Preseason Week 2 Tip Sheet

Preseason Week 2 Tip Sheet

Preseason Week 2 Tip Sheet
By Josh Jacobs

So we turn the page in the 2008 NFL preseason book to our next chapter. After all 32 teams have completed the first week of “practice” play, we as gamblers and fans can now expect the starting core to receive increased amount of playing time. While the unpredictable nature of trying to find a full proof handicapping plan in preseason play hasn’t changed, the opportunity to bank on certain trends and tendencies can still be fruitful.

Here’s what Thursday and Friday and bring to the table in the world of pigskins and pads.

Thursday

Pittsburgh at Buffalo – 7:30 p.m. EDT (at the Rogers Centre in Toronto)


What seems like a deal advantageous to the city of Toronto, the Bills will get a taste of playing home games outside of the states (a deal which includes playing one December game in the Rogers Centre for the next five years). The Bills upper brass have also agreed to play Miami on Dec. 7 in the Rogers Centre just north of the boarder so should we be looking for a permanent move into Canadian territory later down the road? That’s a story for another time.

Concerning Thursday’s contest, Pittsburgh has been installed as a slight one-point visiting underdog. Before we touch upon the state of the roster here are some numbers to note that could sway your position before laying down that hard earned cash.

The Steelers are coming off 16-10 win over the Eagles as two-point home dogs and the trend that applies here is the club’s 3-10 against the spread record off a straight up ‘dog win. Since the 1990 preseason, Pitt hasn’t been the money truck backers had hoped for, going 17-19-1 ATS when books have priced them as the underdog. Again, keep your eye on the revolving number of minus-one for Buffalo as the line has the ability to move in the other direction.

The Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin has admitted to various news outlets that the first units will receive more playing time then the one series action that the offense and defense were a part of. Zero turnovers and no pre-snap penalties were committed in the win over Philadelphia, and the organization is banking that the same will hold true on Thursday.

Pittsburgh backup quarterback Byron Leftwich, who was acquired on Sunday to replace injured signal caller, Charlie Batch, will also receive more playing time. In five seasons with Jacksonville and Atlanta, Leftwich recorded 9,321 passing yards with 52 scores and 38 interceptions.

One of the biggest preseason questions remains; who will enter Week 1 as the starting center? Free agent acquisition Justin Hartwig will get the chance to prove his worth in Toronto as sources have indicated his starting role over last week’s center Sean Mahan.

Buffalo enters a new week of play with a horrid 11-20-1 ATS record as a preseason favorite in the last 32 games. However, a 6-0 ATS recent trend in the last six preseason Game 1’s was a hot commodity to jump on. Unfortunately Game 2’s haven’t been as backer friendly, with the Bills going 9-15 ATS since 1980.

In the past 10 meetings together, Buffalo has disappointed with a 2-8 SU and 0-10 ATS record versus the Steelers.

While the betting trends from a public perspective have been on Pittsburgh plus the one to two points, 62-percent of gamblers believe that the installed 33-point total will fly ‘over’.

A good argument can be made about the ‘over’ play as the Bills were busy bees at inserting up to 23 different defensive players in the 17-14 loss at Washington last week. But what could end up stinging the team more then the plug and play tactics on defense is a partially torn rotator cuff to offensive lineman Matt Murphy. Factor in the holdout of tackle Jason Peters (contract problems) and Buffalo finds itself in a precarious position – preseason or not.

Bills coach Dick Jauron is a career 10-18 SU and 12-15-1 ATS in preseason games.

Friday

Oakland at Tennessee – 8:00 p.m. EDT


Before the weekend arrives an end of the week tussle between the Raiders and Titans will commence. Bodog.com has listed Tennessee as a five-point home favorite with a total hovering around the 35-point mark.

A total play could be of interest in this contest as a recent 7-4 trend in the last 11 contests boasting a total of 35-points has gone ‘over’. The Titans have continued this trend with the ‘over’ hitting a 5-1 mark in the last six Game 2’s played during the preseason.

Then there’s Tennessee’s record of 2-5 SU and ATS in its last seven home games. A win against St. Louis last week (34-13) broke the 1-5 SU and ATS streak thanks in large part to running backs Quinton Ganther and Chris Johnson who combined for 192 rushing yards with three TDs on 14 attempts.

The biggest concern on Tennessee's sideline concerns the wide reciever core. This was a group that aided - more like abated - starting QB Vince Young for nine passing TDs last season and wideouts Biren Ealy and Paul Williams have already flashed signs of trouble during the first preseason contest (on top of injuries to Roydell Williams - who's listed as probable to play on Friday). 

Oakland is coming off an 18-6 win over its West Coast rival, San Francisco and a 3-8 ATS record when coming off a double-digit SU victory serves as our team introduction for this matchup.

Roster wise, the Raiders’ No. 4 pick in the first round of the NFL draft may have rushed for 48 yards on 12 attempts against the 49ers but in Monday’s preseason workouts, three fumbles and one dropped ball resulting in an interception was a lackluster performance to the say the least. Sure these unofficial stats were part of contact, training exercises but with the emergence of RB Justin Fargas on the same roster, one could question which back looks the best at this point in time.

The latest injury report has listed kicker Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring), tight end Darrell Strong (shoulder) and cornerback John Bowie (knee) as unable to perform for the Friday night lights showdown.

Some more numbers to get going before game time include a strong 45-27-1 SU and not so tough 33-40-0 ATS record on Friday games since 1996 for home teams coming off a win.

As always, stay tuned for continuing coverage of weekend NFL action.

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: Preseason Week 2 Tip Sheet

NFL Week 2 preseason betting notes
By BEN BURNS

The dogs certainly roared in Week 1 of the NFL preseason, rolling to a 10-5-2 spread mark. Oddsmakers typically like it when the dogs bark loudly. There was not much in the way of strategy, which is the norm, with most offensive and defensive coordinators showing almost nothing. Evaluating young personnel is more important in the opening week.

Weeks 2 and 3 of the preseason, however, are when coaches begin to play starters more and map out game plans, before generally caring very little about Week 4. Two teams have already played two games, the Redskins and Colts. Washington is 2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS under new coach Jim Zorn, while the Colts are 0-2 SU/1-1 ATS under Tony Dungy.

For this week, keep an eye on the NY Jets offense. The Jets have been a good preseason team under Eric Mangini, now 4-1 SU/ATS the last five games. The offense is in the third year of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer's high-tech scheme that features an array of shifts and motions.

Word is that the team wants to throw deep more, which is why they were aggressive in pursuing QB Brett Favre, who will start his first game this weekend. Former QB Chad Pennington did not have good arm strength. Because of that, opposing defenses didn't have to fear the deep passes from Pennington and they could even cheat a bit on the perimeter stuff near the sideline. That allowed opposing defenses to stack eight defenders in the box to stuff RB Thomas Jones at or near the line of scrimmage and smother Leon Washington when the Jets tried to get him into space to make a big play with his elusiveness and speed.

The result was a 19th ranking in the NFL in rushing in 2007. Only five teams had an average of less than the Jets' 3.8-yards per carry, and there was far too much pressure on Pennington and Kellen Clemens. They hope that has all changed. Favre is a more of a mad bomber, a la Darryl Lamonica in the old AFL days. It is already evident in training camp this week as he airs it out.

Favre can stretch defense, which could translate into wider running lanes for Jets’ backs. Don’t forget the Jets have a new-look offensive line, with Alan Faneca and Damien Woody joining Nick Mangold, D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Brandon Moore. All of which bares watching the next two weeks. Note that the Jets are 4-2 over the total their last six preseason contests.

In Minnesota, the Vikings added a big name free agent in safety Madieu Williams to help with their weak secondary (last in the NFL in 2007). He is an excellent cover guy, but just suffered a neck injury and could miss up to six weeks. It's a setback for a pass defense that finished last and was counting on having a top-notch cover safety in Williams for all 16 games. Rookie safety Tyrell Johnson will be called on to fill in for him.

Defense is on the docket in Philadelphia, too, after adding CB Asante Samuel in free agency and Chris Clemons, the new pass-rusher. The mantra this preseason has been: “Strip the ball!” The Eagles were last in takeaways (19) in the entire NFL in 2007. Jim Johnson is one of the best defensive coordinators in the game, so with all the upgrades, it’s likely the Eagles will be improved in the turnover department, though they didn’t cause any in the preseason opener, a loss at Pittsburgh, mostly with backups.

Out West, the 49ers dead-last offense has a new makeover with offensive coordinator Mike Martz. However, it’s going to take time, as was evident in the preseason opener, an 18-6 loss at Oakland. Neither J.T. O'Sullivan, Alex Smith nor Shaun Hill distinguished himself. O'Sullivan and Hill each threw an interception, and O'Sullivan also lost a fumble. Newcomer O'Sullivan, looked like he was trying to make to do too much.

One final note is the unusual spacing between the Panthers' preseason games and then with their regular-season opener. Carolina is in the middle of a five-day break between the Indianapolis game and Thursday's second exhibition, at Philadelphia. Then the Panthers will wait nine days before an Aug. 23 game against Washington. Then it's another five days before the exhibition finale at Pittsburgh on Aug. 28. After that, it's 10 days before the regular season opens Sept. 7 at San Diego. Travel time and preparation can be important wagering angles, so keep an eye on how the Panthers are affected the next few weeks.

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