A summary of the week that was in the NFL as it pertains to betting, the book, and the landscape ahead.
The Thin Line
The Cleveland Browns were a 2-2 1/2 point favorite at home to the Miami Dolphins for most of the week but as game time approached the line slowly worked its way to Miami being favored either -1 1/2 or -2. Part of it was likely due to heavy-lifting RB Peyton Hillis coming down with strep throat and missing the game, and perhaps some bettors simply not convinced of the Browns in a role as favorites. Having lost opening week as a home favorite to the Cincinnati Bengals and then beating a bad Indianapolis Colts team, the jury was still out. I am guessing that it still is, based on how Cleveland needed a last minute drive to slip past the Dolphins 17-16. This week Cleveland hosts the Tennessee Titans in another game likely to leave bettors split. Current line as of Tuesday is a “pick” at BetDSI Sportsbook.
I wasn’t sure of the Cincinnati Bengals and suppose bettors much like myself are still not certain as to what to make of them thus far. They opened with the upset at Cleveland and then went and gave the Denver Broncos fits before eventually falling 22-24 in Week Two. The offense behind rookie QB Andy Dalton was looking good with reliable RB Cedric Benson and young WR AJ Green finding his groove. Still the question remained whether it was the Broncos defense helping make them look good. What I was sure of though was that the San Francisco Forty-Niners were a live dog heading into Cincy. Niners lost a tough game to the Dallas Cowboys the previous week, in Overtime, and I felt this was to be a major test for rookie Head Coach Jim Harbaugh in terms of how San Francisco responded. I was confident he would have his team focused and the Bengals went from a -2 1/2 point favorite to close -1 at home. 49ers closed out strong to win 13-8 in what was a tough spot coming in 1-1 and off a heartbreaking defeat to Dallas. San Francisco travels to Philadelphia to meet the Eagles in Week Three.
The Carolina Panthers didn’t need Cam Newton to pass for 400+ yards in order to get their first win, as Newton only went for 158 yards in the air but did throw a 4th quarter TD pass in the rain as the Panthers edged Jacksonville 16-10. Carolina heads to Chicago this week catching 6 1/2 points at BetDSI.
Pittsburgh got tossed around by Baltimore in Week One then came back to shutout Seattle 24-0 the following week, the Steelers are struggling to protect QB Ben Roethlisberger and it showed as they barely got past Indianapolis this past week. Houston Texans are now a -4 1/2 point home favorite to Pittsburgh this weekend.
While Baltimore crushed Pittsburgh to open the season, the Ravens fell flat on their faces in losing to Tennessee in Week Two. Things reverted to the norm on Sunday as Baltimore went to the road and ran over St. Louisby a 37-7 final. Sunday night the Ravens are a -3 -125 favorite in a big game as they host the New York Jets.
Those same Titans, who beat Baltimore in Week Two, are now 2-1 off wins over Baltimore and Denver, yet somehow lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars to open the season. Titans’ ground game has yet to materialize but QB Matt Hasselbeck is making things work with solid o-line protection. He’ll be without super receiver Kenny Britt for the remainder of the season however.
Minnesota Vikings are a great team, but only for half of a game. Three weeks in a row the Vikes have been ahead at the half only to lose the game in the second half. Last week it was 20-0 over Detroit (23-26 final), prior to that was 17-0 at home to Tampa Bay (20-24) and opening week 17-7 at San Diego (fell 17-24). It will be interesting to see if bettors jump all over Minnesota in the first half this week at Kansas City, and if they are ahead, whether bettors take the Chiefs at the half.
The Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills are 3-0 while the Indianapolis Colts are 0-3. Weird.
Things do not get much easier for the New England Patriots. After dropping a wild one at Buffalo the Pats head to the unfriendly confines of the Oakland Raiders looking to try to slow the NFL’s leading rusher Darren McFadden.
Dallas got the win Monday night but I still like the Detroit Lions chances of punishing Dallas on Sunday morning. Cowboys come off a short week and sit as a -1 favorite after a high opening number -3 was hammered all the way down by bettors.
It will be interesting to see how the Buffalo Bills respond to being 3-0 and a road favorite (-3 -115) at Cincinnati on Sunday. Bills players must be sky-high off the comeback win over New England last week, now hit the road, and then host the Philadelphia Eagles next week.
Games of the Week
1:15 Pacific: New England Patriots (-3.5) at Oakland Raiders (55)
5:30 Pacific: New York Jets (41) at Baltimore Ravens (-3 -125)
Games I Won’t Be Watching
10:00 Pacific: New Orleans Saints (6.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars (46.5)
10:00 Pacific: Minnesota Vikings (-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (39.5)