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NFL: Afternoon Tip Sheet

NFL: Afternoon Tip Sheet

Afternoon Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Falcons at Buccaneers**

-Caesars Palace installed Tampa Bay as a seven-point home ‘chalk’ over Atlanta, with the total set at 37½. Kickoff for this NFC South matchup is slated for 4:05 p.m. ET.
-Atlanta (1-0 straight up and against the spread) knocked off Detroit last weekend as a 3 ½-point home underdog, 34-21. The combined 55 points eclipsed the 41-point closing total.

-The Falcons stormed out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead, and finished the game by outrushing the Lions, 318-62. Running back Michael Turner had 22 carries for 220 yards and two touchdowns, while rookie quarterback Matt Ryan was 9-of-13 passing for 161 yards with a score. In fact, his first NFL pass resulted in a 62-yard touchdown strike to wideout Michael Jenkins.

-Tampa Bay (0-1 SU and ATS) fell to NFC South rival New Orleans to open the season as a three-point road ‘chalk,’ 24-20. The combined 44 points slithered ‘over’ the 43-point closing total.

-There appears to be a rift between head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Jeff Garcia, and the Bucs will give the starting nod to backup Brian Griese. Garcia was 24-of-41 passing for 221 yards with a touchdown and an interception versus the Saints. Running back Earnest Graham paced the ground game with 91 yards on 10 carries.

-Tampa Bay swept Atlanta last season SU and ATS, with the ‘over’ cashing each time. The Bucs prevailed as a three-point road favorite, 31-7, with the total set at 35 ½ and as a 13-point home ‘chalk,’ 37-3, with a total listed at 38.

-Atlanta center Alex Stepanovich (back) is ‘questionable’ against the Buccaneers.

-Tampa Bay quarterback Jeff Garcia (ankle) is ‘doubtful’ versus the Falcons, while wide receiver Marurice Stovall (shoulder) and linebacker Derrick Brooks (hamstring) are ‘questionable.’

**49ers at Seahawks**

-Caesars Palace lists Seattle as a 6½-point home favorite over San Francisco, with the total set at 38 ½. This NFC West contest is scheduled to start at 4:05 p.m. ET.

-San Francisco (0-1 SU and ATS) was upended by Arizona last weekend as a 2 ½-point home underdog, 23-13. The combined 36 points failed to eclipse the 42-point closing total.

-Quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan was 14-of-20 passing for 195 yards with an interception. Running back Frank Gore stepped up with 14 carries for 96 yards and a touchdown, and caught four passes for 55 yards.

-Seattle (0-1 SU and ATS) is also searching for its first victory after getting trounced by Buffalo as a 1 ½-point road favorite, 34-10. The combined 44 points went ‘over’ the 38-point closing total.

-Signal caller Matt Hasselbeck was 17-of-41 passing for 190 yards with a touchdown and an interception, while his favorite receiver was Nate Burleson who caught five passes for 60 yards and a score. The Seahawks managed just 85 yards on the ground, led by Julius Jones who had 13 carries for 45 yards.

-Seattle swept San Francisco last season SU and ATS, with the ‘under’ cashing each time. The Seahawks triumphed as a two-point road favorite, 23-3, and as a 9½-point home ‘chalk,’ 24-0. The respective totals of 41 and 37 points were never seriously threatened.

-San Francisco center Eric Heitmann (shoulder) is ‘probable’ against the Seahawks, while cornerback Donald Strickland (knee) is ‘questionable.’

-Seattle linebacker Lofa Tatupu (thumb), cornerback Jordan Babineaux (suspension) and defensive tackle Rocky Bernard (suspension) are ‘probable’ versus the 49ers, while right tackle Sean Locklear (knee) is ‘doubtful.’ Running back Maurice Morris (knee) and wide receiver Deion Branch (knee) are expected to miss this matchup.

**Dolphins at Cardinals**

-Caesars Palace opened Arizona as a 6½-point home ‘chalk’ over Miami, with the total listed at 39 ½. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET.

-Miami (0-1 SU and ATS) hopes to bounce back from its setback to the New York Jets last weekend as a three-point home underdog, 20-14. The combined 34 points went ‘under’ the 37-point closing total.

-Signal caller Chad Pennington completed 26-of-43 passes for 251 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, while his favorite target was tight end Anthony Fasano who caught eight passes for 84 yards and a score. The Dolphins managed just 49 yards on the ground, led by Ricky Williams’ 24 yards on 10 carries.

-Arizona defeated San Francisco in Week 1 as a 2½-point road ‘chalk,’ 23-13. The combined 36 points failed to eclipse the 42-point closing total.

-Veteran quarterback Kurt Warner was 19-of-30 passing for 197 yards with a touchdown, while running back Edgerrin James had 26 carries for 100 yards. Wideout Anquan Boldin enjoyed a solid effort with eight catches for 82 yards.

-The Cardinals beat the Dolphins the last encounter back in 2004 as a three-point road underdog, 24-23. The combined 47 points went ‘over’ the 34 ½-point closing total.

-Miami cornerback Mike Lehan (ankle) is ‘probable’ versus the Cardinals.

-Arizona defensive tackle Alan Branch (ankle) is ‘probable’ against the Dolphins, while offensive tackle Gabriel Watson (knee) is ‘questionable’ and tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring) is ‘doubtful.

**Patriots at Jets**

-Caesars Palace installed New York as a one-point home favorite over New England, with the total listed at 37. This AFC East contest is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. ET.

-New England (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) beat Kansas City last weekend as a 16-point home ‘chalk,’ 17-10. The combined 27 points never seriously threatened the 43½-point closing total.

-The Patriots got the victory, but it was very costly after quarterback Tom Brady went down with a season-ending knee injury. Backup Matt Cassel finished the contest by completing 13-of-18 passes for 152 yards and a touchdown. Wideout Randy Moss caught six passes for 116 yards and a score, while running back Sammy Morris had 10 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown.

-New York (1-0 SU and ATS) held off Miami last weekend as a three-point road favorite, 20-14. The combined 34 points failed to eclipse the 37-point closing total.

-Brett Favre enjoyed a successful debut with the Jets by completing 15-of-22 passes for 194 yards with two touchdowns. Seven different receivers caught passes, led by Jerricho Cotchery’s three catches for 80 yards and a score. Running back Thomas Jones had 22 carries for 101 yards with a touchdown.

-New England swept the Jets last year SU, but the teams split ATS. The Patriots prevailed as a 6 ½-point road favorite, 38-14, while the combined 52 points went ‘over’ the 41-point closing total. New England also beat New York as a 20 ½-point home ‘chalk,’ 20-10, while the combined 30 points went ‘under’ the 41-point closing total.

-New England wide receiver Randy Moss (back), running back Kevin Faulk (suspension), center Dan Connolly (knee) and defensive lineman LeKevin Smith (knee) are ‘probable’ against the Jets. Wide receiver Jabar Gaffney (knee), wide receiver Sam Aiken (knee) and tight end Benjamin Watson (knee) are ‘questionable.’

-New York defensive end Shaun Ellis (hand) and cornerback Justin Miller (toe) are ‘questionable’ versus the Patriots, while kicker Mike Nugent (leg) is ‘doubtful.’

**Chargers at Broncos**

-Caesars Palace list San Diego as a one-point road ‘chalk’ over Denver, with the total set at 46. This AFC West contest is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. ET.

-San Diego (0-1 SU and ATS) was upset by Carolina last weekend on a last-second play as a nine-point home favorite, 26-24. The combined 50 points went ‘over’ the 41-point closing total. The Panthers scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass as time expired to pull the upset.

-The Chargers’ Philip Rivers was 17-of-27 passing for 217 yards with three touchdowns, hitting favorite target Antonio Gates four times for 61 yards with a score. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson had 21 carries for 97 yards in the setback.

-Denver ran over Oakland Monday as a three-point road ‘chalk,’ 41-14. The combined 55 points went ‘over’ the 40½-point closing total.

-Signal caller Jay Cutler was 16-of-24 passing for 300 yards with two touchdowns, while wideout Eddie Royal accounted for nine receptions for 146 yards and a score. The ground game racked up 141 yards on 34 carries, led by Andre Hall’s 10 carries for 61 yards.

-San Diego has won the last four meetings with Denver SU and ATS, while the ‘over’ has gone 3-1. The Chargers triumphed last season as a one-point road favorite, 41-3, while the combined 44 points toppled the 42 1/2-point closing total. San Diego also won as a nine-point home ‘chalk,’ 23-3, while the combined 26 points never seriously threatened the 47-point closing total.

-San Diego running back LaDainian Tomlinson (toe) and cornerback Antonio Cromartie (hip) are ‘probable’ versus the Broncos, while offensive tackle Marcus McNeill (neck) is ‘doubtful.’

-Denver wide receiver Brandon Marshall (suspension) is ‘probable’ against the Chargers, while center Tom Nalen (knee) is ‘doubtful.’

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Re: NFL: Afternoon Tip Sheet

Steelers-Browns Preview
By Josh Jacobs

We talk about public perception and the pit falls that come with following the betting public. However, on Sunday night the sturdy Steelers will prepare to throw their weight around against the Browns. Cleveland was hammered out by Dallas last week (28-10), showing that last season’s offensive success will be a difficult mark to surpass in 2008.

Most books have installed the Browns as six-point home underdogs, with a total resting at 44 ½.

The Steelers impressed in Week 1, moving the ball with freedom against the Texans. Adding confusion to the game plan was Pitt’s running back Willie Parker who ripped off 138 yards with three big scores. The 6½-point spread was an easy cover for the Steelers, as was the ‘over’ at 43½.

Cleveland had major problems trying to hold back the offensive flood that the Cowboys created. Dallas’ signal caller Tony Romo ripped through the Brownies’ secondary, lighting up the stat sheet with 320 passing yards, while finding the end zone once.

Getting back to the game at hand, Cleveland can expect a more ground oriented attack coming its way. Pittsburgh’s RB Parker has had some big games versus this week’s opponent, including a career-high 223 yard outing in a 27-7 win over the Browns in December of 2007. In six career outings versus Cleveland, Parker has amassed 657 rushing yards (5.3 yards per carry) with three TDs (including receiving score).

Despite a slouching 2-6-1 against the spread record in their last nine Week 2 games, the Steelers have been a dominant force for the Browns to contend with. Since Cleveland became part of the NFL again in 1999, Pittsburgh has taken 15 of 18 games. In their last 10 head-to-head contests, the Steelers have emerged on top with a 9-1 SU and 7-2-1 ATS performance.

With the focus top heavy on the visiting team, what can possible backers bank on for a Cleveland upset, or at the very least an ATS win?

For starters, the Browns’ QB Derek Anderson is going to have to improve on his career QB rating of 76.4 versus the Steelers. In three games, Anderson has gone past the goal line with five passing TDs. Cleveland’s field general must rely on RB Jamal Lewis to take the pressure off the air attack. Lewis’ last game against Pitt was a bit disappointing with the first round pick in 2000 being held to just 35 yards on 16 carries.

So, with a running game expected to slow the pace of this contest down are we looking at solid ‘under’ play?

With the total sitting at 44½ points on most boards (originally opened at 46), ‘under’ players should be well aware of the current trends. For one, the ‘over’ has been blazing with a 7-2-1 record. However, the ‘over’ cashing in can be attributed to an average total set at 37.9 points in those last 10. Six of those contests have seen the total no higher then 36 ½ points.

The ‘under’ is 21-9-2 in the Browns’ last 32 games following a SU loss.

And if most weather forecasts are anywhere near credible, then the Cleveland, Ohio area is expected to see thunderstorms, with a rain chance now at 60-percent (a good reason for lowering the opening 46 1/2-point total).

The Browns enter Sunday night with an 0-5 ATS record in their last five home games versus the Steelers, while the favorite is 6-1-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings. The road team has also gone an impressive 7-3-1 ATS in the last 11 contests, but Pittsburgh’s overall dominance has padded these ATS trends.

Cleveland may be without one its wide receiver threats as Donte’ Stallworth (quad) has been labeled ‘questionable’.

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Re: NFL: Afternoon Tip Sheet


49ers vs. Seahawks

The 49ers and O'Sullivan didn't look terrible in the first game against the Cardinals, they still lost, but not abysmally. Having said that, the Seahawks did lose terribly in their first game and did not look like NFC North Champs. This is a division game. The 49ers have played the Seahawks very tough of late and continue to get up for them. After all, both these teams are 0-1, the public is split evenly in this game and the line opened up at -9 and has actually come down to -7. Now, ahving said this, the Seahawks are actually quite dominant in covering ballgames at home. I understand this team has no running game right now, but they are a proud team and I can see them showing at home and possibly winning big in the 49ers first road game here, the Hawks rememgber are 4-0 ATS after a straight up loss under Holmgren and 6-0 ATS at home of late dating back to last year. Remember though Burleson is out, Branch is likely out and Seattle has several wide reciever issues - not to mention they have no running game now - you might want to take a look at the under.

Falcons vs. Bucs

MY Falcons romped the cocky Lions in the first game of the season. Heck, we can finish the rest of the season 8-7 and still make the playoffs coming out of the NFC South - lol. No one gave the Falcons a chance and I said that they would win at least 6 games this year and will have some great home covers, and that is what they are looking to do. Check out my NFC Preview from earlier this year and I talk about that. But, this is a road game. The Bucs are ticked. They lost a division game on the road at New Orleans that was a see-saw battle. The Bucs and little Chucky Gruden are furious. I wouldn't want to go agaisnt a Bucs team that is ticked, but the Falcons getting 9.5 points, now -7 in most books is appealing. Note, the public is biting and taking the Falcons to a tune of 60%. Hate to break the news to you, but I can see the Bucs ripping my Falcons a new one here and my baby birds having a let down.

Miami vs. Arizona

Here is a barn burner. Give Pennington a lot of credit last game for playing well. But, he just doesn't know how to close games. Heck, the Dolphins were closer to doing something last game that they nearly didn't do all of last year - win a ballgame. The Cards looked solid on the road against San Francisco and over 62% are backing them here. Having said that, Miami is now a well disciplined team and I can see them hanging relatively close here, remember, take the Cards on days such as them being a dog, but when they are expected to take the torch of being a favorite, many a time, they will let you down.

Patriots vs. Jets

This might be the most expected game tomorrow. After all, does the Patriots winning streak during the regular season end and is there a passing of the torch in the division that these 2 teams compete for? It's just ironic that Brady goes down when Favre enters the picture. The line actually opened up as the Jets favored by -3 and has actually gone down to -1.5 as 55% of the public are still backing Coach B and the Jets over Favre and his Magic. I ask you the question, what makes you want to go against Coach B, a sound running game and solid recievers - or makes you go against the better quarterback in Favre, home field advantage and massive amounts of revenge for the Jets agaist the Patriots for years of abuse in the home opener of the Jets. No thanks, no thanks, no thanks - there are better games to pick from than this crap shoot. Why do people assume they have to pick the toughest games to bet. If you want to make money, pick ballgames that no one really gives a **** about, such as my Tulane over East Carolina, Western Kentucky over Alabama and Middle Tennessee State over Kentucky picks yesterday. Of course, if you are into betting games that are on TV, that is another story. Dig your own grave.

Chargers vs. Broncos

I understand that the Chargers are coming off a home loss to the Panthers and they will be fired up, have LT, Chambers and Rivers. But, one key element is a factor that is poisoning all of that. Their coach in Norv Turner is terrible. This team made a HORRENDOUS mistake by firing Marty. They wanted change. Well, they got it. Here you go, congrats Chargers and their ownership. Meet Norv Turner. A Coach who is no better than .500 career wise. The Broncos on the other hand looked to be coming around putting up 40 points on the road at Oakland showing the promise that was expected of them the last 2 years. I lean on the Broncos here, behind their crowd and having revenge from last year in their season opener.

Pittsburgh vs. Browns

It's always tough to play in the dog pound and note that Cleveland played Pitt very tough last year in the second game of last year as they took Pitt to the limit. After all, Cleveland has always felt like a step-child to Pitt and this Browns team did win 10 games last year. Of course, they lost the first game of the year to Dallas and have a much tougher schedule to deal with. Nearly 70% favor Pitt on the road here, but I can easily see Cleveland winning this game or losing this game by a field goal. Pitt has a stifling defense. Big Ben is listed as questionable, this Pitt team looked great against the Texans having their will from all facets of the game and the Browns looked like they couldn't get anything going against the Cowboys with spots of glimmers. I can see this game going either way frankly.

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Re: NFL: Afternoon Tip Sheet

Steelers at Browns

Steelers at Browns (+6, 44.5)

So this is the team everybody wanted to watch.


The Cleveland Browns, who gave up 487 total yards, 30 first downs and drives of 80, 69, 69, 86, 76 and 66 yards to Dallas last week, make their first of five national television appearances on Sunday night.

The Browns were embarrassed by the Cowboys in their season opener at home and now host the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have beat them nine straight times.

If they lose this one, everyone’s trendy pick to win the AFC Central will be 0-2 at home with games coming up against the Giants, Jags, Broncos, Colts and Eagles. Not to mention the four division road games.

Looks bad, especially for a team that was manhandled by Dallas and is banged up. The Browns lost safety Sean Jones to a knee injury earlier this week, and wide receiver Donte’ Stallworth will probably miss his second straight game with a strained quadriceps.

Jones, the top playmaker and most experienced back in a shaky secondary, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday and will miss at least one month. His injury comes one week after the Browns lost outside linebacker Antwan Peek for the season after he blew out his knee during practice.

Cleveland has had 18 players miss significant time since camp started. The other starting safety, Brodney Pool, has been out a month with a concussion.

The Browns’ depth was unimpressive in the 28-10 loss to Dallas. Tony Romo had enough time to text Jessica Simpson in the pocket while shredding the secondary.

It was a disappointing debut for a defensive unit that finished No. 30 overall last season and figured to be significantly better because of the offseason additions of nose guard Shaun Rogers and tackle Corey Williams, as well as a more seasoned group of linebackers in coach Romeo Crennel’s 3-4 system.

Browns general manger Phil Savage had beating the Steelers in mind when he set about constructing the Browns. Linebackers Kamerion Wimbley and Willie McGinest, and Roger this year, were the key defensive players acquired for the distinct purpose of beating up Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

“He gets away from a lot of people,” McGinest said. “That's something we know we have to stop. Our best defense is our offense, so we have to get off the field on third down. Part of that is being able to cover well and get pressure on Ben, keeping him in the pocket.”

The Browns have only sacked Roethlisberger seven times in the four losses the last two years. That’s not good enough when you consider Roethlisberger is the most-sacked quarterback in the NFL in 2006 and ‘07s. He was taken down 93 times in 30 games the past two seasons.

Roethlisberger takes risks, makes plays and is big and tough -- three pretty good reasons why he is 40-16 as a starter in the NFL. He came out of the Steelers’ 38-17 victory over Houston last week with a near-perfect passer rating and sore throwing shoulder.

He only missed one day of practice this week and would never miss this game. Roethlisberger grew up in Findlay, Ohio, and played at Miami (Ohio), and hasn’t forgotten that the Browns bypassed him in the 2004 draft. They chose tight end Kellen Winslow at No. 6, and the Steelers took Roethlisberger five picks later. He is 7-0 against the Browns.

He laughs off the offseason concern about the offensive line, which lost free agent guard Alan Faneca to the Jets.

“We all love it when people were talking bad about our offensive linemen because that just fuels their fire,” Roethlisberger said. “I was hoping people would say that because I know how talented and athletic and determined they were. They've done a heckuva job thus far.”

He knows the Steelers are loaded, with running back Willie Parker scoring three touchdowns last week and LaMarr Woodley showing he already is Pittsburgh’s next great linebacker.

Looks it might be a blowout. Pass me a tri-tip sandwich and know that I have the Steelers and the over. (Record so far this season: 1-1).

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