Nothing new, really. Back to the grind! With NBA Blogs coming out nightly, I'll likely go back to adding all the games with early lines on Sunday or Monday, and all the games with lines that come out later in the week on Wednesday or Thursday. So, gone are the Blogs of daily NFL updates -- we'll just fire out the games in 2 big waves, and go to town on 'em.
Anyway, back to the quick PERCEPTION LINE ERROR notes on EVERY game, since, dammit, that's what I've been doing since last December. I will make the following statement, and I challenge anyone to disprove it:
"No one, Pro or otherwise, has broken down, in writing, more games, from a betting standpoint, over the last 12 months, for free, than me."
And no, there are no signs of carpal tunnel yet.
1) NFL -- SUNDAY ALL ACCESS PASS with GAME OF THE WEEK -- 8-3 on "BIG" NFL Plays -- off a rare down weekend (boo!), but there's no doubt this one is all set for a fat casher!!
2) CFB -- CFB GAME Of The WEEK -- Now 1-0 on Games of the Year...8-0 Last 8 Straight College Big Plays, and now haven't lost a CFB Saturday Paid Play since mid-September! Also, 7 Consecutive CFB Winning Saturdays! Very quietly, we've just won every College Card since week 3.
3) NBA --On average, we'll have about 1.5 plays per day, and given the season is roughly 180 days, and the SEASON PASS is just $495, you're looking at an investment of LESS THAN $2 per play! If you buy the plays individually, it will probably run about $3,000, so...GET THE SEASON PASS - it's the best deal at Pregame.
Week 9 Recap and Lessons Learned: This lesson is so simple, it's nuts.
Sometimes, the books get beat!
We make a lot of our bets on inherent line value, and generally, our losing bets are going to coincide with the heavily-bet public sides picking up wins. As it turned out, for instance, no line inflation in that Dallas-Green Bay game was going to be enough. Yes, it was inflated against the line that would have split the generally betting public 50-50, but a point or two wasn't going to do to the trick.
Still, in the long term, it's about sticking to those juicy lines. Hell, here's a quick illustration -- if you merely LINE-SHOP, you can usually break even, and that usually means a half point here, a point there. So, if we can find the additional point or two, then we're in great shape to win....just, not every single game.
What did you guys learn?
Sports Wagering: NFL
Baltimore Ravens @ Atlanta Falcons (-1) with a total of 43.5;
The Ravens beat the piss out of the Miami Dolphins, showing us that they've still got a few tricks up their sleeve, and also that the Dolphins aren't perfect away from home. The Falcons, meanwhile, completely dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and somehow managed to squeak by with a 6-point win, and it took a goal-line stand just to pull that off. But, let's remember, the line is built on what people saw over the weekend, and Baltimore's crushing win over Miami will impact the bettor more than Atlanta's failed cover against the Bucs. I do think, though, that both teams are a hair overvalued right now, so the slight line value on the Falcons side is something, but is it enough?
Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts (-8) with a total of 47.5;
This is a dangerous game, and a big line confirms that fact. On perception alone, you could argue that the line is going to be inflated on the Colts side, since, somehow, Indianapolis covered last week in Philadelphia. They lost the game, but they got some help from the striped shirts and kept it close. Now, Indy comes home to take on the Bengals, who played awfully hard in the 4th quarter of their MNF loss to the Steelers, and basically landed on the number. For those that got +6.5, they got a win, but the early line would have given the Steelers the cover. No harm, no foul. On that note, you'd like Cincinnati getting all those points, right? Well, not so fast. Cincy played their "must win" game last week, are on short rest, traveling, and might be in line for a big-time letdown game. Be very, very careful before backing the "line value" in this game, since there are other big factors at play.
Houston Texans (-1) @ Jacksonville Jaguars with a total of 50;
Houston's complete lack of defense continues to be the story, as they've fallen to the Colts on Monday Night in embarrassing fashion, then followed that up with a home loss to the Chargers, a team that you really need to work hard to let beat you. Now Houston travels to Jacksonville to battle a Jaguars team that either plays like title contenders or the worst team in the NFL. In terms of value, I still think Houston is overvalued. This is a team that puts up big-time offensive numbers, but general betting public doesn't think a ton about defense. Jacksonville can definitely score when Garrard is healthy, and Jones-Drew can be a force, especially against a weak opponent. Jacksonville isn't going to be overvalued because of the one win over Dallas, though Houston is certainly on the decline in the public's mind. This line should probably be at Pick, so just a slight edge to the Jags.
Tennessee Titans @ Miami Dolphins (-2) with a total of 41.5;
Tennessee is coming off a "bye" week, and that can't be overstated. The Dolphins, meanwhile, played some difficult road games, went 1-1 in Cincy and Baltimore, and now they come home to try to figure out how to win in their own stadium. Tennessee, meanwhile, has actually shown some nice resilience on the road, and Vince Young, when he's on his game, can break down just about any defense. The addition of Randy Moss makes this game a likely no-play for me, since his presence is messing with the line. Prior to Moss showing up, I think this line was right on the nose - Miami was getting some betting love because of their road prowess, and Tennessee is generally well-regarded because of the VY star power.
Minnesota Vikings (-1.5) @ Chicago Bears with a total of 38;
Oh, Jay Cutler, how you confuse and befuddle us. Cutler throws ZERO interceptions in Buffalo, and Chicago still barely pulls out the win. What is this team, really? In any case, Minnesota isn't playing well enough to be a road favorite, so right there you can gather that the line value is with Chicago. Problem is, can Chicago have the same success against Minny they had against Buffalo? Not likely. The Vikings are getting some positive press for the first time in ages thanks to a win over the Cardinals, and, to me, if you can get Chicago at a FG dog at any point this week, I would consider that. Less than a FG is only slight value, and probably not enough to warrant backing such a wild card in Cutler.
Detroit Lions @ Buffalo Bills (-3) with a total of 42.5;
And down goes Stafford. Injured star theory? Probably not, in this case, because it's the second time he's gone down this year, there's no Shaun Hill to actually run the offense (Drew Stanton stinks), and the prognosis on Stafford is that he's out for the year. That, to me, has all the ingredients for a huge letdown. Once again, we can't really get a good feel for the line based on perception because Detroit has been covering all year, so they were getting some respect, but now with Stafford out, that's washed out, and with Buffalo, they seem to be finding ways to hang around in games with better teams, but still can't find their way to a win. Two awful teams now, so who will the World prefer? Seems like Buffalo finally has a shot to get a rare win, but also covering 3 might be asking a fair amount. This game comes down to whether you think the Lions are going to give up or fight harder.
New York Jets (-3.5) @ Cleveland Browns with a total of 36.5;
The Jets pulled out an OT win over a Lions team that basically gifted them the game, failing to cover but definitely getting some media coverage because of the comeback and OT win. The Browns are coming off a tremendous showing against the Patriots, a game that Cleveland simply dominated from start to finish. Problem here is that Peyton Hillis isn't going to get that same 5-6 yard push on first down against the Jets front line that they did against New England. I like the Browns, and I think they're a solid up-and-coming team, but the fact that this line is lower than what New England was giving Cleveland last week tells me that the value has already been dialed down a notch on the Browns. I don't see Cleveland winning this game, and I believe the Browns "cashed in" on their huge value this last week.
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.5) with a total of 35;
Things can't get a whole lot uglier than they have been for the Panthers. They won a game over the Niners a few weeks back, got bopped in St. Louis, lost Matt Moore while getting crushed by the Saints, and lost Jonathan Stewart in that game, as well. DeAngelo Williams is due back this week, and Tony Pike is supposedly starting, which makes Carolina a huge wild card. From a pure perception standpoint, they're the value side. Tampa Bay just keeps playing close games, and finding ways to cover. They got completely dominated by the Falcons, but 2 big kick-returns led to 14 points, and that got them the ATS win despite losing the game. Now, as a big favorite for the first time, Tampa Bay is laying over a TD? That's too many points. The Bucs aren't going to completely dominate anyone, though they find ways to win, and probably should again, here. If you can get Panthers over a TD, consider it, since this line is about 1.5 points too high.
Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) @ Denver Broncos with a total of 42;
Wow, now this is an inflated line. I know Denver looked awful against the Raiders, and equally terrible in London against the Niners, but the Broncos are a proud team that can do some nice things in the passing game if they don't shoot themselves in the foot. The Chiefs surprised a lot of teams early in the year, but now opponents know what to expect, and the League is adjusting. This line should probably be closer to a Pick, maybe even Denver by a point, so depending on where it goes, it's absolutely a game that should stay on our radar. The Chiefs' overtime loss to the Raiders, to me, doesn't hurt them all that much, in terms of public reaction. The World still likes the Chiefs, and that game was very, very close to the spread. Clear value on the Denver side, here.
St. Louis Rams @ San Francisco 49ers (-5.5) with a total of 38;
Have I lost my damn mind? What is this line? Are the Niners STILL such a darling that they could warrant a line like this one? I have to think the Rams are going to fall into that dreaded "public underdog" category of play, but I simply can't see how the Niners can be considered 2.5-points better than the Rams right now. Both teams are coming off "bye" weeks, so there's no huge advantage there, and traveling West is often easier than traveling East, since this game is a 4:15pm eastern time game, not at all a "weird hour" for a team coming from Central time. The Rams last game was an easy home win over the Panthers, and the Niners last game was a UK victory over the Broncos, so both teams are coming off nice wins...still, I might just have to say that the oddsmakers might be off on this one. The line value should be with San Francisco, considering how bad they've looked at times this year, but I just don't think it is, yet. The Rams defense, in particular, has been very impressive.
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals (-3) with a total of 41;
There's really almost no perception value in this one. Arizona stinks, and managed to piss away a near-win in Minnesota despite getting a kickoff return TD and a fumble recovery TD in the same game. If you can't win with 14 points from teams besides your offense, you probably can't win at all. They are finding ways to get Larry Fitzgerald involved, which is good news, but the Arizona defense is lacking, and the offense sputters if it can even get in the red zone. Seattle will likely get Matt Hasselbeck back this week, and are coming off 2 straight UGLY losses, so perhaps, in some small way, the fact that this line is a wash might be a teeny, tiny bit of value on the Seahawks side, if only because they're in potential bounceback mode. If they can force a couple turnovers, maybe make a big play, this is a game the Seahawks can win, so in a coinflip, if you're catching a FG, we might be able to argue that that small score is indeed the value in this line. Convoluted, I know...
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants (-13.5) with a total of 44.5;
I hate to say it, but there is some colossal value on the Cowboys, if you actually believe they'll try to win this game. Wade Phillips is gone, and we've seen hundreds of times a coach gets fired, and the team wakes up for a few games. We also saw last Sunday Night that Dallas's problems were largely mental, and that they just weren't invested in actually trying to win the game...besides Dez Bryant, I suppose. Here, the Giants clobbered them in Dallas a couple weeks back, so there's a revenge angle, and catching two touchdowns is just unbelievable for a team that was supposed to challenge for a Superbowl. I don't know if I have enough Pepto in my home to get through it, but this line is too high by a solid 3 points. Just look at the last two games these teams played -- the Giants blew out Seattle by 30+, and Dallas lost by that many. Total mismatch of opinions on these two teams.
New England Patriots @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-4) with a total of 45;
Call me crazy, but I think this line is pretty darn close to where it should be. The Patriots won so many games by not screwing up and letting other teams blow holes in their own feet, then finally ran into a buzz-saw last week by the name of Peyton Hillis (the other Peyton). But, in terms of the letdown game, that was certainly it. Tom Brady and company will be more focused for this one, though they're not quite the darling they were a week ago. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, just keeps chugging along. They didn't play the world's finest game in Cincinnati, but the Bengals made too many idiotic mistakes early in the game that their valiant comeback fell just a shade short. Is Pittsburgh sneaking by? Possibly, though I could argue Cleveland's defense is actually better than New England's, at least in terms of stopping the run. Getting over a FG makes me think New England might be a half point of value.