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Sunday Gameday News and Notes

Sunday Gameday News and Notes

Pro News & Notes 11-9

Buffalo @ New England- Bills without DE Schobel and SS Whitner…Buff has scored 16, 17 pts last two weeks…Bills already 0-2 in division…Patriots D rejuvenated, allowing 7, 16, 18 pts last 3 games…RB’s Morris & Jordan doubtful

Tennessee @ Chicago- Titans 8-0 SU, 7-1 ATS…have won 11 straight regular season games dating to last season…have held 7 of 8 opponents to 17 points or fewer…+10 turnover margin…Bears D has 12 picks spread among 9 players…20% of Chicago TD’s have come when offense NOT on field

New Orleans @ Atlanta- Saints have allowed at least 30 pts in 3 of last 4…Reggie Bush still OUT…Atlanta 0-2 in division, but 3-0 SU & ATS at home this season…Falcons Big 3 very young, Ryan 23, Turner 26, White 27

Green Bay @ Minnesota- Pack has allowed 17, 14, 19 pts last 3 games…2-0 in division…G Bay stoppers have 13 INT’s…Minny 187 rushing yards in Week 1 loss at Lambeau…K Williams and Allen 7 sacks each…Vikes have allowed 4 return TD’s

NY Giants @ Philadelphia- both teams on 3 game win streak…G-Men 2-0 in division, Eagles 0-2-…Giants lead NFC with 30 sacks, Philly second with 27…both teams have allowed just 3 rushing touchdowns…Giants have scored 24 TD’s, Eagles have scored 23…Manning 12 TD 5 INT 89.7 rating…McNabb 10 TD 4 INT 92.8 rating

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Re: Sunday Gameday News and Notes

Early-Action Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

**Saints at Falcons**

--Most books are listing Atlanta (5-3 straight up, 5-3 against the spread) as a one-point favorite with a total of 50. This is a crucial contest between these NFC South rivals. The Falcons are one game behind the division-leading Panthers, who hold a two-game advantage over the Saints.

--Mike Smith’s team is coming off a dominant 24-0 win at Oakland as a three-point ‘chalk.’ Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan connected on 17-of-22 passes for 220 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Falcons gained 453 total yards and limited the Raiders to just three first downs and 77 net yards.

--Atlanta running back Michael Turner had a workmanlike performance, rushing for 139 yards on 31 carries. Jerious Norwood ran for 63 yards and one touchdown, a 12-yard scamper to paydirt. For the season, Turner has six rushing TDs and is averaging 4.6 yards per carry. He’s third in the NFL in rushing yards with 794. As for Norwood, he has 348 yards on the ground for a 6.0 YPC average.

--New Orleans (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) was off last week after winning a 37-32 decision over San Diego in London. The Saints took the outright victory as three-point underdogs. Drew Brees was brilliant against his former team, completing 30-of-41 throws for 339 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions.

--Before Jay Cutler surpassed him due to Denver’s Thursday game this week, Brees was leading the NFL in passing yards with 2,563. He has a 15/7 TD-INT ratio despite missing his favorite target Marques Colston for a five-game stretch and TE Jeremy Shockey for three games. Both of those players will play this week, but RB Reggie Bush (meniscus tear) and WR David Patten (groin) won’t dress.

--Sean Payton’s team has lost all three of its road games, going 1-2 ATS in the process. We should note, however, that all three losses came against top-tier teams (Washington, Denver and Carolina). Meanwhile, Atlanta is perfect at home with a 3-0 record both SU and ATS.

--The Saints have won four in a row against the Falcons, compiling a 3-1 spread record. The ‘under’ is 6-3 in the last nine head-to-head meetings between these long-time adversaries.

--Dating back to last season, the ‘over’ is on a 10-3 run for the Saints. They have watched the ‘over’ go 5-3 overall this year, 2-1 in their road games.

**Packers at Vikings**

--Most spots are listing Minnesota (4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS) as a 2 ½-point favorite with a total of 45. Bettors can back the Packers on the money line for a plus-120 return (risk $100 to win $120). Both of these teams are tied for second place in the NFC North, one game behind the division-leading Bears.

--Although Green Bay (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) is sitting at .500, the transition from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers has been a smooth one. Even though Rodgers has been bothered by a shoulder injury for most of the year, he has a 13/5 TD-INT ratio.

--Minnesota has won three of its last four games. The Vikings beat Houston 28-21 as 6 ½-point home ‘chalk’ last week.

--Minnesota QB Gus Frerotte has an 8/8 TD-INT ratio.

Green Bay has won five in a row over the Vikings, cashing tickets at a 4-1 clip. The Packers beat Minnesota 24-19 back in Week 1 as one-point home favorites.

--The Vikings have watched the ‘over’ go 4-1 in their last five outings.

--The ‘over’ is 7-1-1 in Green Bay’s last nine road games dating back to last season. The Packers are 12-3-1 in their last 16 road contests.

--The underdog is 15-4 ATS in the last 19 head-to-head meetings between these clubs.

**Ravens at Texans**

--Most books have made this game a pick ‘em with the total in the 42-43 range. This is a make-up game from Week 2 that was postponed due to the damage caused to Reliant Stadium during Hurricane Ike.

--Houston (3-5 SU, 2-6 ATS) has won three of its four home games, but the Texans are just 1-3 ATS at Reliant Stadium. The Texans are off a 28-21 loss at Minnesota as 6 ½-point underdogs.

--Baltimore (5-3 SU, 6-2 ATS) is 2-2 SU and 3-1 ATS on the road this year. The Ravens have won back-to-back road games, including last week’s 37-27 win at Cleveland as one-point underdogs. Terrell Suggs had a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown to seal the victory in the Dog Pound.

--Baltimore’s rookies stole the show against the Browns. Ray Rice ran for 154 yards, while Joe Flacco threw for 248 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.

--Houston QB Matt Schaub (10/8 TD-INT ratio) is out for at least the next four weeks with a knee injury. Therefore, Sage Rosenfels will get the starting nod. Rosenfels has played in three games this season, connecting on 67.7 percent of his passes for 470 yards with a 3/2 TD-INT ratio.

--Flacco has a 5/7 TD-INT ratio for the season, but he has four TD passes and no picks during the Ravens’ current three-game winning streak.

--The ‘over’ is 7-1 overall for the Texans, 3-1 in their home outings.

--The ‘over’ is 5-3 overall for the Ravens, 3-1 in their road games.

**Bills at Patriots**

--Most books are listing New England (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) as a four-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 41. Gamblers can take the Bills to win outright for a plus-165 payout (risk $100 to win $165). Both of these squads are in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East with the Jets.

--Buffalo (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) has lost back-to-back games and three of its last four both SU and ATS. The Bills are on the road for the second time in as many weeks. They dropped a 26-17 decision to the Jets last week as five-point home favorites.

--The Patriots are in bounce-back mode after losing 18-15 last week at Indianapolis. They took the money, though, hooking up their backers as 6 ½-point underdogs.

--Bill Belichick’s squad is 3-1 SU at home, but it has a mediocre 1-3 spread mark in Foxboro.

--Dick Jauron’s team is 2-2 both SU and ATS on the road. The Bills have watched the totals split in their four road assignments.

--The ‘under’ is 8-1 in the last nine meetings between these teams in New England.

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Re: Sunday Gameday News and Notes

Afternoon Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Panthers at Raiders**

-Caesars Palace opened Carolina as an 8 ½-point road ‘chalk’ over Oakland, with the total set at 38. FOX Sports will provide coverage of this contest at 4:05 p.m. ET from Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
-Carolina (6-2 straight up, 4-3 against the spread) went on its bye week riding a modest two-game SU winning streak after upending Arizona October 26 as a five-point home favorite, 27-23. The combined 50 points went ‘over’ the 43-point closing total, ending a string of five straight ‘under’ outings.

-The Panthers overcame a 17-3 deficit by scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter. Quarterback Jake Delhomme was 20-of-28 passing for 248 yards with two touchdowns, while wideout Steve Smith caught five passes for 117 yards and two scores. Running back DeAngelo Williams paced the ground game with 17 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown.

-Oakland (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS) has dropped back-to-back games SU and ATS after getting blanked by Atlanta last weekend as a three-point home underdog, 24-0. The 24 points never seriously threatened the 41 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 3-1 the past four games.

-The Raiders were dominated in the stat sheet across the board, trailing the Falcons in first downs (30-3), rushing yards (252-67), passing yards (201-31), turnovers forced (2-1) and time of possession (45:15-14:45). Quarterback JaMarcus Russell completed 6-of-19 passes for 31 yards with an interception, while rushing twice for 46 yards.

-Oakland toppled Carolina during the last meeting back in 2004 as a 6 ½-point road underdog, 27-24. The combined 51 points went ‘over’ the 41 ½-point closing total.

-Carolina offensive tackle Jeff Otah (ankle) and center Ryan Kalil (ankle) are ‘probable’ against the Raiders, while running back Jonathan Stewart (heel), wide receiver D.J. Hackett (knee), linebacker Adam Seward (thigh) and defensive lineman Darwin Walker (neck) are ‘questionable.’

-Oakland linebacker Jon Alston (foot), linebacker Ricky Brown (groin), defensive end Derrick Burgess (tricep) and running back Darren McFadden (toe) are ‘questionable’ versus the Panthers. Cornerback DeAngelo Hall has been released from the team.

-Sunday’s forecast for Oakland, California calls for sunny skies, with a high of 61 degrees and a low of 46.

**Chiefs at Chargers**

-Caesars Palace installed San Diego as a decided 15-point home favorite over Kansas City, with the total listed at 47 ½. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. ET, with CBS Sports providing coverage from Qualcomm Stadium.

-Kansas City (1-7 SU, 4-4 ATS) fell to Tampa Bay last weekend in overtime as a 9 ½-point home underdog, 30-27. The combined 57 points eclipsed the 36 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 5-1 the past six games.

-The Chiefs seemed on the way to their second victory of the season before surrendering two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Kansas City led the Buccaneers in rushing yards (183-81) and turnovers forced (4-1). Signal caller Tyler Thigpen was 14-of-25 passing for 164 yards with a touchdown, while Jamaal Charles ran 18 times for 106 yards.

-San Diego (3-5 SU, 3-4 ATS) is coming off a bye week trying to snap its current two-game SU and ATS losing skid. The Chargers traveled to London, England two weeks ago only to lose to New Orleans as a three-point favorite, 37-32. The combined 69 points soared ‘over’ the 45 ½-point closing total, ending a string of three consecutive ‘under’ outings.

-San Diego racked up 451 yards of total offense that included 341 yards in the air, but the team was unable to overcome two turnovers. Quarterback Philip Rivers completed 25-of-40 passes for 341 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson had 19 carries for 105 yards in the setback.

-The Chiefs and Chargers split last year’s season series, with the road team prevailing both times SU and ATS. Kansas City triumphed as a 12-point road underdog, 30-16, while San Diego won as a six-point road favorite, 24-10. The ‘under’ is 5-2 the last seven games in this series.

-Kansas City running back Larry Johnson (suspension) is expected to miss this matchup with the Chargers, while linebacker Derrick Johnson (hamstring), defensive back Brandon Flowers (hamstring), punter Dustin Colquitt (groin) and cornerback Patrick Surtain (quad) are ‘questionable.’

-San Diego defensive back Quentin Jammer (hamstring) and wide receiver Buster Davis (groin) are ‘questionable’ versus the Chiefs.

-Sunday’s forecast for San Diego, California calls for partly cloudy skies, with a high of 65 degrees and a low of 56.

**Colts at Steelers**

-The Colts-Steelers contest is ‘off the board’ due to the ‘questionable’ status of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder), running back Willie Parker (knee) and wide receiver Hines Ward (shoulder). Las Vegas Sports Consultants has the Steelers listed as a 4 ½-point home ‘chalk’ with Roethlisberger along with a total of 41 ½, and as a 2 ½-point favorite with the total set at 40 without Big Ben.

-Indianapolis (4-4 SU, 2-5 ATS) snapped out of its two-game SU losing skid by upending New England last weekend as a six-point home ‘chalk,’ 18-15. That marked the third game in a row that the Colts failed to cover. The combined 33 points went ‘under’ the 44-point closing total, ending back-to-back ‘over’ outings.

-Signal caller Peyton Manning was 21-of-29 passing for 254 yards with two touchdowns, while running back Joseph Addai had 17 carries for 32 yards. Wideout Reggie Wayne caught five passes for 65 yards and Anthony Gonzalez caught four passes for 55 yards and two scores.

-Pittsburgh (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) beat Washington on Monday Night Football as a 2 ½-point road underdog, 23-6. The combined 29 points failed to eclipse the 38-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ cash the second game in a row.

-The Steelers surrendered two early field goals before controlling the rest of the game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was 5-of-17 passing for 50 yards with an interception before leaving with a shoulder injury. Backup Byron Leftwich stepped in to complete 7-of-10 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown.

-Pittsburgh beat Indianapolis during the last encounter back in 2006 as a 10-point road underdog, 21-18, while the combined 39 points went ‘under’ the 48-point closing total.

-Indianapolis cornerback Kelvin Hayden (knee), cornerback Dante Hughes (ankle), linebacker Freddie Keiaho (knee), tight end Tom Santi (shoulder), running back Clifton Dawson (concussion) and wide receiver Roy Hall (knee) are ‘questionable’ against the Steelers.

-Pittsburgh free safety Ryan Clark (shoulder) and linebacker Keyaron Fox (hamstring) are ‘probable’ against the Colts, while punter Mitch Berger (hamstring), defensive lineman Casey Hampton (undisclosed), running back Najeh Davenport (undisclosed), strong safety Tyrone Carter (ankle) and offensive tackle Marvel Smith (back) are ‘questionable.’ Tight end Heath Miller (ankle) is ‘doubtful.’

-Sunday’s forecast for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania calls for showers, with a high of 47 degrees and a low of 38.

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Re: Sunday Gameday News and Notes

Giants-Eagles Preview
By Josh Jacobs

Since 1933 the Giants and Eagles have shed blood, sweat and tears on the gridiron. It’s the oldest NFC East rivalry with New York leading the overall series with an 81-68-2 straight up record.

Heading into Sunday Night’s primetime contest, the Giants are 4-1 against the spread in their last five meetings with the Eagles. All four wins against the spread have had New York as underdogs (as much as 6 ½-point ‘dogs). Most books, including, have installed Philadelphia as a three-point home favorite with a total set at 43 ½.
New York last met the Eagles during the 2007 season in which the team went 2-0 SU and ATS. The Jints outscored their longtime rival for a combined score of 32-16, with the defensive unit tying an NFL record 12 sacks against Philly QB Donovan McNabb.

And that’s exactly the same game plan that New York will attempt to repeat from last season. The Giants have held opponents to 260.4 yards per game this season which has translated into only 16.1 points per game allowed in eight games played. Even with iron curtain 'D' blanketing opposing teams, New York posses a 5-3 record on the ‘over’. That can be attributed to an offense finding the inside of the gal line for 28.3 PPG.

The Giants’ signal caller Eli Manning hasn’t posted astronomical numbers on the stat sheet this season. But an 89.7 QB rating and completing 61.2 percent of his passes has been efficient for victories. One of the biggest improvements in Manning’s game is turnovers through the air. His 18.3 interceptions per season since acquiring full time starting duties behind center in 2005 has made a tremendous turnaround to just five interceptions this season.

One more look inside New York’s numbers includes a rushing game ranked second in the league with 162.6 YPG. This in turn has lead to a second best time of possession of 33:28.

The Giants are 8-0 ATS in their last eight versus a team with a winning record and are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 after allowing less then 90 yards rushing in their previous game (worth noting after New York also out gained Dallas 319-183 total yards in last week’s blowout).

Philadelphia is coming off a 26-7 beat down over an injury ridden Seattle team in Week 9. Showing off his skills thanks to a much needed healthy season, QB Donovan McNabb has unleashed an aerial assault of 2,178 passing with 10 TDs and only four interceptions. His pocket presence has been outstanding as McNabb has scrambled for a low 51 yards.

If you’re asking yourself why the Giants are underdogs in this contest after proving how to win week-in-and-week-out then just take the Eagles’ 3-1 SU and ATS record at home. This is the same Philly team holding the opposition to scoring just 11.5 PPG, while passing for a debilitating 180 YPG in its own building. With this sort of defense it should be no wonder why the Eagles have manufactured a perfect 4-0 ‘under’ record at home in 2008.

Besides individual accolades, Philadelphia has remained balanced as a team. The Eagles enter Sunday night with 27 sacks, eight interceptions and ranks third best with a disciplined 33 penalties (equating to 307 yards). On the flip side, the offense is gaining 368.4 total YPG with 271 of those yards coming through the air. Combine that with scoring 27.5 PPG and Philly is killing it on both sides of the ball.

With cornerback Lito Sheppard and safety Brian Dawkins coming off injury, the level of talent in Philly’s backfield should put New York’s passing game through a grueling test. And the Giants will hold safety James Butler (two picks on the season) out of the game with an ankle injury. Rookie Kenny Philips will make his first start in the NFL when he fills Butler’s shoes in this contest.

The Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid is 5-1 SU and 5-0-1 ATS coming off back-to-back SU and ATS wins. Another trend working in the home team’s favor is an 8-1 ATS run coming off a non-division game versus a division opponent with revenge. The Giants have slumped in their last five Game nine’s with an 0-5 ATS performance.

Game time is set to begin at 8:15 p.m. EDT with NBC providing full coverage. Weather reports have forecasted evening temperatures to be in the mid 30’s with winds at 5 to 10 MPH coming from the WNW.

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Re: Sunday Gameday News and Notes

NFL Early Action -- Week 10
By Josh Jacobs

Four non-conference games will kickoff at 1:00 p.m. EDT. The eight teams mixing it up on the turf this Sunday have combined to produce a 4-5 straight up and 5-4 against the spread record when playing teams outside the conference. With that said, are any of these matchups conducive to making money, and if so which ones?

Jacksonville (-6.5, 44.5) at Detroit

The Lions came close to upsetting the Bears last week but at least backers collected on a big ATS win. Detroit was set as a heavy, 12 ½-point ‘underdog’ in that Week 9 contest and now books have decided to cut that spread in half when this organization hosts Jacksonville.

This will be the first game played outside of the AFC for the Jaguars. The next best thing is to turn the pages back to 2001, which highlights Jacksonville’s impressive 17-10 SU record versus the NFC. And we can't leave out the team's current 12-4 SU run outside of its conference dating back to 2004.

The Jags’ overall record may appear positive on the surface but quite the contrary for backers. Jacksonville is a combined 2-6 ATS this season, and a God-awful 0-6 ATS versus the spread when favored. Team cohesion has been a major problem as the defensive unit is responsible for finding opposing quarterbacks for just 11 sacks. Compounding the situation is an offensive line that has failed to protect fellow signal caller, David Garrard. The Jaguars starting slinger has been sacked for a total of 21 times this season, 21st worst in the NFL.

We can point out statistical problems on the Detroit sideline until we turn blue but an 0-8 SU and 3-5 ATS record should help put a bow on this team’s season. The Lions only non-conference game resulted in an obvious loss to Houston, 28-21 in Week 7. But to the surprise of many gamblers, Detroit was able to net a rare win against the spread (Detroit was getting 11 points at game time).

This is the first time in NFL history that a team (Jacksonville) will face off in back-to-back games against teams with an 0-8 SU record.

“Ninety percent of the money is on visiting teams this week”, said oddsmaker Eddie Franks of Brobury Sports. “This is expected for Tennessee, who has covered every line this year and are only giving three points”. But patient bettors may find they can get a decent price on the Lions, who take on a Jacksonville team that has not covered as a favorite this entire season (in fact there 1-5 SU as favorites) and may once again get caught sleeping against a struggling Detroit. A move to seven (points) here is significant”.

And Franks is spot on with the line move as a handful of books have already adjusted to the seven points.

Covering the spread last week, Detroit is now 4-12 ATS in its last 16 overall games. Both of these teams have met for a total of three times since 1995. Jacksonville owns the 2-1 SU and ATS edge in these head-to-head matchups.

Tennessee (-3, 28.5) at Chicago

Tennessee continued its successful campaign through 2008 with a 19-16 overtime win over Green Bay last week. The Titans’ kicker, Rob Bironas redeemed himself after knocking in a 41-yard field goal in overtime to send his team back into the lock room undefeated.

Led by veteran QB, Kerry Collins, Tennessee has covered all but one game this season (7-1 ATS). Wagering on totals hasn’t been nearly as profitable with an even 4-4 record. You would think that holding teams to a league-best 12.9 PPG would result in bettors scoring big on the ‘under’ play, but not so fast. The Titans have 18 takeaways (13 interceptions with five fumble recoveries), resulting in a take away, give away difference of plus-10. Combine 22 sacks with a fourth best 61 pass deflections and Tennessee has received excellent field positioning this season. And scoring an unpredictable 65 points in Weeks 7 and 8 versus 32 points in Weeks 5 and 9 also adds credence to the 4-4 total record.

Chicago’s 5-3 SU and 4-3-1 ATS record coupled with a 55.6 red zone touchdown percentage (15 TDs in 27 trips with the 20-yard line) conceals many of the problems attached to this club. It looks as though backup signal caller, Rex Grossman (9-for-19, 58 passing yards with one TD and an INT last week) will get behind center as the Bears’ Kyle Orton awaits to here the condition of his sprained ankle. Some reports indicate that the injury, sustained last week in a win over Detroit (27-23), isn’t as bad as first diagnosed. Some sources are even pointing to a return this Sunday.

On the topic of totals, the Bears and Titans have been able to nail the ‘over’ in five straight meetings and six times in the last seven. Then again, books have been very sparse by releasing a total which has averaged a low 38.9 points in the same seven meetings.

In five of the last seven games, oddsmakers have been consistent by installing Chicago as a three-point favorite three times, a 3 ½-point fav once and a three-point ‘dog twice.

The Titans are 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS versus the NFC this year. Wins against Minnesota (30-17) in Week 4 and Green Bay (19-16) last week gave Tennessee a leg up on the opposing conference.

Seattle (+9.5, 43.5) at Miami

The public consensus is torn on wagering in this contest with half on Seattle and the rest on Miami. There’s no placing the ‘Fins last two wins in a row on the backburner. The Dolphins have combined on offense to score 51 points, while being able to maintain the ‘under’ in both contests. Giving up 17 points in Denver last week and only 16 points the week before against Buffalo should be considered a consistent effort at the very least.

Miami is 4-2 SU and a 5-1 ATS in its last six, one heck of a far cry from last season’s pitiful effort. Something to look at in this matchup with the Seahawks is a total play. The ‘over’ is 5-2-1 for Seattle this season thanks to the organization’s lack of defense. The ‘Hawks are ranked 26th worst, giving up 26.3 PPG and with Miami racking up 20 PPG in the last six, an installed 43 ½-point total could be worth looking at.

The ‘over’ is 8-2-1 in Seattle’s last 11 games overall and 21-7 in the Seahawks last 28 games played on grass.

Even though we’re staring at a Seattle team who’s just tanked the season away, giving up 9 ½-points on Miami could be way too much for gamblers to handle. The highest spread books have tagged to the Dolphins was minus-three points in the loss to Baltimore in Week 7. Miami QB Chad Pennington will sure need to find WR Greg Camarillo and tight end Anthony Fasano plenty of times to cover this contest.

The Dolphins have upped the ante with the sixth-best TD percentage in the red zone. Miami has crossed the goal line 15 times in a total of 25 attempts.

St. Louis (+9, 44.5) at Jets

A loss to Oakland in Week 7 by the score of 16-13 served as a wake up call for a New York team attempting to find success behind its veteran QB. The Jets’ Brett Favre continues to toss up interceptions, at least one pick thrown since Week 2, but the likes of RBs Leon Washington’s head up play (specifically the out of bounds kickoff grab combined with his contribution to the offense) and Thomas Jones pair of TDs in the last two weeks are just two players making noise.

New York has already had a taste of the NFC, pulverizing Arizona on Nov. 28, 56-35. Some contrasting numbers in this non-conference go-around versus St. Louis include the Jets’ scoring 30 PPG at home this season, night and day when compared to the Rams struggling to post 12.8 PPG on the board on the road. New York is also averaging 214 passing yards per game and 113.1 rushing yards per game at home versus St. Louis’ despicable 169.8 PPG and 92.9 RPG on road trips.

The Rams looked to be turning their season around in Week 6 and 7 wins against Washington and Dallas by a combined score of 53-31. However, the honeymoon ended in a Week 8 loss in New England (23-16) followed by last week’s 34-13 defeat against Arizona. St. Louis QB Marc Bulger has thrown three INTs in the last two losses and a passing percentage of 50.7 has been far from effective (in the same two defeats).

With New England up at the plate after this week’s contest, backers watch out! We could be facing a revenge look ahead game spoiling the day if New York doesn’t show up with its Guns A’Blazing.

St. Louis has been able to win and cover every single contest against the Jets since 1986 (7-0 SU and ATS). If that’s not enough negativity, then mix in New York’s 2-8 ATS slide in its last 10 versus a team with a losing record.

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Re: Sunday Gameday News and Notes

Total Talk - Week 10
By Chris David


The ‘under’ produced an 8-6 record in Week 9. Pittsburgh stopped Washington 23-6 on MNF from FedEx Field. The combined 29 points fell ‘under’ the closing total of 37 ½, which snapped an incredible 9-0 ‘over’ run in the primetime slot. On the season, the ‘over’ holds a slight 65-59 edge versus the ‘under’.

Unexpected Explosions

Not a lot of people expected much out of Baltimore this season but the team has been getting big plays from its defense and rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. The club has posted 27, 29 and 37 points in their last three weeks, and three games easily went ‘over’ the total. On Sunday, Baltimore heads to Houston and the oddsmakers posted the ‘over/under’ at 42, which looks like a trap. When you combine the Ravens’ recent scoring run and Houston’s tendency to shoot it out all year certainly seem like an ‘over’ play, right? The Texans have watched the ‘over’ go 7-1 in their first eight games and the ledger could easily be 8-0. The Ravens are ranked sixth in scoring defense (17.1 PPG) and that could help you analyze Houston’s potential for scoring come Sunday. The Texans were held in check by the league’s two best defensive scoring teams this year when they played Pittsburgh (17 PPG) and Tennessee (12 PPG) in the first two weeks of the season. Will the trends continue?

Kansas City has dropped four straight games but easily could’ve won its last two against the Jets (28-24) and Buccaneers (30-27). The season is already over for the Chiefs but quarterback Tyler Thigpen has improved each week and the running game finally got going last week, even without Larry Johnson. KC has scored 24 and 27 points in the two close calls, but the defense gave up 28 and 30. The ‘over’ has gone 5-1 in the last six and those defensive numbers could get more inflated this weekend against San Diego. The Chargers have only played three games at Qualcomm Stadium this year but have posted 24, 48 and 30 points.

Weather Report

November is known to bring some rugged weather and this year should be no different. Poor forecasts are expected up in Chicago, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia this weekend. The lowest total for the three matchups is between the Bears and Titans.

Oddsmakers opened the number at 39 ½ points and it’s been dropped to 38 ½ points as of Friday and will most likely go down to the key number of 37, if not lower. The Titans’ defense has been exceptional on the road this year, allowing just nine PPG. Chicago’s defensive unit hasn’t been as good as the Titans, giving up 22, 41 and 23 points in its last three outings.

Be sure to stay abreast with our weather reports throughout the week.

Dome Sweet Dome

Sixty-four regular season games will be played in ideal indoor conditions this year, with eight teams calling their home a dome or retractable roof stadium. It’s no secret that the majority of teams that compete at these venues play faster, which usually results in high-scoring affairs and ‘over’ tickets. So far, 31 of the 64 games have been played and the ‘over’ has gone 17-13-1 (57%) on the year. Here is a complete listing of the eight teams at the midway point and their total numbers.

Indoor Action
Team     Total (Over/Under)
Arizona     3-0
Atlanta     2-1
Detroit     1-1-1
Houston     3-1
Indianapolis 1-3
Minnesota     1-4
New Orleans 3-2
St. Louis     3-1

Expert Trends

If you’re not familiar with Marc Lawrence, you should frequent more often. He’s been in the handicapping business over 20-plus years and his documented selections can be purchased on VI each week. Over his career, Marc has put together one of the best databases when it comes to sports handicapping and I’m fortunate to see a small sample of key trends in his weekly Playbook.

Here are some quick hitters for Week 10 from his colleague Victor King.

# The Dolphins have watched the ‘over’ go 5-0 in their last five games versus NFC West teams.
# The Seahawks have watched the ‘over’ go 9-0 in their last nine against AFC East clubs.
# The Raiders have watched ‘under’ go 2-10 in the last 12 games in games against opponents off a bye (Carolina). And the Panthers have watched the ‘under’ go 4-1 in their last five games after a bye week.
# The Cardinals have watched the ‘under’ go 7-2 in their nine MNF battles.

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Re: Sunday Gameday News and Notes

Key Stats - Week 10
By Scott Rickenbach

Five Stats You Need to Know

Heading into Week Ten of the NFL please note these stats (all are ATS – against the spread, unless otherwise noted) are definitely items to consider as you look at the deep NFL card. However, this does not mean these are "plays" in the true sense of the word. That said, the hope is that the ATS information below helps you as you "traverse" this week’s NFL card! As always, best of luck in all your sports gaming from Scott Rickenbach.

1) The Atlanta Falcons are 2-6 in their last eight games against New Orleans. This is nothing new either as the Falcons have been struggling in recent match-ups against all division opponents. Within the NFC South, the Falcons have now lost five straight games against the spread. As for the Saints, they are on a very impressive ATS run in divisional action. New Orleans has lost the money just five times in their last 27 games within the NFC South. The Saints also are coming off of their bye week The Falcons defense has regressed some (you can’t give real "weight" to the shutout of the Raiders last week) and their passing offense is weak. That could be bad news this week because they may not be able to keep up with a Saints offense that is ranked #1 in the NFL.
2) The Baltimore Ravens are just 1-6 when on the road against a team from outside the AFC North. In other words, put Baltimore on the road and take away the divisional element and the Ravens tend to fall flat. That’s bad news this week because they’re facing a Houston Texans team that excels in the role they’re in. The Texans are at home against an opponent from outside of the AFC South. Houston has grabbed the cash six of the last nine times they’ve been in this role. Interesting match-up with the Texans having one of the top ranked offenses in the league while the Ravens have one of the top ranked defenses in the league. The key here could be the "hunger factor" as Houston is coming off of a tough loss at Minnesota – they outgained the Vikings – while Baltimore is coming off of a satisfying road win over the Browns – a divisional foe!

3) The Green Bay Packers are 6-1 their last seven road games in the NFC North. After taking the undefeated Tennessee Titans to overtime before coming up short last week, there is little doubt that the Packers will be hungry for this big divisional match-up. As for the Vikings, even though they defeated the Texans last week they were outgained in the game. Three Houston turnovers helped the Vikings to get the win and cover but this will be a much tougher match-up for Minnesota. Green Bay has covered three of their four road games this season and the Vikings struggle throwing the ball and certainly struggle defending the pass as well. Houston threw for 327 yards against Minnesota last week!

4) The Oakland Raiders are 1-10 in their last 11 versus the NFC. What a mess this franchise is and they also have covered just four times in their last fifteen games at home versus a foe from outside the AFC West. The Raiders are sometimes able to play at a higher level against a hated division foe but other visiting teams have had their way in Oakland. It’s also evident by the stat above that the Raiders don’t get overly excited about seeing a team from the other conference either! This spells trouble against Carolina team that is on an amazing ATS run. The Panthers have only lost the money three times in their last 13 games overall. Carolina has also feasted on poor teams as they are 10-5-1 in their last 16 games against teams with a sub-.500 record. The Raiders, at 2-6 this season, easily fall into that category! Also note that the Panthers are off of their bye week and, historically, they have been a good money maker on the road and could be worth a look here.

5) Buffalo is 6-1 as a dog on the road in AFC East play. This week they’re at New England and the Patriots have only covered three times in their last ten games as a home favorite in divisional play. The Patriots are in a tough spot here after an intense Sunday night game at Indianapolis where they came up three points short. The Bills are off of a home loss to the Jets and in a match-up of two teams hungry to bounce back off of a loss, the points look inviting here and could be worth a look. The Patriots are 5-3 on the season but their five wins have come against teams that are a combined 14-26 on the season!

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Where the action is: NFL key line moves

Tennessee Titans vs. Chicago Bears

Line/Total: opened 3 when Chicago QB Kyle Orton was questionable and has hardly moved since it was made official he was out. The total hasn’t moved at all, we opened 38.5 and are currently at that price. So far the public is on the favorite, but we expect sharp action on the dog in this matchup. Titans failed to cover a game for the first time all season only winning by three points after closing as a 3.5-point favorite. There was sharp action that faded the Titans last week vs. the Packers and we expect the same here. Titans looked impressive at home in their last two games, but winning at Soldier Field won’t be easy. Titans are 3-0 on the road this year, but two of those wins came against 1-7 Chiefs and 1-7 Bengals.

Matchup of the Game: The Titans 3rd ranked rushing offense vs. Bears 5th ranked rushing defense.

Key Injuries: Titans DE Kyle Vanden Bosch has been downgraded to questionable.
Bears QB Kyle Orton is OUT, S Mike Brown was injured last game and is listed as questionable.

Weather: Expected game-time temperature:  44 degrees with a chance of very light snow showers

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons

Line/Total: Game opened as PICK and has been bet up to Falcons -1. Total has seen a big move, opening at 48 but moved up to 50 once the sharp action hit it. Whatever value that was on the over has been bet out already. Fifty is the right number and even though we expect to see more over action on this game, we like our position.

Matchup of the Game:  QB Drew Brees (favorite to win NFL MVP at +250) vs. Falcons 16th ranked pass defense.
Key Injuries: Saints have nothing new to report.  They’ve been winning without Reggie Bush and he’ll continue to sit out.

Green Bay Packers vs. Minnesota Vikings

Line/Total: Minny opened -2.5 and hasn’t moved. Early action is on the dog but nothing severe.  We opened the total 46, definitely sharp action under that number. We’re currently dealing 44.5.

Matchup of the Game: Packers 27th ranked rushing defense vs. Viking RB Adrian Peterson.

Key Injuries: Packers: RB Ryan Grant probable.  OT Chad Clifton left last game, listed questionable.
Vikings: DE Jared Allen is doubtful.

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Line/Total: We opened Eagles -3 even (no added juice) and that’s where we stand now. The total opened 43.5 and we’re now using 43. Lots of action on this game; little volatility in line movement. 

Matchup of the Game: QB Eli Manning vs. Eagles Def Cord. Jim Johnson. Johnson loves to blitz and bring different packages to confuse quarterbacks. He’ll be testing Eli all afternoon.

Key Injuries: Giants: have no major injuries to report.
Eagles: S Brian Dawkins is questionable, TE LJ Smith upgraded to probable.
Weather: for a mid November game, weather looks very favorable.  Mid 50s with little wind.

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Who's in, who's out: NFL line-shifting injuries

Betonline gives a quick run down of some injuries causing grief for oddsmakers.

Quarterback injuries and returns are the story of the week according to NFL betting odds, beginning with Pittsburgh, who could be without their starter, as well as their No.1 running back.

Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers

These AFC powers opened with no line because of Ben Roethlisberger’s questionable status. Big Ben hurt his right shoulder but after practicing on Friday he is considered probable for Sunday’s game. Tailback Willie Parker also hurt his shoulder and is questionable for this game.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings opened up as 3-point favorites, but have dropped a two points to the Packers. QB Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers could be in for a treat as Jared Allen, who led the league in sacks last season and is tied for the team lead in Minnesota this year, is questionable with a tear in his shoulder. This should buy Rodgers a little more time in the pocket, which could lead to an improvement passing in the red zone.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

The Texas were 2-point favorites when the NFL lines opened, but starting pivot Matt Schaub has gone down with a torn MCL and could be out for at least four weeks. Most books now have this matchup as a PICK. Obviously bettors don’t have much confidence in backup Sage Rosenfels.

Other notable injuries:

RB Steven Jackson (Rams) - doubtful

QB JaMarcus Russell (Raiders) - doubtful

DT John Henderson (Jaguars) - doubtful

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NFL Underdogs: Week 10 picks

Tuesday’s gone with the wind and there’s a new man heading to the White House. Does that mean they’ll stop sending sports bettors to the Big House?

We posted several political prop pieces leading up to the US presidential election and I observed many different views and concerns about the two candidates.

I was surprised to see the discussion didn’t include what the result would mean to the online betting world.

Pro choice or pro life? Gun control or the right to bear arms? Oprah or Palin?

All important questions.

But why aren’t we asking who’s going to make it easier to take the points and back the Bills on Sunday?

Will Barack Obama undo the wrong that was done October 2006 when online gambling was essentially made illegal? He’ll have the numbers to do it if he wants to make it happen. The democrats now control the Senate, House and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Obviously this isn’t a burning issue. If there was a totem pole of priority bills needing some tinkering, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act would be six feet deep in the ground.

Oh well. They say no American President accomplishes anything worthwhile until the second term any way.

Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers (-15)

Oddsmakers won’t give up on the Chargers. Every time I talk to one of them I hear how San Diego’s too talented to keep underachieving. Kind of like a forgiving boyfriend who keeps letting his cheating girlfriend back home.

I’m not falling for it. This tramp is sleeping outside.

Pick: Chiefs

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (-1)

The NFC North is still wide open but there’s no doubt in my mind the Packers are the best of the bunch. They’ve got talent at all skill positions on offense and their defense is capable of playing much better than it has so far.

Minnesota still struggles against the pass and the club will be without edge rusher Jared Allen, who’s nursing a sore shoulder.

I expect Packers coach Mike McCarthy to use his five-receiver set often and limit the effectiveness of the Vikes’ Pro Bowl defensive tackle tandem.

Pick: Packers

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-3)

In the opinion of this humble writer, this is a matchup of the league’s two best teams.

The Eagles could easily be sharing the top of the NFC East with the G-Men if offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg showed a bit more creativity in goal line situations.

Philly doesn’t match up well against the Giants, though. New York’s relentless pass rush forces Donovan McNabb to release the ball quicker than he’d like or risk being driven into the ground.

Expect New York’s No. 2 running attack to gain 200 yards and sprinkle in a few long completions of play action for Eli Manning, resulting in a 24-17 win for the Giants.

Pick: Giants

Last week: 3-0

Season: 14-12-1

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NFL cheat sheet: Week 10

Denver at Cleveland (-3.5)

Why Broncos cover:  Have won last seven meetings. Facing 25th ranked run defense. Brady Quinn, who has only attempted eight NFL passes (zero this year), will start at QB for Cleveland.

Why Browns cover: Are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 home games and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. Broncos are 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games. With five interceptions in his last two games, Jay Cutler is struggling. Leading rusher Michael Pittman is out for the season along with Andre Hall, which means Denver is counting on rookie Ryan Torain and banged up Selvin Young to run the ball.

Total (46): Under is 5-2 in Browns’ last seven home games and 11-3 in their last 14 games overall.

New Orleans at Atlanta (-1)

Why Saints cover: Have won last four meetings. Are 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings and 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings in Atlanta. Drew Brees has never lost to Atlanta.

Why Falcons cover: Have yet to lose at home this season and are 4-0 ATS in their last four home games. Are averaging 31.3 points per game at home compared to 16 per game on the road.

Total (50): Over is 10-2-1 in Saints’ last 13 games and 6-1 in Falcons’ last seven home games.

Tennessee at Chicago (+3)

Why Titans cover: Are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games and 7-1 ATS in their last eight games overall. Bears turn to embattled QB Rex Grossman to lead the offense now that Kyle Orton is hurt.

Why Bears cover: Have won last three meetings. Are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games. Sixth ranked rush defense could shut down Titans ground game and force Kerry Collins (only 3 TD passes) to move the ball through the air.

Total (38.5): Under is 4-1 in Titans’ last five road games.
Jacksonville at Detroit (+6.5)

Why Jaguars cover: Lions are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games. Lions' new quarterback, Daunte Culpepper, has had one week to prepare and hasn’t played in a NFL game since November 2007.

Why Lions cover: Have won two of three meetings. Jaguars are 1-4 ATS in their last five games and coming off a loss to the formerly winless Bengals as 7-point favorites.

Total (44 .5): Over is 8-2-2 in Jaguars’ last 12 road games and 4-1-1 in Lions’ last six home games.

Seattle at Miami (-9.5)

Why Seahawks cover: Road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings. NFC’s 5th ranked rush offense could control game enough to let Seneca Wallace exploit Miami’s suspect pass defense.

Why Dolphins cover: Have won two of last three meetings. Seahawks are 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings. Chad Pennington could pick apart one of the league’s worst pass defenses. Are second in the NFL in turnover differential and have only coughed up the ball six times all season.

Total (43.5): Over is 5-1 in Seahawks’ last six road games and 8-2-1 in their last 11 games overall.

Green Bay at Minnesota (-1)

Why Packers cover: Have won last five meetings going 4-1 ATS. Are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in Minnesota. Ryan Grant has rushed for 211 yards and a score in two games against the Vikings. Road team is 10-3 ATS in their last 13 meetings. Underdog is 15-4 ATS in the last 19 meetings.

Why Vikings cover: Adrian Peterson could have a field day against a Packers’ defense that is allowing over 140 yards per game on the ground. Green Bay is undisciplined having already given up 575 yards to penalties, the most in the NFL.

Total (45.5): Over is 6-1-1 in the last eight matchups in Minnesota.

Buffalo at New England (-4)

Why Bills cover: Road team is 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings. Patriots have only covered once in four home games this season.

Why Patriots cover: Have won 14 of last 15 meetings. Favorite is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings. Bills are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings and 2-5 ATS in their last seven trips to New England. Patchwork rushing attack is averaging over 150 yards per game since losing Laurence Maroney for the season.

Total (41): Under is 14-4 in the last 18 meetings and 8-1 in the last nine meetings in New England.

St. Louis at N.Y. Jets (-9)

Why Rams cover: Have won the last seven contests. Are 4-0 ATS in their last four meetings. Marc Bulger threw for 450 yards and three TDs in his only game against the Jets. Brett Favre has fumbled five times and been intercepted eight times in his last four games.

Why Jets cover: Thomas Jones has scored five times in his last four games and gets to face a team that has allowed the most rushing touchdowns in the NFC. Rams are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games.

Total (44.5): Under is 9-3 in Rams’ last 12 road games and 5-2 in Jets’ last seven home games.

Baltimore at Houston (-1)

Why Ravens cover: Have won only two contests against Houston. Are 4-0 ATS against teams with a losing record and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games overall. Texans are 1-4 ATS in their last five games. The tandem of Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain has propelled Baltimore’s AFC leading running game.

Why Texans cover: Have won three in a row at home. Sage Rosenfels takes over at QB for the injured Matt Schaub and was 4-1 as a starter for Houston in 2007. In two games this year, Rosenfels has thrown for 470 yards and three touchdowns.

Total (42): Over is 11-4 in Ravens’ last 15 games and 4-1 in Texans’ last five home games.

Carolina at Oakland (+9.5)

Why Panthers cover: Oakland is dismantling its team and is averaging just over seven points per game in their last four. Raiders are 9-25 ATS in their last 34 home games. Carolina WR Steve Smith has been on fire, amassing 351 yards and three TDs in his last three games.

Why Raiders cover: Own AFC’s fourth ranked rush offense which can eat the clock and keep opponents’ offense off the field for long stretches. Panthers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven road games.

Total (38): Under is 6-1 in Panthers’ last seven games.

Indianapolis at Pittsburgh (NA)

Why Colts cover: Steelers could be without Ben Roethlisberger who has an ailing throwing shoulder. Starting tight end Heath Miller is also expected to be out. Peyton Manning has only been sacked nine times all season and not once in his last three games.

Why Steelers cover: Have won 14 of last 16 meetings. Willie Parker and Mewelde Moore could pound a Colts’ run defense that is allowing over 140 yards per games. Colts are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games and 0-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.

Total (NA): Over is 7-1 in Steelers’ last eight vs. AFC and 5-2 in Colts’ last seven road games.

Kansas City at San Diego (-16)

Why Chiefs cover: Jamaal Charles managed to rush for over 100 yards against a tough Tampa Bay rush defense last week. QB Tyler Thigpen has thrown for 444 yards and three TDs in his last two games against some good defensive teams. He hasn’t thrown a pick in his last four games. Underdog is 9-4-1 ATS in the last 14 meetings.

Why Chargers cover: Have won two of last three meetings. Home team is 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings. LaDainian Tomlinson owns the Chiefs. He has rushed for 621 yards and totalled six touchdowns in his last five against them. Chiefs are 1-4 ATS in their last five meetings in San Diego.

Total (47.5): Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.

N.Y. Giants at Philadelphia (-3)

Why Giants cover: Have won five of last six meetings and are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings. Are great at protecting the ball with only seven turnovers this season. Plaxico Burress is averaging over 17-yards per catch against the Eagles. Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings. Underdog is 6-0 ATS in their last six meetings.

Why Eagles cover: Are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games. Donovan McNabb has thrown for 1241 yards and eight TDs in his last five games against the Giants. NFC’s 5th ranked run defense could pose problems for New York’s run-heavy offense.

Total (43): Under is 10-4 in Giants’ last 14 road games and 6-0 in Eagles’ last six home games.

San Francisco at Arizona (-9.5)

Why 49ers cover: Bye week allows for QB Shaun Hill to prepare for new role as starter. Hill was 2-0 as a starter last year and had a 101.3 QB rating. Road team is 6-0 ATS in their last six meetings. Frank Gore has rushed for 405 yards and eight TDs in his last five against Arizona. Underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.

Why Cardinals cover: Rookie Tim Hightower flourished in his first game as a starter running for 109 yards and a score. San Francisco has trouble stopping the run, allowing 112 yards per game. 49ers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven meetings.

Total (46): Over is 7-3 in the last 10 meetings and 4-0 in the last four meetings in Arizona.

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What bettors need to know: Giants at Eagles

Game: New York Giants (7-1, 6-2 ATS) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-3, 6-2 ATS)

Line: Oddsmakers have set the Eagles as 3-point home favorites. The total is listed at 43.

Giants D' has Philly flavor

New York Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is very familiar with the Philadelphia Eagles. He worked under Eagles head coach Andy Reid for seven years as a defensive assistant and coach and is now responsible for the fiercest pass-rush in football.

New York is tops in the NFC with 30 sacks and has the second-best pass defense in the league, allowing just 175 yards through the air per game. The Giants have also slammed the door on opponent's rushing attacks, holding them to an average of under 86 yards on the ground.

Spagnuolo joined the club last season but needed permission from Reid to interview for the job. He used his vast knowledge of Philadelphia's workings to punish his former club in their two meetings last year. The Giants defense held the Eagles to 16 points, 496 yards and only one touchdown, winning both games against their divisional foe.

Eagles in divisional dumps

Philadelphia is a solid 5-3 SU on the season, but two of those losses have come against fellow NFC East teams. The Eagles took one on the chin against the Dallas Cowboys Week 2 and lost to the Washington Redskins Week 5.

Philly has won three straight games since the Redskins game, but have done so against San Francisco, Atlanta and Seattle. Now they face the NFC's best team and a dangerous divisional foe in New York.

“This has been my biggest rivalry since I've been here," safety Brian Dawkins told reporters. "Maybe it's not that way for some of the other guys, but it is for me. For me, this is the game. I get up for this big-time. I love playing in these games, I really do. I don't know if you could kick it up another notch for me."

The Giants have the upper hand in the all-time standings with a 78-66-2 record against the Eagles including two wins last season.

The Tao of Steve

Everyone remembers David Tyree's leaping, over-the-head grab in last year's Super Bowl. What most people don't remember is the series of catches Steve Smith made in that fourth quarter including a 12-yard reception that led to Plaxico Burress game-winning touchdown. Smith totaled 50 yards on five catches in the Super Bowl as a rookie.

This season, Tyree is watching from the sideline and Smith is quietly getting the job again. He is the team's second leading receiver with 328 reception yards and scored his first-career touchdown against the Cowboys last Sunday.

“We have a lot of big targets out in the red zone, so I'm not the first read all the time," he told reporters Sunday. "I'm just happy to get (this first touchdown) over with.”

Despite the former Trojans' lack of endzone appeal, he's Eli Manning's go-to guy when the going gets tough. Out of his team-leading 34 catches, 14 of them have come on third down and equaled 137 yards for almost 10 yards per reception.

Injured Eagles good to go?

Eagles tight end L.J. Smith is expected back in action Sunday night. He missed last week's win over Seattle due to a concussion and has missed two other games this season due to injuries.

“He is feeling pretty good today," Reid told reporters after Wednesday's practice. "He went through walkthrough, he's going to go through practice.”

Smith has caught 12 catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. He's just one of the many banged up weapons on the Philadelphia roster.

Cornerback Lito Sheppard has missed practice this week with a strained groin and is listed as doubtful. Wide receiver Reggie Brown is probable after returning last week from groin injury. Running back Brian Westbrook was limited in practice with sore knee and is currently listed as probable. 

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Re: Sunday Gameday News and Notes

By Sportmemo

Bengals - Ryan Fitzpatrick has absolutely no ability to throw downfield; nothing but dinks and dunks out of this offense. The entire passing game is nothing but glorified handoffs to their wide receivers, little four-yard out patterns and five-yard slants. Fitzpatrick threw 19 passes in the first half, gaining 100 yards on barely five yards per attempt. Not exactly explosive offense kind of numbers. In fact, the Bengals rank dead last in the NFL by a wide margin in yards per offensive play. Still, at least Fitzpatrick is completing these passes after a month in the starting lineup, and they are very difficult to defend when thrown accurately. Great continuity on the offensive line helps as the same five guys have started at the same five positions all year. Cinci seems loose and relaxed, a team playing with nothing to lose which is never a bad thing from any underdog.

Bills - The Bills turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter in their loss at Miami last week. Here, in the first quarter, they put the ball on the turf twice, losing one of the fumbles, and then watched the Jets return an interception 92 yards for a touchdown. Ball control is a staple of the Dick Jauron era. This team simply isn’t good enough to overcome these types of mistakes. They were then stuffed on fourth and short, running an amazing 27 consecutive offensive plays without scoring a point. The Bills red zone defense has been nothing short of outstanding all year, a team that gives up yardage but stiffens repeatedly in the red zone. Their red zone offense, however, is another story entirely, particularly on a day where the running game was simply non-existent.

Browns - Three straight games without an offensive turnover heading into this game, but that didn’t last long against the Ravens. No wonder the Browns have looked so good in recent weeks – when you never turn the ball over, the offense tends to put up pretty good numbers. This secondary continues to be a problem area, getting burned repeatedly. It really does all come down to the defensive line. When Shawn Rogers is playing like a man on a mission, he puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks on nearly every play. Today, Rogers showed little of the fire he had last week at Jacksonville and without any other defender capable of putting pressure on the quarterback, it wasn’t pretty for the stop unit.

Chiefs - This is a completely different team with Tyler Thigpen at quarterback. Wildcat formations, reverses, Thigpen catching long touchdown passes downfield. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear that I just saw four quarters of creativity from a Chan Gailey offense. This is another very bad team playing like they had absolutely nothing to lose. Their 250 yards of offense in the first half against a pretty good Bucs’ defense is extremely impressive from an offense that ranks 31st in the NFL in yards per offensive play. The offense is showing elements of the spread attacks that have proliferated in college football over the last five years. Of course, no lead is safe with this sorry group of rookie cornerbacks, as evidenced by their late game meltdown here

Jaguars - Last week, this defense had no sacks and created no turnovers. This week, we saw Rashaun Mathis drop a sure interception,and once again, they got very little from their pass rush, unable to put any sort of consistent pressure on the opposing quarterback. That’s why they allowed five consecutive third down conversions to open the game – many of them third and long situations – as the Bengals marched down the field for touchdowns on each of their first two drives. The pressure on Jacksonville seems to be palpable, a team weighted down by the enormity of their own expectations.

Jets - This team continues to outperform their abilities, going 23 minutes without a first down in the first half, yet still leading by six. The offense certainly doesn’t seem very pretty or functional, based largely on Brett Favre’s ability to create something out of nothing, fitting his passes into very tight spaces. We’re seeing a steady diet of short passes, with Favre getting rid of the ball very quickly. But Kris Jenkins continues to play like a man among boys at defensive tackle, the pre-eminent run stuffer in the NFL this year, carrying the Jets defense on his broad shoulders.

Ravens - Ten different Baltimore defenders have notched at least one sack this year, tied for the most in the NFL. Seven different defenders have at least one interception, and six have forced a fumble. Even with three starters out with injuries in the secondary,this defense made big plays all day against the Browns. Joe Flacco is getting better and better every week, the class of this year’s crop of rookie quarterbacks. We’re seeing some downfield passing out of this offense now, something that Baltimore wasn’t doing a month ago. Mark Clayton caught a long bomb for a touchdown, and on the very next drive, Flacco took another long shot down field to his ‘big play’ receiver – the same receiver that hadn’t caught a single touchdown pass since 2006. The coaching staff clearly demonstrated their confidence level with Flacco by running a no-huddle offense throughout the second half, trailing on the road.

Titans - This secondary is filled with ‘no-names’ – lower round draft choices, unsung veteran free agents, yet they are playing like the best secondary in the NFL. When did Cortland Finnegan become an emerging superstar? How did Chris Hope suddenly develop into one of the NFL’s best safeties? Coaching has to be at least some part of this equation -- let’s give some credit to unheralded defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. The entire Titans offensive philosophy revolves around rushing the football effectively,and once again, they did a stellar job controlling the line of scrimmage and opening up running lanes for LenDale White and Chris Johnson, the best ‘thunder and lightning’ RB duo in the NFL this year. With only four sacks given up by the offensive line all year, the Titans consistently avoid difficult down and distance situations.

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Sunday Football Research
By Indiancowboy

Tennessee vs. Chicago

How good are these Titans eh? This team sits at 8-0 and heck, is one game away from going to the playoffs this year. They could end the season on a 1-7 run and still likely manage to make it to the playoffs. But, the question begs, does this team have what it takes in the post season? As per right now, they face a Bears team that is 5-3. The last time these two teams met was in 2004. The Titans come off an overtime win at home against the Packers winning by a field goal. They had covered the previous 7 games before that. They have been predominantly playing unders on the road. The Bears have been very competitive this year in nearly every game and come off a win against the Lions but failed to cover the -12.5 spread. The public is about 58% on the visiting Titans here and I lean slightly on the under and I do have the Titans winning this game by a field goal. Lean more on the under though, but no play for me either way.

Jaguars vs. Lions

See, I love taking home dogs. But, how does one even think about taking the Lions at 0-8 thus far in the year and they continue to play with heart like they did on the road at Chicago but they fail miserably in the fourth quarter to finish ballgames. Look for the Lions to cover many games in the coming weeks as they do have more home games lined up as they have only played 3 home games thus far. The Lions have covered 3 of their last 4 but they run into a Jacksonville team that is peeved and frankly, likely will miss the playoffs. I am telling you know that the Jaguars will likely miss the playoffs this year as they are just 3-5 and they have many more tough games to come. The Jags have lost back to back games including Cleveland at home and the Bengals on the road. As hard as it is to believe, I will lean on the Lions once again as they have covered 3 of their last 4 games and will likely cover many more games as they have more games coming up. But, I just can't go against the Jags coming off back to back losses. So, just a lean.

Seahawks vs. Miami

Note, that Hasselback is out and Branch is doubtful for this game. But, there is a lot of reverse line movement for this game as it seems the Seahawks will be competitive in this game. This team is 2-6, Holmgren is definitely leaving after this year, they have no shot at the playoffs, Miami has covered 5 of 6 games, comes off a big win at Denver and a big win against the Bills at home. I can't even begin to tell you how big that win was against the Bills as they now hold the tiebreaker over the Bills. I know it sounds a bit crazy, but I lean on the Seahawks here to hang tough as their backups are well versed given their injuries from last year. Besides, the Seahawks come off getting embarrassed by the Eagles, I see a better performance out of them today.

Rams vs. Jets

The Rams come in as a big dog on the road today and keep in mind this is the same team that although got spanked by the Cardinals yesterday, you better believe Coach H will have these boys ready to go for today. Remember, this is the same team that went on the road to lose by a touchdown to the Pats, and was the same team that had covered 3 in a row before getting blown out by the Cardinals at home - Warner's old team. This team destroyed Dallas at home, beat the Redskins outright on the road and covered against New England on the road. I think the Jets have a bit of a hangover here after their big win at Buffalo and I look for the Rams to bounce-back here and stay within single digits and consequently this is my NFL Free pick today.

Green Bay vs. Minnesota

This is a crapshoot. Seriously - how do you go against a Packers team that is expecting to win today coming off the tough overtime loss to the only undefeated team in the league on the road and the Vikings who are at home and have revenge from a 19-24 loss earlier this year to Green Bay. No thanks, I will stay as far away from this game as possible.

Carolina vs. Oakland

Look at the Panthers go. This is a year where they must see results or heads will roll and that includes Fox's head this year. Consequently, they have Jake and Steve Smith healthy and they are performing. This team sits atop the division along with the Bucs at 6-2 and not surprisingly 2/3rds of the public favor the road Panthers. But, if you are on the Panthers don't feel too discouraged as 66% favored the Falcons over them as well and that worked out just fine for the public. Carolina comes off a nice win over the Cardinals at home although they did not cover and outside of their first win at San Diego, this team has struggled on the road losing their next two in ugly fashion. Just staying away from this game as Oakland does have some bite as they did beat the Jets at home earlier this year.

Colts vs. Steelers

Maybe there is a changing of the guard this year. The Colts sit at 4-4 and don't have that comfortable padded wins as they do every year as they reach the second half of the season. The Steelers sit at 6-2 and of course this is much more of a must-win for the Colts who look to make the playoffs. The Colts did beat New England at home and Pittsburgh comes off a big win against Washington on the road and don't forget, Pitt did lose to the Giants at home so it is not out of their realm to lose at home. To be honest, I can see this game going either way, but I would lean on the Colts on the ML a bit in this one, but staying away.

Giants vs. Eagles

How great is this game going to be huh? The Eagles come off spanking the Seahawks on the road, they return home with the playoffs within site as this team is 5-3 and 3-1 at home. This is certainly a game they can win as if the Browns can beat the defending champs at home, then why can't the Eagles at home with a very hostile crowd. In fact, the Eagles are actually favored by a field goal in this game. The Giants are a solid 7-1 as they picked up nicely from last year and let me tell you something about this line, it has not budged a bit and still remains at -3. The Eagles come off destroying the Cowboys at home and beating Pitt on the road. Once again, this is a game that can go either way as both teams come into this game having covered 3 games in a row.

NFL Sunday Free Pick: St. Louis Rams +9.5

The Rams come in as a big dog on the road today and keep in mind this is the same team that although got spanked by the Cardinals yesterday, you better believe Coach H will have these boys ready to go for today. Remember, this is the same team that went on the road to lose by a touchdown to the Pats, and was the same team that had covered 3 in a row before getting blown out by the Cardinals at home - Warner's old team. This team destroyed Dallas at home, beat the Redskins outright on the road and covered against New England on the road. I think the Jets have a bit of a hangover here after their big win at Buffalo and I look for the Rams to bounce-back here and stay within single digits and consequently this is my NFL Free pick today.

NBA Sunday Free Pick: Hawks/Thunder Under 183

I like the under here for several reasons. For starters, I love keeping a close eye on my Hawks. They are 4-0 and they have done it with great defense. They are 3-1 to the under and on the road they have held two great opponents in Orlando and New Orleans to 79 and 85 points respectively. Do you not think they will wreak havoc on a Oklahoma City team (once Seattle Supersonics) by holding them under 90 and even possibly 80 points? In short, I think game follows the prototype of the Celtics vs. OKC at home where the C's won 96-83 and the game went under 182. Much in the same way, look for the Hawks to take control of this game and watch this game dip under in the process as well.

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