NFL Gameday 10/12
NFL Gameday 10/12
By Chris David
Even though the NFL regular season is just five weeks old, San Diego has already put itself behind the 8-ball. The Chargers and perhaps the league’s best player, LaDainian Tomlinson, expressed his concerns after the team lost to Miami 17-10 last Sunday.
“Make no mistake about it: This is a critical time for our football team," Tomlinson said. "These next (three games) before the bye are very critical for us. To me, this is going to determine what type of team we're going to be this year."
Not many expected San Diego to be 2-3 straight up and 2-2-1 against the spread after five games but you could make an argument that it could easily be 4-1, perhaps even 5-0. The three setbacks are by a combined 10 points and the Bolts haven’t benefited from bounces or calls all year.
Last Sunday, the Chargers came out flat and trailed the Dolphins 17-3 at halftime. In the third quarter, Norv Turner’s team cut the lead to seven and had an opportunity tie the game but Tomlinson was stopped on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Miami took over and was helped with a no-call on what looked like an intentional grounding play from QB Chad Pennington and were then handed a fortunate pass interference flag to get out of the endzone.
San Diego can make excuses for last week but the bottom line will tell you that Miami racked up 390 total yards and converted 50 percent (7/14) of its third downs. San Diego was only able to must up 202 total yards of offense and was just 3-of-12 on third down attempts in the loss.
Despite the lackluster effort in South Florida, San Diego is still averaging 29.6 points per game, which is ranked fourth in the league. Quarterback Philip Rivers has 11 TDs but he hasn’t been as accurate (60.4%, 4 Ints) this season, which is probably due to the lack of a running game (98.6 YPG). Tomlinson is only averaging 3.7 YPC and has found the endzone four times. Tight end Antonio Gates (16 catches, 3 TDs) has been held in check but he could be the go-to-guy this Sunday with WR Chris Chambers (11, 226 yards, 5 TDs) listed as “out” for this contest.
While the offense is the strength of the Bolts, the Chargers’ defense (25.8 PPG) has been soft and they’ll be tested this Sunday against a Patriots’ attack that is improving behind backup quarterback Matt Cassel (67.3 %, 707 yards, 3 TDs).
Last Sunday, Cassel passed for 259 yards and a touchdown as the Patriots stopped the 49ers 30-21 as three-point road favorites. The offense always gets the press but it was New England’s defense that dominated San Francisco. The unit held the 49ers to 199 total yards and forced J.T. O’Sullivan to toss three interceptions. The effort was much need by Bill Belichick’s team, especially after giving up 461 total yards and 38 points to Miami in Week 3.
The one knock on Cassel is his inability to get rid of the football. The former USC benchwarmer has been yanked down 15 times this season in four games. Last year, Tom Brady was sacked 21 times the entire season. The Chargers have racked up 13 sacks, ranked seventh in the NFL.
The Patriots decided to stay on the West Coast this week and practiced at San Jose State University in Northern California rather than make the cross-country trip for the second straight game. New England is 2-0 both SU and ATS on the road this year and owns a 12-game road wining streak dating back to the 2006 season.
San Diego stands at 1-1 both SU and ATS at Qualcomm Stadium this year, while the ‘over’ has gone 2-0.
New England has won the past three meetings against San Diego, including a 21-12 victory in last year’s AFC Championship game. It was the second straight time that the Patriots eliminated the Chargers from the postseason, doing so in 2007 with a 24-21 upset win at Qualcomm. The ‘under’ has gone 2-1 during this stretch.
The Chargers opened up as six-point favorites but that number has dropped to five and the current Betting Trends at Sportsbook.com are leaning to the visitor.
Kickoff for this battle is set for 8:15 p.m. EDT, with NBC providing national coverage. If you’ve been following trends and tendencies this year, then you would notice that the play on SNF has been all about the underdog.
The last two primetime battles watched Chicago upset Philadelphia 24-20 and Pittsburgh knock off Jacksonville 26-21, both covering as live underdogs. The underdog stands at 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS in the first six SNF games. The ‘under’ has gone 4-2.
Will the trends continue or can San Diego finally get back on track and earn a revenge win over the Patriots?
Re: NFL Gameday 10/12
Four at Four
No need to waste any time here, so let’s jump right into a quartet of four o’clock Eastern kicks for Week 6 of the NFL season.
**Packers at Seahawks**
--Most books are listing this game as a pick ‘em (or Green Bay as a real short ‘chalk’) after Seattle was a short favorite for most of the week. The move was prompted by Friday’s downgrading of Matt Hasselbeck to “doubtful” with a knee injury. The total is in the 44-46 range.
--If Hasselbeck can’t go, Charlie Frye will get the starting nod for the Seahawks, who are 1-1 both SU and ATS at home this season. Frye has a 6-13 record in 19 career starts (all with Cleveland).
--Green Bay (2-3 straight up, 2-3 against the spread) is looking to bounce back from its third straight defeat, a 27-24 home loss to Atlanta as a 5½-point favorite. Aaron Rodgers threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns despite being bothered by a shoulder injury suffered the previous week in a 30-21 loss at Tampa Bay.
--Although the shoulder isn’t back to 100 percent, Rodgers will make the sixth start of the season (and his career). For the year, Rodgers has completed 63.2 percent of his throws for 1,274 yards with a 9/4 touchdown-interception ratio.
--The Packers are tied with Minnesota for second place in the NFC North. Both teams are one game back of division-leading Chicago.
--Seattle (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) is coming off an embarrassing 44-6 loss to the Giants in the Meadowlands. The Seahawks trail division-leading Arizona by two games in the NFC West.
--The ‘over’ is 4-1 overall for the Packers, 2-0 in their road games.
--The ‘over’ is 4-0 for Seattle.
**Jaguars at Broncos**
--Most books are listing Denver (4-1 SU, 1-3-1 ATS) as a 3½-point favorite at even money (meaning Jags plus 3½ is a minus 120 wager). The total is in the 48-49 range, while the Jags are plus 155 on the money line.
--Denver is off a 16-13 home win over Tampa Bay, but the Broncos allowed the Bucs to get a backdoor cover with a late touchdown. Mike Shanahan’s team failed to cover as a four-point ‘chalk.’
--Denver QB Jay Cutler has been nothing short of sensational this year. The Vandy product leads the AFC in passing yards (1,502) and is second in the NFL to New Orleans QB Drew Brees. Cutler has connected on 65.4 percent of his passes with a 10/4 touchdown-interception ratio.
--Denver leads the AFC West by two games over the 2-3 Chargers.
--Jacksonville (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS) saw its two-game winning streak snapped last week in a 26-21 home loss to Pittsburgh as a six-point favorite. The Jaguars fell three games behind the division-leading Titans in the AFC South.
--This is the third road game for Jack Del Rio’s squad this year. The Jags previously lost 17-10 at Tennessee but won 23-21 at Indy.
--Since 2004, the Jags own an outstanding 16-7 spread record as road underdogs.
--Jacksonville won 23-14 at Denver in Week 3 last season. The Jags took the outright victory as 3 ½-point underdogs, the same number we have for this contest.
--The ‘over’ is 4-1 overall for the Broncos, 2-1 in their home games.
--The ‘over’ is 3-2 overall for the Jags, hitting in three straight games.
**Cowboys at Cardinals**
--The circus is coming to town. That’s what the people of Phoenix should expect when the Cowboys arrive this weekend. Dallas owner Jerry Jones likes characters (and/or clowns) and he certainly has a pair in Terrell Owens and Pacman Jones. Owens has spent the last two weeks being a drama queen and attempting to quench his thirst for attention in his childish/selfish manner. Meanwhile, Jones was back in the news this week for getting into a fight with a bodyguard hired by the Cowboys to keep him out of those sorts of incidents. Like I’ve said many times, Pacman is a career criminal and it’s only a matter of time before he’s dealt a lifetime banishment from the league.
--Most books have Dallas (4-1 SU, 2-3 ATS) installed as a five-point ‘chalk’ with the total in the 50-51 range. The Cardinals are plus 190 on the money line.
--Dallas is 2-0 ATS as a road favorite this year, covering in wins at Cleveland and at Green Bay.
--Arizona (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) handed the Bills their first loss of the year last week by a 41-17 count as a 2½-point home favorite. Kurt Warner was magnificent, connecting on 33-of-42 throws for 250 yards, two TDs and zero INT’s. Larry Fitzgerald had both TD catches.
--The Cardinals are 2-0 ATS as home ‘dogs under Ken Whisenhunt.
--Arizona WR Anquan Boldin is “out” for a second straight week after taking that brutal hit in the Meadowlands against the Jets a few weeks back.
--Dallas CB Terence Newman and safety Roy Williams are both “out.”
--The ‘over’ is 3-2 overall for the Cowboys, but the ‘under’ is 2-0 in their road games.
--The ‘over’ is 3-2 overall for Arizona, 2-0 in its home games.
**Eagles at 49ers**
--Most spots have installed Philadelphia (2-3 SU, 3-2 ATS) as a 4½-point favorite with the total in the 42-43 range. The 49ers are plus 180 on the money line (risk $100 to win $180).
--San Francisco (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) has lost back-to-back games, including last week’s 30-21 home loss to New England as a three-point home underdog.
--Philadelphia RB Brian Westbrook is “out” with two broken ribs. Westbrook is a huge part of the Eagles’ offense and will be sorely missed. He has 194 rushing yards and four TDs. Westbrook also has 14 receptions for 97 yards and two more TDs.
--Philadelphia QB Donovan McNabb has completed 64 percent of his throws for 1,296 yards with a 6/2 touchdown-interception ratio.
--Since 2005, the Eagles are 5-7 ATS as road favorites.
--Philadelphia is in the NFC East cellar, making this contest vital if the Eagles want to stay in the hunt for the division and/or a wild-card spot. They trail the division-leading Giants by 2 ½ games.
--San Francisco is 9-9 ATS as a home underdog during Mike Nolan’s four year tenure. The 49ers are 0-2 both SU and ATS as home ‘dogs this season.
--The ‘under’ is 3-2 overall for the Eagles, but they have seen the ‘over’ hit in both of their road games.
--The ‘under’ is 3-2 overall for the 49ers, 2-1 in their home outings.
Re: NFL Gameday 10/12
Early NFL Scuffles
By Judd Hall
Ravens at Colts
Most sportsbooks have listed the Colts as four-point home favorites with the total coming in at 38½. Bettors can back Baltimore on the money line for a decent value at plus 175 (risk $100 to win $175).
Indianapolis scraped by last week in its 31-27 win on the road against the Texans. Scraped by might be too nice…freaking lucky to win is more like it. How else can you describe the Colts scoring 21 points in the span of a little over two minutes? Gamblers that had Indy as four-point favorites were happy with a push, while Houston backers ripped their hair out.
The Ravens have fallen back to Earth after losing their last two games to Pittsburgh (23-20) and Tennessee (13-10). Despite the close defeats, Baltimore has posted a nice 3-1 record against the spread. One piece of news that has happened recently naming rookie quarterback Joe Flacco as full time starter for the year. Hard to knock the move seeing as Flacco is completing 61.9 percent of his passes for 603 yards. Yet, you want to see him improve that touchdown to interception ratio of 1:4.
Indy hasn’t done well at Lucas Oil Stadium this year, going 0-2 SU and ATS. But the Colts have fared well versus Baltimore as evidenced by their posting a 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in the last five head-to-head meetings.
Bengals at Jets
The betting shops opened the line with New York as a 7½-point home “chalk” with a total of 42 ½. Bettors can get take the Bengals to win outright for a plus 280 return. At least those were the numbers before Carson Palmer (shoulder) was listed as “out” for Cincinnati.
The Bengals will be looking to Ryan Fitzpatrick lead them to victory. That could be easier said than done if he plays as he did against Cleveland. The former Harvard gun slinger completed 21 of 35 passes for 156 with three interceptions in Cincy’s 20-12 home loss to the Browns on Sept. 28.
New York is coming off of a bye week after dismantling the Cardinals as one-point home favorites, 56-35. The Jets got a huge performance from Brett Favre, who connected on 70.5 percent of his passes for 289 yards and six touchdowns. He never threw that many scores in a single contest while with the Packers. Favre will now get to take on a team that can’t stop teams from moving the chains through the air (eight passing first downs per game).
The Jets have seen the ‘under’ go 26-20 in games coming off of a bye. Also, New York is 13-8 ATS when having a week off.
Miami at Houston
The Texans have been listed as three-point home favorites with the total standing still at 44 ½. Miami is coming in at a decent price on the money line at plus 130.
The Dolphins are getting the casual fans restless after picking up nice wins at New England (38-13) and versus San Diego (17-10). Much of the success is due to the high school offense Miami is running right now with Ronnie Brown under center. The running back has pulled in 286 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 58 carries.
Houston is still scratching its head after losing to the Colts last Sunday. The Texans don’t anticipate a sequel now that Matt Schaub will be returning as starting QB this week. Schaub played great in his last start, completing 29 of 40 passes for 307 yards for three scores in Week 4 at Jacksonville.
The Texans have seen the ‘over’ go 20-13 in tilts following a loss. Meanwhile, the Dolphins are just 19-29 ATS when covering the spread the previous week since 2005.
Raiders at Saints
Most sportsbooks have tabbed the Saints as seven-point home favorites with the total holding steady at 47½. The public can pull off a plus 260 return Oakland comes away with a victory.
Al Davis proved once again that he is a crazy old fart after firing Lane Kiffin as head coach. Then holding a press conference to say why he did it, and then hiring Tom Cable to run the show. By the way, Cable’s head coaching experience was four years at Idaho where he won just 11 games.
New Orleans is looking to bounce back after some shoddy secondary work at home as a three-point “chalk,” 30-27. Any questions about how bad the Saints are against the pass should take note of the 226 yards given up to Gus Frerotte and 12 of Minnesota’s first downs came on pass plays.
The road team is 3-1 SU in the recent meetings of these squads. The Saints are 6-4 ATS in the last 10 games against Oakland since 1985.
Re: NFL Gameday 10/12
Early NFL Scuffles Part II
By Josh Jacobs
We always approach another week in football with similar questions. How will so and so do against a great defense? Can an 0-4 straight up club finally break the slump to earn its first victory of the season? And is giving up double-digit points in a certain spot too much to stomach? However we approach these inquiries, don’t overlook the obvious as well as the minute details that could make or break your bank roll.
Adding to your arsenal of strategies, here’s a Week 6 look at four 1:00 p.m. EDT contest. Good luck to all.
Detroit (+13, 45.5) at Minnesota
Arguably one of the worst teams in the ’08 NFL season, Detroit (0-4 straight up, 0-4 against the spread) will look to stop the profuse bleeding from its jugular when it slams helmets with the new version of the “Purple People Eaters” (alright, maybe not that tough of a defense but this core can still hold their own).
The Lions look to be shacking up the quarterback position after Jon Kitna’s (back) condition has still yet to be released to the public. An MRI was performed on Wednesday but outside of Detroit’s lock room, the results have been kept hush, hush. Kitna has tossed up five interceptions, while finding the end zone five times. The mounting frustration has seemed to take its toll and now reports indicate that third string slinger, Drew Stanton out of Michigan State will handle snaps.
Reflecting the ills of the Lions include a 28th worst, 263 total yards per game produced (72.3 YPG on the ground and 190.8 YPG through the air), a 28th worst, 16.5 points per game scored, followed by the most ineffective defense in the league, allowing a whopping 429 YPG. This formula is as straight forward as it gets; no offense and defense, no results on the field, period.
What could end up helping the hapless Lions is Minnesota’s (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) inability to stop the pass, falling victim to 230 passing YPG allowed (1150 total passing yards), while the team ranks 25th worst against the pass on first down. There’s no questioning the effectiveness of the Vikings’ defense versus the run (ranked third by allowing just 68.4 YPG), but as New Orleans displayed last Monday Night, this is a secondary which gets plain burnt (the Saints’ QB Drew Brees threw for 330 yards with one TD).
Don’t expect Minnesota’s RB Adrian Peterson to be held under 100 yards rushing for a fourth straight week. Peterson’s worst outing of the season came in the same Monday Night win over New Orleans (30-27) in which second-year star gained a measly 32 yards on 21 carries. It was the final four weeks of last season that A.P. was held under the rushing century mark in four straight.
Favoring the Vikings in the matchup is a 5-0-1 ATS in the last six head-to-head matches and a 3-0 ATS record in the last three home games in this series. Bodog.com has listed Minnesota as a 13-point favorite with a total installed at 45½.
Note: Detroit second string QB, Dan Orlovsky is “questionable” with an ankle injury. Minnesota WR, Bernard Berrian has been listed as “probable” after sustaining a knee injury in the Monday Night victory.
Chicago (-3, 43.5) at Atlanta
There’s no beating around the bush, Atlanta (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) is an improved squad over years past. QB Matt Ryan may be serving his first tour of duty in professional pigskin but 863 passing yards with four trips into the end zone is encouraging if you’re a fan or backer.
Adding to the positive feedback on the Falcons is RB Michael Turner, ex-backup to San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson, who’s rolled over opposing defenses for 543 rushing yards with six TDs in '08.
Chicago (3-2 SU, 3-1-1 ATS) has continued to bully teams for just 74.2 YPG allowed on the ground, indicating a possible low scoring affair. However, the secondary needs improvement by giving up a surprising 223.4 YPG through the air. Atlanta has been bullish, rushing with 180.6 YPG, while falling behind with 164.2 passing YPG. So, can we invest in a low scoring game based on a balance listed here?
The ‘under’ has hit five straight times in head-to-head matches and has gone 7-2 in the last nine. Combine that with the Bears’ under at 4-0 in their last four road games and the Falcons ‘under’ hitting a 26-10-2 frequency in the last 38 games following a SU win and the total trends (At least these mentioned) could be perceived as a telling tale.
Chicago’s QB Kyle Orton, while scrutinized over the course of the season, has tallied 533 passing yards with five scores in his last two wins against Philadelphia and Detroit (even if the Lions are just that bad). The Bears have been able to cover five of the last six head-to-head clashes (one of those contests ended in a push). Hypothetically speaking, if Chi-Town can hold Atlanta’s run game in check (Falcons are averaging 180.6 YPG on the ground) look for Orton and RB Matt Forte to help open a gap on the scoreboard. If Atlanta’s halfback Turner can find the openings expect this game to be a sweat fest.
St. Louis (+13½, 44) at Washington
Not only are the Rams (0-4 SU, 0-4 ATS) winless in the standings but bettors who’ve somehow managed to tie their money up with this team are experiencing a freefall from the onset of the season. This is truly a fade team to the ‘T’.
With St. Louis scoring 10.8 PPG, ex-coach Scott Linehan out and Jim Hasslet in there’s a lot of reason to be concerned from week-to-week. It does look like veteran gun slinger, Marc Bulger is returning behind center but will it make a difference?
For one, the Redskins (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS) are a tremendous force hailing from the NFC East. Washington is 6-2 ATS in its last eight versus the Rams and is a hot 8-1 ATS as home favorites when coming off a division win, but trends may be irrelevant at this stage of the game.
The ‘Skins have outscored their opponent 25 ½-points per game to 20½-PPG but being the only team in the NFL to turn the ball over on offense speaks volumes. Washington has been able to sit on the ball for 35 minutes 54 seconds, ranking itself fourth best in the league. And probably the most important feat is the distinguished ability in turning the ball over on offense not once this season (only team left in the league to do so).
Looked upon as the key to accomplishment in the Rams organization, running back Steven Jackson finally put an end to his drought by breaking the 100-yard mark in Week 5. Jackson was able to notch 110 yards on 24 attempts in the 31-14 loss against Buffalo. Minus individual accomplishments, St. Louis is heading nowhere fast.
Carolina (+1, 36.5) at Tampa Bay
Backing up the Panthers’ (4-1 SU, 3-1-1 ATS) 8-3-1 ATS success in their last 12 games played in Week 6 is a defense giving up a scant 254.4 total YPG, while protecting the end zone from opposing teams for 14 PPG allowed.
Coach John Fox’s group isn’t without hurdles. Carolina center Ryan Kalil (ankle), tackles Jordan Gross (concussion) and Jeff Otah (ankle) have all missed action on the starting line. In reaction to the fractured ‘O-line’, QB Jake Delhomme has been sacked nine times this season for a loss of 61 yards. It’s actually a miracle how the 10-year slinger has been able to hang in the pocket for a 90.6 QB rating, while completing 60.6-percent of his passes.
Carolina will enter Sunday with a 7-3 ATS record in their last 10 versus an NFC South opponent.
Then there are the Buccaneers (3-2 SU, 4-1 ATS) who field another top defensive unit in the NFL. Numbers like holding teams to 99.6 YPG on the ground and 218.6 YPG through the air aren’t showstoppers, but giving up 18.8 PPG ranks this squad eighth best. We can’t overlook this same ‘D’, led by defensive ends Gaines Adams (14 tackles, two sacks with two interceptions) and Greg White (12 tackles, 3.5 sacks), that’s been responsible for snatching away eight interceptions (third best in the league). Don’t overlook the 11 sacks on the season as another pressure cooker for opponents.
Tampa Bay is 5-0-1 ATS in its last six games in Weeks 6 and 8-3 ATS in its last 11 at home. The underdog in this matchup has run to the counter with an 8-2 ATS report in the last 10.
Re: NFL Gameday 10/12
NFL prop shop: Week 6 picks
By DAVID CHAN
Coming off a 2-2 week with prop picks, it was a week that would have been much better had the Titans been able to record one measly sack against the Ravens.
Who would have thought that a matchup between two of the league’s best defenses wouldn’t produce a single QB takedown?
Onto Week 6. Here are four prop bets to consider.
Chicago vs. Atlanta
Most rushing yards: Matt Forte vs. Michael Turner
Play on: Turner
Let’s give Turner a shot against a stout Bears defense.
He has simply run wild on the Georgia Dome turf, picking up 326 yards and five touchdowns. The Bears are tough, but I would argue that Turner is the best back they’ve faced this season.
Matt Forte got off to a tremendous start, but has cooled off since. Last week he ran for only 36 yards on 15 carries. He’s not getting that many touches and that doesn’t bode well in this matchup with the Falcons’ workhorse.
Dallas vs. Arizona
Most passing yards: Kurt Warner vs. Tony Romo
Play on: Romo
I’ve been calling for Kurt Warner’s collapse ever since he was named starting quarterback in late August.
I’m still waiting.
I’m willing to take another shot at fading him this week though, because I expect him to be under pressure all afternoon. The Cowboys defense presents a mismatch up front and should make a living in the Cardinals backfield.
Tony Romo isn’t getting much love, but his numbers are every bit as good as Warner’s. And with Anquan Boldin sidelined, he has a better group of receivers to work with.
Detroit vs. Minnesota
Most pass receptions: Roy Williams vs. Bernard Berrian
Play on: Berrian
Bernard Berrian turned in his best performance of the season on Monday night and I expect him to take another step toward becoming the focal point of this Vikings pass game on Sunday.
There’s no reason why he wouldn’t be Gus Frerotte’s go-to-guy. With Sidney Rice sidelined, he’s their best option.
The Lions are quite simply a mess on offense.
Roy Williams is a talented receiver but he’s caught only 15 passes all season. He looks disinterested out there and it’s hard to blame him. Jon Kitna has thrown for fewer than 700 yards and as many interceptions as touchdowns so far.
The Vikings will apply plenty of pressure on Kitna and disrupt this timing-based Lions offense.
Oakland vs. New Orleans
Play on New Orleans
Drew Brees has only been sacked twice in the last three games.
JaMarcus Russell was sacked six times against the Chargers two weeks ago.
You do the math.
I like the different defensive looks the Saints showed against the Vikings on Monday. They gave up plenty of big plays, and points, but also got in Gus Frerotte’s face with regularity.
Two weeks ago they sacked 49ers quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan six times. This is an underrated group, at least up front. I’ll give them a shot against the Raiders.