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Sunday Service Plays

Re: Sunday Service Plays

It’s a ‘Last Will & Testament’ Weekend Football Freebie from Sammy Jankus, The Reverse Barometer!

Yes, as ol’ Sammy prepares to go under the knife, I thought I’d give out my college and pro picks this weekend for free. Bear in mind that my practice of giving you the other side of what I think are the easiest games on the board has not been overly successful of late. Therefore, if I deal you a bunch of losers, you can say, “Hmmm, this guy IS having an unusally lucky season. Maybe I’ll just buy his plays next week and NOT play the reverse side.” Or if my flip-flop specials perform well against the spread, you might say, “Jeez, this guy really IS the Master of Disaster. I’ll buy his picks next week so I can make money from his misery.” See? It’s a real win-win situation!

SUNDAY NFL PLAYS
I like Chicago, New England and Buffalo as side plays.
In O/U action, I like Indianapolis-Houston UNDER, Chicago-Detroit UNDER, Buffalo-Arizona OVER and Cincinnati-Dallas OVER.

So your plays for Sunday are

1) 3* Indianapolis-Houston to go OVER the total of 47 points
2) 3* (416) DETROIT (+3)
3) 3* Chicago-Detroit to go OVER the total of 44.5 points
4) 3* (424) SAN FRANCISCO (+3)
5) 3* (426) ARIZONA (-1)
6) 3* Buffalo-Arizona to go UNDER the total of 44.5
7) 3* Cincinnati-Dallas to go UNDER the total of 44

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Jeff Scott Sports

5 UNIT PLAY (Interconference Game Of The Year)

New England -3 over SAN FRANCISCO:

The Pats are 14-3 ATS on the road off a SU loss, while Bill Bellichick is 13-0 ATS vs the NFC West and he is 11-2 ATS off a SU & ATS loss if facing a .500 or better opponent. The Niners are 1-10 ATS and a dog vs an AFC team when off a non-division game and they are 2-10 ATS after allowing 300 or more passing yards in their last game. I know it's a bit early in the NFL season for a game of the year, but I may not get a line that looks this good on this kind of play for the rest of the year. THe last time out for the Pats they were thoroughly embarassed by the Miami Dolphins and you can bet that Bill Bellichick rode their asses during the bye week and will have them ready to play today. Had brady not gone down then we would be looking at the Pats favored by at least 9 here. New England was ambushed by Miami's Wildcat offense last week and they will now be facing a Niners offense that is a bit more conventional. The Niners offense is 15th overall and 15th in scoring, but anyone can do that vs Arizona, Seattle, Detroit and the Saints. Today that offense will take on a Pats defense that has given up their fair share of yards, but they are ranked 8th in the league in points allowed (19.3 ppg). Matt Cassell has struggled this year, but look for him to have a good day vs the Niners 19th ranked passing defense. The Niners defense is also ranked 22nd overall and 21st in points allowed. New England needs this game in the worst way and they always play good off a loss and good off a bye week. Last week the Niners struggled offensively vs a por Saints defense, while the defense also struggled in the game and I don't see them having a strong game here vs an angry bunch of Pats. New England by at least 2 TD's here.


4 UNIT PLAY (Power Angle Play Of The Week)

DETROIT +3.5 over Chicago:

This one actually has 2 very good Angles to go along with some solid trends. 1st Angle:  Winless dogs, playing with rest, from game 4 on out are 21-3-1 ATS since 1990.  Angle 2: 0-3 (or worse) division dogs off a bye week are 11-1-1 ATS.  Detroit finally fired Matt Millen and I look for a spirited effort from the team today. The Bears played well over their heads last week vs a very good Philadelphia team and they may overlook the winless lions today. The Bears are 3-15 ATS away vs teams that allow 24 or more points and 1-8-1 ATS off a win vs a team off BB losses, while the Lions are 12-0 ATS as division home dogs vs an opponent that allowed 20 or more last week and 13-3 ATS after being outgained by 100+ yards in BB games, plus the dog is 7-1 ATS the last 8 meetings. The Lions will surprise today.

3 Team 6 Point Teaser Of The Week---Indinapolis +3, Tampa Bay +9.5 & Philadelphia PK


3 UNIT PLAYS

Arizona -1 over BUFFALO:

The Bills are 0-9 SU and 2-6-1 ATS before a BYE week, while the Cards are 10-3 ATS as non division home favs and 6-1 ATS vs the AFC. After their opening week thrashing of Seattle, The Bills have been living dangerously, as they needed a late TD to beat Jacksonville and then vs a pathetic Oakland team they needed a last second FG to beat them. Then last week the Bills beat a sorry St. louis team 31-14, but they were outgained by 103 yards in the contest. Last week arizona was embarrassed on the scoreboard, as they lost 56-35, but they still threw for 426 yards in the game and outgained the Jets by 95 yards. The Cards will bounce back today, while the Bills luck will finally run out. Zona by 7 here.

Tennessee -2 over BALTIMORE:

Tennessee is 11-2 ATS away after allowing 17 or less for 3+ games in a row and 12-3 ATS away off a home win of 10 or more, while the Ravens are 4-13 ATS vs teams that force 2.5 or more turnovers a game and 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games following a S.U. loss, plus teams are 6-20 ATS the last 26 games following Pittsburgh, with the Ravens going 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games after playing Pittsburgh. Joe Flacco still is not playing very well and today he will take on the 8th ranked passing defense, that has allowed just 203 ypg and 1 TD, while picking off 8 passes, plus the Titans are ranked tops in sacks. The Titans have not missed a beat since losing vince young and they should be able to come up with enough plays vs this tough defense to get a solid road win here. I don't see the Ravens getting to double digits in this one as the Tennessee defense will come up big and force Flacco into a ton of mistakes. Tennessee pulls away in the second half here.


2 UNIT PLAYS

Indianapolis/ Houston Over 48.5:

The Over is 13-1 when the Colts are away off an upset loss to a division rival and 7-0 when they failed to cover the spread in 2 of their last 3 games, while the Over is 10-0 when Houston faces a division rival and 10-3 vs teams that allow 61% or more pass completions. Thelast 6 in this series has all gone over the total, with an average of 55.2 ppg being scored.  Neither offense has gotten on track this year, but both defenses have been pretty bad and I see plenty of points in Houston today.

3 Team 6 Point Teaser---  Atlanta +9.5, Kansas City +15.5 & Tampa Bay/ Denver Over 40.5

I ALSO LIKE

Indianapolis -3 over HOUSTON


1 UNIT PLAY

Tampa Bay +3.5 over Denver:

The Broncos are 0-10 ATS after a game in which they gained 6+ yards per play and 6-18 ATS in their last 24 games as a fav, while the Bucs are 16-5 ATS vs teams that average 7.5+ yards per pass. The Denver defense is trully horrible and it is taking on a Tampa offense that has found some confidence. We also note in this one that teams have gone over the total in their first 4 games of the season are 1-14-2 ATS. The Broncos offense is one of the best but the Bucs will slow them down enough to come up with a big win here.

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

WILD BILL

Titans -2 1/2 (5 units)
Chiefs +9 1/2 (5 units)
Giants -7 (5 units)
Seattle-Giants Over 43 1/2 (5 units)
Patriots -3 (5 units)
Bengals-Cowboys Over 44 (5 units)
Steelers +3 1/2 (5 units)
Saints -3 (5 units)

MLB

Phillies -110 (5 units)
White Sox -135 (5 units)
Tampa-CWS Under 8 1/2 (5 units)
Angels +165 (5 units)

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Brian Sherwood

JACKSONVILLE –4 over Pittsburgh
Man, this one just sets up so beautifully for the home side. The Steelers sure have been living a charmed life thus far and that was never more evident then last Monday night when they pulled another rabbit out of their hat. The Steelers are down to their third or fourth string running back and that likely means they’ll have to rely on Roethisberger’s arm. Furthermore, they’re coming off that big win, on a Monday Night no less, and that was about as smash-mouth a game as there has been all year. Now, the Steelers run defense has some pretty sweet numbers but they have not played anyone that possesses a strong running game yet with the exception of Philly and Brian Westbrook but Westbrook had just five carries before he was injured in that game. Two of the Steelers three wins were unimpressive at best and now they’re asked to travel on a short week after a an emotional come-from-behind win and they’ll be playing a team that is getting more fine-tuned each week. The Jags two losses have come against the Titans and Bills, two of the three undefeated teams but more then that is that Jacksonville catches the Steelers at precisely the right time. Pittsburgh can barely field a team right now and they’re extremely vulnerable, more so then ever. Play: Jacksonville –4 (Risking 2.17 units to win 2).


MIAMI +6½ over San Diego
I’m a little gun shy to play the Dolphins straight up after choosing to play on the money line on two games last week that I would’ve otherwise won (Baltimore and Florida Atlantic). However, I do like the Fish straight up because these Chargers have showed us zilch so far and you can triple that after they went into that circus act in Oakland last week and got extremely lucky to emerge with a win. The Chargers two wins have come against the Jets and Raiders and they didn’t look good in either, despite putting up 48 against the Jets. LT looks like he’s almost finished, as years of abuse are beginning to take its toll. The Chargers defense is also a liability, as they have not shown the ability to stop anyone. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are coming off that impressive win over the Patriots followed by last week’s bye. That win gave them a big boost of confidence and slowly but surely, Bill Parcells imprint on this squad is beginning to show. He’s now had two weeks to prepare his team for a Chargers squad that’s traveling halfway across the country. Parcells vs Norv Turner is equivalent to Bill Gates vs Mike Tyson is a game of scrabble. Also worth noting is the incredible record against the spread of teams getting points at home after a bye week, which now stands at 38-8. Play: Miami +6½ (Risking 2.12 units to win 2).


HOUSTON +1.50 over Indianapolis
It’s always risky playing on teams that have yet to win but the Texans are not even close to being the league’s worst. They’re somewhere in the middle of the pack and a tough schedule to open the year hasn’t helped either, as they’ve played at Pittsburgh, at Jacksonville and at Tennessee. Now they’ll finally get a chance to play at home after Hurricane Ike forced the postponement of their home opener. What I do know is that the Colts defense can be pushed around worse then any team in the league and frankly, this team should be 0-3 and not 1-2. The Colts have been a perennial powerhouse for years and that fact has them favored here but this is a team in big trouble, as they can’t stop anyone and the Texans are very capable of moving the chains. The problems that plagued Indianapolis in the opening game loss at Chicago cannot be dismissed as simply the product of an off night. The Colts have been completely off all year, as they’ve been soundly beaten at the line of scrimmage and that’s not likely to change here. When the Colts were a powerhouse they had trouble at this venue and now they’re a whole lot worse. Keep the points. Play: Houston +1.50 (Risking 2 units).

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

RANDALL THE HANDLE'S NFL SELECTIONS

THE BEST

Buffalo @ Arizona
We must commend the Bills on their impressive 4-0 start.However, when they need consecutive 4th quarter comebacks, against tandem (Rams and Raiders) that have fired their respective coaches since, a peek under the hood is required. Buffalo has strengths but still lacks maturity and a long trip here to face an embarrassed Cardinals squad does not bode well in a game where we only need pick the winner.TAKING: Arizona -1.10 RISKING: 2.2 units to win 2



Tampa Bay @ Denver
Denver’s stock dropped after its stunning loss to the lowly Chiefs but that allows us to take advantage of a jaded marketplace. Give us the ascending Jay Cutler spotting a mere field goal over the unspectacular Brian Griese and you can count us in. While the Broncos had an uncharacteristic four turnovers last week, the Bucs lead the league with seven interceptions thrown. Note that Mike Shanahan has defeated Jon Gruden in eight of last nine encounters.TAKING: Denver -3 -1.17 RISKING: 2.34 units to win 2


Kansas City @ Carolina

Oddsmakers are regarding Kansas City’s stunning upset of the Broncos as a fluke and have instilled the Panthers as a big fave here. While one win does not suddenly have the Chiefs scaring anyone, they are certainly more worthy than this pointspread would indicate. The Panthers are notorious for failing as a heavy chalk. Carolina’s style is much like this visitor’s and that calls for a conservative affair, keeping this game well within range.
TAKING: Kansas City +9 ½ RISKING: 2.10 units to win 2

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Nostradamus

SD/Miami Under 44.5
NY Giants -7
Tenn/Balt Under 33.5
Green Bay -3.5
Arizona -1
Pitt/Jack Under 36.5

WNBA
San Antonio +4

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Jeff Benton

For Sunday we’ll lay the big chalk with the Cowboys at home against the Bengals.

I don’t really care if Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer goes today or not – obviously, Dallas would figure to have an easier time if Palmer sits in favor of inexperienced backup Ryan Fitzpatrick. But with or without Palmer, this shouldn’t be much of a contest against a Cowboys squad that you know is still seething from last week’s 26-24 home loss to the Redskins as a 10½-point favorite.

I look at that defeat as a big-time wake-up call for Romo and the ‘Boys, and they’re going to look to make a statement against the winless Bengals. Shouldn’t be too difficult to do that, as Cincinnati is averaging just 13 points and 232 total yards per game, scoring 12, 7 and 10 points in three of the losses. Defensively, the Bengals are giving up 22 points and 330 yards per game, but those seemingly impressive numbers are misleading because Cincy has faced three weak offenses (Cleveland, Tennessee and Baltimore). The one time the Bengals went up against a quality offense, the Giants put up 26 points and 406 total yards, with Eli Manning going 26-for-43 for 289 yards and a TD.

Granted, Cincinnati had a season-high 23 points and covered its only pointspread in that contest in New York. However, the Giants were in a big-time flat spot that day, coming off a blowout road win over the crappy Rams and having their bye week on deck. No chance the Bengals catch the Cowboys similarly napping, not after what happened last week.

Dallas has scored 28, 41, 27 and 24 points in its four games, and I honestly think they can name the score here. Put it this way: If Dallas can go to Cleveland and beat the Browns 28-10 – the same Browns that went to Cincinnati last week and won 20-12 – I don’t see how the Bengals compete in this one. Lay the big price as we’re looking at a 42-17 final.

5♦ DALLAS COWBOYS

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Scott Delaney

Chad Johnson’s big-ass mouth will once again get him and his team in trouble. He thinks he’ll be kissing the Cowboys Star, but when it’s all said and done, I really hope Terrell Owens has him kiss something else. Honestly, I think this Ocho Cinco pendejo is all about himself, while I can tolerate T.O. because I believe he truly cares about winning the game – not what he does personally. That all being said, bad spot for the Bengals to come to Big D, as the Cowboys are off that disappointing loss to Washington, and will be looking for a reason to run the score up on someone. Enter Johnson/Ocho Cinco, who provided bulletin board material for the Pokes earlier this week.

Like him or hate him, Tony Romo put up 300 yards and 3 touchdowns on an off day (against the ‘Skins), and since the Cowboys will be able to run all day against the Bungals, I expect Romo to infuse Owens in the system early and often for two reasons … one, because he’s the most dangerous receiver in the game, and two, to diffuse any bad feelings after last week's loss, after which Owens expressed some displeasure with the play calling. Guys, you can fully expect Romo to look like the same quarterback who threw all the Browns in Week 1.

It’ll be another 300-plus yard game, to go along with a touchdown or three, while running tank Marion Barber will just tenderize Cincinnati’s defensive line with his bruising style in the trenches. Trust me when I tell you this will be the most balanced offensive attack of the week, as we’re going against a Cincinnati defense that has allowed 164.2 yards per game on the ground. And yes, the team ranks fourth in the league in pass defense, but three of the first four opponents either run or don’t have a passing game. Just lay the chalk and enjoy the win, there’s not much more I can tell you.

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Matt Rivers

For Sunday take the Packers at Lambeau.

Yes I know all about the numerous Green Bay injuries which include Aaron Rodgers who is expected to be a gametime decision. Matt Mauck very well may get the start for Green Bay and Brian Brohm may be right there waiting in the wings. That obviously does not sound too inspiring as neither of those guys are close to Matt Ryan but the Falcons on the road have been a disaster twice already this season and the third time truly should not be a charm.

Atlanta is still one of the weaker teams in the NFL. They are 2-2 thanks to home victories against the dregs of the league in the Lions and Chiefs and lost both road games badly in combining for 18 points and no touchdowns in the losses in Carolina and Tampa Bay. Green Bay is a very physical team ala the Panthers and Bucs and will confuse the young Ryan and just pound him play after play after play.

Lambeau Field is still a tough play for visitors and with the way the Falcons have been performing (or not performing away from the cozy Georgia Dome) I am all about the home Pack, even as shorthanded as they are.

This game will be far from a thing of beauty but in the end I'll eat the cheese here!

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Tony Weston

Of course I nailed my Comp Play winner last night as USC came through rather easily in front of the home fans. It was an easy winner and I’m getting another easy winner today.

We’re switching gears and heading to the NFL as we’re taking the Colts over the Texans this afternoon.

While Indy has not been nearly as effective as most figured, the Texans are even worse so far this season. Houston is 0-3 SU and only 1-2 ATS this season and has scored more than 17 points only one time and that came in a three-point overtime loss at Jacksonville last week as the Texans lost 30-27.

Now Houston gets an Indy team that is coming off a week off and owns a 9-1 SU record against it, with the teams splitting the money the last 10 meetings.

The Colts come into this game 5-2 ATS their last seven games on the road, while the Texans are 2-5 ATS against division opponents and are 4-9 ATS overall against the AFC.

Don’t sleep on Indy as the team may still make a run to close out the year. That’ll start today with a dominating effort against the Texans. Take Indy on the road today.

3♦ COLTS

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Tom Stryker

Tennessee Titans vs. Baltimore Ravens    
Play:Tennessee Titans -1

Off a Monday night loss at Pittsburgh, the knee-jerk reaction would be to side with Baltimore and its tenacious defense especially with a 4-0 SU and ATS Tennessee team coming to town. I wouldn’t do that if I were you. Jeff Fisher’s stop unit has played extremely well this season (allow an avg of 11.5 ppg) and they have the talent needed to keep the Ravens off the scoreboard.

Even though these two clubs haven’t met since November of 2006, the road team in this series has been a dominant force posting a solid 31-17 ATS record. In surprising fashion, the guest has played even better provided the host owns a won/loss percentage of .500 or better notching a powerful 22-8 ATS mark! Tennessee has played well on foreign soil too. In fact, as a guest coming off two or more home games, the Titans are a solid 20-11 SU and ATS including a nearly perfect 9-1 ATS in this set coming off back-to-back straight up wins.

As tempting as it might look to grab the points here, this is not the spot for Baltimore. After battling the Steelers, the Ravens have struggled something fierce matched up against an opponent that checks in off a straight up win posting a soft 7-14 SU and 6-14-1 ATS record. In this role priced as an underdog of +7 or less, Baltimore is a horrendous 0-9 SU and ATS. Additionally, the Black Birds are a stunning 0-6 SU and AS in their last six priced as a home dog and carrying a won/loss percentage of .500 or better.

The Ravens are still limited offensively with rookie QB Joe Flacco behind center and his lack of experience is a liability. Meanwhile, Titans QB Kerry Collins has started in 152 career games and he knows how to get the job done. Take Tennessee!

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Tony Mathews

Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans
Selection: Houston Texans +3.5

The line we're looking at now is really quite shady; maybe even the most suspect of the whole weekend. The general public loves the Colts, no doubt, but you have to wonder what's the reason. The fact is, there is no evidence that Indianapolis can pull this off.

Houston isn't looking so hot either; they are already at 0-3. But the Texans haven’t played one single home game yet this season after having the lone home game against Baltimore postponed which is an unfortunate start for anyone. They have done OK except for turnovers, which have them at -3 for the season so far. Last week, The Texans did manage to out-gain the Jaguars and in their 3 other games they were only out-gained by a total of 86 yards.

Since this is their first game at home, emotions will be running high for the Texans who have won 8 of their last ten games at home (dating back to last season). Houston has its next 4 games at home. The colts were good last season with a record of 3rd in least yards allowed. But this season they’ve gone past 8th, mostly in their previous 3 games. Their most recent defeat allowed a total of 403 yards which included 199.3 yards per game on the ground; putting them at second to last in the entire League.

The Texans have been up against three difficult defenses lately including Pittsburgh and Tennessee, and have averaged 100 yards per game. The deteriorating Colts make a great opportunity for rookie RB Steve Slaton to make a breakout.

There are serious issues in the Colts offense and they are now ranked 17th in total offense. They are the worst on the ground in the NFL with an average of 62 yards per game. And Peyton Manning is still not 100%, evidenced by his 24th QB rating. The Texans, on the other hand, are ranked 9th in passing defense which has the potential to cause serious difficulties for the Colts.

Take Houston Texans +3.5!

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Rocketman Sports

#18 Kyle Busch vs #24 Jeff Gordon
Play 3* #24 Jeff Gordon +100

For starters, I think Jeff Gordon has the best shot of winning this race. Gordon has 6 wins, 13 Top 5 finishes and 16 Top 10 finishes in his 31 starts here in Talladega. Gordon has an average finish of 15.0 here in Talladega. Past 2 years, Jeff Gordon's average finish at track type - RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACK is 15.0. In 7 races, he has 2 wins and 4 top 10 finishes. Kyle Busch has an average finish of only 27.3 here in Talladega. We'll play Jeff Gordon to finish ahead of Kyle Busch for 3 units today!

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Brian Gabrielle

New England Patriots vs San Francisco 49ers
Take the New England Patriots

Winning teams generaly do well off bye week, (covering near 67% of the time), and nobody needed the bye week quite like the New England Patriots. Additionally, no team can utilize a bye week quite like Bill Belichuck. Give him an extra week and he'll have Sam Cassell looking like Tom Brady - especially against a soft San Francisco defense. Patriots 24, 49ers 18 Take New England


Indianapolis Colts vs Houston Texans
Take the Houston Texans

Losing teams off a bye week are notoriously bad against the spread and especially so on the road, as is the case today with the Colts. Wrong chalk.

Houston 24, Indianapolis 23

Take Houston

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Re: Sunday Service Plays

Steve Zukiel

San Diego Chargers vs Miami Dolphins

EZ Free Winner In this contest, my money is on the Miami Dolphins. It's a West Coast team going East Coast for a 1:00 EST game, which means this is like a 10:00 am game for the Chargers. I look for them to be a little flat for this one, especially in the early going. The Chargers are also in a tough spot here. They are off a 1 point loss to the Denver Broncos, a Monday Night football game, a road game versus Oakland and they are playing a Sunday Night football game next week versus New England. I like the points here. Take the Dolphins. STEVE ZUKIEL TAKES THE MIAMI DOLPHINS OVER THE SAN DIEGO CHARGERS AS AN EZ FREE WINNER

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John Fina

Selection: Tampa Bay/Denver Over 46.5

Today we see a high-scoring game as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers do battle with the Denver Broncos. In all four of their games this season, the result has always been the "Over" for Denver Broncos games. This is no coincidence. The reason is that the Broncos are pretty much unstoppable. In their last 3 games, they have allowed an average of 34.3 points while themselves averaging a total of 34 points against their opponents. Denver’s defensive front qualifies as one of the worst in the NFL with pedestrian linebackers and an abating cornerback in Dre Bly. This is going to prove to be an excellent opportunity for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden is excellent and offensively orientated which makes up for the lack of skill players. QB Brian Griese will dig into the defensive holes. Tampa Bay also has Earnest Graham who usually doesn't get the credit he deserves and an experienced Warrick Dunn to further torment the defense. As a result we’ve seen Tampa go "Over" in all but 2 of their last 10 games (dating back to last season). While the Buccaneers defense is decent, it isn't a dominating one and won’t be able to do much about Broncos QB Jay Cutler’s passes. They currently have one of the very best WRs in the AFC with Brian Marshall. At home they've gone "Over" in all but 3 of their last 17 games (dating back to last season). It's also good to note that when following a loss in Denver the Over is 11-1 in the last 12 games. Take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers/Denver Broncos Over 46.5!

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LT Profits

Chicago Bears -3.5

Now we normally shy away from seemingly obvious selections like the Chicago Bears being favored over the lowly Detroit Lions by just over a field goal, but we feel that in this case, the line is being kept down artificially because some people actually think the Lions will suddenly improve with the firing of general manager Matt Millen!

Well, we feel that Vince Lombardi would have a difficult time getting something out of this Detroit team right now if he came back from the grave, so we will cast our paranoia aside and accept this bargain line for just what it is.

The Lions have not even been competitive in their fist three games, as all those contests were over at halftime. Detroit has had a propensity of trying to establish the run early to set up the pass later, That is all well and good except for the fact that the Lions have mediocre at best running backs and their offensive line has been horrible.

So perhaps their strategy this week will be to throw the ball straight from the get-go? Well the problem there is that the Bears put great pressure on the quarterback and they allow only 5.5 yards per passing attempt. The Chicago defensive number would only get better if Detroit became a one-dimensional passing team.

Now can the Detroit defense keep them in this game? Well, the Lions are allowing a whopping 430.3 total yards per game, and they are allowing an incredulous 5.6 yards per rush and 9.0 yards per pass attempt. Not to mention that they allow the most points in the NFL at 37.7 points per game, so the answer to the question would be no.

We feel that only the Bears conservatism could keep this game remotely close, but rookie running back Matt Forte has run very well vs. much better defenses already, and that should et up some nice play-action opportunities for Kyle Orton later.

Remember too that the Bear could very easily be 4-0 after their thrilling win over the Philadelphia Eagles last week instead of 2-2, and they should roll to an easy win here.

Pick: Bears -3.5


Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.0

The Denver Broncos were shocked by the lowly Kansas City Chiefs last week while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are playing excellent football at 3-1 right now.

Well yes, the Broncos are 3-1 also, but that is where the similarities end. The Broncos could have easily lost both of their home games thus far, so they more closely resemble a tram that is 1-3 than 3-1.

The problem for Denver has been a defense that has been torched for 29.2 points and 411.2 total yards per game. In their two home wins so far, they survived thanks to a terrible call by the referee vs. the San Diego Chargers and by a missed field goal in the closing seconds by the New Orleans Saints, winning those contests by a combined three points! Suddenly, losing to the Chiefs does not look that surprising.

Now the Buccaneers can be 4-0 right now, as they lost 24-20 in the final minutes to the Saints on opening week before their current three-game winning streak. The key to their success has been the running of Earnest Graham, as the Bucs are averaging 133.8 rushing yards per game on a nice 5.0 yards per carry.

Look for Graham to have success on the ground again vs. a Denver run defense that is allowing 132.8 rushing yards per game on a terrible 5.0 yards per rush, keying this mild upset.

Pick: Buccaneers +3


Phillies -115

Joe Blanton has proven to be a shrewd acquisition by the Phillies, and he ended the regular season with three Quality Starts. Philadelphia wraps up the series.

The Milwaukee Brewers kept hope alive with a 4-1 victory yesterday, but we look for the Philadelphia Phillies to dash those hopes today by wrapping up this series in four games and advancing to the NLCS.

Joe Blanton proved to be a nice mid-season acquisition for the Phillies, as he went 4-0 personally in a Philadelphia uniform and the Phils went 9-4 as a team in every game that he started. More importantly, Blanton may be pitching his best ball of the year right now, as he closed the regular season with three consecutive Quality Starts.

This stretch began with a very nice starts against these Brewers on September 14, during a 4-game Phillies sweep that helped propel the team to the division title and delegate the Brew Crew to a wild card spot. Blanton allowed three runs and just five hits in seven innings of that 7-3 victory.

While Blanton appears to be in peak form now, the same can certainly not be said for Jeff Suppan of Milwaukee, who failed to record a Quality Start in any of his last five starts, and who has a brutal 10.12 ERA and 2.44 WHIP in his last three outings. As if that is not bad enough, Suppan was lit up by these Phillies the last time he faced them, surrendering six earned runs and eight hits in just 3.2 innings.

Now neither of these teams have done much hitting in this series, but we feel that Philadelphia is more likely to get to Suppan and the shaky Brewers bullpen here than Milwaukee is to get to a hot Blanton and a great Phillies pen.

Pick: Phillies -115

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Gina

Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans

Look for the Colts’ and Peyton Manning to finally have a good day with the help of the Texans’ weak secondary, but Houston will bulldoze the Colts ineffective run defense with a relentless ground assault. Indianapolis is ranked #31against the run. Go with the Colts in a close high scoring contest. Indianapolis has won 11 of the last 12 meetings versus Houston and five of the last six in Texas.

Indianapolis Colts -3 & Over - 48


Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Expect a physical defensive battle between these two AFC Central rivals. Pittsburgh is impaired, banged up with numerous injuries and Jacksonville will benefit. Go with the Jacksonville Jaguars at home to grab their fifth straight win over Pittsburgh. The Steelers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 meetings versus the Jaguars, 0-4 ATS in their last four in Jacksonville.

Jacksonville Jaguars -5

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San Diego at MIAMI 

Welcome to Miami, where there is a team that has had two weeks to get over a hang over from the biggest franchise win in quite some time. And what will Uncle Bill and coach Tone have in store for the Bolts this afternoon? I have no freakin’ idea, but I’m sure it’ll be entertaining. Only difference with this week’s opponent, it actually has a legitimate quarterback with the skills to challenge Miami’s offensive surge, and that’s why we just leave the side alone and play the over.

San Diego’s Philip Rivers will be the lynchpin today, as he’s is far more polished than young Matt Cassel, and most certainly has a quicker release than New England’s heir apparent (for this season anyway). Through the Chargers’ first four games, Rivers has been near-perfect with 10 touchdowns and a 109.8 quarterback rating. And we’ve seen the Dolphins’ secondary become vulnerable when there’s a veteran under center … think back to the Cardinals game, in which Kurt Warner burned corners Andre Goodman and Will Allen for more than 300 yards. Rivers has plenty of talent to throw to, and when your passing game is offset by LaDanian Tomlinson, it’s a no-brainer to expect close to 30 points against an exposed defense.

On the other side of the ball, well I can’t wait to see the gimmicks this week. Will Ronnie Brown be taking direct snaps? Who knows, but I can tell you it’ll be fun to watch the play calling for this one, particularly because the Dolphins have no injuries to speak of and will be awfully motivated to use every strength they have on offense to turn things loose on a Bolts team that will have traveled from one corner of the country to the other. That’s not an easy trip, and though we all know the corners won’t have to worry about Chad Pennington’s arm strength by the second half, my key to this one is Anthony Fasano, a reliable target who has caught 10 passes and a touchdown from Pennington, and another touchdown from Brown. Look for this one to get into the 50’s.

2♦ OVER


Seattle at N.Y. GIANTS -7 

Forget the whole traveling back East thing, and forget about the Seattle offense getting acclimated with one another once again, now that some receivers are due back. What I want to know is how the Seahawks plan on stopping Brandon Jacobs. Yes, I admit Seattle's run defense has held its own by slowing down San Francisco's Frank Gore and St. Louis' Steven Jackson, but neither one of those teams has an offensive line like this, and neither one of those teams end New England’s undefeated run in the Super Bowl last season.

Today is easily the Seahawks' biggest challenge of the season, a 6-foot-4, 264-pound tank who is the Giants' leading rusher, and simply softens up defensive lines throughout the first half, ‘til eventually you’re wore down and have no choice but to hope your secondary can produce solid coverage since you’re unable to put any pressure on the quarterback.

And that’s when Eli Manning takes over and helps his Giants make the statement that all the preseason talk about Dallas being the best team in the league, and the Patriots getting back to the Super Bowl (pre-Tom Brady injury, and the Chargers would challenge them … all that crap … was just nonsense. Even the present-day conversation about Tennessee, phooey! The Giants are the defending champs, and today, off their bye week, you’re going to see why.

2♦ GIANTS

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Erik Scheponik

Denver -3.5 over Tampa Bay

Aware the Bucs hold the defensive edges in this one, but the Broncos offense is dynamite right now, and they should bounce back in a big way off turnover-plagued loss at Kansas City.  Denver is 33-25 at home off of a loss, while Tampa is only 12-22$ on the road the last 4 seasons.  If you check our blog, you'll see that NFL HF's off of a loss against teams off of a win have been a very simple money earner the last couple of seasons.  A more complex system fades Tampa and that one inolves fading teams that "broke out" last season by doubling their win total while going from non-playoff team to playoff.  Road underdog off of home game is the worst case scenario for these teams, and that of course applies to Tampa.  Cutler over Griese for my money.  Denver by 6 

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