NFL Opening line report Week 4
NFL Opening line report Week 4
Opening line report Week 4
By STEPHEN NOVER
LAS VEGAS – Herm Edwards’ Kansas City Chiefs have lost 12 games in a row.
The scary thing is the Chiefs aren’t even the worst pro team in Missouri right now. That dubious distinction belongs to the St. Louis Rams.
St. Louis ranks last in defense and second-to-last in offense. The Rams have been outscored, 116-29, in going 0-3. They are losing by an average of 29 points.
So it shouldn’t be a big surprise that both Kansas City and St. Louis are heavy home underdogs in Week 4 despite meeting opponents that didn’t make the playoffs last season. Denver is -9 or 9½ against the Chiefs. The Broncos are traveling following two exciting narrow victories versus San Diego and New Orleans. They still could be celebrating.
So this could be a flat spot for the Broncos. Still, Las Vegas oddsmaker Ken White believes the line probably is going to hit 10 soon.
“There won’t be one general public ticket on Kansas City,” said White, the chief operating officer for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, the company that supplies the betting line to many of Nevada’s hotels. “It will all be Denver and Denver parlay money.”
The Chiefs have been outscored 78-32 in losing to New England (which lost Tom Brady early in the contest), Oakland and Atlanta. They’ve already been through three quarterbacks with Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard getting hurt.
Huard is healthy now. Edwards has to decide if he’ll go to the veteran or stick with inexperienced third-stringer Tyler Thigpen. The Chiefs’ best option might be to pull 73-year-old Lenny Dawson out of their broadcast booth and suit him up.
Huard is worth one or two points more on the betting line than Thigpen, according to White.
“There’s a difference between the two quarterbacks,” White said. “But the team is so bad that overall it might not make a difference. The team has become so demoralized.”
Wouldn’t any team be demoralized with Edwards as their coach?
It could be time for a publicity-seeking sportsbook to hang a line on the Chiefs going 0-16 on the season. The way things currently look, Kansas City might only be favored once the rest of the way. That might come during the second-to-last week when it hosts Miami.
The Chiefs travel to Carolina next week. After a Week 6 open date, they host Tennessee, play at the Jets, host Tampa Bay, travel to San Diego, host New Orleans and Buffalo followed by road games at Oakland and Denver before finishing by hosting the Chargers, Dolphins and then traveling to Cincinnati.
St. Louis has a much easier second-half schedule. The problem is the Rams, particularly coach Scott Linehan, may not survive this month.
The Rams are giving up an NFL-worst 456 yards and 38.7 points per game. Their offense no longer seems capable of keeping them in games. Quarterback Marc Bulger still looks shell-shocked. He has yet to throw for 200 yards.
Once again, too, there are offensive line injuries. Torry Holt no longer is an elite receiver and franchise back Steven Jackson is averaging 3.1 yards per carry and looking for his first touchdown.
Buffalo is nine or 9½-point road favorites against St. Louis. The Bills were this big of favorites last week at home against Oakland and had to come from behind to win by one point. The last time Buffalo laid these many points was 2004.
“They’re really in rough shape,” White said of the Rams. “But the Bills are in new territory. They’re coming off an emotional come from behind victory.”
White’s number on the game was Buffalo -8½. That was higher than any of the five numbers LVSC’s other NFL oddsmakers made on the matchup. Three of White’s linesmakers recommended the Bills being just seven-point favorites.
It’s possible to feel more sympathy toward Linehan than the arch-conservative Edwards and his brand of Single-Wing offensive football when comparing the two Missouri teams.
The Rams are a mess in large part because of front office and player personnel incompetence. The Chiefs, on the other, have some talent. Edwards is just caught in a time warp.
Professional bettors often are attracted to large NFL ‘dogs, especially when they’re playing at home. Miami just upset New England this past Sunday as a 12½-point home ‘dog.
But in the case of the Chiefs and Rams, they’re probably still going to get worse before they get better.
That’s hard to imagine. But it will prove true if they don’t cover the spread in this week’s matchup.
Re: NFL Opening line report Week 4
Early Week Line Movements
by Robert Ferringo
Last year we tracked the opening steam movements of lines in both college football and the NFL. The idea was to see if the "sharp" money was really that, or if the idea of trailing these severe early line movements was merely a myth. Well, I'm glad to say that we are back at it this season and ready to build on last year's research.
Here is the basic methodology. If a line starts as Penn State (-1) and moves to Penn State (-4) then we're going to track Penn State as our side, because the Lions are getting all of the money and driving the spread up. If the line starts as Penn State (-4) and then moves to Penn State (-2) we're going to track the opponent because they are taking the heavy action and it's moving the line lower.
Last week the sharp action was exactly that, posting a tidy 5-4 record and its second-straight weekend of profit. That runs the Early Line Movements to a stellar 18-11 ATS over three weeks of tracking in both college and the pros. However, that also nearly levels the two-year mark for these plays at 35-35 so we're kind of in limbo as to whether we should be playing or fading these picks. Of course, that's why we keep track!
Here are our Week 3 games:
Fresno State at UCLA (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27)
Open: Fresno State -4.0
Current: Fresno State -7.0
Tracking: Fresno State
Apparently all the warm and fuzzies from UCLA's season-opening win over Tennessee are gone. The Bruins have been outscored, 90-10, in their last two games and are looking like the sloppy mess that we expected to see this year. Fresno State has absolutely zero sympathy. And you know that even though the Bulldogs are a Top 25 team and laying a touchdown, Pat Hill will have his boys feeling "disrespected" and like the 'underdog' in this West Coast matchup.
San Jose State at Hawaii (11:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27)
Current: Hawaii -3.0
This line is likely a reaction to news that Hawaii quarterback Tyler Graunke did not break his hand against Oregon State, as initially feared, and that he should be ready for this weekend's WAC opener. San Jose State had Stanford down, 10-0, last Saturday before giving up 23 unanswered points and their defensive issues will be tested on the Island. But a much better Hawaii team than this barely beat a softer San Jose State team on the mainland last year, as the Warriors failed to cover a 17-point line in a 42-35 overtime win.
New Mexico at New Mexico State (8 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27)
Open: New Mexico -7.0
Current: New Mexico -3.0
Tracking: New Mexico State
New Mexico quarterback Donovan Porterie tore his ACL and MCL in his right knee and is out for the year. That leaves freshman Brad Gruner to lead the Lobos into a tricky rivalry game against the Aggies. New Mexico has won five straight and seven of eight in this series, so beware Rocky Long. But NMSU actually outgained a much stronger New Mexico team last year and now have the benefit of the home field.
South Florida at N.C. State (7:30, Saturday, Sept. 27)
Open: South Florida -10.0
Current: South Florida -8.0
Tracking: N.C. State
South Florida was, again, less than impressive last week against Florida International, while the Wolfpack were beating a Top 15 team in East Carolina. Clearly the Sharps are expecting a carryover effect for N.C. State, even if they are banged up on both sides of the ball. The Bulls have covered their last three games against ACC opponents but they are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games. N.C. State has been a solid home dog, covering six of seven at home against a team with a winning record and seven of 10 at home overall.
Army at Texas A&M (12:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 27)
Open: Texas A&M -33.0
Current: Texas A&M -27.0
I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this game's shift isn't due to a ton of Army money. Instead, the fact that Aggies quarterback Stephen McGee is out with a shoulder injury and backup Jerrod Johnson sprained his shoulder as well is the likely culprit. Really not sure if it will matter, though. Army coach Stan Brock basically called his team a bunch of pansies two weeks ago and they responded with a 22-3 loss to Akron. This team is pretty bad, and four touchdowns still may not be enough.
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Houston at Jacksonville (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 28)
Open: Jacksonville -8.5
Current: Jacksonville -7.5
The Texans are playing their third straight road game and their third game against the type of mauling, physical defense that they just aren't equipped to handle. However, it looks like the Sharps think this is too many points for a shaky Jaguars team to be laying in an obvious letdown situation. Jacksonville is just 3-5 ATS following Indy week and they are 0-2 ATS after beating the Colts. However, the Texans may be in the midst of a quarterback change. And I assure you that Sage Rosenfels is not as good as Matt Schaub.
San Francisco at New Orleans (1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 28)
Open: New Orleans -8.0
Current: New Orleans -6.0
Tracking: San Francisco
This is a heavy reverse line movement, as nearly 70 percent of the early action is on the Saints. Yet, that hasn't stopped this number from steaming through several key numbers. Part of the movement can be explained by New Orleans' consecutive losses and shoddy defense. But they also just found out that Jeremy Shockey will be out several weeks. Shockey may be the most overrated player in the NFL, but since New Orleans is already without prime target Marques Colston the loss of their starting tight end is a blow.
Washington at Dallas (4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 21)
Open: Dallas -10.0
Current: Dallas -12.0
Not only did this line bump after Dallas whipped up on Green Bay in Lambeau, but it also inched upwards because Jason Taylor is not going to be suiting up for Washington. Washington has covered five of six in this rivalry series, and this line shift is actually somewhat of a reverse line movement, as nearly 62 percent of the early action is on the Redskins. The Cowboys are the clear-cut No. 1 team in the league and should get used to being shackled with monster spreads this season.
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