point. As far as Houston goes, it is not going to be throwing everything it has at Jacksonville on offense because with a short week on tap, the Texans cannot afford to expend a ton of energy as a physical game with Detroit awaits. Running back Arian Foster may be sharing time in the backfield with Justin Forsett which helps our cause.
Jacksonville has a solid contrarian situation going for it as we play on underdogs of 10.5 or more points that are averaging fewer than 265 ypg going up against teams that are allowing between 265 and 295 ypg. This situation is 35-12 ATS (74.5 percent) since 1983. In addition, Houston is 4-14 ATS in its last 18 games against teams allowing 27 or more ppg while Jacksonville is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 road games revenging a same season loss. The Jaguars have covered all four road games this year as well. 10* (425) Jacksonville Jaguars
|11-15-12||Miami Dolphins v. Buffalo Bills -1||Top||14-19||Win||100||57 h 24 m||Show|
The Bills dropped to 3-6 following their third straight loss and the hopes of sneaking into the playoffs are getting slimmer by the week. The possibility is still there as only Pittsburgh and Indianapolis have winning records in the race for the two Wild Card spots. Buffalo had its chance to upset the Patriots but a costly interception with just 23 seconds remaining ended the comeback attempt. The Bills outgained the Patriots by 134 total yards but turnovers did them in.
The Dolphins have dropped two in a row and they were exposed on Sunday against lowly Tennessee. It was the fifth straight game that Miami got outgained and the seventh time in nine games on the season so despite being just a game under .500, it has been pretty fortunate along the way. The Dolphins are 2-3 on the road with the wins coming against the Jets and Bengals despite getting outgained in both games as turnovers were the difference. Despite all of this, Miami is a very slight road underdog once again.
This game will come down to how the Bills can recover from that heartbreaking loss in New England. Heading home definitely will help as will the fact that it has already been announced that the game is sold out which is a big gain for Buffalo. While the recovery is a question, the same can be said for the Dolphins as their loss was much worse and might be even tough to recover from since it is a very young team and once that has not had to bounce back on the road after a big loss.
Miami is just 26th in the NFL in total offense and 25th in scoring offense. The rushing game has been horrible of late as the Dolphins have not had 100 rushing yards in any game since Week Three. In their past six games they are averaging a mere 72 rushing ypg. Buffalo's defense is suspect but it should be fine here. On the other side, the Bills will be without Fred Jackson but C.J. Spiller can more than make up for it. Over the last four games, he has totaled over 100 yards rushing and receiving combined.
This is a must win game for both sides and we give the edge to the home team on a Thursday night with a very small line. Miami is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games coming off two straight up losses as a favorite while Buffalo is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 home games after a game with a turnover margin of -3 or worse. The Bills won this season against Kansas City after getting pummeled on the road in New York against the Jets after a -3 turnover margin. 10* (306) Buffalo Bills
|11-12-12||Kansas City Chiefs +13.5 v. Pittsburgh Steelers||Top||13-16||Win||100||11 h 40 m||Show|
Kansas City comes into this game with a 1-7 record following another disappointing performance last Thursday at San Diego. The Chiefs actually once again did not play bad but they were hurt by turnovers as they had four miscues and it was the seventh time in eight games they have been on the wrong side of the turnover battle. That has obviously hurt both sides of the ball as despite being near the bottom of the NFL in points scored and allowed, they are 16th and 17th in total offense and total defense respectively.
The Steelers are very heavy favorites in this game as they have won three straight games and are looking good to make another serious playoff push. This is a horrible spot in my opinion though as Pittsburgh is coming off a huge win last week in New York against the Giants and it has a game on deck with Baltimore next week which will have huge implications in the AFC North. The Steelers have no interest in this game so we will not be seeing their best effort Monday night.
How bad have turnovers hurt the Chiefs? Despite being 1-7, they are outgaining opponents by 10.5 ypg which is 11th best in the NFL. So obviously they have hurt quite a bit. Handicapping turnovers is a tough thing to do since there is no basis for it as a lot of that comes down to luck and being in the right place at the right time or vice versa. The Steelers used to be a ball-hawking defense but that is not the case anymore as they finished last in the AFC in takeaways last year and have just eight this year.
The key for Kansas City tonight will be to establish a running game and not give it up. While the Steelers defense is tops in the NFL, their rushing defense has been a weakness. They have allowed only 100 yards once this season but teams are not trying to run which is the reason as Pittsburgh has seen the third fewest amount of rushing attempts in the league. The Steelers are allowing a rather high 4.0 ypc and with the Chiefs averaging 4.7 ypc on offense, they can definitely take advantage.
The weather is not looking great tonight so that should favor the underdog as poor conditions tend to shorten games which is a benefit for big underdogs. Kansas City falls into numerous positive situations and one that stands out in fact has to do with turnovers as we play on road underdogs of 10.5 or more points with a turnover margin of -1 per game or worse on the season, after a game where they committed four or more turnovers. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (239) Kansas City Chiefs
|11-11-12||Denver Broncos v. Carolina Panthers +4.5||Top||36-14||Loss||-105||99 h 32 m||Show|
This is certainly not the best of spots for Denver as it is coming off a road win at Cincinnati last week and now has to travel back east once again to take on Carolina. The Broncos have a showdown with San Diego next week so they can certainly be in lookahead mode but the fact that they are on the road for a second consecutive week is what makes this one a go. Denver has won three straight, scoring more than 30 points in each, and that is a go against if ever there was one.
Carolina is coming off a much needed victory as it had dropped five straight games prior to the victory at Washington last week. That skid started with a blowout loss against the Giants but the next four games all could have gone either way as the four defeats came by five points or fewer and by an average of 3.0 ppg. Carolina is clearly the best 2-6 team in football as they are outgaining opponent by an average of 1.9 ypg which is small but no other team that is at least four games under .500 can claim that.
The Panthers offense should be able to feed off their solid game last week and have some solid success at home. Many will be questioning how the Carolina defense will stop Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense and my answer is keep playing like it has. Since Carolina fell to Atlanta 30-28 in Week Four, the Panthers' defense has been one of the league's best, ranking fourth in total defense, allowing just 292.3 ypg and pass defense, allowing 189.0 ypg and fifth in points allowed with only 17.8 ppg.
I played against Denver last week and it was able to escape despite getting outgained by the Bengals. The Broncos are a highly public betting team right now as they have posted a 5-3 ATS mark including wins in their last two games on the road. We have seen the value be completely depleted from Denver and last week was one of those games where we were arguably on the right side of the wager but ended with a bad result. The home underdog once again gets the call today.
Play against road favorites in the second half of the season that are averaging 370 ypg or more on offense going up against teams that are allowing between 335 and 370 ypg on defense. This situation is 58-27 ATS (68.2 percent) since 1983. Carolina has thrive in situations like this as it is 12-2 ATS in it last 14 home games against teams that are averaging 375 or more ypg. In addition, the Broncos are 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring 30 or more points in three straight games. 10* (222) Carolina Panthers
|11-11-12||Atlanta Falcons v. New Orleans Saints +3||Top||27-31||Win||100||98 h 6 m||Show|
Atlanta once again was able to avoid its first loss of the season as it defeated the Cowboys and got the frontdoor cover thanks to a field goal with 17 seconds remaining. The Falcons hit the road once again where they are 4-0 on the season but three of those wins came against some very disappointing opposition. The same can be said about this week's foe but the further we get into the season with that unblemished record, the more amped the other team is going to be to stop that streak.
We can definitely say New Orleans is at the top of that list. The Saints and Falcons have become pretty big rivals and with New Orleans being at the top of the division two of the last three years and Atlanta claiming the other year, it has turned bitter. The Saints have struggled to a 3-5 start this season but after opening 0-4, they have started to catch a little bit of fire with wins in three of their last four games. The playoffs were once a distant dream but that is no longer the case anymore as New Orleans is right back in it.
The Falcons have played a schedule ranked 28th in the NFL by Sagarin so you would think they have been dominating. Well, they haven't. While winning is what counts, it is a very below average 8-0 team and Sagarin backs that up with the Falcons sitting sixth in his power rankings. The Falcons are outgaining opponents by just 20.3 ypg. Looking at rankings, Atlanta is eighth in total offense and 19th in total defense and last year's 10-6 team actually had a better average ranking (10th and 12th respectively).
New Orleans still possesses one of the best offense in the NFL as it is ranked fifth in total offense and eighth in scoring offense and put the ball in Drew Brees' hands on his home turf is a scary thought for the opponent. The Saints have two home losses this year to a couple bad teams in Washington and Kansas City but they did have chances to win both of those games but the defense was horrific both times out. That will be an issue with some again here but the switch may have finally been flipped.
The Saints defense responded when it needed to against the Eagles on Monday and they can feed off that effort. That unit is part of a great situation as we play on home underdogs or pickems that are averaging 5.4 or more yppl, after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. This situation is 29-8 ATS (78.4 percent) since 1983. The Saints are 6-0 ATS in their last six home games against winning teams and 6-0 ATS in their last six home games against teams averaging 350 or more ypg on offense. 10* (228) New Orleans Saints
|11-08-12||Indianapolis Colts v. Jacksonville Jaguars +3.5||Top||27-10||Loss||-110||53 h 54 m||Show|
We saw a similar situation with Indianapolis a few weeks back when it defeated Green Bay at home which happened to be the first game for the Colts after finding out head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. They won that game for him. Flash forward to this past Sunday and the Colts were winners at home once again and this time Pagano was in the locker room after the game and gave a very emotional speech to the players and that win will be tough to play after, especially on such a short week.
Jacksonville is coming off its fifth straight loss as it was defeated by Detroit as it fell behind 24-0 and could not recover. The Jaguars are now 1-7 on the season but they find themselves in the national spotlight on Thursday so they will certainly come to play. We saw another similar situation last season when they were 1-5 and had a Monday night home game against the Ravens which they won outright as 10-point underdogs. Two of Jacksonville's losses this year came in overtime so it has not been horrible.
The Colts are now 5-3 on the season which is certainly one of the biggest turnarounds from last season after winning just two games. Indianapolis has won three straight games but it has to be one of the most average teams in the NFL that possesses a winning record. Two of the three losses have come by 20 points or more while all five wins have come by four points or less or in overtime. Five of the first eight games have come at home and both of those 20-point losses in fact took place on the highway.
The Colts have been moving the ball very well on offense but have little to show for it as they have turned the ball over and have failed to finish off drives which has led to field goals. They are 23rd in scoring offense and they are also 23rd in scoring defense. The Jaguars offense has been pathetic at times to say the least as turnovers have not helped along the way. The good news here is that the Colts defense has forced only three takeaways all season which is by far the fewest in the NFL.
We often see underdogs go to favorites and vice versa in college football from week to week but it is more rare in the NFL but we are seeing it this week as the Colts go from a home underdog to a road favorite. This dynamic goes into a situation going against the Colts as we play against favorites that are coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season. This situation is 69-32 ATS (68.3 percent) since 1983. in addition, Indianapolis is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games against losing teams. 10* (106) Jacksonville Jaguars
|11-05-12||Philadelphia Eagles v. New Orleans Saints OVER 51.5||Top||13-28||Loss||-105||14 h 5 m||Show|
We saw the under come in last night which was good for Vegas and the books and they will be hoping for the same tonight but will not be as fortunate. We played the Saints to stay under last Sunday night which it did without much of a problem. That game was on the road however as the New Orleans offense struggled with only 252 total yards which was a season low. The only other time the Saints were held to fewer than 300 total yards, they erupted for 474 yards next game.
The 14 points scored last week was the lowest point total New Orleans has put up since opening week of 2009 not counting Week 17 games. The Saints responded with 25 points in its next game. Last season, New Orleans lowest output on offense was 20 points at Tampa Bay. It responded with 62 points at home against the Colts. Granted the Colts were horrible but the point is that New Orleans has responded in the past coming off poor offensive efforts and that will happen again.
The Eagles game went over the total last week as they lost to the Falcons 30-17. Their offense has been its share of struggles this season as Philadelphia has scored 19 points or fewer in four of its last five games. Those four games were against teams ranked in the top ten of the NFL in scoring defense however and tonight that will not be the case as the Saints are ranked 30th in points allowed and dead last in total defense. Now is the time for the Eagles to break out of that slump.
Even though they have not put up points, the Eagles offense has been able to move the ball as they are 13th in total offense which is not great but it shows turnovers have been a big cause in holding them back. They should have no issues as New Orleans has created only nine turnovers on defense and that is one of the big reasons it has struggled so much as it has been on the field for way too long. Philadelphia can take advantage and break out of its low scoring slump.
This is no doubt a big number but I feel it is very justified as the situation and the matchups both favor a high-scoring game. 20 is the magic number here as the Eagles are 6-0 to the over in their last six games when both teams score 20 or more points and New Orleans is 13-3 to the over in its last 16 games in the same parameter. Those 22 games have averaged 57.8 ppg. The over is 8-1 in the Saints last nine games against teams with a losing record and the over is 4-0 in the Eagles last four road games against teams with a losing home record. 10* Over (439) Philadelphia Eagles/(440) New Orleans Saints
|11-04-12||Dallas Cowboys +4.5 v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||13-19||Loss||-115||84 h 43 m||Show|
Dallas is coming off another disappointing loss as it fought back from a 23-0 deficit to the Giants to take the lead only to give it back again in the fourth quarter. This was the Cowboys second in their last three games where they had a chance to win but could not come through in the end. The worst part is that Dallas outgained New York by 141 yards and outgained Baltimore by 165 yards but it lost the turnover battle both times. The Cowboys continue to waste talent but that changes here.
We bet against the Falcons last week but the Eagles failed to show up yet again as they fell behind by 14 points early and were unable to recover. Atlanta remains the only undefeated team in the NFL at 7-0 and while winning is what counts, it is arguably one of the worst 7-0 teams you will see based on statistics. The Falcons are outgaining opponents by just 12.4 ypg and they have been outgained in three of their seven games. That is not good against Dallas which has been outgained only twice by 16 and 19 yards.
Dallas has won the turnover battle in only one of its seven games this season and that is obviously the reason for its poor record. The Cowboys are seventh in the NFL in total offense and fourth in total defense yet are just 23rd and 18th in points scored and points allowed respectively. Despite a high powered offense, they have scored more than 24 points only once this season. Expect to see a balanced offensive attack against Atlanta that is not very good in either defensive category.
The Falcons are ranked 20th in total defense but have allowed the seventh fewest amount of points as the turnover issue is just the opposite for them. They have yet to lose the turnover battle in any game this season which is pretty impressive this late into the season. Even the offense is pretty average as Atlanta is 13th overall but has played from short fields a lot of the times. The Falcons have played only one team currently ranked in the top half of the league as they have played the 31st ranked schedule.
Dallas needs to fins a way to close the door and this is the perfect opportunity to do it. The Falcons are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 home games after three or more consecutive wins while going 0-6 ATS in their last six games after outgaining their opponent by 100 or more yards last game. Also, we play against home teams after covering the spread in five or six out of their last seven games, in November games. This situation is 31-8 ATS (79.5 percent) over the last five seasons. 10* (437) Dallas Cowboys
|11-04-12||Chicago Bears v. Tennessee Titans +4||Top||51-20||Loss||-115||95 h 15 m||Show|
Chicago came away with a big win over Carolina on Sunday as it got away with a pretty bad game to pull out the victory. I played against the Bears then and will be playing against them again here as this is a horrible spot on Sunday. They were outgained by 206 total yards against the Panthers but were able to take advantage of miscues late in the game. Coming off that last second victory and now hits the road as a favorite with games against San Francisco and Houston on deck puts Chicago in a brutal situation.
Tennessee had won two straight games before dropping its game in overtime against Indianapolis this past Sunday. The Titans dropped to 3-5 on the season but with only three other non-division leaders in the AFC above .500, the season is far from done. The schedule is not very demanding the rest of the way so getting back into the playoff picture is far from out of the question. The Titans next two games are on the road with a bye week sandwiched in-between so taking care of things here is a must.
The Titans defense has started to play a lot better of late. After allowing 30 points or more in their first five games, they have allowed an average of 25.3 ppg over their last three games and while that is still pretty poor compared to NFL standards, any improvement is a good one. Tennessee should not have to worry about much here as Chicago's offense has been pretty pedestrian as it is ranked 26th in total offense and even though the ppg average is high, that is due to only three games.
The Bears defense has carried them this season as they are ranked seventh overall and second in points allowed. Again, it has come down to just a few games against some pretty bad teams that has skewed the overall numbers. Tennessee is definitely inconsistent on offense but it has shown the ability to put up some significant numbers. After putting up more than 325 yards only once in their first five games, the Titans have averaged 362.7 ypg over their last three games.
Tennessee falls into a solid situation where we play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are being outscored by opponents by seven or more ppg, after a loss by six or less points. This situation is 113-66 ATS (63.1 percent) since 1983. The Titans are 21-8 ATS in their last 29 games after scoring 15 or fewer points in their last game. Chicago meanwhile is 3-7 ATS in its last 10 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in its previous game while going 1-8 ATS in its last nine road games after three or more straight wins. 10* (430) Tennessee Titans
|11-04-12||Denver Broncos v. Cincinnati Bengals +4||Top||31-23||Loss||-105||77 h 13 m||Show|
After two straight primetime games with a bye week sandwiched in-between, the Broncos get back to a normal schedule as they play an early game on Sunday on the road. Denver scored 35 unanswered points to defeat San Diego on Monday night and then following a bye week, it took apart the Saints at home, winning by 20 points and outgaining New Orleans by 278 total yards. That puts the Broncos in a very difficult spot this week against a hungry team.
The Bengals are coming off their bye week and it came at the perfect time as they are riding a three-game losing streak which came right after a three-game winning streak. Cincinnati never should have lost to Cleveland or Miami as it outgained both opponents but turnovers were the difference as it had seven in the two games combined. The Bengals remain home next week as well as they face the Giants so coming away with two losses will drop them to 3-6 and very likely out of the playoff picture.
After finishing seventh in total defense and ninth in scoring defense last season, the Bengals have slipped to 21st and 25th respectively this year. That is a pretty big drop but the defense has not been consistently bad and they have actually played very well in the majority of their games. Inconsistence is better than being consistently poor and coming off the bye week, I expect them to continue to improve. Denver is solid on offense with Peyton Manning but it has been very inconsistent with only two really big games.
Denver's defense has gotten a lot better this year compared to last season but it is still giving up a substantial amount of points, especially early on in games. Cincinnati is coming off its worst game of the season as it gained only 185 yards against the Steelers. The last time the offense put up fewer than 300 yards, the Bengals bounced back next game and amassed 438 yards. The bounceback factor comes into play again here and playing in a substantial game, we should see the rebound take place.
The Bengals are in a good bounceback spot as they are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after accumulating less than 250 total yards in their previous game. They also fall into a great situation where we play against road teams that are averaging more than 370 ypg on offense after outgaining their last opponent by 200 or more total yards in their previous game, going up against a team allowing between 335 and 370 ypg. This situation is 24-5 ATS (82.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (416) Cincinnati Bengals
|11-01-12||Kansas City Chiefs +9.5 v. San Diego Chargers||Top||13-31||Loss||-132||53 h 35 m||Show|
San Diego was unfortunate last week as it was forced to play in tough weather conditions and lost in Cleveland 7-6. Even giving them a mulligan for that game, the Chargers are not playing good at all and there is no reason for them to be favored by this many points, especially in a divisional game. San Diego has now lost three straight games and that loss against the Broncos three weeks ago where they blew a 24-0 lead is going to stick with them for a while. A return home is good but it has dropped two straight at Qualcomm.
We lost with the Chiefs this past Sunday as they played good enough to win but could not overcome four turnovers. It was the sixth time in seven games that Kansas City lost the turnover battle and it has lost all of those by a least two so things have not been good in that aspect. The Chiefs are 29th in the NFL in both scoring offense and scoring defense but those rankings improve to 11th and 18th respectively in total offense and total defense so they have done well but it is the turnovers that have made them stall.
The Chiefs scored 17 or more points in each of their first four games but have failed to get to that number in any of their last three games. The San Diego defense has been all over the place this year and while it is ranked ninth in scoring and tenth overall, two games against the Titans and Browns have skewed those rankings. The defense has forced one or no turnovers in five of their seven games this season so they have not been able to give their offense a break.
San Diego is only 25th in total offense this season and it is in the bottom half of the league in both rushing and passing. Yes they are balanced but a bad balance does the Chargers no good. People may think catching the Chiefs defense will help turn things around but Kansas City has allowed more than 400 total yards only once this season so while the point totals are up, the defense has been decent. Kansas city has won the yardage battle in five of seven games this season.
Kansas City lost the first meeting against San Diego and it was attributed to what else, turnovers. They turned it over six times and there is no way to recover from that. The Chiefs fall into a great revenge situation as we play on road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are revenging a loss where opponent scored 35 or more points, off a home loss against a division rival. This situation is 24-4 ATS (85.7 percent) since 1983. The Chiefs are 23-6 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing 25 or more points in two straight games. 10* (301) Kansas City Chiefs
|10-29-12||San Francisco 49ers v. Arizona Cardinals +7.5||Top||24-3||Loss||-115||12 h 56 m||Show|
Monday night home underdogs are a perfect 2-0 ATS this season with Seattle winning outright over the Packers and the Jets covering against Houston. The former obviously never should have taken place and going back the last few years, Monday night home underdogs are not what they used to be. Still, this number is completely out of line as the 49ers go from a seven-point home favorite to close to a seven-point road favorite in the span of just one week. There is no way the adjustment should be that big.
After starting the season 4-0, Arizona has dropped its last three games. I for one have been against the Cardinals in all three of those games but actually did not play that poorly in any of those games. It can be proven by the fact that Arizona outgained its opponent in all three of those games despite being on the short end of the scoreboard. Last week was especially tough as the Cardinals outgained Minnesota by 147 total yards but still lost by a touchdown. Those three losses are giving us value here.
The 49ers defense is ranked first overall and second in points allowed but they are again playing at a very high level. But they have not looked as dominant as last season though. San Francisco is 10th in rushing defense but after allowing just 318 yards on 98 carries (3.2 ypc) in its first four games, it has allowed 374 yards on 85 caries (4.4 ypc) in its last three games. The 49ers have allowed 285 yards rushing the last two games and this is an area that Arizona has to take advantage of.
San Francisco's offense is ranked ninth overall but just 16th in scoring as it has been unable to finish drives. It is ranked 19th in third down conversions and the 49ers should continue to struggle against an underrated Arizona defense that is allowing opponents to convert just 30.6 percent of their third down attempts, good for sixth best in the NFL. Overall the Cardinals seven in total defense and fourth in scoring defense so it will take a huge effort from the 49ers to break through which I do not see happening.
This is not a very good spot for the 49ers either as they have just enjoyed three straight home games and the last game sets them up for a fall as they are 4-14 ATS in their last 18 road games after allowing six points or less last game. Arizona meanwhile is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven games following a loss and under head coach Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals are 13-4 ATS in their 17 games against teams outscoring opponents by six or more ppg. An outright victory is not too farfetched here. 10* (244) Arizona Cardinals
|10-28-12||Oakland Raiders v. Kansas City Chiefs -1||Top||26-16||Loss||-117||103 h 10 m||Show|
The Raiders were able to come back from a big deficit against Jacksonville and pull out a win in overtime. It was just their second win of the season and a victory like that spells letdown even though this is a divisional game that seems to be winnable. Oakland has lost all three road games this year by an average of 18.7 ppg and while it is coming off its best effort in its last game at Atlanta, that was more of the Falcons not even showing up. Expect the opposite for the home team this week.
Kansas City's bye week could not have come sooner as it has been a struggle for the Chiefs early this season. They come into this game with a 1-5 record but they have not played as bas as that record shows. Kansas City outgained all of its first five opponents despite losing four of those games. Even with the poor record, the Chiefs are favored here for the first time this season which shows the situation at hand and the team they are playing. It is now must win time before games at San Diego and Pittsburgh on deck.
The Raiders win was no doubt a big confidence booster and this team has the talent to compete in the division but they are simply too undisciplined. Too many penalties and too many turnovers on offense have hurt them in close games by not being able to win as well as blowout losses that could have been closer. Oakland is 18th and 17th in total offense and total defense respectively so it is below average on both sides which isn't helping matters either.
The issue for the Chiefs this season is turnovers as they have lost the turnover battle in all but one game and that was wash. Because of this, the offense is struggling to score while the defense is unable to hold teams back because of the situations it is put in. Kansas City is 29th in points scored and 30th in points allowed but a much better eighth in total offense and 15th in total defense which clearly shows how turnovers can skew things. The Raiders are not opportunistic on defense though.
This has been the case for a while now as Oakland is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games against teams with a turnover margin of -1.5 per game or worse. Also, Oakland is 1-13 ATS in its last 14 games against teams that are getting outscored by 10 or more ppg on the season. Kansas City meanwhile is 6-0 ATS in its last six games coming off a road loss by two or more touchdowns while head coach Romeo Crennel is 16-3 ATS after allowing 30 points or more last game. 10* (238) Kansas City Chiefs
|10-28-12||Atlanta Falcons v. Philadelphia Eagles -1||Top||30-17||Loss||-120||100 h 10 m||Show|
Atlanta comes into this week as the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFL as the Falcons are 6-0 and coming off their bye week. The bye arguably came at a very bad time for Atlanta as it was riding a lot of momentum with their six wins to open the season and now they have to travel and face a team that is in desperate need of a win. Atlanta is 3-0 on the road and overall the schedule it has played is ranked dead last in the NFL in strength. This will be the toughest test to date.
There have been a few changes for the Eagles as they come out of their bye week. Most notably, they have a new defensive coordinator as Juan Castillo was let go and replaced by Todd Bowles. The defense wasn't horrible though as the Eagles have surrendered 20.8 ppg, 11th fewest among NFL defenses. They've given up 226.3 passing ypg and 104.5 rushing ypg, both of which are 15th in the league. A lot of the issues was with the offense turning the ball over and giving the opponents short fields.
After last season's high expectations, the Eagles came in with high expectations again this year and once again, they are not coming through. After a last second loss to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia blew another lead and lost to Detroit in overtime so the bye week was excellent timing. As mentioned, turnover have been the big issue but the case can be made for the other side as well now as the Falcons have turned the ball over five times over their last three games.
None of the Falcons
|10-28-12||Carolina Panthers +9 v. Chicago Bears||Top||22-23||Win||100||100 h 57 m||Show|
Chicago picked up a big divisional win on Monday night against the Lions but it really was a game that it should have lost. The Bears went down the field on their first drive and scored a touchdown, their only time they were able to find the endzone and the defense had to bail them out again. Detroit shot itself in the foot as it came away empty in its first three attempts in the redzone, twice turning it over, so the Bears were fortunate in that regard. After that big win, getting up for the Panthers will be tough.
While the Bears moved to 5-1, the Panthers fell to 1-5 after a loss to the Cowboys. It has been a tough season for Carolina to pick up wins but it's not like it hasn't been competitive. The Panthers have lost four of their five games by six points or less including both games played on the road. They made a move this week as they fired their general manager to try and provide some sort of spark and at this point, a change like that is beneficial. Look for a very inspired effort this week.
The Bears defense is allowing a paltry 62.7 quarterback rating, the lowest average rating in the league. However, taking a look at the quarterbacks they have faced shows they have played some of the most immobile quarterbacks in the league. Cam Newton brings a different element to the game as his ability to get away from pressure and get downfield is a great way to loosen up that defense. As long as his attitude is in the right direction, he remains a very dangerous quarterback.
Chicago's offense struggled against the Lions and this is not a very good offense right now. The Bears may have the eighth highest amount of points scored on average but they are just 22nd in total offense as they have mustered more than 360 total yards only twice. Taking advantage of opportunities coming from turnovers has been the difference so if that dries up, so will the points scored on offense. Carolina gave it away five time against the Giants but have only eight turnovers in its other five games.
Speaking of turnovers, Chicago is just 4-13 ATS in its last 17 games after a game where it won the turnover battle by four or more. Also, the Bears fall into a negative situation where we play against home teams that are +2.5 or more in turnover margin after a game where they forced four or more turnovers going against a team creating fewer than 1.25 tpg. This situation is 23-5 ATS (82.1 percent) since 1983. Meanwhile Carolina is 23-10 ATS in its last 33 games after scoring 14 points or less in two straight games. 10* (233) Carolina Panthers
|10-25-12||Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Minnesota Vikings -6.5||Top||36-17||Loss||-104||52 h 24 m||Show|
Minnesota came away with the victory this past Sunday and we will ride the Vikings once again. They did not play well at all against the Cardinals as they were outgained by 147 total yards but were fortunate to turn an interception into a touchdown return and the defense was able to hold tough when needed. The victory moved Minnesota to a perfect 4-0 at home and playing at home again this week is a big edge. The Vikings have a tough game at Seattle on deck which makes this one pretty big.
The Buccaneers are coming off a tough home loss against the Saints as they blew an early 14-0 lead and dropped to 2-4 in the process. Tampa Bay definitely could have a better record at this point as all four of its losses have come by a touchdown or less including both games on the road at Dallas and New York. Those scores were deceiving however as the Buccaneers were outgained by a total of 428 yards as it was pretty clear the home team was not prepared. That will not be the case this week.
The Minnesota defense is once again playing at a high level as it is ranked ninth overall and sixth in points allowed. The Vikings have allowed more than 14 points only once in their last five games and that run should continue here. The Tampa Bay offense is ranked 11th in points scored but just 20th in total offense as it has been fortunate to be on the wrong side of the turnover battle just once in six games. Playing efficient on offense is important but the Buccaneers have not taken advantage.
The Thursday setup has favored home teams when their last game was at home as the travel aspect is a big advantage seeing they do not have to do it. A short week is hard enough but when a travel day is thrown in, it takes its toll on the road team. The home team has won the last four Thursday night games and five of the six on the season. The edge is even greater in this matchup as Tampa Bay has not left home since September 23rd as it has played three home games with a bye mixed in as well.
The Vikings will be playing with revenge after losing at home last season to Tampa Bay. It was a tough loss on top of it as the Vikings blew a 17-0 lead and allowed the winning touchdown with just 31 seconds remaining so they will be out for payback. They fall into a great situation as we play against underdogs or pickems that are allowing 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more total ypg over their last two games. This situation is 36-12 ATS (75 percent) since 1983. 10* (104) Minnesota Vikings
|10-22-12||Detroit Lions +7 v. Chicago Bears||Top||7-13||Win||100||13 h 48 m||Show|
This is a big divisional game for both sides as Detroit and Chicago look to keep pace in the very competitive NFC North. Both Minnesota and Green Bay won yesterday making the Lions the team needing to make the biggest jump as they currently are two games behind the leaders. Last week's victory at Philadelphia was a huge one as not only was it a big come from behind victory but it gave Detroit some much needed confidence going forward which seemed to have been missing.
The Bears are off to a great start as a loss in Green Bay has been their only blemish. Chicago has been doing it with defense as it has allowed a league-low 71 points through its first five games. The schedule has been suspect however as the only two difficult teams is has faced have been the Cowboys and Packers, both of which are underachieving, and the Bears were outgained in both of those. The Bears have won all four of their games by 16 or more points which is helping us with the line here.
The Lions can be tossed into that underachieving group as a 2-3 start is not what was expected coming into the season. The thing is they have not played that badly as a road loss to Tennessee came in overtime despite them outgaining the Titans by 146 total yards and then the next week, Detroit lost to Minnesota at home by a touchdown despite outgaining the Vikings by 114 total yards. Detroit is second in the NFL in total offense and ninth in total defense which are both extremely solid.
We can also make the argument that the Bears are overachieving. The defense is very strong as mentioned as they are third overall and fist in fewest points allowed. That has helped the offense to score the second most points heading into Week Seven but also helping is fact are turnovers which have led to short field for the offense. Despite scoring a lot of points, Chicago is just 20th in the league in total offense and while Detroit gained momentum from last week, the Bears lost theirs because of the bye week.
The Lions have giving up a ton of points because of turnovers but they fall into a great situation where we play on road underdogs or pickems with a defense that is allowing 27 or more ppg. This situation is 66-35 ATS (65.3 percent) over the last five seasons. When facing a strong defense, the Lions have flourished as they are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games against teams allowing 70 or fewer ypg on the ground. Chicago meanwhile is 4-17 ATS in its last 21 games after scoring 25 or more points in two straight games. 10* (437) Detroit Lions
|10-21-12||Arizona Cardinals v. Minnesota Vikings -6||Top||14-21||Win||100||123 h 35 m||Show|
The Vikings are coming off a tough road loss at Washington despite outgaining the Redskins 421-361 and that even includes Robert Griffin III's 76-yard run so Minnesota had them bottled up most of the game. Three turnovers did them in though and now they are sitting at 4-2, a half-game back of the Bears in the NFC North. Minnesota heads home for this game and then a quick turnaround for a Thursday game at home so coming off a loss, this is a much needed game.
Arizona has dropped two straight games and I will continue to fade the Cardinals as they are still being overvalued. Early money went against them which has driven this line from +4 to +5.5 and should keep going in that direction although that probably will not happen until later in the week. Getting the best possible line right now is the way to go so getting this out early is imperative. The Vikings are 3-0 at home and while wins over the Jaguars and Titans are not impressive, the win over the 49ers makes up for those.
The Cardinals offense has been horrible this season and to their defense, injuries have played a big role. They have no running game as their top two backs are out for the season while there has been no stability at quarterback due to injuries as well. Buffalo had allowed 97 points and 1,201 yards against the Patriots and 49ers in its two previous games but Arizona was only able to muster 16 points and 332 yards. The Cardinals are ranked 26th in scoring offense and 31st in total offense.
The Minnesota defense is again a dominant force as the Vikings are ranked ninth in scoring and eighth overall and last week they held the Redskins to their second lowest output on the season. The best work has come at home where the last two games Minnesota has allowed 267 and 280 yards to the Titans and 49ers respectively. On the other side, quarterback Christian Ponder has been solid with a quarterback rating of 92.4 which is ninth in the NFL but the rushing games is still a very potent unit.
The issue the past week was redzone struggles as three times the Vikings drove deep into Redskins' territory during the first quarter and three times they settled for field goals, each missed opportunity more disappointing than the previous one. That is something they should turn around at home. Minnesota is 6-2 ATS in their last eight games after allowing 30 points or more in their previous game while the Cardinals are just 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games against teams with a winning home record. 10* (418) Minnesota Vikings
|10-21-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Houston Texans -6||Top||13-43||Win||100||122 h 13 m||Show|
Houston has taken some early money and this line has risen slightly from its opener as the Texans look to rebound from their first loss of the season. They were manhandled by Green Bay on Sunday night, getting outgained by over 100 total yards, and even the final margin of 18 points was not as close as the game played out as Houston was able to make it that respectable with a blocked punt for a touchdown late in the game. The Texans have their bye next week so a rebound performance is imperative.
The Ravens won their fourth straight game with a victory over the Cowboys that was pretty much handed to them. Dallas had a chance to tie the game but dropped a two-point conversion and after recovering the onside kick, the Cowboys missed a 51-yard field goal with two second left. Three of the four wins during this stretch have come by three points or less and two of those were decided on last second field goal attempts that both went Baltimore's way. The Ravens also go into their bye but the spot is much tougher.
The win over the Cowboys was a big one for Baltimore as it kept it in first place in the AFC North by two games over the Bengals and two and a half games over the Steelers but in the grand scheme of things, it could be considered a loss. The Ravens lost linebacker Ray Lewis for the rest of the season with a torn triceps but not maybe even more important is that they also lost cornerback Lardarius Webb for the season with a torn ACL. That one will be extremely tough to overcome.
The Ravens defense was third in the NFL last season but they have dropped to 26th in total defense this season so the injuries have only added to the problems. The Texans have to take advantage as they have been just going through the motions in their last two home games against Tennessee and Green Bay as they gained just 297 and 321 total yards respectively. They are fifth in the NFL in scoring offense and will certainly need to take advantage of the matchup edges in this one.
The Texans first ever trip to the playoffs ended in Baltimore last season as they lost by a touchdown despite winning the yardage battle 315-227. Turnovers were the difference and now it will be revenge time for Houston. The Texans are 7-0 ATS in their last seven games after allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing in two straight games while going 14-4 ATS in their last 18 conference games while Baltimore is 0-4 in its last four games against conference opponents. 10* (422) Houston Texans
|10-21-12||Washington Redskins +6.5 v. NY Giants||Top||23-27||Win||100||122 h 7 m||Show|
Washington won on Sunday at home against Minnesota and now it heads to New York to play its first divisional game of the season. The Redskins are 3-3 to start the season which isn't horrible after a disappointing 5-11 season a year ago. Each of the three losses were by a touchdown or less so not only are they playing well but they are staying competitive in the games they are losing. Only five of their 11 losses last season were by a touchdown or less and the confidence building win over the Vikings moves forward.
The Giants are also coming off a victory and theirs was a big one as they defeated San Francisco on the road in the NFC Championship rematch. That was a huge win and it puts New York in arguably the spot as the team to now beat in the NFL. A trip out west and a return home is a tough grind and the Giants could be in for a letdown here despite this being a divisional game against a longtime rival. This is a better Washington team the Giants are facing than last year yet are favored by more this season.
Robert Griffin III is proving to be a great pick for Washington as he is coming off another great game where he was responsible for three touchdowns. He is coming off his third highest quarterback rating but he has yet to put up a bad game which is rare for a rookie. Overall he has a 100.5 rating which is third best in the NFL behind Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning. The Giants defense put up another solid game but they are still 19th in the NFL in total defense.
Washington has struggled on defense all season as defensive coordinator Jim Haslett has lost top pass-rusher Brian Orakpo, one of his top run-stoppers in Adam Carriker, and his anticipated starting strong safety in Brandon Meriweather. He came through with a great gameplan against Minnesota as the bend-don't-break philosophy panned out as the Redskins held the Vikings without a touchdown for nearly three and a half quarters. This will certainly be another challenge but far from undoable.
The rushing game for Washington will come into play here. Griffin had a 76-yard touchdown run against the Vikings so the numbers got skewed somewhat but this is still one of the best rushing teams in the NFL as the unit is ranked second overall and second in per carry average at 5.2 ypc. Washington is 13-2 ATS in its last 15 road games after gaining 175 or more rushing yards last game while the Giants are 3-11 in their last 14 home games after allowing fewer than 100 yards rushing in two straight games. 10* (427) Washington Redskins
|10-18-12||Seattle Seahawks v. San Francisco 49ers -7||Top||6-13||Push||0||77 h 35 m||Show|
The 49ers laid an egg at home against the Giants and that makes this spot so much better for them. They were dominant in their previous two games against the Jets and Bills as they allowed just three points while scoring a combined 70 points. It was just the opposite in their NFC Championship rematch against the Giants but now they are in a bounceback spot in a divisional game where they currently sit in a three-way tie with the Cardinals and the Seahawks so we will see a very inspired effort.
Seattle continues to be very impressive at home as it is now 3-0 with big wins over Dallas, Green Bay and New England. That is certainly a very impressive and to be honest, the Seahawks feasibly could be 6-0 right now as losses against Arizona and St. Louis could have gone the other way. The fact of the matter though is coming off a last second comeback win at home and travelling on a short week spells disaster especially against a team that is pissed off.
We saw a Seattle letdown after its last home win as it went into St. Louis and lost to the Rams as road favorites. Granted, the number is much different this time around but the situation is as well. Not only are the Seahawks in a difficult travel spot but facing a team coming off a loss makes it more of a challenge. Seattle is coming off a road win in its last game but that was at Carolina so the step up in class is huge. The Seahawks have had a big home field edge over the year and it is evident this year but the road is difficult.
The Thursday setup has favored home teams when their last game was at home as the travel aspect is a big advantage seeing they do not have to do it. A short week is hard enough but when a travel day is thrown in, it takes its toll on the road team. The home team has won the last three Thursday night games and four of the five on the season. This is the second time we have the spot with a team at home coming off a home loss with the first being the Packers taking out the Bears after losing to San Francisco.
San Francisco is 7-0 ATS in its last seven games coming off a loss as a favorite and it is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 home games overall. Seattle is 0-7 ATS in its last seven games as a road underdog of fewer than nine points and coming off a win when playing a team coming off a loss as a favorite. Also, we play against road teams that are coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team. This situation is 47-20 ATS (70.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (304) San Francisco 49ers
|10-15-12||Denver Broncos v. San Diego Chargers UNDER 50||Top||35-24||Loss||-110||148 h 22 m||Show|
Three of the last four Monday night games have stayed below the total and that is just fine with the bookmakers as there is always heavy action on the over in these primetime games. Because both Denver and San Diego are coming of high scoring games once again, we are getting value based on this total being inflated. The early action came in on the under which has brought the number down slightly but not enough to hurt the play as we are likely going to see the number go back up once it gets closer to gametime.
The Broncos lost a high profile game at New England last week and it was the third time this season that their game went over the total. It was also the third time that the game went over because of a late Denver touchdown. They scored with under two minutes left to go over against Pittsburgh, they scored with three minutes left to go over against Houston and they scored with six minutes left go over against the Patriots. All three can be considered garbage scores and all three have added to the value of a low scoring game.
San Diego has now played two straight games that have surpassed the total. The Chargers went way over the number in Kansas City and the last game snuck over because of a late field goal depending on when the total was taken. This week's over/under is slightly less than the game against the Saints but not by much and these last two totals have been the highest they have had all season. The last game San Diego played at home was against Atlanta and the total of 47 was not close to being touched.
While both teams are known on the surface as good offensive teams, the defenses are not that bad. Denver is 13th in total defense while San Diego is 11th in total defense. Both teams are coming off their worst defensive efforts of the season so we can see both rebounded on that side of the ball this week. The Chargers are 6-0 to the under in their last six home games after a game where 50 or more points were scored while going 11-3 to the under in their last 14 home games after gaining 6.5 or more yppl last game.
Obviously Denver is a different team this year with Peyton Manning under center so past history can give us some flawed information but looking at the league as a whole, we often see divisional games being played closer to the vest thus creating more lower scoring games. San Diego is 6-0 to the under in its last six divisional home games while Denver is 4-0 to the under in its last four divisional games. I expect those to remain perfect as should see a much lower scoring game than what the total is telling us. 10* Under (233) Denver Broncos/(234) San Diego Chargers
|10-14-12||Indianapolis Colts v. NY Jets -3||Top||9-35||Win||100||118 h 28 m||Show|
The Jets are coming off a tough loss Monday night against Houston as they had opportunities to get the job done but mistakes once again did them in. they have dropped two straight games, both at home, against two of the elite teams in the league. This is their third straight home game and if ever there was a must win spot, this is it. Falling to 2-4 before heading for a big divisional game at New England is something they cannot let happen and in this situation, they won't.
The Colts meanwhile are coming off an improbable win at home against Green Bay. They trailed by 18 points at halftime but were able to mount the comeback and eventually won the game in the final minute. It was a tough week for Indianapolis with everything that went on with their head coach and providing the win in Chuck Pagano's honor was enormous. Now the Colts are in a huge emotional letdown and while confidence is sky high, they will not have enough in the tank come this Sunday.
A lot of positives can be taken from the Colts victory but it was far from a perfect performance. The Indianapolis offense was pretty pedestrian to start the game, failing to score a first half touchdown while registering just three points. It was a different team in the second as the offense opened things up while the defense shut down the Packers offense for the most part in the second half. A lot of that can be blamed on Green Bay though as something is just not right with the unit.
The Jets defense played very well against Houston, allowing only 209 yards through the air which was very solid with Darrelle Revis out for the season. New York was gashed by Arian Foster who ran for 152 yards but it will not have to worry much around the rushing game this weekend. Donald Brown has a good game but the Colts bring in the 19th ranked rushing offense. Andrew Luck showed why he is going to be a superstar but we will not see a repeat performance.
It can be argued the Jets come out flat following their Monday night games but they have been solid in these spots, going 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 Sunday games following a Monday game the previous week. Indianapolis meanwhile is 0-12 ATS in its last 12 games against losing teams and we play against underdogs or pickems that are allowing 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more ypg over their last two games. This situation is 35-11 ATS (76.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (212) New York Jets
|10-14-12||Detroit Lions +5 v. Philadelphia Eagles||Top||26-23||Win||100||118 h 16 m||Show|
Detroit is coming off its bye week and it came at the best possible time. The Lions entered their week off on a three-game losing streak and they feasibly had a chance to win the last two games. The last game against Minnesota they were hurt by two special teams touchdowns as they outgained the Vikings by 114 yards. Detroit outgained Tennessee by 146 yards prior to that but lost in overtime. This has turned into a very big game with a divisional contest on deck at Chicago.
The Eagles were involved in yet another close game as the lost to the Steelers on a last second field goal. It was the fourth game that was decided by two points or less and turnovers were the story once again as Philadelphia gave it up twice while failing to create any turnovers on defense. To their credit, the Eagles won three of those four close games but the loss to the Steelers stung. Bouncing back at home will be tough as Philadelphia has proven it cannot be trusted as a favorite.
The Lions came into the season as a consensus overrated team and now sitting at 1-3, those opinions look to be have been true. As mentioned, they have not played bad though as they are a couple plays away of being .500 at worst. There have been too many miscommunications and too many missed assignments on the offensive line so the week provided a good time to shore up some of these mental issues. The offense is still one of the best in football and should again have success here.
Defensively, the Lions have an opportunity to take advantage of the Eagles problems with giving up the ball. Detroit was one of the leading turnover-makers in football last season and it needs to get back to that to take some of the pressure off the offense of needing to think it has to simply outscore opponents. The Lions still possess a very solid defensive line and disrupting the Eagles offense, namely Michael Vick, will go a long way. His game provides the turning point.
The Eagles are just 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 home games as they remain an extremely overvalued team. Detroit meanwhile is 4-1 ATS in its last five game as scoring less than 15 points it is previous game which includes an outright win in its only spot in that situation last season. Also, we play against home teams with a winning percentage between .501 and .600 that are coming off a road loss by three points or less. This situation is 23-4 ATS (85.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (219) Detroit Lions
|10-14-12||Cincinnati Bengals v. Cleveland Browns +3||Top||24-34||Win||100||118 h 10 m||Show|
We have an early revenge situation for the Browns which are still looking for their first win of the season. Cleveland remains the only winless team in the NFL but I still think the value is on the Browns this week and that is based on the fact they do not have a win yet. The Bengals were favored by seven points in that first meeting so based on the change of venue they should be a slight underdog here but the linesmakers were obviously forced to make them the favorites here.
Cleveland jumped on the Giants 14-0 early on Sunday but the defense was unable to hold back the New York offense but it catches a break this week. The Browns have faced two straight uptempo offenses and both of those came on the road so a return home against Cincinnati, which is ranked 15th in total offense, gives them a shot to turn it around. They best defensive performance came in their last home game where they allowed 344 total yards to the Bills.
The Bengals are coming off a home loss against Miami which snapped their three-game winning streak. There was plenty of talk coming into the season that Cincinnati would take a step backward and while the three-game winning streak put an end to that, the loss to the Dolphins has brought it right back. The Bengals have not faced any potent offense yet they are ranked 18th in total defense and 21st in scoring defense. The Browns offense has been much better than advertised so far.
Despite the fact it is winless, Cleveland is not ranked at the bottom of most power rankings as it has held its own in nearly every game with plenty of chances to win. One of those came in the first game against the Bengals as Cleveland actually outgained them and the difference ended up being an 81-yard punt return that the Bengals opened the scoring with. Cincinnati has owned the series of late with four straight win as well as victories in seven of the last eight but this spot provides a good opportunity to end it.
The Cleveland offense and defense puts it into a solid situation here as we play on home underdogs or pickems that are averaging 5.4 or more yppl, after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) since 1983. Additionally, the Browns are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games after allowing 400 or more total yards in two consecutive games. The underdog is on a 9-1-1 ATS run in the last 11 meetings in this series. 10* (210) Cleveland Browns
|10-11-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Tennessee Titans +6||Top||23-26||Win||100||54 h 3 m||Show|
Tennessee heads up the list of disappointing teams this season as its loss in Minnesota dropped the Titans to 1-4 on the year. There should be no excuses although the Titans have played a brutal schedule thus far as they have played the toughest slate in the league through the first five weeks of the season. Three of their five games have been on the road including the last two so a return home has come at a good time. The situation is a good one as well playing on a short week.
The reason it is good is because of the other side and that is the Steelers hitting the road on the short week. Pittsburgh was coming off its bye week the previous week and came away with a last second win over the Eagles this past Sunday in a very physical game. It took its toll as the return of Troy Polamalu was very short lived as he was re-injured and will be out this week as will LaMarr Woodley who left with a hamstring injury against the Eagles. The Steelers are now 2-0 at home and 0-2 on the road.
Tennessee has the lowest average time of possession per game in the NFL (24:50) and that is due to a lack of a running game. With Chris Johnson rushing for just 210 yards through five games, the Titans have the league's 30th ranked rushing attack. Facing the Steelers may seem like a daunting task however the defense of Pittsburgh is not what it used to be as it is ranked 11th in rushing defense. The Titans have faced four teams in the top 10 in rushing defense and the only one it didn't resulted in their lone win.
Titans starting quarterback Jake Locker will miss his second straight game with soreness in his left shoulder meaning Matt Hasselbeck with be making the start. His last two games have obviously resulted in losses but he hasn't been horrible as he has completed 63 percent of his passes to go with three touchdowns. It will be up to the defense to make big strides as the unit has been gashed as Tennessee is ranked 29th in total defense. Getting pressure on Ben Roethlisberger will be the number one priority.
The Titans have struggled to pressure opposing quarterbacks, ranking 30th in sacks per pass attempt (3.87 percent). Catching the Steelers at the right time is big though as Pittsburgh is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 road games including going 0-8 ATS in its last eight road games on grass. Despite the recent struggles, the Titans are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game while the Steelers are 0-5 ATS in their last five games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. 10* (102) Tennessee Titans
|10-08-12||Houston Texans v. NY Jets +9||Top||23-17||Win||100||149 h 38 m||Show|
With everything going on in the public eye right now, the linesmakers had no choice but to make this number as high as it is. The public will be hearing all week about how the Jets are in turmoil with a major quarterback controversy and how Houston is undefeated and looks to be the team to beat in the AFC. This is exactly the situation we love to see in a high profile game such as this as no team is as bad as it was last week and no teams is as good as it was last week.
The Jets are coming off a dreadful loss against San Francisco as they were shutout 34-0 while getting outgained 379-145. It was by far the worst offensive performance of the season and it was the first time they have been shutout since October, 2010. They followed that game up with a win and they are in a better situation here with this being the second of back-to-back home games. Despite everything that is going on, the Jets are 2-2 and sitting in a tie atop the AFC East so things could be worse.
You have to give credit to Houston for being one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL but it has had a pretty easy road to get there. The Texans have played the third easiest schedule thus far and the only real test so far was in Denver where they nearly blew a big lead. While many will not consider this a test , it will be a lot tougher than it looks right now. Houston has a three-game homestand coming up with Green Bay and Baltimore on deck so there could be a slight lookahead going forward.
With New York being a media Mecca, you won't be able to avoid some of the sport talk surrounding the Jets and the things they need to do to turn things around. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time this past Sunday as they were coming off a road win in overtime against the Dolphins while the 49ers were coming off a road loss at Minnesota. Now there is a quarterback controversy as Mark Sanchez is coming off a horrible game but we have seen it before and he responds more often than not with a big performance.
We play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against team averaging 27 ppg or more after a loss by 14 or more points. This situation is 32-10 ATS (76.2 percent) since 1983. on top of that, the Jets are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 home games coming off a home loss and 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games after putting up 250 or fewer yards last game while Houston is just 4-13 ATS in its last 17 road games against defenses allowing 350 or more ypg. 10* (436) New York Jets
|10-07-12||Tennessee Titans +6 v. Minnesota Vikings||Top||7-30||Loss||-109||121 h 50 m||Show|
The Vikings have gotten off to a terrific start this season by going 3-1 and if not for a late defensive meltdown against the Colts, they could reasonably be 4-0 right now. Minnesota has been far from dominant however and last week against Detroit, it was actually outgained by 114 total yards but used two special team touchdowns to cement the upset. Now the Vikings go from 3.5-point road underdogs to a 6-point home favorite and that is a huge swing for a pretty average team.
Tennessee was thumped again as it got hammered in Houston to fall to 1-3 on the season. The Titans were expected to make some noise this season after a solid season last year but the early schedule has been very tough to overcome. They have played the toughest schedule in the NFL as the three losses have come against teams that are a combined 9-3 and one of those came against the 2-2 Patriots which could feasibly be 4-0 right now. Tennessee now finds itself in a good situation with plenty of value on its side.
The Titans may be without quarterback Jake Locker after he separated his non-throwing shoulder against the Texans. If he cannot go, Matt Hasselbeck will get the start and wasn't horrible against Houston as he was 17-25 for 193 but two interceptions killed him as both were returned for touchdowns. This will not be a big switch. The better news is that running back Chris Johnson finally had a good game as he rushed for 141 yards on 25 carries (5.6 ypc) and he needs to build off that momentum.
Minnesota is again playing strong defense but the relatively easy schedule has helped. The Vikings have faced three offenses ranked in the bottom half of the league and while Tennessee falls into that category as well, Minnesota is in a big letdown spot here. The Vikings pulled off a huge upset against San Francisco and then pulled off a divisional road upset against the Lions so getting up for the 1-3 Titans could prove to be too much to ask for. An outright loss is far from out of the question.
Tennessee is second to last in the AFC in turnover margin which has hurt its cause immensely. The titans fall into a great league-wide situation based on that though as we play on road underdogs or pickems with a turnover margin of -1 tpg or worse after two consecutive games where they forced one or fewer turnovers. This situation is 29-9 ATS (76.3 percent) over the last five seasons. Vikings meanwhile are 9-19-1 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing fewer than 15 points in their previous game. 10* (419) Tennessee Titans
|10-07-12||Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers -3||Top||14-16||Loss||-123||118 h 45 m||Show|
The Steelers find themselves in a good situation coming off their bye week. They are off to a 1-2 start and are game and a half behind the Bengals and Ravens in the AFC North so that makes this a very important early season game. Pittsburgh lost its opening game in Denver and then its last game in Oakland despite outgaining the Raiders by 112 total yards so it is pretty clear that the Steelers have not traveled well out west. The off week while remaining at home is the perfect spot to recharge the batteries.
The Eagles dodged a bullet last week as they won at home against the Giants thanks to a missed field goal as the game ended. Philadelphia improved to 3-1 and it is a record that is either spot on or slightly skewed. The Eagles have outgained every one of their opponents so far sp a winning record seems legitimate. However, the turnover debacle has made games closer than they should be as the three wins have come by a total of four points. After no turnovers last week, expect a reversal of that here.
The Steelers are averaging just 65 rushing ypg which is 31st in the league, and ranks above only the Raiders anemic 60.8 ypg average. The good news however is that running back Rashard Mendenhall is ready to return this week which is a big boost for the offense that is in much need of it. Pittsburgh is not going to switch its schemes though as it has been able to throw the ball with a good deal of success as they are ranked sixth in passing offense but with a more consistent running game they can get even better.
On the other side, the Pittsburgh defense has not been very good. The Steelers only have five sacks and two forced turnovers in three games and part of the reason has been injuries with James Harrison and Troy Polamalu missing time. Polamalu should be back this week which is pretty big and even though Harrison is likely sitting again, the week off provided rest for all. The Steelers still need to find a way to generate pressure and force turnovers and the young players need to start executing better.
The Steelers have been one of the better teams in the NFL coming off a bye as they have won each of the last four years, covering three of those. They have been even better coming off a loss as they are a perfect 9-0 ATS in their last nine games following a defeat. Also, they are 8-0 ATS in their last eight home games coming off a spread loss while going 19-5 ATS in their last 24 home games after outgaining their opponent by 100 or more total yards in two straight games. 10* (414) Pittsburgh Steelers
|10-07-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Kansas City Chiefs +5.5||Top||9-6||Win||100||118 h 37 m||Show|
The Chiefs came up pretty small last week at home against the Chargers as they dropped to 1-3 on the season. Kansas City was coming off a big road win at New Orleans but it was unable to keep the momentum going as it turned the ball over six times and as we all know, it is impossible to win in this league with mistakes like that. The Chiefs are 0-2 at home, getting outscored by 33 points combined but what that now does is create value for this week and Kansas City is catching a very good number.
Baltimore won last Thursday at home against Cleveland and it was a very uninspiring win as it let the Browns hang around enough to almost be able to tie the game late. It was the third straight game that wasn't decided until very late and while the offense has been clicking, the defense has been a major disappointment. The Ravens have not allowed a lot of points but they are ranked 23rd in total defense which is a far cry of how good they have been over the past few years.
Despite being 1-3 on the year, the Chiefs have outgained every opponent so far and while they have not been able to turn those into wins, they are showing they are able to compete and hold their own. Converting yards into points has been the issue as Kansas City is fourth in the NFL in total offense but just 18th in scoring offense and turnovers is the reason. The Chiefs have 15 giveaways and their -13 turnover differential is easily the worst in the NFL. That will come back around.
Kansas City has given up a ton of points and turnovers are to blame as well. The Chiefs have allowed the second most points in the NFL despite being ranked a respectable 13th in total defense. Playing on a short field has killed them and over the last two games, they have allowed just 288 yards and 293 yards against two potent offenses. Kansas City is 24-11 ATS in its last 35 games after allowing 35 or more points while head coach Romeo Crennel is 15-3 ATS in his last 18 games after allowing 30 or more points.
Kansas City falls into a great league-wide situation where we play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are averaging between 18 and 23 ppg going up against teams averaging 27 or more ppg after a loss by 14 or more points. This situation is 32-10 ATS (76.2 percent) since 1983. Additionally, the Chiefs are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games at home following a divisional game where they allowed 35 or more points so they have been a solid bounceback team. 10* (424) Kansas City Chiefs
|10-04-12||Arizona Cardinals v. St. Louis Rams +2||Top||3-17||Win||100||53 h 18 m||Show|
We rode St. Louis to victory last week over Seattle as it was catching points at home and we will do the same this Thursday as it is again a divisional home underdog. The Rams came away with the outright win as they improved to 2-0 at home while sitting 0-2 on the road and they have already matched their win total from all of last season. The Thursday night game means a short turnaround but it is a big edge for the home teams, especially when last week was at home also, as it takes out the travel.
Arizona is one of just three remaining undefeated teams in the NFL and it is definitely the most surprising of the bunch. The Cardinals are 4-0 for the first time since 1974 and this is arguably one of the ugliest 4-0 teams we have seen in recent memory. The schedule has been somewhat of a cakewalk as three of the four games have come at home and three of the wins have come down to the final play in regulation so luck has been on their side as the Cardinals could easily be sitting at 1-3 right now.
Making the 4-0 start for Arizona even more of a farce is that it has yet to outgain a single opponent. The defense has played at a high level in keeping points off the scoreboard and despite the fact the Cardinals have the third best scoring defense in the NFL, they are just 17th in the league in total defense so their bend but don
|10-01-12||Chicago Bears v. Dallas Cowboys OVER 41.5||Top||34-18||Win||100||12 h 30 m||Show|
Dallas has started the season by going low in its first three games with all of those contests going under the total. The offense has been surprisingly inconsistent as the Cowboys are 19th in the NFL in total offense and an even worse 31st in scoring offense. Facing a Bears defense does not look like the situation to turn it around however we are catching a very favorable total for tonight and it is actually the lowest the Cowboys have seen this year. The value squarely lies on the over.
Chicago meanwhile has gone under in each of its last two games as the offense was unable to do anything against the Packers two weeks ago while the defense was able to shut down the Bears last week. The defense was ranked fifth in the league in both yards and scoring heading into Week Four and that is part of the reason we are catching a low number for tonight. The numbers are skewed somewhat however as the Bears did allow 356 and 321 yards to the Colts and Packers the first two weeks.
On the other side, the Cowboys are first in the NFL in total defense, allowing only 250 ypg. They were able to hold down the potent Giants offense but that was opening week and Dallas was not tested against Seattle and the Buccaneers in the last two games. Tampa Bay had 166 yards last week including just 96 yards before its final drive of the game so while the Bears defense has been strong, the Cowboys stop unit has quietly got the job done. Things will be tougher here though.
As mentioned, the Cowboys offense has been very inconsistent and the Bears offense has been the same. The difference though is that Chicago has not been taking a conservative approach as quarterback Jay Cutler's average pass has traveled 9.8 yards past the line of scrimmage, the fourth-highest in the league. The issue has been poor first down execution which has put them in long yardage situations on second and third down so getting that in order will help the offense immensely.
Monday nights have been low scoring so far as three of the four games have all gone under including each of the last two weeks. These nights are big for the public in betting the over and they have been stung so far but this is where we get the turnaround. The Cowboys are 18-8-3 to the over in their last 29 games after allowing less than 250 total yards in their previous game while the Bears are 16-7 to the over in their last 23 games against teams averaging 260 or more passing ypg. 10* Over (231) Chicago Bears/(232) Dallas Cowboys
|09-30-12||New England Patriots -4 v. Buffalo Bills||Top||52-28||Win||100||53 h 17 m||Show|
We used the Patriots as one of our top plays last week and they came through with a cover. They lost outright however and that actually sets us up again for another strong situation this week. New England has lost consecutive games in the regular season only three times since 2003 prior to this season. The Patriots bounced back with a win in each of those previous follow up games, winning by a combined score of 92-26. This is the first time New England has had a losing records since 2003 when it opened 0-1.
Buffalo has looked impressive the last two weeks with big wins following the season opening blowout loss against the Jets. Taking nothing away from their response but the Bills last two wins have come against some pretty weak opposition and while they are playing with confidence, this is going to be a huge test. Buffalo has improved in almost all areas and it will continue to give a lot of teams fits but this will not be one of those as the Bills caught the Patriots at the wrong time.
The Patriots defense was expected to be a much stronger unit this season but it regressed last week against the Ravens and the Bills offense will certainly provide a big test. However the running game for Buffalo is now a mess with C.J. Spiller out and Fred Jackson still nursing a knee injury although he is likely to play even though he is not at 100 percent. Ryan Fitzpatrick has been great the last two games by throwing no interceptions and that means he comes back to earth this Sunday.
Tom Brady has owned the Bills over the years and there is no reason to think he won't have another big game here. His offensive line will have to play well and the Patriots also need to get their running game going which has been non-existent over the last two games. The Bills have allowed 745 yards passing so far this season and have yet to face an offense as strong as the Patriots. The last time he was in Buffalo, Brady threw four picks so you know he will out for redemption.
The line opened with the Patriots favored by six points but it quickly came down as sharp money was all over Buffalo and the line has now settled in at four and there should not be much more movement. New England falls into a great situation as we play on favorites with a winning percentage between .250 and .400 after covering the spread in two out of their last three games, playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 37-11 ATS (77.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (205) New England Patriots
|09-30-12||Seattle Seahawks v. St. Louis Rams +3||Top||13-19||Win||100||53 h 11 m||Show|
The Seahawks came away with a very fortunate win on Monday as everyone is well aware of. Seattle moved to 2-1 with the victory with both wins coming at home in consecutive weeks and now it heads back out on the road in what looks to be a very tough situation. The Seahawks own a solid home field edge but they are very average on the road, going 5-12 under head coach Pete Carroll. High profile wins over Dallas and Green Bay has put Seattle in the false favorite role this week.
St. Louis is 1-2 after falling in Chicago last week to drop to 0-2 on the road. The Rams lone win came at home against Washington in Week Two and I expect a similar rebound this week coming off that road defeat. This team is a lot better than it was last season when it went 2-14 and that comes down to better coaching and health. Four of their seven home losses last year came by a touchdown or less so as bad as they were last season, the Rams were still competitive at home
The defense has been improving each game for the Rams as they allowed a season low 274 yards last week in Chicago. They won't have to produce any magic against the Seahawks as their offense is still a work in progress under rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle is ranked 26th in scoring offense and 29th in total offense and they it is dead last in the league is pass attempts and yards. They do have a strong running game behind Marshawn Lynch but the Rams runs defense is above average.
The big matchup will be the Rams offense against the Seahawks defense with the latter being one of the best units in the NFL. Holding Dallas and Green Bay to 19 combined points is quite impressive, but again, those games were at home. The Rams have to keep Seattle off balance and that starts with Steven Jackson who is coming off a poor game last week. Last week the Packers used some powerful runs to establish balance and keep the Seattle from going all in on the pass rush and it worked.
You cannot compare Green bay and St. Louis but Seattle goes for a home underdog to a road favorite which is very rare in the this league and the Rams benefit from it as they fall into a great situation where we play against favorites coming off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season. This situation is 67-32 ATS (67.7 percent) since 1983 including going 19-3 ATS (86.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. This system has not lost over the last three years (7-0 ATS). 10* (218) St. Louis Rams
|09-30-12||Carolina Panthers +7.5 v. Atlanta Falcons||Top||28-30||Win||100||53 h 45 m||Show|
People cannot get enough of the Falcons right now as just like that, they are being hailed as Super Bowl contenders. No offense to the three teams they have beat, but the AFC West is far from a power division so the 3-0 record is far from impressive in my eyes. The defense clamped down last week as turnovers again were the difference and as I will explain later, that will be going against them this week. Despite being 3-0, Atlanta is outgaining opponents by less than nine ypg.
Carolina looked great two weeks ago when it defeated the Saints and was the complete opposite team last week when it got thumped Thursday night against the Giants. This has turned into a huge game for the Panthers if they are looking to compete in the NFC South as a win here keeps them on pace but a loss drops them three games back just four games into the season. Turnover were the difference last week for Carolina as well as it lost the battle 5-0 and there is no way it can expect to compete with a negative variance like that.
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is coming off one of his worst games as a pro and as a matter of fact the 40.6 passer rating was his lowest in 19 career starts. He came close once last season with a 44.6 rating and came back the next game with a 127.5 rating so don't expect a repeat of last Thursday. I am not sold on the Falcons defense as a whole. Yes they have allowed the fourth fewest amount of points in the league but they are 13th in total defense as turnovers have been the difference.
That has worked the other way also as turnover by the defense has led to short fields for the offense. The Falcons are third in the league in scoring offense but just 19th in total offense. Had they been playing from a longer field, maybe Atlanta would not have had a problem gaining yards but that remains unclear. The offense is overrated at this point as there is no running game to speak of and while the Carolina defense is going to give up its points, it isn't going to be as bad as people think.
I expect both teams being able to move the ball here which will likely mean a high-scoring game. Carolina has the ability to keep up as long as it can avoid turnovers and it falls into a situation saying it will as we play against home teams after a game where they forced four or more turnovers and have forced an average of 2.5 or more tpg, going up against teams that have forced an average of 1.25 or less tpg. This situation is 22-4 ATS (84.6 percent) since 1983. 10* (209) Carolina Panthers
|09-27-12||Cleveland Browns v. Baltimore Ravens -11.5||Top||16-23||Loss||-110||23 h 3 m||Show|
Usually the home teams have a big advantage on Thursday nights because of the short week and the travel involved for the team hitting the road. That was the case in Week Two when the Packers hosted the Bears but last week it was not the case for Carolina. The Panthers were likely in a letdown spot coming off their upset win over the Saints the previous week and they were dominated by the Giants. I feel we get back to reality with the home team this week and despite laying a lot of points, the Ravens will cruise.
Baltimore is coming off a last second victory over New England last Sunday so many will claim that they too are in a letdown spot but that should not be the case. At 2-1, a loss here takes that win away and drops the Ravens back to .500 and that need to keep the winning going and create some space ahead of the Steelers. This is a division game on top of it and even though the Browns have not given much resistance, Baltimore will be plenty fired up. The Ravens have won 12 straight games at home as well as 20 of 21.
The Browns have put up some good fights this year and the fact that they have not lost by more than what this spread is this week is going to get some people backing Cleveland. Truth be told, this is a horrible spot. The Browns are 0-3 and desperate for a win but this is not the situation for it to happen as they have lost eight straight games on the road as well as 11 straight divisional games dating back to last season. The short week in trying to prepare for an offense they have not seen before is not a good sign either.
Baltimore has turned its offense into a very powerful unit that is starting to speed things up. The Ravens are ranked fourth in the NFL in total offense and second in scoring offense while Cleveland's defense is horrible as it is ranked 25th in total defense and it is still missing their best player in Joe Haden who still has two games left with his suspension. There is no reason to believe that Baltimore cannot score at will here as motivation late would be the only cause for concern.
The Browns are even worse offensively as they have no playmakers and quarterback Brandon Weeden still does not have a grasp of this league. While Baltimore may have lost a step defensively, it is not going to hurt them here. Cleveland also falls into a negative situation as we play against road teams with a winning percentage between .000 and .333 playing on Thursday night while playing on a short week. This situation is 14-3 ATS (82.3 percent) since 1992 with the average point differential being +17.9 ppg. 10* (102) Baltimore Ravens
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers -3 v. Seattle Seahawks||Top||12-14||Loss||-120||12 h 36 m||Show|
Green Bay came into the season as the favorites in the NFC to win the conference as well as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl. The Packers are still at the top of the list despite looking pretty average through their first two games. They followed up a loss at home against the 49ers with a solid win last week against Chicago as the defense propelled them to the win. They allowed just 168 total yards and now it is up to the offense to get things back in order.
We won with Seattle last week as it easily took care of Dallas as three-point underdogs. Surprisingly the number is the same this week and with no disrespect to the Cowboys, there is no way the Packers should be favored by the same amount. It shows that the result from last week is being taken into too much consideration. Seattle won by 20 points but outgained Dallas by only 13 total yards. The Seahawks won the turnover battle 2-0 and used a blocked punt for a touchdown to add to their score.
As mentioned, the Green Bay offense has not been spot on. Last season, the Packers offense broke franchise records for points and passing yards and led to quarterback Aaron Rodgers producing the highest passer rating (122.5) of all time. After ranking fifth in the NFL last season with an average length of completion of 7.76 yards, Rodgers ranks 31st this year at just 4.94 yards. Teams have been playing their safeties back in a cover-2 type scheme and Seattle could break that trend meaning the offense should have a big night.
Seattle's defense has been strong thus far as it is third in the NFL in scoring defense and sixth in total yards. The rushing defense was ranked third coming into Week Two but it also had the third fewest carries against them so that skews it somewhat. Either way, this defense is no pushover but this will be the biggest test so far and while an argument can be made that the Cowboys potent offense was shutdown, Dallas' offense is far from potent after putting up just 297 yards yesterday against Tampa Bay.
The Seahawks have a potential starting quarterback for the future in Russell Wilson but as with any rookie, he is having some adjustment issues from college to the NFL. I expect the Packers to be able to put a ton of pressure on him and they now have a nice secondary rotation with seven guys and the ability to confuse quarterbacks. The Packers need to show good gap integrity to stop Seattle's running game which has been solid thus far. The great teams win on the road and the Packers will do that tonight. 10* (429) Green Bay Packers
|09-24-12||Green Bay Packers v. Seattle Seahawks OVER 44||Top||12-14||Loss||-107||11 h 29 m||Show|
The under has been the theme so far in Week Three as nine of the first 15 games have gone under. After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games averaged 47.8 ppg in Week Two. So far in Week Three, games have averaged 47 ppg which is still pretty high considering the amount of games that have gone under. Adjustments were made in the totals by the linesmakers and it worked in their favor.
That being said, I feel we are getting a very reasonable number for Monday that can go over. Last night broke a string of four straight primetime games that did not go over and while the public will again be on the over tonight which is the case for most Monday night games, I feel it is justified. Neither offense has been good through the first two weeks with the Packers coming in 23rd in total offense and the Seahawks coming in 28th in total offense. We go contrarian with those units tonight.
The Green Bay offense is due. Last season, the Packers offense broke franchise records for points and passing yards and led to quarterback Aaron Rodgers producing the highest passer rating (122.5) of all time. After ranking fifth in the NFL last season with an average length of completion of 7.76 yards, Rodgers ranks 31st this year at just 4.94 yards. Teams have been playing their safeties back in a cover-2 type scheme and Seattle could break that trend meaning the offense should have a big night.
While the Seahawks have a rookie as a starting quarterback and the Packers defense has been very solid so far, the potential is there for Seattle to put up some decent amount of points. I do not think the Seahawks will be able to keep up with Green Bay but the key here will be the Packers offense forcing Seattle into a shootout type of game. As long as the Packers can be consistent with their offense, the Seahawks will have no option but to somewhat abandon the running game which has been the strength so far.
Both teams are coming off low scoring games in Week Two which has helped with this total. In fact, Seattle has played two low scoring games so far so the value will be going the other way tonight. Green Bay is 6-0 to the over in its last six games coming off a divisional win while Seattle is 17-5 to the over in its last 22 games coming off a win as a home underdog. In addition, the Over is 7-1 in Seattle's last eight games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game. 10* Over (429) Green Bay Packers/(430) Seattle Seahawks
|09-23-12||New England Patriots +3 v. Baltimore Ravens||Top||30-31||Win||100||71 h 46 m||Show|
The Patriots broke a lot of hearts last week as their outright loss knocked out a ton of people in suicide pools everywhere. I'm sure people will avoid playing them in any situation now but this is exactly the time to jump on them. New England was not prepared for Arizona and that was said by many players after the game as they had a terrible practice week. Well, you can guarantee the week of practice was more productive this week and New England is in numerous positive spots pointed out later.
The Ravens looked great opening week and then laid an egg last week against the Eagles. The final score only shows a one-point loss but Baltimore was outgained by 161 total yards and the only reason it was as close as it appeared was because of Eagles turnovers which have plagued them going back to last season. Many will go back to the Ravens in a bounceback situation as they head home in another primetime game but this team does have some issues that will be hard to overcome.
The main issues revolve around the defense that is far from the same juggernaut that it used to be. They are older and the injury list keeps getting bigger. The Ravens can't seem to stop anyone as they are allowing 404 ypg which is 27th in the league and they will be facing an offense that is coming off a horrendous game and will want redemption. New England did put up 387 yards against the Cardinals but managed only 18 points as they went just 5-15 on third down.
Baltimore is trying to figure out how to overcome the loss of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is out indefinitely with an Achilles injury. Giving Brady time under center is just suicide for a defense and even though he will be without Aaron Hernandez, they will be able to overcome that. On the other side, the Patriots defense has started strong and while they have not faced the top offenses, the young unit is starting to grow up and unlike the Ravens, the defense is healthy.
The Patriots have been moneymakers when coming off a loss as under head coach Bill Belichick, they are 14-5 ATS in their 19 games coming off a home loss and they are 13-4 ATS in their 17 road games coming off a loss as a favorite. With Tom Brady under center, New England is a perfect 5-0 straight up and ATS coming off a loss and now playing the role of an underdog, most recently, it was last year when they lost at home against the Giants and then pummeled the Jets by 21 points as a field-goal underdog. 10* (427) New England Patriots
|09-23-12||St Louis Rams v. Chicago Bears -7||Top||6-23||Win||100||63 h 11 m||Show|
The Bears were manhandled last Thursday night against the Packers as quarterback Jay Cutler was again at the forefront as he played miserably and put the blame on others. Well, there has been enough time for that to pass and now the Bears will be out to bounceback and with a game at Dallas next week, this has turned into a pretty big game. I expect the defense to step up and put up a big game after a pretty good effort against a tough Packers offense. I expect the offense to light things up as well.
The Rams have looked pretty good the first two weeks of the season as they narrowly lost at Detroit in the season opener and then won last week against the Redskins in their home opener. Those two close games shows that new head coach Jeff Fisher is making a difference however I don't think the Rams have made the jump just yet. They benefitted from numerous turnovers against the Lions and caught Washington in a letdown spot. Now they find themselves in their own letdown spot.
The Rams offense was on point last week against Washington but the Redskins lost some key defenders and I do not expect a repeat of that, especially after putting up just 250 yards against the Lions in their opener. St. Louis is extremely thin on the offensive line and the playmakers will be caught in big disadvantages this weekend. The Bears actually played a better game defensively against the Packers than they did against the Colts but in that first game, a lot yards came in garbage time.
Obviously the talk this past week has been about Cutler and the offensive line but it is completely blown out of proportion which makes it comical as the media loves this stuff. In reality it has passed. The offensive line will be fine this week as the Rams have no existence of a pass rush as they have only two sacks this year. Overall ,the defense has been very average as they are ranked 22nd in points allowed and 24th in yards allowed. Look for the Bears to return to form even without Matt Forte.
The Bears low output on offense last week benefits them this week as they are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game and it is also part of a league-wide situation. Play against road underdogs or pickems after scoring 30 points or more last game going up against an opponent after scoring three points or less in the first half last game. This situation is 39-14 ATS (73.6 percent) over the last 10 seasons. This has blowout written all over it. 10* (402) Chicago Bears
|09-23-12||Detroit Lions v. Tennessee Titans +4||Top||41-44||Win||100||63 h 54 m||Show|
Tennessee has looked dreadful the first two weeks of the season as it was blasted at home against New England and then got blasted again last week at San Diego so public perception is that it will get blasted again. That won't be the case. Teams that are coming off consecutive poor performances tend to bounce back pretty well in this league, especially those that have talent and the Titans possess that. They have not come out very good but there is plenty of time to recover.
The Lions quick start to last season is still causing them to be overrated and thus, overvalued. Detroit could easily be sitting at 0-2 right now as it caught a break against the Rams and was pretty much outmuscled against the 49ers last week. They are a team that has a potentially potent offense and gets them a lot of publicity which amateur bettors love to eat up. Detroit put a lot into the game at San Francisco last week and that will provide a letdown not to mention the physical aspect that it has to recover from.
Plain and simple, the Lions should not be favored here. They are favored because Tennessee has lost its last two games by a combined 49 points and while that may seem like a pretty obvious reason, it is based on perception of the public of that. There is no way the linesmakers could make the Titans the favorites here because the one-sided action would be astronomical. It is still pretty heavy on the Lions and yet the line has not moved which is certainly telling us something.
Titans Jake Locker has struggled but he could bounce back this week as he faced a thin Detroit secondary and even better news came on offense. Wednesday marked the first practice in about a year with both Kenny Britt and Nate Washington healthy enough that neither was on the injury report. That is huge. This is one of those instances where the passing game can set up the rushing game and allow Chris Johnson so finally bust out. The offensive line has to play its part as well.
As mentioned, teams coming off big losses in consecutive games have actually done well as they win against the number over 67 percent of the time over the last decade. The Titans also fall into a situation where we play against favorites after gaining 99 or less rushing yards in two straight games going up against an opponent after being outrushed by 100 or more yards last game. This situation is 83-42 ATS (66.4 percent) since 1983. Look for the Titans to notch that first win of the year. 10* (408) Tennessee Titans
|09-20-12||NY Giants v. Carolina Panthers UNDER 51.5||Top||36-7||Win||100||47 h 4 m||Show|
We are going with the same strategy we used to win Monday on the Denver and Atlanta under. After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games averaged 47.8 ppg in Week Two so while scoring was down some, it was a very insignificant increase. Despite this, the over was just 8-7-1 this past week and is now just 17-14-1 on the season so while scoring is high, the linesmakers have made up for it by adjusting their totals and not letting the public run away with over tickets.
Here we have a similar situation where both the Giants and Panthers are coming off very high scoring games on Sunday. New York and Tampa Bay combined for 75 points while Carolina and New Orleans combined for 62 points so both games went over without a problem. That is now providing us with a big over/under for Thursday night and because of those Week Two results, we know where the square money is going to be once again. We have not seen much movement yet but this number should slide up even more.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning had a pretty crazy game as he was picked off three times early but responded with a monster game, throwing for 510 yards and three touchdowns. His quarterback rating was pretty low because of the picks and a performance like that is going to get a lot of talk gong forward. A repeat will be discussed, especially against a poor Panthers defense but this is the first road game for the Giants and with a big come-from-behind win in the books, an offensive letdown is imminent.
The Panthers offense did not match the 604 yards put up by the Giants but Carolina still put up 463 total yards against the Saints. The New Orleans defense is last in the NFL in total yards allowed after that performance coming right after a horrible one at home to the Panthers output is a little skewed. Despite 34 points allowed, New York gave up just 307 total yards as a lot of the damage was because of turnovers. Carolina managed only 301 yards of offense against Tampa Bay in Week One.
The Manning output last week puts the under in a good spot this week as the Giants are 5-1 to the under in their last six games after putting up 250 or more yards passing while the Panthers are 6-1 to the under in their last seven games after allowing more than 250 yards passing. Also, Carolina is 15-5 to the under in its last 20 home games coming off a home win while the Giants are 52-33 to the under in their last 85 games coming off a home win. The value is once again favoring an under play. 10* Under (303) New York Giants/(304) Carolina Panthers
|09-17-12||Denver Broncos v. Atlanta Falcons UNDER 53||Top||21-27||Win||100||12 h 15 m||Show|
After averaging 49.4 ppg in Week One, which was a high for opening weekend, NFL games have averaged 47.8 ppg through the first 15 games of Week Two. While each game is a separate entity, the results of other games will not affect future games but it will affect what we are betting against and how the public perceives that. That is certainly the case here as because of all of the high scoring going on, this total has gone from an opening of 49 in most placers to upwards of 52.5 as of Monday morning.
We waited to release this one based on the fact that we wanted to get the best possible number and we still have the chance of getting a better one later in the day or night as this one could still climb. Last Monday night, the totals split in both games but again, the public was on the over in both as is the case every game on Monday night. That is where the value comes into play and it is not necessarily a bet against the public but a play against the number that the linesmakers are putting out based on that.
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning made a triumphant return to the NFL as he led Denver to a win over Pittsburgh where 50 total points were scored. While it may have gone over, the game was not exactly an offensive show as the teams combined for just 618 total yards and after Week One, Denver was near the bottom third of the NFL in total offense. Obviously the offense is the main story because of Manning but the Broncos defense is a very solid and underrated unit.
The defense will have to be on top of its game against a potent Falcons offense that hung 40 points on Kansas City in Week One. After watching the Chiefs allowed 35 points against Buffalo, yesterday, the Atlanta output is not as impressive as first thought. Quarterback Matt Ryan had a near flawless game but we have seen in the past that some of his best games are followed up with pretty bad games. The offense looks to be fast-paced but we could see a slow down on Monday.
Atlanta running back Michael Turner averaged only 2.9 ypc against the Chiefs but Atlanta coach Mike Smith says he wants more from his running game in Week Two of the season and beyond. The Falcons defense will have do a better job of not letting up big plays and at home, that is a clear advantage. The under is 5-0 in the Broncos last five games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game while the under is 8-2 in the Falcons last 10 games following a win. 10* Under (225) Denver Broncos/(226) Atlanta Falcons
|09-16-12||Dallas Cowboys v. Seattle Seahawks +3.5||Top||7-27||Win||100||54 h 29 m||Show|
The Cowboys were very impressive in their opening game as they were able to get some payback against the Giants after last year's sweep and keeping them out of the playoffs. Dallas has had extra time off to rest for Seattle but it should not be a big advantage as heading out onto the road for a second straight week negates that. This was the first time in three years that the Cowboys won their season opener so things may be looking up but I'm not sold just yet. Dallas hasn't won road games in consecutive weeks since 2009.
This is a very intriguing line as Seattle went from a road favorite to a home underdog in the span of just one week and while the value was against the Seahawks last week, it is on them this week. Seattle had a chance to win last week as it had numerous opportunities to punch in a late touchdown but failed to get the job done. The Seahawks are catching a great number and they are 11-5 ATS as home underdogs over the last three years including going 5-1 ATS last season.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was pretty average in his first ever start but he ranked ahead of three of the other rookies so in hindsight, it was far from horrible. He now goes home for the first time and he should have a better game here despite facing a stronger defense. Dallas did a phenomenal job of shutting down the Giants offense as it held Eli Manning to 213 yards passing but there were a ton of drops that were not his fault. The Giants could not run the ball but they had the worst rushing offense last year as well.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo had a great game in New York, posting a rating of 129.5. He gets a lot of heat for not being clutch but he is clearly one of the best signal callers in the game. Last week though cannot be taken too serious as he was facing a Giants defense that was decimated in the secondary and was forced to go with a fifth-string cornerback. Seattle will provide more resistance as it has a great secondary. It allowed a 70.9 passer rating last week and was sixth in that category last season.
The Cowboys have proven over the last few years that they have not fared well when they are supposed to win as they are 4-15 ATS in their 19 games as favorites. Under head coach Jason Garrett, they are 0-6 ATS when the line is between +3 and -3. Also, coming off a good effort has resulted in the opposite in the next game as Dallas is 13-28 ATS in its last 41 road games after gaining 400 or more yards in their previous game. Seattle is 5-2 ATS in its last seven games coming off a loss. 10* (216) Seattle Seahawks
|09-16-12||Baltimore Ravens v. Philadelphia Eagles -1||Top||23-24||Push||0||51 h 30 m||Show|
Based on what we saw last week, the Ravens look to be a power in the AFC while the Eagles are up to their old tricks , committing too many mistakes and just getting by. Because of this, we are getting excellent value with Philadelphia is its home opener. It took a touchdown with just over a minute remaining for the Eagles to defeat the Browns on the road but any road win is a good one. Obviously the five turnovers hurt but Philadelphia outgained the Browns by 246 yards and that is domination.
The Ravens started strong against Cincinnati but they let the Bengals back into the game before scoring the final 24 points to run away with the victory. They have now won 11 straight games at home and 19 of their last 20, including postseason. Playing on the road is a different story as they were just 4-4 on the highway last year and they are right at .500 over the last three seasons. A win in the spotlight puts Baltimore in the public eye but the situation now is not a good one.
Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was close to flawless as he posted a 128.4 quarterback rating and he has been the talk throughout the media. I have always been a fan and this could finally be his breakout year but he comes in with a career quarterback rating of 82.3 on the road and he will be facing a stiff test. The Eagles defense was dominant against Cleveland and even though it was against the lowly Browns, they allowed just 210 total yards, the fewest allowed by any team in Week One.
On the other side, Michael Vick was horrible, tossing four interceptions and putting up a dismal rating of 41. To his credit, he played sparingly in the preseason but still threw for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Yes he is still overrated but he is good enough to make the Eagles a winner. The Ravens defense was good but not great against Cincinnati as they allowed 322 total yards 129 yards rushing on 28 carries (4.6 ypc). That was tied for sixth highest and coming off a physical game, they could be worse here.
We are buying low here as people are already off the Philadelphia bandwagon but remember, last season, they had the largest yardage margin in the league. Turnovers need to come down obviously. The Ravens are 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games following a win by more than two touchdowns and the Eagles fall into a great situation where we play on favorites in non-conference games coming off a road win. This situation is 82-44 ATS (65.1 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (208) Philadelphia Eagles
|09-13-12||Chicago Bears v. Green Bay Packers -6||Top||10-23||Win||100||45 h 23 m||Show|
The Packers have two straight games that mean something as they lost in the Divisional Round of the playoffs to the Giants and followed that up with a loss in their season opener against San Francisco. Both of those games came at home which is the most surprising after winning 13 consecutive games at Lambeau Field. Green Bay was arguably still the best team in the NFL last season and should be better this year even if the record will not necessary show that.
Chicago opened the season with a relatively easy win over Indianapolis, spoiling the debut of Andrew Luck. The Colts hung tough for a while as they trailed by only three points late in the second quarter until the Bears pulled away. The offense was very impressive for Chicago as it gained 428 total yards but that was against a pretty bad Colts defense and now it hits the road for the first time against a much better defense and one that will be better this week after giving up 377 yards to the 49ers last week.
There were some positives as the Packers sacked San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith four times on Sunday and they held ground on third down, allowing the 49ers to convert only two of nine times. Quarterback Alex Smith had an outstanding game as he moved the ball and was very efficient. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler had a strong games as well with the exception of an early pick-six. We all know Cutler can make bonehead moves and in six career starts against Green Bay, he has a 67.5 quarterback rating.
Green Bay struggled to run the ball against San Francisco and that ultimately hurt the passing offense. It wasn't until San Francisco's 15th game last season when the defense gave up its first rushing touchdown so the fact that the Packers struggled came as no surprise. They will have better success this week. Chicago allowed only 63 rushing yards against the Colts but Indianapolis ran the ball only 15 times so the 4.2 ypc average the Bears allowed was not good at all.
The Packers have not opened the season 0-2 since 2006 which was the first year under head coach Mike McCarthy and that also happened to be the last time Green Bay lost their season opener as well. Green Bay falls into a great situation where we play on home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points that outscored opponents by four or more ppg last season, after a playing a game where 50 total points or more were scored. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1983. 10* (102) Green Bay Packers
|09-10-12||San Diego Chargers v. Oakland Raiders -1||Top||22-14||Loss||-107||14 h 1 m||Show|
We have seen this line completely shift as the Chargers opened as the small favorites while the Raiders currently sit as the small favorites heading into tonight. The Chargers remain high on a lot of lists to make a playoff run but this has been the case for years and we have yet to see it. There is no reason to think this is finally the year as San Diego as the only big changes made were replacing both coordinators. The public is still in love with this team and for no real good reason.
The Chargers are hurting on offense as two key players are out with Vincent Brown sitting on IR with a broken ankle sustained during the preseason and running back Ryan Matthews still a couple weeks away from coming back after suffering a broken collarbone, also in the preseason. Also, the offensive line could be a big issue and will be at a disadvantage tonight. Undrafted rookie Mike Harris is at left tackle as he will try to protect Philip Rivers against a very solid defensive line of the Raiders.
I think the Raiders have a big edge on defense tonight. The team has a whole new set of cornerbacks, two new starters at linebacker, and, most importantly, a brand new system after years of playing one way. This may not seem like the best situation but all indications are that it is coming through fine but most important, San Diego could be stumped. It has had to rely on film from preseason and new head coach Dennis Allen's defense last year when he was coordinator in Denver for clues about what to expect.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer's best days are behind him but he is capable of a big season as he is now comfortable with the cast around him. The Raiders exploited San Diego
|09-09-12||Seattle Seahawks v. Arizona Cardinals +3||Top||16-20||Win||100||54 h 26 m||Show|
Seattle finished 9-7 last year and was not a road favorite at all and now in the first game of this season, it is a road chalk? Russell Wilson won the job at starting quarterback after an incredible preseason but now the games mean something. He did his damage mostly against backups and in the third game he played against the Chiefs had come in 0-5 ATS in their previous week three preseason games showing there is no effort. Wilson could have a great career but this is an overaggressive line.
Arizona had an average season last year at 8-8 but it was how the Cardinals finished that tells us something. They went 7-2 down the stretch after a dreadful 1-6 start and shows how the players refused to give up and how the coaching staff was able to bring them together. Heading into this game as home underdogs is certainly to light some fires as well as the Cardinals have not been home underdogs to Seattle since 2007 which was the first season under head coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Defensively, Arizona was fairly average last year but there was a reason for that. The Cardinals were young on that side of the ball and because of the lockout, it took them longer than normal to come together. The response was outstanding though as Arizona allowed 68 ypg fewer in the second half of the season than it did in the first half of the season. That defense has the potential to be even better now that Sam Acho and Patrick Peterson have a year in the system.
Seattle gets a lot of the hype with its defense but it actually allowed the same yppl that Arizona allowed last season so it is not as stout as it suggests. The Cardinals named John Skelton the starting quarterback and while he was average in eight starts a year ago, he has the change to get better with an elite group of receivers around him including Larry Fitzgerald and rookie Michael Floyd. Arizona is hoping to see plenty of carries from Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams, who both return following knee surgeries.
This line is up to three points in a lot of places and getting anything less than two and a half is pretty unlikely come gameday. Wilson was the talk of the preseason but until he can prove he can win against first team defenses for a whole game, I will be really skeptical of him being behind the role of road favorite. Arizona has covered five of the last six home meetings in this series while winning all five of those outright which is all we will need to get done here. 10* (476) Arizona Cardinals
|09-09-12||New England Patriots v. Tennessee Titans +6||Top||34-13||Loss||-110||51 h 17 m||Show|
The Patriots enter the season coming off a 15-4 and a trip to the Super Bowl, which they obviously did not win. That is going to provide some motivation for New England and while it is one of the favorite again in the AFC to return to the Super Bowl, the jury is still out on this team. The defense was atrocious last season and they did not do much to get better. The offense will again be solid but quarterback Tom Brady has to worry about the offensive line, especially early in the season.
After going 6-10 in 2010, Tennessee went 9-7 last year including wins in four of its last six games and narrowly missed the postseason. Getting to the playoffs in the stacked AFC will be tough once again but the Titans are a team on the rise and this line is based on public perception and not reality. Tennessee has been a home underdog only six times in the last four years and has covered four of those games with three of those resulting in outright wins.
As mentioned, motivation will play a big role for New England this season coming off that Super Bowl loss. You would tend to think that Super Bowl losers would come out strong to try and avenge those defeats but it has been the total opposite over the last few years as losers of the title game are 3-15 ATS in their season opener the last 18 years. This included the Steelers getting thumped by the Ravens last season, the Colts getting thumped at Houston in 2010 and the Steelers not covering in 2009.
Tennessee is treating this game with high importance. Lavelle Hawkins called it a playoff game, and Nate Washington upped the ante by saying it is being treated as a championship. In fact, Tennessee coaches and players have prepared for New England since the spring through voluntary organized team activity practices, a mandatory minicamp and training camp. This is the second year with new systems in place so more time has been used for gameplanning and not learning.
Tennessee falls into a great situation as we play on underdogs or pickems in the first two weeks of the year, after closing out last season strong with two or more straight wins. This situation is 26-6 ATS (81.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons including going 13-2 ATS the last five years with the average point differential actually favoring the underdog by +2.3 ppg. There still are some holdovers from the 59-0 debacle in New England three years ago and that can only add more motivation to the mix. 10* (462) Tennessee Titans
|09-05-12||Dallas Cowboys v. NY Giants -3.5||Top||24-17||Loss||-110||14 h 50 m||Show|
The hype for this game is huge in New York with all of the festivities surrounding last year
|02-05-12||NY Giants v. New England Patriots OVER 55||Top||21-17||Loss||-105||271 h 54 m||Show|
The Giants are coming off their second straight playoff game where they were outgained but still pulled off the win as turnovers once again played a big role. It was unfortunate the way the 49ers season ended but you still have to give credit to the Giants as the defensive intensity was once again where it needed to be as the unit is playing its best football of the season. Now comes a pretty big test for the defense and it will be a difficult challenge to slow down the Patriots offense.
New England was fortunate as well as a missed Baltimore field goal puts the Patriots back into the Super Bowl. The offense was very average as they gained just 330 total yards but that came against ones of the league's best defenses. This snapped a string of seven straight overs for the Patriots and the low scoring game will add to the value going forward. The total for the game against the Ravens was just a few points lower than what this one is and it should prove to be not enough of an adjustment based on the matchups.
Looking back at the 2008 Super Bowl showed a very low scoring game with a higher total. The next meeting did not take place until this season when New York and New England squared off in Week Nine. That game also went under the total but looking at the final score alone will not tell the true story as the teams scored all 44 points in the second half as the first half resulted in a scoreless tie. The Super Bowl total is no doubt skewed toward the over but it is not enough to make a difference here.
While both defenses picked it up in their respective championship games, these units should be less effective against these opposing offenses. Last week, the Giants played against the 26th ranked total offense during the regular season while the Patriots played against 15th ranked total offense during the regular season. The Patriots finished second in total offense while the Giants finished eighth in total offense to it certainly will be tougher this time around for both sides.
Both teams are on winning streaks and both have played high scoring games in the past as New England is 13-4 to the over after three or more consecutive wins over the last two seasons while New York is 9-1 to the over after three or more consecutive wins over the last three seasons. The Giants are 11-2 to the over against teams outscoring opponents by six or more ppg on the season and under head coach Tom Coughlin, they are 9-1 to the over against teams averaging 29 or more ppg. Also, the Patriots are 9-1 to the over against teams with a winning record in the second half of the season. 10* Over (101) New York Giants/(102) New England Patriots
|01-22-12||Baltimore Ravens +9 v. New England Patriots||Top||20-23||Win||100||100 h 27 m||Show|
We got the line we wanted and we will get this one out there early as we are over a key number. Baltimore did not look very good in winning over Houston as it was outgained although it did have chances to cover the number as a missed opportunity at the goalline proved to be the difference. The Ravens played a strong Texans defense and you have to give Houston credit for playing the way it did bit now Baltimore goes up against one of the worst defenses in the league and it will show.
The Patriots looked awesome on Saturday night and that sets us up for a great opportunity to go against them. We were on Denver in that game and it was clearly the wrong side as the Broncos defense had no answers for Tom Brady and the offense. That defense was overrated but now the Patriots will have to contend with the top ranked adjusted defense in the NFL as the efficiency is weighted to rely more on the latter games. Aging or not, the Ravens defense is still a force.
Baltimore has allowed more than 336 total yards only once in last seven games and while the Patriots possess a strong offense, it has not been tested in a while. The last time they saw a defense this good was back in Week Eight against the Steelers and New England was shut down, being held to just 213 total yards. The Patriots are averaging 32.8 ppg but that came against teams allowing an average of 23.1 ppg which averages out to a ranking of 22nd in the NFL in scoring defense. Baltimore is ranked third in that category.
Say what you want about Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco but he posted a passer rating of 97.1 against the Texans which during the regular season allowed an average passer rating of 69.0 which was second best in the NFL (Baltimore is first by the way at 68.8). The Patriots are no where near that and while they made Tim Tebow look very below average, teams have been able to so that this season the second time they have seen him. The Patriots won't have many answers against Flacco and running back Ray Rice.
If you can get the nine points with Baltimore that is great but anything over seven points is just fine as the nine points that are available are mainly for teaser protections. Baltimore has been great in bounce back situations as the Ravens are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 250 total yards in their previous game. They also fall into a great situation where we play against teams with a defense that allows 5.4 or more yppl, after gaining 450 or more total ypg over their last two games. This situation is 99-59 ATS (62.7 percent) since 1983. 10* (301) Baltimore Ravens
|01-15-12||NY Giants +9 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||37-20||Win||100||90 h 12 m||Show|
We saw the Giants take out the Falcons rather easily in the first round on Sunday and they are playing their best football of the season. This is especially true on the defensive side of the ball. New York did not allow Atlanta's offense to score as the two points came on a safety due to intentional grounding in the endzone. The Giants held the Falcons to 247 total yards and while I am certainly not banking on that against the Packers, I do expect another solid effort as the confidence of this unit is at the top right now.
Green Bay had the week off following a win against the Lions in its regular season finale and that game saw a lot of the starters sitting out. While the Packers may now be rested, we have to wonder if the extended time off may hinder them here. They have been playing at a top level all year but the numbers are not as impressive as you may think. The Packers have been outgained in seven of their last 10 games and while it resulted in only one outright loss, it is a pretty big concern.
Overall, the Packers are getting outgained by 6.5 ypg and for a team that is 15-1, we have to figure out if there is an issue. In this case, it is the defense that remains in question. For anyone that saw their last game against the Lions, the defense is a big liability which has been the case all season long. Green Bay allowed 575 total yards against Detroit and a unit that is doing that is allowing any team to hang around and not only get a backdoor cover, but win the game outright which New York is capable of.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning is coming off another superb game where he posted a 129.3 passer rating, his fourth rating of 100 or more in the last seven games, which included a rating of 100.7 against the Packers in the first meeting. The Giants finished eighth in the NFL in total offense with 385.1 ypg and they surpassed that mark last week against the Falcons. Green Bay has allowed fewer than 400 total yards only twice in their last 11 games and both came against teams that did not qualify for the playoffs.
The loss of Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin's son is a horrible situation but one that should not impact either side. When the Giants are laying well it has had a long carryover as they are 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games off two consecutive home wins and 19-8 ATS in their last 27 road games against teams allowing 7.0 or more ypa. Under head coach Tom Coughlin, New York is 9-2 ATS in road games revenging a loss where opponent scored 28 or more points. 10* (115) New York Giants
|01-14-12||New Orleans Saints -3.5 v. San Francisco 49ers||Top||32-36||Loss||-110||52 h 41 m||Show|
New Orleans has won and covered nine straight games since losing in St. Louis which came right after winning that lopsided home game against the Colts. The fact that the Saints are road favorites here is no surprise at all and I actually think they should be favored by more. Taking them out of the dome is a possible way to slow them down but realistically, this offense is playing like no other and given the venue or the opposing defense, I can't see them being slow down very much.
The 49ers were the surprise of the NFC as not only did they win their division but did so with a 13-3 record. The division was a very weak one for sure so going 5-1 against divisional foes is far from a surprise. San Francisco went 4-2 against teams ranked in the top ten in the NFL but faced no team higher than fifth so this is the biggest test of the season with everything on the line. Normally we would take a strong look at the home underdog side but there is too much going the other way.
The 49ers have the fourth ranked defense in the NFL so slowing down the Saints is a definitely possibility. Stopping them is not however. The rushing defense was the strength of the unit, ranking first in the league, the passing defense was not nearly as good, finishing 16th during the regular season. The Saints no doubt have the offense that can take advantage and they don't turn the ball over much which is where the 49ers had a lot of their success on that side of the ball.
Basically it will be up to the 49ers offense to be able to stay with the Saints offense and it will not happen. San Francisco scored fewer than 24 points in 10 of its 16 games and sustaining drives is the big issue. The 49ers finished 31st in the NFL in third down offense, converting on just 29.4 percent of their third down attempts. The Saints meanwhile possess the fifth best third down defense in the league and this translates into redzone success where Sa Francisco is 30th in redzone offense.
The 49ers led the league in turnover margin but that does not translate to playoff success as the 18 teams that led or were tied in turnover margin won just seven games in the first playoff round. The Saints also fall into a solid situation as we play against underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in the second half of the season that are coming off two consecutive road wins, with a winning record playing another winning team. This situation is 27-7 ATS (79.4 percent) since 1983. 10* (109) New Orleans Saints
|01-08-12||Pittsburgh Steelers v. Denver Broncos +9||Top||23-29||Win||100||93 h 14 m||Show|
I understand that the playoffs are different than the regular season as experience plays a big part in that. In this case Pittsburgh has it while Denver does not. But this point spread is out of control. Very rarely will you see a team favored on the road by this much in the playoffs and in the Wildcard round, a road team has been favored by more than five points only once. That happened to come last year when the Seahawks defeated the Saints last season as 9.5-point home underdogs.
This spread is pretty similar to that and the Steelers are nowhere near as good as the Saints were last season as the injuries and the age have finally taken their toll. Pittsburgh is in this position because Baltimore won last week, thus winning the tiebreaker for a first round bye. Pittsburgh is actually in worse shape this week because of additional injuries but yet it is favored by more points over the Broncos than it was against Cleveland last week which was four games worse than Denver.
The Broncos come in riding a three-game losing streak so there is not a lot of momentum on their side but playing at home is a big edge. They were at home last week so there is no travel while the Steelers are travelling for the second straight week. Denver was only 3-5 at home this season but three of those losses came by five points or fewer and while the Steelers were 5-3 on the road, they were outscored by an average of nearly three points per game.
It doesn't take a psychic to know that Denver will try and run the ball on offense as it has done pretty successfully over the second half of the season. Pittsburgh allowed fewer than 100 ypg this season but did give up an average of 4.0 ypc but which is still good but that is exactly one ypc more than it allowed last season. The Steelers have regressed as they have allowed 100 yards or more in four of their last seven games after doing so just three times in their first nine. Denver has gone over 150 yards in eight of its last 11 games.
Pittsburgh is extremely banged up on offense with Ben Roethlisberger nursing a bad ankle and running back Rashard Mendenhall lost for the season with a knee injury. The offense has been inconsistent all season so these injuries are certainly not helping. The Steelers have been horrible in this role as they are 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games as road favorites 7.5 to 14 points while Denver is 15-4 ATS in its last 19 home games against teams allowing 5.7 ypa through the air. 10* (108) Denver Broncos
|01-08-12||Atlanta Falcons v. NY Giants -3||Top||2-24||Win||102||89 h 30 m||Show|
Just when you thought the Giants season was unraveling once again, they came through with two big wins at the end of the season to capture the NFC East and make it into the playoffs. Even though it is only two games, they are playing at a high level and last week against the Cowboys, they outgained Dallas by 137 total yards as Eli Manning outdueled Tony Romo and the rushing game was clearly in their favor. We give them a big edge playing in this stadium for the fourth straight week.
Atlanta had a disappointing season as it finished 10-6 after going 13-3 a season ago. The Falcons defeated only one team that is currently in the playoffs, Detroit, and went 1-4 overall against current playoff teams. They finished .500 on the road this season which isn't horrible but losses against Tampa Bay and Chicago were not good while wins against Seattle and Carolina were closer than what should have been. The biggest road win was against the Colts which is not saying much.
The Giants rushing offense has been abysmal all season as they are dead last in the league but things have been moving in the right direction. They have surpassed 100 yards in four of their last five games after doing so just four times in their first 11 games. A healthy Ahmad Bradshaw has been the difference. Even though he has not been gaining many yards, he has given Brandon Jacobs a break who has been able to be more effective with fewer carries and a great ypc average.
The Falcons rushing defense has been the exact opposite. They fared well early on but they have gotten worse as they have allowed four of their last five opponents to rush for over 100 yards, allowing an average of 126.8 ypg. That is not a good trend heading into the playoffs and neither is the passing defense that has been torched in three of its last four games. Atlanta is 20th in the league in passing defense and it will square off against one of the most potent passing offenses in the league.
Atlanta has gone over 375 yards of offense in each of its last two games and that is an important number as the Falcons are 2-12 ATS in their last 14 games after gaining 375 or more total yards in two consecutive games while the Giants are 18-7 ATS in their last 25 games versus teams averaging 375 or more ypg. The Giants fall into a great situation as we play on home teams coming off two or more consecutive unders, in a game involving two teams averaging between 23 and 27 ppg. This situation is 38-14 ATS (73.1 percent) since 1983. 10* (106) New York Giants
|01-01-12||Buffalo Bills v. New England Patriots -10.5||Top||21-49||Win||100||72 h 7 m||Show|
The Patriots need to win to grab the overall top seed in the AFC and the situation could not be better for us this week. First, let's start with the scheduling of the games this week. Should the Steelers and Ravens both lose, the Patriots get the first round bye and home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the big factor here is that both Pittsburgh and Baltimore do not start until after the Patriots are done which means New England will be doing no scoreboard watching. They will be going out to win.
We played the Patriots last week against the Dolphins and after falling behind 17-0, New England came back to take the lead and were covering but a late Miami touchdown game the Dolphins the backdoor cover. The outright win was obviously big for New England and an outright this week is just as big. I don't expect a repeat of last week where Tom Brady got off to a horrible start and had to play catch up as he will be more prepared to get off to a quick start and coast to an easy win.
We also played the Bills last week and they played one of their best games in a long time as they throttled the Broncos in their final home game of the season. It snapped a seven-game losing streak and while one can argue the Bills have some momentum going into this week, it won't be enough. Buffalo won its road opener this season at Kansas City and since then, it has dropped its last six games away from home with three of the last four losses resulting in blowout defeats.
Adding to the incentive for New England is the revenge factor as Buffalo won the first meeting this season, snapping a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots. Brady was horrible and he knows it. "Hopefully there's no repeat performance," Brady said of his four-interception Week 3 horror show. "When you turn the ball over four times in a game, it's damn near impossible to win. We found that out the hard way." The Bills have been ball-hawkers all season with 20 interceptions but they will not be so fortunate this time.
The Bills injury list is now bigger as center Kraig Urbik and left tackle Demetrius Bell suffered serious injuries last week and heading into the season finale they have just six healthy offensive linemen. That will be a big benefit for the Patriots defense. The Patriots are 17-5 ATS in the last two weeks under head coach Bill Belichick while going 12-3 ATS in 15 games revenging a same season loss. This includes a perfect 7-0 ATS record when revenging a loss as a road favorite. 10* (326) New England Patriots
|01-01-12||Tennessee Titans v. Houston Texans +3||Top||23-22||Win||100||68 h 51 m||Show|
This is a must win game for Tennessee as it is still mathematically alive for a playoff berth but it needs a lot to happen. The Titans would clinch the sixth seed with a win and a Bengals loss and either a Jets win or both a Broncos win and Raiders win (but not all three). Good luck Tennessee. Because of the must win situation here, the linesmakers have made Tennessee a favorite and this is never a good thing as bad teams that need to win as a chalk usually don't.
While Houston cannot move up or down in the standings, don't think this game isn't big for the Texans. They have lost their last two games, which has happened to coincide with the absence of defensive coordinator Wade Philips who is back this week, and they do not want to go into the playoffs riding a three-game losing streak. The Texans could feasibly sit their starters as to avoid more injuries but that won't happen. Houston needs to regain its swagger and build confidence heading into the playoffs.
After losing a tough game to New Orleans, the Titans went to Indianapolis and handed the Colts their first victory of the season. A team that does that should not even be considered for the playoffs. Tennessee did bounce back last week against the Jaguars but that is not saying much. The Titans last five wins have come against teams that are a combined 20-55 with four of those currently 4-11 or worse. The exception was against Buffalo which was in the midst of a seven-game losing streak.
The Titans defense has been hit or miss and the worst game of the season came against the Texans where they allowed 518 total yards. Yes, Houston quarterback Matt Schaub was playing in that game but he was not the difference maker. Houston rolled over Tennessee in the first meeting this season and the top performance was not from an injured player that is now sitting out but it was Arian Foster who racked up 234 total yards and three touchdowns. Expect another big game from Foster.
The players know what's at stake this week. "We have to go into this game with the mind frame of winning it so we can have that good taste in our mouths going into the playoffs," defensive end Antonio Smith said. Quarterback T.J. Yates stated the same and he knows he needs to play well heading into the playoffs. While this is a revenge game for the Titans, they are just 8-19 ATS in their last 27 games revenging a home loss and this includes a 0-7 ATS record in road games revenging a home loss by 14 or more points. 10* (316) Houston Texans
|12-26-11||Atlanta Falcons +7 v. New Orleans Saints||Top||16-45||Loss||-110||10 h 9 m||Show|
This is a big game for both sides. Based on what the Packers did on Sunday night, the Saints could still be in line for the number one seed but just as important is the number two seed which gets a first round bye. On the other side, Atlanta is still fighting for a playoff berth and it will lock one up with a win. If the season ended now, Atlanta would be the sixth seed and end up back in New Orleans in one of the Wild Card games. With wins in four of five games and seven of nine, Atlanta is again playing very well.
The Falcons lost the first meeting against New Orleans this season in overtime and it will be known for the call that head coach Mike Smith made on fourth down which cost them the game. The fact that the game went into overtime was not a big surprise as this has been a very close series as each of the last six meetings have been decided by a possession with five of those being decided by four points or fewer. The teams know each other very well so it comes as no surprise.
The Falcons offensive line will play a big role in this game and are in better shape this tome around. In the first meeting, left tackle Will Svitek was making his third start this season and right guard Joe Hawley, who has given up 4.5 sacks, was making just his second NFL start there. They allowed just one sacks and two hits on quarterback Matt Ryan in the first meeting. The Saints are giving up 109.9 ypg on the ground, which ranks 13th in the league but they are allowing 4.9 ypc which is tied for 28th in the league.
Good news for the Falcons defense is the return of two cornerbacks as Brett Grimes, who missed three games, is set to return from knee surgery while Kelvin Hayden, who has missed four games, is questionable but could also be ready. That is obviously a big boost going against the Saints potent offense. Quarterback Drew Brees is on a record setting pace for passing yards and he is playing some awesome football now. Stopping him is impossible but slowing him down is feasible.
This is obviously a revenge game for the Falcons and while road revenge is tricky, the Falcons fall into a great scenario. Play on road underdogs or pickems with a winning percentage between .600 and .750 that are revenging a same season loss. This situation is 29-9 ATS (76.3 percent) over the last 10 seasons. The Saints are just 3-12 ATS in their last 15 home games after covering the spread in five or six of their last seven games. Atlanta is 6-0 ATS in its last six road games against teams allowing 4.5 or more ypc. 10* (131) Atlanta Falcons
|12-24-11||Philadelphia Eagles v. Dallas Cowboys -1||Top||20-7||Loss||-118||75 h 12 m||Show|
We have seen this line drop from an opening of three points down as low as 1.5 points in some places. Laying anything below three points in a divisional game is huge especially when there is so much on the line as is the case here. Dallas woke up last Saturday after a run of lackluster games including that deflating loss against the Giants. Even though it was just a win over Tampa Bay, I think that type of victory is just what was needed for the Cowboys as they head into the final two gamers of the season.
The Eagles, which were pretty much done at one point when it fell to Seattle three games back, are now right back in the playoff picture. They were not even supposed to be in this spot but after a slow start, they have regrouped and are playing some solid football. And here we once again have the public on their backs as well. Philadelphia has struggled over the last two months of putting consecutive solid efforts together and I don't think it happens here either.
We have an interesting dynamic in play for the Eagles. They are third in total offense in the league but just nine in scoring offense and they are 10th in total defense but just 19th in scoring defense. That shows they are moving the ball and not giving up yards but the points are going against them. This comes down to turnovers. They have only one game this season where they have not turned it over (Dallas) and have turned it over at least twice in 11 of 14 games including at least three turnovers seven times.
The Cowboys have not forgotten the game in Philadelphia from earlier this season as they were trounced by the Eagles 34-7 while getting outgained by 228 total yards. How bad was it? It was Dallas' worst offensive performance of the season as it managed only 267 total yards and it was its second worst defensive performance, yielding 495 total yards. While some will argue that a repeat is possible, I don't see it happening with the Cowboys heading home for revenge in their last regular season home game of the year.
The Eagles are 0-5 ATS in their last five games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game while going 0-6 ATS in their last six games after scoring 17 or more points in the first half in two straight games. Dallas meanwhile falls into a situation where we play against road teams where the line is +3 to -3 after beating the spread by more than 21 points in their previous game, after the first month of the season. This situation is 30-8 ATS (78.9 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (128) Dallas Cowboys
|12-24-11||Miami Dolphins v. New England Patriots -9.5||Top||24-27||Loss||-104||72 h 5 m||Show|
The turnaround from the Dolphins has been impressive but not to the point of where this line is at this week. Miami won at Buffalo last week in interim head coach Todd Bowles' first game after Tony Sparano was fired last Monday. Those are the types of situations that players tend to step up in and we saw it in the snow and cold of Buffalo. Now the Dolphins must head to New England for a second straight road game with a lot on the line for the Patriots.
New England has been rolling along with six straight wins following a win at Denver this past Sunday. This is a train no one should be stepping in front of right now as the offense is clicking on all cylinders as the Patriots have scored 31 or more points in all six of those games. The defense has struggled all season and despite Miami scoring 30 or more points in four of its last seven games, it has not been able to do it back-to-back. The Dolphins have followed up those big performances by averaging 16.3 ppg next time out.
New England was favored by seven points in Miami on opening week which basically meant that the Patriots were roughly 11-point favorites on a neutral field depending on your power rating so that should make them well over a two-touchdown home favorite but that is far from the case here and I feel we are catching a ton of value with New England which usually is not the case. This is the first of two straight home games to close the season for New England.
As mentioned, the Miami turnaround has been impressive but the schedule has played a big role in that. Miami's first seven opponents have a combined .561 winning percentage while its last seven opponents have a .440 winning percentage so the turnaround is pretty much explained by that. Dallas is the only team the Dolphins have faced that is above .500 and while they narrowly lost that game, it should have been more wide open than the final score indicated.
If the Patriots win out against Miami and Buffalo, they will claim the top seed in the AFC and have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. If that isn't motivation, nothing is. The Patriots are 17-4 ATS in the last two weeks under head coach Bill Belichick so there is no letting up and they fall into a great situation where we play against road underdogs or pickems with a winning percentage between .250 and .400 coming off a divisional win. This situation is 29-10 ATS (74.4 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (112) New England Patriots
|12-22-11||Houston Texans -5.5 v. Indianapolis Colts||Top||16-19||Loss||-107||52 h 47 m||Show|
Indianapolis got the win it was after so while the pressure is now off, so isn't the desperation factor which can really charge up a team which we saw against Tennessee. It has obviously been a tough season for the Colts without Peyton Manning and at this point they are simply playing out the string. This is a Thursday night game in the spotlight but there more important factors going on with the other sideline so while revenge will try to be attained, there won't be enough in the tank.
Houston had its seven-game winning streak snapped by Carolina this past Sunday so it will be out to get back in the win column and keep its hope alive for a first round bye in the playoffs. The Texans have already clinched the division but the goal of winning out and finishing at 12-4 is very attainable with this game and then Tennessee at home next week to close out the season. The Texans are down some key players, namely at quarterback but that is not a concern here.
Quarterback T.J. Yates have done a very good job as a rookie to keep Houston afloat following the injuries to Matt Schaub and Matt Leinart. He put together consecutive solid performances against Atlanta and Cincinnati but it coming off his worst game so far against Carolina. I expect a bounce back against the Colts despite a short week and hitting the road. The Texans running game has been sensational and it will once again be the difference here.
Houston has rushed for at least 150 yards in six of its last eight games while putting up 167 yards rushing in the first meeting against the Colts. On the season the Texans are second in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 151.8 ypg. The Colts are ranked 28th in rushing defense and while limiting Tennessee to just 66 yards last week, they have not put together strong back-to-back performances all season. They allowed fewer than 100 yards four previous times and followed those up by allowing 184.3 ypg next time out.
The Texans defense is second in the NFL and actually played well last week but turnovers ended up being the difference. They have allowed more than 300 totals yards only five times this season. Indianapolis is 31st in total offense and put up only 287 yards last week despite the victory. Also, we play against underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points that are revenging a loss and coming off a win by 14 points or more as an underdog. This situation is 42-17 ATS (71.2 percent) since 1983. 10* (101) Houston Texans
|12-19-11||Pittsburgh Steelers v. San Francisco 49ers -3||Top||3-20||Win||104||10 h 17 m||Show|
After a couple of duds on Monday night, we are getting one of the bet games of the weekend this week with the Steelers traveling to San Francisco. We won going against the 49ers last Sunday against Arizona but we will back them at home this week at a very good price. Coming off a loss last week against the Cardinals puts them in a very good spot and they are still fighting for one of the top seeds in the NFC. With New Orleans winning again, this game takes on even bigger meaning.
The Steelers are coming off a win against Cleveland last Thursday so it has had some extra time to get ready for this game which is an edge but the travel to the left coast does take some of that away. The extra time is also good for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger who suffered a high ankle sprain last week and is still considered questionable for this game. While that injury is significant, starting center Maurkice Pouncey will most likely miss this game and that can be considered almost as big.
These are the two best defensive teams in the NFL as far as scoring goes so points should be a premium but the feeling is that the 49ers defense has the better unit when playing at home. They are allowing over a touchdown less per game at home that what the Steelers give up on the road. San Francisco's 3-4 defense ranks first in the NFL in rushing yards allowed at 70.5 ypg and yards per carry at 3.2 and is the first unit since the 1920 Decatur Staleys not to allow a rushing touchdown in the season's first 13 games.
The 49ers fall into a very powerful situation that has been successful for numerous years. We play against all teams where the line is +3 to -3 after allowing six points or less last game going up against an opponent after a loss by three or less points. This situation is 28-5 ATS (84.8 percent) since 1983. The Steelers are just 1-4 ATS in their last five games as road underdogs while the 49ers are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite and 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games following a cover loss. 10* (332) San Francisco 49ers
|12-18-11||Detroit Lions v. Oakland Raiders +1.5||Top||28-27||Win||100||75 h 41 m||Show|
As of Wednesday, the Lions are favored in this game by a point which means that Detroit is considered five points better than Oakland on an even playing field. I'm certainly not buying that. The Lions were the darlings of the NFL betting world earlier this season when they started out 5-0 but they have gone just 3-5 since then while going just 2-6 against the number. Despite the recent dry run at the betting window, the public still loves Detroit and they are clearly overvalued here once again.
Oakland was looking good in the AFC West before a recent stumble and the resurgence of Denver. The Raiders have dropped two straight games, both on the road and coming by a total of 50 points. Now heading back home, it sets them up in a great spot. This is a golden opportunity as Denver hosts New England so a win here can get the Raiders into a first place tie with two divisional games remaining. We are confident knowing that the Raiders are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a loss.
I wasn't very impressed with the Lions this past Sunday as they jumped out to a 21-0 and had to hold on for dear life to pull out the win. Elite teams provide the knockout punch in those situations and Detroit is not there yet. The previous week against the Saints, they blew numerous opportunities to stay close because of stupid penalties and you would think after that, the coaching staff would make sure they were more disciplined. Not so much as Detroit committed 10 penalties for 76 yards against the Vikings.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is struggling as he has tossed 13 interceptions compared to nine touchdowns since joining Oakland. Against Green Bay, the Raiders ran the ball better than it did in the previous two games and had 117 yards on 29 carries (4.0 ypc). Those are not earth shattering but this is a run first team that is averaging 138.8 ypg on 4.6 ypc, good for sixth and seventh in the NFL respectively. Look for them to continue pounding the ball against Detroit which is 27th in rushing defense.
The Raiders defense also needs to get moving in the right direction and something says a return home is just what it needs. Oakland falls into a great situation here as well as we play on home underdogs or pickems that are coming off a road loss by 14 points or more, in December games. This situation is 71-32 ATS (68.9 percent) since 1983. The Lions are 1-8-1 ATS in their last 10 games as a road favorite and being favored on the road against a playoff caliber team should not be happening either. 10* (322) Oakland Raiders
|12-18-11||Seattle Seahawks v. Chicago Bears -3.5||Top||38-14||Loss||-105||71 h 30 m||Show|
The loss of quarterback Jay Cutler has obviously been a devastating one for the Bears as they have lost all three games since his injury. They have scored only 33 points in the three games after scoring at least 30 points in each of the Cutler's last three games. The loss of Matt Forte has not helped matters but if there is any chance of a trip to the playoffs, this is a must win game as Chicago is at Green bay next week and closes at Minnesota in its season finale.
This is just as much of a play against Seattle as it is on Chicago. The Seahawks have had a very favorable schedule, playing at home for three straight games. They defeated Philadelphia after losing to the Redskins after a fourth quarter meltdown and are coming off a win over the Rams Monday night. That came after having 10 days off after the Eagles game for now they go from extended rest to a short week and traveling at the same time. This is a horrible spot and a great fade.
All news isn't bad for the Chicago offense though. Forte has not officially been ruled out (although very unlikely he will play so don't get hopes up) while wide receiver Earl Bennett, who is widely regarded as the top wideout on the Bears roster, is getting close to full strength and he needs to get into the offense. Last week against Denver, the loss overshadowed a productive outing for running back Marion Barber, who ran for a game-high 108 yards.
The Bears defense still needs to carry the load. They were awesome for nearly the entire game last week but a miscommunication in the secondary which rotated cornerbacks Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and Zack Bowman throughout the game played a role in Tim Tebow hitting Demaryius Thomas for Denver's only touchdown with just over two minutes left. Chicago has allowed more than 400 total yards only once this season, one of only three teams in the entire league to accomplished that.
Seattle has not had success in these spots in the past as it is 0-6 ATS in its last six road games following a double-digit win and 1-9 ATS in its last 10 road games following any win in its previous game. The Bears meanwhile are 7-1-1 ATS in their last nine games after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. Also we play against teams after two straight wins by 14 or more points going up against an opponent after a loss by three points or less. This situation is 39-15 ATS (72.2 percent) since 1983. 10* (312) Chicago Bears
|12-15-11||Jacksonville Jaguars v. Atlanta Falcons UNDER 42.5||Top||14-41||Loss||-101||54 h 28 m||Show|
We won with the Under last Thursday with Cleveland and Pittsburgh and we will once again go that route this Thursday. This is another less than glamorous matchup but we are getting exceptional value with the total as this number is inflated because of recent results. Atlanta is coming off a game against Carolina where 54 total points were scored, which sent the Over. It should be noted that the Falcons went Under in their previous eight games before this past Sunday.
Jacksonville is also coming off a high-scoring game this past Sunday as it and Tampa Bay combined to put up 55 points which was well over the posted total of 41.5. It was the second straight Over for the Jaguars and that is rare for a team with an above average defense and an anemic offense. Prior to the game against the Chargers that had 52 points scored, Jacksonville had gone Under in its previous five games. This is another example of recent results affecting future numbers.
To be blunt, the Jaguars offense is horrendous. They are ranked 28th in scoring offense and dead last in total offense, averaging 14.8 ppg and 260.1 ypg respectively. The 41-point performance against the Buccaneers was the highest of the season and it was the first time the Jaguars scored more than 20 points all season so it shows what an aberration it actually was. They did put up a season high 325 total yards but even that is pathetic and does not correlate to the 41-points scored.
Atlanta has a strong defense that is ranked 13th overall and 11th in points allowed. The unit did struggle against Carolina as it allowed 416 total yards, the third most yards given up this season but the Panthers offense is fifth in the NFL overall. The two other times the Falcons allowed over 400 yards on defense came against Green Bay and Philadelphia and they are ranked third and fourth respectively in total offense so facing strong offenses has hurt the Falcons. We won't have to worry about that here.
The Jaguars are ranked fourth in the NFL in total defense and seventh in scoring defense so they have been very strong. The Falcons are a middle of the pack offense and they will not be able to name their score here like they have done a couple times this season. Jacksonville is 6-0 to the Under in its six road games this season while Atlanta is 7-0 to the Under in its last seven home games coming off a road win and 7-0 to the Under in its seven games this season coming off any win. 10* Under (301) Jacksonville Jaguars/(302) Atlanta Falcons
|12-12-11||St Louis Rams v. Seattle Seahawks -10||Top||13-30||Win||100||13 h 30 m||Show|
This seems to be a lot of points for Seattle to be laying, especially for a 5-7 team involved in a divisional game. The number could be higher though in my opinion as the Seahawks still have an outside shot at a playoff berth, albeit small, and they have a lot of edges on their side in this matchup. Another big factor is time off an travel. Seattle last played on December 1st in a Thursday night home game against the Eagles so they have essentially had three extra days of preparation than the Rams have had.
It has been a miserable season for St. Louis as it dropped to 2-10 following its shutout loss at San Francisco last week. They have dropped three straight games and they have been outgained in all but three games this season. Injuries have played a major factor in this which caused this line to come out late and the quarterback situation is still a mystery. Sam Bradford is questionable to all indications are that he will play as backup Tom Brandstater took all his snaps with the scout team.
The Rams are second to last in the NFL in yardage differential at -82.2 ypg and one huge factor is the inability of the St. Louis offense to move the ball. Looking at pure, raw statistics shows the Rams offense is horrendous as they are 31st in total offense and 28th in both passing offense and rushing offense. The group Football Outsiders puts out a different set of statistics based on many factors and their play-by-play efficiency has the Rams dead last overall and both 31st in passing and rushing offense.
St. Louis was expected to improve on offense from last season based on a slew of up and coming players that had gained a much important year of experience. As mentioned, injuries has derailed this but the lockout was a major roadblock for the Rams. They hired Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator and because of no offseason work, the offense was limited in its preparation so learning a new system in a short time has not been beneficial. Seattle's defense has been solid and will continue that here.
The Rams' offensive line is giving up sacks 3.3 percent more often this year than last season and after being ranked 10th in sacks allowed a season ago, they are ranked 29th this season. Monday night underdogs that have been struggling have been a losing proposition for years as we play against underdogs or pickems after having lost five or six out of their last seven games, when playing on Monday night. This situation is 41-14 ATS (74.5 percent) since 1983. 10* (134) Seattle Seahawks
|12-11-11||NY Giants +3.5 v. Dallas Cowboys||Top||37-34||Win||100||77 h 42 m||Show|
The winner of this game takes control of the NFC East. The Cowboys would have a two-game lead should they win while the Giants will fall into a first place tie but will have the tiebreaker edge by grabbing the first of the two meetings this season with the second one taking place on New Year's Day in New York. At this point, it is much bigger for the Giants which have lost four straight games and with the exception of the New Orleans game, the other three games all could have gone the other way.
Dallas is coming off a tough loss in Arizona last weekend so it can be argued that a bounceback situation is in place for the Cowboys but the same can be said for the visiting team as well. Prior to the loss in Arizona, Dallas had won four straight games but two of those came against the lowly Bills and Seahawks while the other two came against the Redskins and Dolphins on last second field goals, the latter taking place in overtime. As good as people think they are, the Cowboys are far from a dominating team.
While the Giants have lost four straight games, three have come against the Packers, Saints and 49ers, all of which are 9-3 or better, while the fourth loss came against the Eagles which are fourth in the NFL in yardage differential. Losses are certainly not good but sometimes quality losses are better than non-quality wins which the Cowboys possess. Their only win against a top team all season was in Week Two against San Francisco and it took overtime to get that victory.
The Cowboys passing defense gave up very little to the Bills, 49ers, Rams and Seahawks this season but has been torched by every other team. They have allowed 255.3 ypg over their last three games on 8.1 ypa which is exactly what the Giants have averaged over their last three games to go along with over 329 ypg. Eli Manning is having a great season as he is fourth in passing yards and sixth in passer rating with this being his highest rating in his seven full seasons in the league.
Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw returned after four missed games because of injury and his presence will be big this week after playing average against the Packers. He was clearly rusty but he has had some big games against the Cowboys and has a lifetime 4.6 ypc average against them .Play on road teams where the line is +3 to -3 that are coming off a cover where the team lost as an underdog, in the second half of the season. This situation is 36-8 ATS (81.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (131) New York Giants
|12-11-11||New Orleans Saints v. Tennessee Titans +4||Top||22-17||Loss||-105||90 h 13 m||Show|
This is a bad spot for New Orleans. The Saints are coming off two straight home wins and covers, both in primetime as well, and now they hit the road for a non-conference game with a two-game lead in the division. New Orleans is a perfect 6-0 at home but it is just 3-3 on the road. Granted, one of those losses came against Green Bay but the other two came against St. Louis and Tampa Bay, neither of which will be sniffing the playoffs this season. New Orleans has covered four straight games, giving us value here.
Tennessee has won two in a row and while both came against mediocre teams, the last one came on the road and the one before that came in a driving rainstorm. The weather outlook is looking real good for this Sunday and while that may favor New Orleans and its offense, it takes away any chances of Tennessee losing this game because of the elements. The Titans trail Houston by two games in the AFC South so a win here keeps them on pace with three divisional games remaining.
All of the talk about Titans running back Chris Johnson mailing it in this season can be put to rest. He is averaging 121.5 ypg on 5.7 ypc over his last four games and his 486 yards over this stretch is 120 yard more than his first eight games combined so he is obviously peaking at the right time. He has flourished over some bad defenses and we can lump the Saints into that category as they allow 4.9 ypc which is 30th in the NFL. They don't allow as many yards because they have the fifth least attempts against them.
The Saints are all about Drew Brees and the passing game and neither the Giants nor the Lions had an answer on the turf. Playing on the road on the grass is a different story as over the last three years, he has a 108.4 passer rating at home and a 104.0 passer rating on turf but on grass fields, it dips to 93.8 over 12 starts. The Titans have a strong defense against the pass as they are 18th in yards allowed but third in ypa so they are not giving up big plays. That is the key to slowing down the Saints offense.
Tennessee is 4-2 at home this season and it is an ideal situation as home underdogs coming off a straight up road victory going up against non-divisional opponents coming off a home win are 42-14 ATS (75 percent) since 1991. The Titans also fall into a spectacular contrarian situation where we play against road favorites in the second half of the season that are averaging 370 or more ypg going up against teams allowing between 335 and 370 ypg. This situation is 56-24 ATS (70 percent) since 1983. 10* (116) Tennessee Titans
|12-11-11||Houston Texans v. Cincinnati Bengals -3||Top||20-19||Loss||-100||90 h 6 m||Show|
You have to give credit to Houston for hanging together after the loss of two quarterbacks and winning its sixth straight games last week at home against the Falcons. We cashed a ticket on the Texans but now the situation completely reverses itself as they hit the road with a two-game division lead against a team in much need of a victory. This is the first road start for quarterback T.J. Yates who has played average in his first two games but now it is a whole different ballgame.
The Bengals have dropped three of their last four games with the three losses coming against the two teams ahead of them in the division, Pittsburgh (twice) and Baltimore. Cincinnati is now two games behind the Ravens and Steelers in the AFC North so while winning that is likely done, it is still in the playoff hunt as a Wild Card as it is tied with the Jets, Titans, Raiders and Broncos at 7-5. After covering five straight, the Bengals have not cashed a ticket in their last four games, thus putting value on their side.
The Texans defense is one of the best in football this season and they have not allowed more than 14 points in any of their last six games so that is obviously the key to the winning streak. Every game that the opponent has scored more than 14 points, the Texans have lost so that is obviously the key number for the Bengals offense. They are led by a rookie as well, Andy Dalton, but he has not played like a rookie as he has put together a solid season with five games of a passer rating of 97.9 or better.
The Bengals allow 96.3 rushing ypg this season and it is imperative that they shut down the Houston rushing offense. The Bengals are giving up just 3.6 ypc which is third best in the NFL so while stopping the Texans is not easy, it is doable and that will put a lot of pressure on Yates to try and win the game in his first ever road start. Making matters worse for Yates is that his top target, receiver Andre Johnson, is most likely out with a strained left hamstring that occurred last week.
While the Bengals are tied with a slew of other teams, they actually hold the tiebreaker over all of the rest of these teams based on their current conference record and they have also won the head-to-head matchup versus the Titans. Getting a win here puts them that much closer with winnable games against St. Louis and Arizona on deck. We play against road teams off a win as a home underdog, with a winning record on the season playing another winning team. This situation is 46-19 ATS (70.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (108) Cincinnati Bengals
|12-08-11||Cleveland Browns v. Pittsburgh Steelers UNDER 39.5||Top||3-14||Win||100||52 h 6 m||Show|
Cleveland is playing its third straight divisional game and it will come against a third straight strong defense as the Bengals are sixth in total defense, the Ravens are third in total defense and now come the Steelers which are first in total defense. This is a tough stretch for the Brown which are ranked 30th in the NFL in total offense and have scored more than 20 points only once this season. Conversely, Cleveland has scored two touchdowns or fewer in six of its last seven games.
The Steelers have won three straight games since that brutal loss to Baltimore Sunday night and they are coming off their second highest point total on offense this season as they put up 35 points on the Bengals. The other two times Pittsburgh scored 30 or more points this season, it followed it up with unders in the next game both times. That high point total can lead to value next time out and I feel we are getting it here even though this is the lowest posted total for the Steelers since Week One.
Because it is in the high 30's and because this is a nationally televised game (for some), the over is going to be the popular play. While the Steelers defense is ranked tops on the league, the Browns have a defense that is pretty good in its own right as the Browns are ranked eighth in the NFL in total defense as well as eighth in scoring defense. Granted Pittsburgh put up 35 points on a strong Cincinnati defense but it was due to short fields as well as a punt return for a score. The Steelers had just 295 yards of total offense.
Cleveland did manage 20 points against Cincinnati two games back but it was skewed as it put up just 274 total yards. It was worse last week with just 10 points and 233 total yards and now it only gets tougher. The Browns have put up more than 300 yards only four times this season while the Steelers defense has given up more than 300 yards only five times with two of those coming against Baltimore. If everything holds true to form, which it should, this one has a low scoring game written all over it.
Thursday night games have had some special edges over the years as the home teams have dominated for the most part and we have seen a lot of low scoring games within these parameters. As a matter of fact we play the under in Thursday night games where the total is between 35.5 and 42 points. This situation is already 4-0 to the under this season and over the last three seasons it is a perfect 16-0 to the under. This gets extended after this week. 10* Under (101) Cleveland Browns/(102) Pittsburgh Steelers
|12-05-11||San Diego Chargers -3 v. Jacksonville Jaguars||Top||38-14||Win||100||22 h 57 m||Show|
Jacksonville let go of head coach Jack Del Rio after another slow start to the season and while playing the new coaching angle is always something to look at, we simply cannot look past the fact that this team is not good. We won with the Jaguars in a Monday night game a few weeks ago when they were home underdogs against Baltimore and they won that game outright but this is a much different and more difficult situation. The Jaguars have lost three of four since that win over the Ravens.
San Diego certainly is not a very good team this season as it is struggling once again under head coach Norv Turner despite having some incredible talent on both sides. The good news for the Chargers is that the AFC West is a mediocre division and a win here means that they trail first place Oakland and Denver by two games which keeps them involved with a very doable schedule the rest of the way. While many think they have called it a season, there is still fight in this team.
|12-04-11||Dallas Cowboys v. Arizona Cardinals +5||Top||13-19||Win||100||66 h 29 m||Show|
Dallas is now sitting all alone in first place in the NFL East following four straight wins couple with three straight Giants losses. Some seem to think the Cowboys are back and are now becoming a force but I'm not one of those. We had a ticket on them on Thanksgiving and they were once again very average and snuck out a second straight narrow win. The Cowboys are 2-3 on the road this season with both of those wins coming on overtime so they have been far from dominant.
The Cardinals are back up to 4-7 following a win last week in St. Louis, their third in their last four games. While the playoffs are still very unlikely as few miracles need to take place, Arizona continues to play hard and coming off three straight road makes this a very good situational play. Seven of the Cardinals first 11 games have been on the road so the schedule-makers did them no favors early on. In to town comes their biggest rival even though they have been out of the Cowboys division for quite a while.
The Cardinals should be getting Kevin Kolb back this week at quarterback and while he is not having a great season, he is an upgrade from John Skelton who started four games in his absence. Kolb has actually only has one really bad game this season and that was at Minnesota and it is no surprise his passer rating 67.4 on the road compared to a very solid 92.3 at home in the three games he started. Beanie Well is coming off a career game and broke a Cardinals record with 228 yards rushing so he will only help Kolb.
On the other side, Tony Romo is having a solid year despite losing his top running back and playing without one of his best receivers lately. Still, this offense has been very inconsistent and as a matter of fact the Cowboys are coming off two of their three lowest offensive outputs of the season in their last two games. The Cardinals defense has been a liability this season but they have been playing much better of late, especially the passing defense which has allowed just 202.3 ypg over their last four games.
Dallas has been winning but failing to cover and that suggest an overvalued team which is certainly the case. The Cowboys are getting hammered again this week yet we have seen a big swing go the other way as sharp money has brought this line down two points from the opening number. Also we play against favorites , in the second half of the season with a winning percentage between .600 and .750 after failing to cover the spread in 4 out of their last 5 games. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (370) Arizona Cardinals
|12-04-11||Atlanta Falcons v. Houston Texans +3||Top||10-17||Win||100||64 h 40 m||Show|
The linesmakers seem to have given up on the Texans and the public is following suit. Atlanta opened as road favorites and it is getting hammered which comes as no surprise in this situation. The Falcons have rebounded after that tough overtime loss against the Saints as they have won their last two games but now after three straight home games, they finally hit the road again. Atlanta is a notoriously bad road team and there is no reason to think that it won't continue here.
Matt Schaub is out and Matt Leinart is out so the line has been adjusted because of that but that is a total insult to the rest of the team. Schaub is one of the best quarterbacks in the game and even he was limited at times when Andre Johnson was absent for an extended period of time. The Texans relied on a strong running game to get the job done on offense so even though T.J. Yates will be making his first ever start, you can bet on the fact that Houston will run the ball, and have success in doing so.
Atlanta has a defense that is very overrated. The rushing defense has been great the past four games but it faced the Vikings without Adrian Peterson, the Titans with an out of sort Chris Johnson, the Saints who didn't need to run as they threw for 363 yards and the Colts, who have hapless all season. Houston possesses the third ranked rushing offense in the NFL so it will have more success here. The Falcons have a mediocre pass rush as well so Yates will not be under constant pressure.
Speaking of defense, somebody forgot to tell the linesmakers that Houston has the number one ranked total defense and number two ranked scoring defense in the league. The Texans are second in passing defense and fourth in rushing defense so they are solid in all areas. Matt Ryan is a great quarterback at home but an average quarterback on the road (career passer rating of 96.1 at home and 80.3 on the road) while running back Michael Turner is still bothered by a groin injury.
The Texans know they are getting no respect and they will step up huge here and we see that all the time as that is simply what above average teams do. They fall into two great situations. Play against road favorites after two consecutive wins as home favorites. This situation is 41-13 ATS (75.9 percent) since 1996. Play against road favorites after a home win by 10 points or more against opponent off a road win. This situation is 78-43 ATS (64.5 percent) since 1983. 10* (360) Houston Texans
|12-04-11||Denver Broncos v. Minnesota Vikings -1||Top||35-32||Loss||-110||63 h 25 m||Show|
The Vikings are off to their worst start in team history which is saying a lot as they have been around for a long time. There is nothing but pride on the line now and coming off two straight road games, I think this is a great spot for them to snap their three-game losing streak. Minnesota has played a very tough schedule with its last five losses coming against likely or possible playoff teams with the two most recent wins coming against non-playoff contenders. I feel Denver is in that latter category.
The Broncos have won four straight games as well as five of its last six games including all four games on the road. Tebow-Mania has hit the NFL full force and he is proving every doubter wrong. I was not a doubter to begin with as Tebow is a winner and winners win. But the magic cannot continue with the way Denver is winning as eventually it will bite them. It has been a very impressive run considering the offense has registered more than 350 total yards only once.
There was an article this week on Yahoo Sports that proved how unlikely this Denver run has been. The Broncos won their third straight game by scoring fewer than 20 points and going back to the 5-1 run, four of those wins have come by way of scoring fewer than 20 points. Looking at every other game season, teams are 21-111 when scoring fewer than 20 points so what Denver has done defies all odds. Coming off three straight divisional road wins mixed with a home upset, this is where it ends.
A lot of the credit goes to the Denver defense for not giving up many points to give the team a chance to win but the defense is not as good as portrayed. The Broncos have allowed fewer than 300 yards only twice over this recent six-game stretch and they have been the beneficiaries of opponents kicking themselves in the foot. Minnesota is certainly no juggernaut but even without Adrian Peterson, it can move the ball downfield with a solid group of receivers and putting Percy Harvin in the Wildcat.
The fact that Minnesota is the favorite is a shock to some and the Broncos are getting a heavy dose of the action but the line has either not moved or gone the other way signaling a reverse line move. The Vikings fall into a potent league-wide situation too as we play on home teams with a winning percentage of less than .250 in the second half of the season after three or more consecutive losses and now playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 29-6 ATS (82.9 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (366) Minnesota Vikings
|12-01-11||Philadelphia Eagles v. Seattle Seahawks +3||Top||14-31||Win||100||22 h 15 m||Show|
The Eagles season is officially over yet they are overvalued on the road as favorite. Well, it isn't officially over but the nail in pretty much pounded through the coffin. It is a big of a surprise because Philadelphia was actually catching some value at home last week and after getting beaten by the Patriots, they lose value on the road. After losing that game, it is going to be a tall order for the Eagles to get up for this game, especially with the fact it has to head to the west coast on a short week.
Seattle is coming off a disappointing loss last week and that should have it highly motivated here. This is a chance to break even with the NFC East this season and while it means little, the Seahawks will still be mathematically alive in the playoffs. Granted, they have the same record as the Eagles but playing at home is a big advantage here and even more so in the role of a home underdog. And on top of that, playing at home last week heightens the travel advantage even more.
Michael Vick will miss his third straight game so Vince Young will once again get the start. He has been pretty decent thus far as he threw for a career-high 400 yards last week against New England, although most of it came in the second half after the Eagles were down 31-13. Along with Vick, the Eagles have already ruled out wide receiver Jeremy Maclin for a third straight week and defensively it is just as bad as cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is out while Nnamdi Asomugha is questionable.
The Seahawks will look to establish the running game as they have been very solid in that department over the last four games, rushing for 531 yards over that stretch. The Eagles have done a decent job of tightening up their run defense but teams have been able to throw all over the place. Philadelphia has allowed 294.7 ypg and a whopping 8.1 ypa over this stretch. The Eagles defense has been a very schizophrenic unit this season and this situation calls for yet another bad effort.
Seattle has a very favorable schedule going forward but losing last week was a heavy blow. Still, confidence has not been lost in what has been said early this week and that is important to try and find this time of the season. The Seahawks fall into a great situation as we play against road favorites in the second half of the season that are averaging more than 370 ypg going up against teams allowing between 335 and 370 ypg. after 8+ games. This situation is 16-3 ATS (84.2 percent) over the last five seasons. 10* (302) Seattle Seahawks
|11-28-11||NY Giants +7.5 v. New Orleans Saints||Top||24-49||Loss||-105||8 h 50 m||Show|
This game is equally important for both sides. The Saints need to win to remain a game up on the Falcons in the NFC South while the Giants need to win to avoid falling a game behind the Cowboys in the NFC East. New Orleans seems to have the scheduling edge as it is home following a bye week but that is being factored into this line in my opinion as it is a few points too high. I think anything over a field goal is ideal and anything over a touchdown is exceptional. The latter is in play many places.
New York has dropped two straight games to fall out of solo first place in the division and as mentioned, it needs to win to keep pace. The Giants offense is coming off its worst game of the season as they gained just 278 total yards, the lowest output since opening week against the Redskins when they gained 315 yards. The good news is that the Saints defense is also coming off their worst game of the season and it will be easier for an offense to fix things rather than a defense because of matchups in place.
New York needs to establish some sort of running game as one of the best rushing teams in the NFL has been unable to do so this season. Enter the Saints which are allowing a whopping 5.2 ypc, worst in the NFL. Any resemblance of a running game will help with the passing game as the Giants are fourth in the NFL is passing ypa. Quarterback Peyton Manning is solid when he faces zone coverages as he has been good at finding secondary targets. New Orleans has given up 15 touchdowns in 24 red zone chances on defense.
The Saints offense is one of the best in the NFL, raking first in total yards, passing yards and first downs while ranking second in points scored. Slowing Drew Brees is a chore but it cane be done and the Giants have a defense to do so as they lead the NFL with 31 sacks by using various fronts and they have an athletic group of pass-rushers. Pressure is the key as letting Brees sit in the pocket will allow him to pick the secondary apart. The big edge for New York should be on the edges which will fore the pocket to collapse.
The Saints are 0-6 ATS in their last six games following a road win by six points or fewer while they are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 home games following a win by three points or less. The Giants fall into a great situation as well. Play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points with a winning percentage between .501 and .600 that are coming off a loss as a division favorite. This situation is 24-6 ATS (80 percent) since 1983. The Giants are 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games after scoring two touchdowns or less in their previous game. 10* (239) New York Giants
|11-27-11||Chicago Bears +4 v. Oakland Raiders||Top||20-25||Loss||-108||29 h 35 m||Show|
The Bears opened as a point and a half favorite in this game and when it was confirmed that quarterback Jay Cutler will not be playing because of a broken thumb, the line has now moved 5.5 points with the Raiders now sizable home favorites. Is one player worth a move this big? I do not think so even though it is the quarterback as there are 21 other starters that will be on the field and we have seen it before where teams pick it up even more following the loss of their starting quarterback.
The Raiders are coming off two straight road games, both resulting in wins and they are now a game up in the AFC West. That might seem like it is a good situation here for Oakland but in actuality, it is not. The Raiders have been horrible in the role of favorites, going 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games as a home chalk so the big line shift put them in a bad spot. The Raiders seemed to have turned the corner with their offense but last week they gained just 301 total yards and now face a defense that has really turned things around.
With Caleb Hanie taking over at quarterback, expect to see a heavy dose of the running game for Chicago. The Raiders are 31st in the league in yards per attempt allowed at 5.2 ypc and over the last three games, it has gotten even worse as they are allowing 6.4 ypc. Look for another big game from Matt Forte. Play on underdogs or pickems with a winning percentage between .600 and .750 after beating the spread by 28 or more points total in their last three games, playing a team with a winning record. This situation is 40-17 ATS (70.2 percent) over the last 10 seasons. 10* (229) Chicago Bears
|11-27-11||Carolina Panthers v. Indianapolis Colts +4||Top||27-19||Loss||-110||26 h 37 m||Show|
The Colts are back after their bye week and at 0-10, are the lone team in the NFL without a win this season. They obviously are not getting the respect that they don't deserve but being home underdogs in this situation is just not right. After playing three straight road games, this is the third straight home game and with a bye week sandwiched in there, Indianapolis has spent all of November at home. The fact that the Colts have dropped six straight against the number in lining up the public on the side of the road team.
We had the Panthers last week and after building a 24-7 lead, things were looking pretty good. Carolina lost the lead but tied the game at 35 and then Detroit scored two touchdowns in 32 seconds no thanks to a Cam Newton inception in between. Now Carolina has to try and regroup off that devastating loss and it will be a challenge. Throw in the fact that the Panthers are 0-4 on the road this season doesn't bode well for a team that will have a tough time finding focus and being favored as well.
The Panthers defense is not a good one as they are ranked 27th overall and 31st in points allowed. They have gotten worse each of the last four weeks as after allowing a respectable 325 yards against the Falcons, the yardage allowed has increased in each game since then. Play against teams in the second half of the season that are coming off a road loss by 14 points or more, in a game involving two teams with winning percentages of ..250 or worse. This situation is 28-8 ATS (77.8 percent) since 1983. 10* (224) Indianapolis Colts
|11-24-11||Green Bay Packers v. Detroit Lions +7||Top||27-15||Loss||-110||25 h 5 m||Show|
It has been quite a while since Detroit has even been competitive on Thanksgiving Day but that is the case this season. The Lions have covered only once in their last nine Thanksgiving Day games and are currently on a 0-7 ATS run. The last win came against the Packers in 2003 and since then Detroit has lost by an average of 22.9 ppg with all losses coming by double-digits. Those are some ugly numbers but past history is history now with the Lions sitting at 7-3 and very much in the Wild Card hunt.
The Packers have not lost a non-preseason game that Aaron Rodgers has started since last season in Detroit when the Lions defeated Green Bay 7-3. That was the game Rodgers went down and the Packers went on to lose the following game against New England with Matt Flynn at quarterback. Green Bay has won 16 straight games since then and appears in no way of slowing down. This is a different Lions team as well as mentioned though and this is one of the biggest turkey day games for the Lions in recent history.
The Packers took care of Tampa Bay this past Sunday but they were outgained for the fourth time in their last five games. The defense continues to have issues as it has allowed at least 424 total yards in four of its last five games and six times on the season. The Packers allowed Tampa Bay to pass for 334 yards, the most it has thrown for this season and the 455 total yards on offense was a season high for the Buccaneers. Even the 121 yards rushing was the second most Tampa Bay has gained this season.
The Lions have a potent enough offense to move the ball and score points so if this game does end up being a track meet, the Lions can compete. They are coming off their highest offensive output of the season. Still, I feel that the Detroit defense could be the difference maker despite the gaudy Packers numbers. Detroit's defense is close to 70- ypg better than that of the Packers. Rodgers is having a special season no doubt but the Lions are allowing 6.0 ypa which is second best in the NFL.
The breakout game from Detroit running back Kevin Smith was a good thing to see for the offense. The Packers are allowing only 102.5 ypg on the ground but that is skewed from teams passing late as they are allowing 4.7 ypc. The Lions fall into a solid league-wide situation here as well. Play on underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points in the second half of the season after going over the total by more than 28 points in their previous game. This situation is 33-10 ATS (76.7 percent) since 1983. 10* (104) Detroit Lions
|11-20-11||San Diego Chargers +4 v. Chicago Bears||Top||20-31||Loss||-110||68 h 29 m||Show|
We finally have a situation where the public is actually off the Chargers. While San Diego has been dreadful of late with four straight losses, we catch them in a great spot as it is a road underdog for the first time in its last four road games. The public has jumped ship but the sharp money struck early as it came in and knocked this number down from +4 to +3.5 despite a huge number of bets being on the Bears. Four straight ATS losses facing a team with four straight ATS wins puts the value on our side.
The Bears have been just the opposite as they have won four straight games while scoring a ton of points along the way. Chicago was able to revenge its earlier loss against the Lions last week with a resounding 24-point win. Or was it a resounding win? Detroit outgained the Bears 393-216 but committed six turnovers which led to 24 points, two interceptions which were directly returned for touchdowns on back-to-back possessions, while Chicago also returned a punt for a touchdown.
Despite a two-game difference in records, the Chargers are +65.4 ypg in yardage differential while the Bears are -48.5 ypg in differential. To put it in perspective, San Diego is one of only three teams with a losing record that is on the plus side of the yardage variances while the Bears are one of only five teams with a winning record that is on the minus side of yardage variances. This shows how these teams are playing in regards to the results and the difference obviously has been turnovers.
This game could once again come down to Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and he has been having a tough season to say the least. He is facing a weak passing defense though as Chicago is having trouble in the middle with the safeties. San Diego has a collection of big deep threats who might present a lot of problems for the Bears' deep patrol. If Rivers attacks and doesn't force the issue, he could be in for one of his bigger games in weeks. The Bears are allowing 5.1 ypc so San Diego can exploit that as well.
The Bears are just 3-16 ATS in their last 19 games after scoring 25 or more points in two straight games while San Diego is 8-1 ATS in its last nine games against teams with winning percentages between .600 and .750. San Diego also falls into a solid contrarian situation where we play on underdogs or pickems in the second half of the season in a game involving two teams that are +/- 0.4 yppl, after allowing 400 or more total yards in their previous game. This situation is 94-53 ATS (63.9 percent) since 1983. 10* (435) San Diego Chargers
|11-20-11||Oakland Raiders v. Minnesota Vikings +1.5||Top||27-21||Loss||-110||65 h 6 m||Show|
This is Minnesota's fist true winnable game since October 9th when it defeated Arizona at home. Since then, Minnesota has played three road games, and it did win one of those, while playing just one home game and that happened to come against Green Bay. The Vikings are coming off a Monday night debacle against the Packers in the rematch but while the final score shows a loss by 38 points, the game was not that much of a blowout as Minnesota did a lot of good things that can carried over.
Carson Palmer picked up his first win with the Raiders as they won at San Diego last Thursday but even though there is some extra rest involved here, it is not one of the best spots you will find as explained later. Oakland is coming off three straight divisional games and while it went just 1-2 in those contests, it takes its toll. The issue with the Raiders is their defense as they have been better but this is a unit that is still prone to giving up the big plays which gives the Vikings offense a chance.
As mentioned, the Vikings did do some good things. Aaron Rodgers lit the defense up which was no surprise seeing that he has done that to every team this season as his lowest passer rating is 111.4. Minnesota held the Packers to 90 yards on 31 carries (2.9 ypc), the fourth time this season it has held a team to fewer than 100 yards rushing. That is big as the Raiders are fourth in the NFL in rushing with 156.2 ypg and fifth in rushing average with 5.0 ypc. The Vikings allow just 3.7 ypc on the season.
On the other side, Minnesota averages more per rush than the Raiders with 5.2 ypc and the difference is that Oakland allows 5.2 ypc. Teams have been able to put up yards with off-tackle runs against the Raiders and the Vikings are huge on the right side. The Oakland passing defense has improved but a healthy dose of Adrian Peterson will open up the passing game and allow Christian Ponder to make some plays. He is coming off a bad game, his second against Green Bay but he rebounded big after the first meeting.
Minnesota has been especially effective when coming off blowouts as it is a perfect 10-0 ATS in home games coming off a road loss of 21 or more points. Oakland meanwhile is 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games against teams allowing 24 or more ppg and it falls into a negative situation. Play against teams with a winning percentage between .501 and .600 after failing to cover the spread in two out of their last three games, playing a team with a winning percentage less than .250. This situation is 43-17 ATS (71.7 percent) since 1983. 10* (424) Minnesota Vikings
|11-17-11||NY Jets -4.5 v. Denver Broncos||Top||13-17||Loss||-103||54 h 30 m||Show|
The Jets have a really good matchup advantage here and while betting road underdogs in this league is a long-term killer, it is the right spot here. New York is coming off a tough loss and playing on a short week with travel involved which is going to sway some toward the Denver side but this is an even tougher game for the Broncos in my opinion. Had the Jets defeated New England on Sunday, things would be different and they may have come into Denver flat but now this game is a must.
The short week of travel is being said to hurt the Jets however let's not forget that Denver played on the road Sunday as well so it also had to head back home following a road victory. The Broncos are feeling pretty good about themselves right now as they have won two straight game, both of which came on the road. While those were big wins, we have to take into account that they were divisional road wins which makes this a big letdown situation for the Broncos.
The recipe for success for the Broncos has been a heavy dose of running ball so it is no secret what the Jets need to do on defense. Quarterback Tim Tebow is showing he is a versatile player but that is just with his running ability. He threw eight passes against the Chiefs, completing only two, while the week prior, he was just 10-21 against the Raiders. The Jets need to man up on the corners and load the box to stop the run. It is easier said than done but New York has the personnel to do it unlike the last two opponents.
After three straight wins, the Jets could not get it done last week however a lot of that was due to the matchup as the Patriots simply do not lose three games in a row period. The AFC East race is now heavily in favor of New England because of the series sweep against New York and a favorite schedule the rest of the year which makes every game important for the Jets as they will be looking to secure a Wild Card play off spot. They have a lot of teams to contend with and not much room for error.
Granted the Broncos are not going to lay down but again, this is not an easy spot for Denver. It is just 1-3 at home with the only win coming against the Bengals despite getting outgained. The Jets are 23-8 ATS in their last 31 games coming off a divisional home loss and 6-1 ATS in their last seven gamers as a road favorite between 3.5 and 10 points. Meanwhile Denver is just 5-14 ATS in its last 19 games following a game played on the road and 1-8-1 ATS in its last 10 games following an ATS win. 10* (307) New York Jets
|11-14-11||Minnesota Vikings +14 v. Green Bay Packers||Top||7-45||Loss||-115||11 h 57 m||Show|
With the playoffs almost out of reach, Minnesota's season comes down to tonight. A win here would make the Vikings season as it would not only earn a season series split, but put an end to the defending Super Bowl Champions undefeated season. And it certainly is not out of the question. The Vikings played their best game of the season against Green Bay at the Metrodome in the first meeting. They are coming off a victory over Carolina and a bye week so the spot does in fact set up well.
Everyone is high on the Packers and for obvious reasons. The went on a huge run at the end of last season to claim the Super Bowl and are off to an 8-0 start this season. They are outscoring opponents by 12 ppg which is a big differential in this league but they have not been as dominating as you might think as they are outgaining foes by 16.8 ypg. That yardage differential is only 12th in the NFL and is actually fourth worst of all teams with a positive variance.
Part of the reason for this is the Packers defense which is not very good. Sure, a lot of yards against them do come in garbage time but the fact of the matter is that it is not a lock down defense. Green Bay is ranked 31st in passing defense, allowing 299.6 ypg and Vikings rookie quarterback Christian Ponder has injected some life into the offense with his third-down passing success, widening rushing lanes for Adrian Peterson in the process. Peterson is still one of the best running backs in the NFL.
Defensively is where Minnesota will be challenged as they allowed 421 total yards in the first meeting but 79 of those came on one play. The Vikings sacked Rodgers four times and forced the Packers into three straight three-and-outs in the second half because of the pressure. Getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers again will be important and the return of cornerback Antoine Winfield is huge for the Vikings as they will be using blitz packages utilizing him which has had a lot of success in the past.
The public is riding the Packers yet again here but the line has actually come down so the reverse line movement is in our favor. Green Bay is just 7-16-2 ATS in its last 25 games as a double-digit favorite and the Vikings fall into a great contrarian situation. Play against home teams after covering the spread in five or six out of their last seven games, in weeks 10 through 13. This situation is 31-9 ATS (77.5 percent) over the last five seasons. The underdog has covered 18 of the last 25 meetings in this series. 10* (245) Minnesota Vikings