A summary of the week that was in the NFL as it pertains to betting, the book, and the landscape ahead.
It Only Takes One
It often only takes one double-digit favorite to lose outright for the sports books to have a decent day, as was the case on Sunday when the 5-2 New Orleans Saints went to St. Louis as a -13.5 favorite over the 0-6 Rams. St. Louis QB AJ Feeley led a safe game in throwing for 20 passes and 175 yards while RB Steven Jackson went off for 159 yards on 25 carries and 2 TDs. Saints QB Drew Brees was sacked 6 times and picked off twice as the Rams outgained New Orleans and won the time of possession. The victory was big for the Rams and also the sports books and not only was there money on the Saints covering the spread, those who tied the New Orleans moneyline into parlays and the side into teasers were beaten. Breaking up teasers is a big deal as bettor’s tendency is to take favorites down as opposed to choosing the dogs at higher prices.
Last week I wrote this: “I think it is time that Denver just let Tebow be who he is, run an offense that suits him, as opposed to asking him to fit into their mold. At least that way you will find out what the asset you have can do, and value him accordingly.”
Well, the Broncos did what they could to accommodate Tebow with the personnel that they have, and it was a disaster. Tebow’s only success was in garbage time and he looked completely lost and out of sync. Detractors have always said he isn’t the right quarterback for a pro-style offense and that his delivery is long and flawed. By the time his receivers get open he takes too long to get the ball there, if he gets it on target, and that his release is too long and slow. While he deserves another start next week at Oakland (-7.5), the Tebow experiment is losing its legs. Remember too that it was not the current coach or John Elway who brought Tebow in to begin with, so they can cut bait without assuming the blame for his acquisition.
The Pittsburgh Steelers (6-2) and Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) are both on 4 game winning streaks as they contend with the shaky Baltimore Ravens (5-2) atop the AFC North Division. Bengals and Steelers have scored and allowed almost identical numbers so far, with Cincinnati having played one less game. Pittsburgh (-3 -20) hosts Baltimore at home on Sunday night then goes to Cincinnati before getting their bye week. The next two weeks may, or may not, provide some clarity atop the division.
Steelers had a smart game plan of pressing the Patriots receivers because they have the cornerbacks to make it work knowing the New England receivers didn’t have the speed to beat them. The Patriots pick zone coverage apart all the time because they are smart, force them to beat you physically and it is a different game. I also liked watching Steelers TE Heath Miller having a monstrous first quarter on his way to a 7 catch 85 yard game, taking a page out of the New England playbook.
Can we all assume that Kansas City Head Coach Todd Haley has earned the right to keep his job for this rest of the season and head into the next without any concerns? Haley lost star RB Jamaal Charles and top safety Eric Berry early and the team stumbled out of the gate 0-3, they now are in a three-way tie for the division at 4-3 fresh off beating San Diego (23-20) on Monday and Oakland (28-0) the previous week on their way to a 4 game winning streak.
A Betting System
A betting system I have used in the past with success is this: Play ‘On’ any team that starts the season 0-4 when they are at home as a pointspread dog.
This season we have Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams as the teams that started 0-4 out of the gate. The Colts will qualify this week catching a touchdown at home to Atlanta as the Falcons are the biggest road favorite of the week.
Our “0-4 Dog System” had the St Louis Rams qualifying as a play this past week as a +13.5 home dog against the fearsome Saints, the points were a bonus as St. Louis won outright. Week 7 was also a winner with Minnesota +8.5 at home to Green Bay.
ATS SEASON RECORD: 2-0
It is a topsy-turvy world in the NFL with good teams like Baltimore and New Orleans failing as double-digit favorites, predicting the big dog winner or the favorite set roll is never easy as things ebb and flow.
Aren’t 8.5 points too many for the NY Giants to be getting at New England this week as both come in at 5-2?
The New Orleans Saints played two winless teams in consecutive weeks, crushing one (Indianapolis 62-7) and getting beat up by the other (St. Louis 21-31), now head back home against a decent Tampa Bay (4-3) team as a 8.5 favorite
The Jets of New York (4-3) come off their bye having won two straight and finding themselves with a playoff pulse that was oh-so faint when they were 2-3 after Week 5. Big game comes Sunday at (5-2) Buffalo. Bills are a -1.5 favorite there.
Tricky spot this week for the rolling Kansas City Chiefs as they come off the Monday Night win against rival San Diego and the 28-0 victory at the week before. Now they are a 4.5 point favorite as they host Miami and their 0-7 record. This game screams flat spot but we’ll see if HC Haley has the team focused.
Tim Tebow and his Denver Broncos are a +8 dawg at Oakland this week as the Raiders come off their bye week. New QB Carson Palmer should have much of the playbook under wraps now but 8 seem like a lot of points. Oakland is susceptible to the run and we may see a lot of Tebow on Sunday as he puts a rough week behind him.
Games of the Week
1:15 Pacific: New York Giants (51.5) at New England Patriots (-8.5)
5:30 Pacific: Baltimore Ravens (41.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3 -125)
Games I Won’t Be Watching
10:00 Pacific: Atlanta Falcons (-7) at Indianapolis Colts (45)
1:15 Pacific: St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (QB Bradford ? and QB Kolb doubtful)