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NFL Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 16

NFL Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 16

Saturday's Tip Sheet

This year’s preseason has been all about the home team and that trend continued on Friday. Prior to yesterday’s action, home teams were 15-2 straight up and that number improved to 19-2 after all four home squads captured victories last night.

Bettors also saw a bunch of low-scoring games in Week 1 but it appears that trend could be balanced out by next weekend. After watching the ‘under’ go 14-4 in the first 18 games of the preseason, the scoreboard was finally lit up on Friday as the ‘over’ went 4-0.

Seven of the eight teams in action scored 24-plus points and half of them busted 30 or more points. With starters getting more minutes and the new emphasis of penalties being called that favor the offense, bettors shouldn’t be surprised to see more points going forward.

We have eight more preseason games on Saturday and with the help of our expert handicappers, we’ll focus on four primetime matchups for you to follow.

Be sure to check out all the openers and lines moves, plus follow us on Twitter for daily NFL updates.

N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati

2014 Preseason Records: NYJ (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS), CIN (0-1 SU, 0-0-1 ATS)

Week 1 Review: New York held off Indianapolis 13-10 but failed to cover as a 3 ½-point home favorite. The combined 23 points never threatened the closing total of 39. Cincinnati found itself on the short end of a wild shootout loss to Kansas City, 41-39. The Bengals earned a push (+2) with a late touchdown and two-point conversion while the ‘over’ cashed in the second quarter.

Preseason H2H: These teams didn’t meet last summer. In 2011, the Jets captured a 27-7 win at home while the Bengals returned the favor in 2012 with a 17-6 from Cincinnati.

Expert Handicapper Notes: Tony Stoffo - New York Jets at Cincinnati

We have a strong multi-year preseason trend going here - as the Bengals under head coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals sure like to bring a big effort in their first home preseason game - as the Bengals are a perfect 4-0 both straight up and against the spread the last 4 years. The Jets may be the perfect opponent to extend this streak for the Bengals as the Jets in the first road preseason game over the past 3 years are a money making 0-3.

N.Y. Giants at Indianapolis

2014 Preseason Records: NYG (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS), Indianapolis (0-1 SU, 1-0 ATS)

Week 1 Review: This will be the third preseason game for the Giants, who defeated the Bills 17-13 in the Hall of Fame Game and the Steelers 20-16 last Saturday. The ‘under’ connected in both games, barely. The Colts lost a 13-10 decision to the Jets while covering as 3 ½-point road ‘dogs.

Preseason H2H: In last year’s preseason, the Colts defeated the Giants 20-12 as two-point road underdogs while the combined 32 points fell ‘under’ the closing total of 41 ½.

Expert Handicapper Notes: Mike Rose - New York’s season was over in October a year ago as the Giants started 0-6 before finishing the season 7-9. The Giants have a pair of preseason wins thanks to playing in the Hall of Fame game and their running game has shown significant improvement with the addition of RBs Rashard Jennings and rookie Andre Williams, who should be in the spotlight even more this week with backup RB Peyton Hillis out for a bit with an ankle injury suffered last week. The offensive line is clearly stronger and going to offer better protection for Eli Manning and the Giants QBs. Veteran backup Curtis Painter is 10/10 for 94 yards in the preseason and promising rookie Ryan Nassib has played well in two games going 19/33 for 220 yards. Manning may play more to get sharper in the new West Coast offense installed this year. The Giants had a top-10 defense last year while the Colts won 11 games with a defense that ranked #20 and was below average against the run and pass despite playing in a very weak division with poor QB play.

Buffalo at Pittsburgh

2014 Preseason Records: BUF (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS), PIT (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)

Week 1 Review: Similar to the Giants, this will be the third preseason game for the Bills. Buffalo bounced back from the HOF Game loss to New York with a 20-18 road win over Carolina last Friday. The Bills led from start to finish and avoided overtime by stopping the Panthers from converting a late two-point conversion. Pittsburgh fell to the aforementioned Giants 20-16 in Week 1. The Steelers offense produced nine points on three field goals while the defense helped the cause with a fumble recovery touchdown.

Preseason H2H: The pair met in 2012 and the Steelers ripped the Bills 38-7 as 2 ½-point road underdogs. The ‘over’ (39.5) cashed.

Expert Handicapper Notes: ASA – The Steelers' Mike Tomlin has been very successful in the preseason and goes out to win games. He had a 19-10 record in the preseason entering this season and they lost their opener in Week 1. After a rare “off” season last year where the Steelers finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs we expect them to emphasize winning this game in front of their home fans. Buffalo isn’t in a great spot here in our opinion. They are playing their 3rd straight week away from home after losing to the Giants in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, OH and then beating Carolina on the road last week 20-18. They squeaked by the Panthers despite the fact Carolina start QB Cam Newton didn’t even play in the game. The yardage was fairly close in that contest but the Panthers turned the ball over three times to just one for Buffalo which was the difference in the game.

Miami at Tampa Bay

2014 Preseason Records: MIA (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS), TB (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)

Week 1 Review: The Dolphins and Buccaneers both suffered 16-10 losses in Week 1 of the preseason on the road to the Falcons and Jaguars respectively. Each team also saw the ‘under’ connect as well.

Preseason H2H: These teams square off every preseason. The Buccaneers have won and covered the last three meetings, but two of the margins were decided by four points or less. Total bettors should note that the ‘under’ is 16-3 in the last 19 preseason encounters, which includes a current run of six straight.

Expert Handicapper Notes: Pat Hawkins – The Buccaneers looked very weak in their preseason opener last week against Jacksonville, losing 16-10 on the road. I expect head coach Lovie Smith and Tampa Bay to have their offense performing at a higher level than it did in the first week of the preseason. Prior to last week’s loss, Smith was 6-2 in his last eight exhibition games, which tells you that he takes these games to heart. Look for the Bucs to put a much better performance out on the field as Lovie makes his home debut against intrastate rival Miami.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 16

NFL Preseason Point Spreads and Picks
By: Mike Wilkening

For pro football fans, Saturday night could feel ever so slightly like a fall Sunday afternoon.

Eight exhibition games will be played on Saturday, with six slated to start between 7 and 8 p.m. ET. Consider it practice for when it’s time to toggle between a bushel of 1 p.m. games come the regular season.

Two of the eight games will be televised on NFL Network, with Baltimore at Dallas following Green Bay at St. Louis

The latter of these contests could be especially interesting. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo will make his exhibition debut as he returns from back surgery. Will his play give us any clue as to his form?

Similarly, we’ll get a closer look at Ravens tailback Ray Rice, who carried the ball just three times in Baltimore’s regular-season opener vs. San Francisco. Can he recapture his best form? And what sort of reception will he receive in his first road game as he faces a two-game NFL suspension for hitting his now-wife?

Line: Ravens -1, Total 41.5

Line movement and notes: The Cowboys opened as the 1-point favorite , but by Thursday, most books in town had moved to Ravens -1. As of Friday, some book were dealing 42 for the total.

At the MGM Resorts sports books, “95 percent” of the action has been on Baltimore, vice president of race and sports Jay Rood told The Linemakers on Sporting News on Friday.

The Linemakers’ lean: John Harbaugh gets his teams ready to play, be it the regular season or preseason, where he’s 16-9 SU and 4-2 SU in Week 2. True to that form, the Ravens -- in particular backup QB Tyrod Taylor -- were impressive in a 23-3 win over the 49ers last week.

The Cowboys, meanwhile, are 0-3 in the second week of the exhibition slate under Jason Garrett. But there are deeper problems in Big D – in fact, it’s hard to find anything positive about the team. Expect Tony Romo to be rusty in his first game back after surgery.

Ravens -1 is the play.

Here’s a primer on the other seven games to be played Saturday. Lines are the Vegas consensus as of Friday. For current spreads and totals visit our live odds page.

Green Bay at St. Louis (-2.5, 41)

The Packers are 6-2 straight-up and against the number in second preseason games under head coach Mike McCarthy. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is slated to play after sitting out the exhibition opener vs. Tennessee.

Similarly, Rams starting quarterback Sam Bradford will also make his preseason debut Saturday. However, St. Louis backers shouldn’t mind when reserve Shaun Hill gets some playing time. Since 2010, Hill has completed 98-of-154 passes for 1,029 yards with nine TDs and no picks in exhibition play.

N.Y. Giants at Indianapolis (-2, 41)

The Giants continue to please UNDER backers. Since 2008, the UNDER is 16-10 in Giants exhibition contests, and the bet cashed in the club’s first two 2014 preseason contests.

The Colts are expected to play their first-stringers through the first quarter, coach Chuck Pagano indicated. The Colts are 4-1 to the UNDER in exhibition games since 2013.

N.Y. Jets at Cincinnati (-3, 41.5)

The Bengals tallied four offensive touchdowns in a 41-39 loss to Kansas City in their preseason opener. Cincinnati outgained Kansas City 376-304 but surrendered three return TDs (two interceptions, one punt). Dating back to last season, the Bengals have scored at least 27 points in four of their last five exhibitions.

The Jets have won four exhibition games in a row. They are 3-2 in second preseason games under Rex Ryan.

Miami at Tampa Bay (-2.5, 37)

The Dolphins’ reserve QB play is a storyline to watch, with newly-signed Brady Quinn joining the competition for a job. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, have a clear-cut backup in former starter Mike Glennon, who led Tampa Bay to all 10 of its points in the exhibition loss at Jacksonville.

Buffalo at Pittsburgh (-2, 40)

The Bills and Steelers practiced together this week, and Buffalo quarterback EJ Manuel drew positive reviews for his play in his second training camp practice against Pittsburgh’s defense. Manuel also picked it up in the Bills’ second preseason game after a shaky debut in the Hall of Fame game against the Giants, completing 9-of-13 passes for 96 yards.

The Steelers haven’t covered in the preseason since August 25, 2012, a six-game span. For what it's worth, that last cover came against Buffalo.

Atlanta at Houston (-3, 40)

In a 32-0 loss at Arizona in the exhibition opener, the Texans were outgained 407-172, and they did not convert a single third down. However, at the MGM books, “100 percent” of the money has been on Houston, Rood said.

The Falcons’ defense allowed Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to complete 6-of-6 passes for 62 yards and a TD in his lone drive in the preseason opener.

Arizona at Minnesota (-3, 38)

The Cardinals are 4-1 straight-up and against the number in preseason play in Bruce Arians’ tenure. The UNDER is 4-1 in this span.

Vikings quarterbacks were sacked six times in the exhibition opener against Oakland. Overall, Minnesota gained just 236 yards on 66 plays. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater was just 6-of-13 for 49 yards in his preseason debut and will have to pick it up to catch Matt Cassel for the starting job.

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Re: NFL Betting News and Notes Saturday, August 16

Saturday’s NFL Week 2 Preseason Betting Primer

Saturday marks the busiest day of the NFL’s second week of exhibition action, with half the league taking the field. Here’s a look at betting notes for the eight games scheduled for Saturday:

Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams (-2.5, 43)

The battle for the fifth and final wide receiver job in Green Bay could very well come down to whichever of the contenders performs better Saturday afternoon; Myles Whyte, Chris Harper, Jeff Janis, Kevin Dorsey and Alex Gillett are all in the hunt. The Packers are expected to have running back Eddie Lacy make his preseason debut; he appeared in his first exhibition game against the Rams a year ago and ran for 40 yards on just eight carries.

Quarterback Sam Bradford will see his first game action in nearly 10 months Saturday, with head coach Jeff Fisher predicting that Bradford would see at least a quarter of action – and possibly more. The Rams are expected to give running back Zac Stacy more work than the four carries he saw last week – though St. Louis didn’t really need him, erupting for 150 yards on 32 carries in a 26-24 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

New York Jets at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, 41.5)

Geno Smith and New York’s first-team offense will play the entire first half against the Bengals, according to head coach Rex Ryan; Michael Vick will also see time under center, as will sixth-round pick Tajh Boyd, who will play ahead of Matt Simms. The Jets have won four of their last preseason games overall after dropping their previous five – including all four they played in 2012.

Head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters that quarterback Andy Dalton will likely see between 15-25 snaps against the Jets; Dalton saw 22 and 23 snaps, respectively, in the second preseason game the last two seasons. Cincinnati will likely take it easy with its starters Saturday, as it begins a stretch of three games in 12 days that wraps up Aug. 28 against the visiting Indianapolis Colts.

Baltimore Ravens at Dallas Cowboys (+1, 42.5)

Veteran tight end Owen Daniels hasn’t practiced since Monday as he deals with nagging leg soreness, and his status for Saturday night’s game remains up in the air. A sprained ankle suffered by Asa Jackson – who had an interception in Baltimore’s exhibition opener – has left the nickel back position wide open entering Saturday, with Chykie Brown and Dominique Franks expected to vie for playing time in Jackson’s absence.

Quarterback Tony Romo will see his first game action since undergoing back surgery in late-December; he’s expected to be eased back in after participating in only 11 of the team’s 16 scheduled practices – and avoiding practices on back-to-back days. Romo is expected to have his usual cast of characters against the Ravens, including running back DeMarco Murray, wide receiver Dez Bryant and tight end Jason Witten.

New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts (-2, 41.5)

The Giants’ secondary will face a major test against Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, but come in with positive momentum as the starters have yet to allow a passing touchdown through their first two preseason games. Quarterback Eli Manning has yet to really air it out – his longest throw of the preseason has been for just 10 yards – but head coach Tom Coughlin says looking for a deep strike isn’t something he’ll force against the Colts.

The Colts’ backfield will be a little more robust in the team’s second exhibition game, with safety LaRon Landry and cornerback Vontae Davis expected to play versus the Giants after being limited by groin injuries. Luck and the first-team offense is expected to see up to 25 plays against New York, with receiver T.Y. HIlton expected to suit up despite missing a pair of practices this week.

Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers (-2.5, 40.5)

After receiving rave reviews from coaches and teammates – highlighted by receiver Mike Williams’ assertion that Thursday’s practice was “the best I’ve ever seen him,” quarterback E.J. Manuel is expected to see plenty of time Saturday against the Steelers. He’ll look to improve a scuffling Buffalo first-team offense that has managed just two field goals in five possessions through two exhibition games.

The Steelers are expected to give all three of its prominent running backs playing time, though it’s anybody’s guess as to how Le’Veon Bell, LeGarrette Blount and rookie Dri Archer will be used against the Bills. Pittsburgh has been one of the worst teams in the preseason over the past season-plus, losing five straight exhibition games after going 19-6 over their previous 25 preseason contests.

Miami Dolphins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5, 37.5)

It isn’t clear whether running back Knowshon Moreno (knee) will make his Dolphins debut against the Buccaneers, but he hasn’t been full speed yet in practice and is expected to sit out at least another week. His absence will likely mean a decent workload for expected Week 1 starter Lamar Miller, who has reportedly looked sensational in camp.

The focus on the Tampa Bay side of the ball will be on the progress of rookie wide receiver Mike Evans, who has looked inconsistent so far in training camp and will need to earn the No. 2 receiver job opposite Vincent Jackson. Last week’s shoddy performance against the Jaguars has prompted coach Lovie Smith to shake up the offensive line, highlighted by the demotion of Jamon Meredith from the starting right guard spot.

Atlanta Falcons at Houston Texans (-3, 40.5)

Star wide receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones were given Thursday off to rest ahead of Saturday’s tilt with the Texans; while White is expected to see the field, head coach Mike Smith hasn’t said whether Jones – recovering from a major foot injury – would join him. The first team offense, led by quarterback Matt Ryan, is expected to play the entire first half in Houston.

No. 1 quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t in danger of losing his Week 1 starting job. but could use a better performance Saturday than the one he posted in Houston’s exhibition opener against the Arizona Cardinals (6-for-14, 55 yards, two interceptions.) Eyes will also be on No. 1 pick Jadeveon Clowney, who looked solid in his debut but will need to work on his drop-back coverage versus the Texans.

Arizona Cardinals at Minnesota Vikings (-3, 39.5)

Starting Cardinals tight end John Carlson is expected to see action against the team that released him back in March, but he likely won’t play for long as Arizona looks to keep him fresh – and concussion-free – for the start of the regular season. Backup quarterback candidate Ryan Lindley may be playing for his spot on the roster; he’s expected to see the majority of the second half.

Fans hoping to see running back Adrian Peterson will be disappointed yet again, as the Vikings are expected to rest him until the start of the regular season – just as they have every year since 2011. The quarterback battle between Matt Cassel and Teddy Bridgewater will once again take center stage Saturday, with Cassel playing the opening half and Bridgewater expected to play the majority of the final two quarters.

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