Due to a nasty flu, we didn't end up having an NFL blog last week. It felt weird, and didn't help with our handicapping. I award myself two thumbs down for not getting it done.
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 -- 9-4 on "BIG" NFL Plays -- it's bounceback time! With 3 games on Thursday, stay tuned for potential updates on BIG plays!
2) CFB -- CFB GAME Of The MONTH -- Our Nine Week Winning Streak Ended Saturday with a Loss on Indiana, but it has been a MONSTER Year, and It Isn't Over Yet -- a Rare 3*!
3) NBA -- Pasted from last week: 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: Stick to your routine!
Nothing life-changing about this lesson, but sometimes things change, and you just have to find a way to still try to get things done on their normal schedule, or as close to it as humanly possible.
For instance, I was awfully sick last week, which meant I had the energy in the midday to take care of about half of what I usually do. Of course, because NBA was on a 14-game winning streak, the energy went towards getting NBA work done. But then, as the weekend approached, sufficient energies had not been allocated to football, and the routine was destroyed.
Frantically, I rearranged sleep schedules and other responsibilities to try to get everything done, but it just wasn't/isn't the same.
What have you guys done to help with routines?
Sports Wagering: NFL
New England Patriots (-6.5) @ Detroit Lions with a total of 51;
On perception alone, this one is nearly an automatic play on the Lions. The Patriots are absolutely solid, but laying a TD on the road is a solid 1.5 points more than we should be seeing. You can thank Tom Brady's bonus time on ESPN for that. You can also thank New England picking up that monster win over Pittsburgh 2 weeks back and then hanging on to beat Peyton Manning last week (even though they failed to cover). You might even considering thanking the officials in the Detroit/Dallas game last week for gifting the Cowboys a touchdown on that missed horse-collar. But hey, they're the Lions, right? So, no one ends up caring. Well, we do. Detroit played far better than the final score indicated, and New England has a Monday Night Football date with the Jets coming up next week. This morning sandwich game for New England has "oopsies" written all over it.
New Orleans Saints (-3) @ Dallas Cowboys with a total of 50.5;
Who doesn't love New Orleans right now? Then again, who doesn't suddenly think Dallas is indestructible right now? Not a huge fan of a game where we have two hugely public teams facing off, especially when both teams are actually playing relatively well. I'm tempted to look at the Over, since both teams can definitely score, and the short week makes me think that teams won't have quite the amount of time necessary to gameplan on defense. This one is a fun game to watch, but not quite so to bet.
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets (-8.5) with a total of 43.5;
This line probably looks inflated on the Jets side, but I'm not quite sure the Bengals haven't given up on the season. They got some turnovers early to run up 28 quick points on the Bills, but once the game settled down and Buffalo stopped turning the ball over, they demolished the Bengals. That defense just wasn't in the game, and why should I think they'll be involved in this one. They only have 2 days to prepare, since they'll probably travel Wednesday, and the Jets can put up some numbers when they actually care to. I suppose the concern is that the Jets might, like the Pats above, be playing with one eye on that Monday Night game with New England. And, truth be told, even though the Bengals might have given up on the season, the Jets aren't actually "trying" until the 4th quarter, or so it seems. So, we might just see a game where no one does anything with urgency until midway through the second half. That makes covering 9 points tough, and it makes field goals seem relevant early on.
Minnesota Vikings @ Washington Redskins (-1.5) with a total of 43;
The Vikings can't look a whole lot worse, and they're still ranked as 1.5-point superior to the Skins on a neutral field. Brett Favre has an incredible impact on lines, since it seems like people just refuse to believe that Minnesota just isn't that good. Now, in terms of pure line value, Washington is probably the way to go. In terms of everything else, I wouldn't touch this game with a 45-foot pole. Yeah, I went down to OSH and picked up a better pole. The Vikings fired Brad Childress, and we saw what happened with Dallas when they disposed of their garbage. Will Minnesota respond in kind? Not a chance I want to take on either side of this one.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6.5) @ Buffalo Bills with a total of 42;
The Steelers put a 32-point hurting on the Raiders last week, so they're not going to be much of a value anymore. The Bills are coming off a monster offensive showing, so they're not that tremendous of a value. This is a spot where we're weighing a public team that's currently a tad overrated against a non-public team that's as close to not-underrated as they'll get. This is definitely a coverable number for Pittsburgh, if they're focused. I can't help but think that Pittsburgh might have taken out its aggression last week against the Raiders. They have a game coming up with the Baltimore Ravens next week, so what, really, is the impetus to beat the pants off the Bills? If this line creeps up over a touchdown, it might be worth considering. A 1-score game is, to me, still a little tough.
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans with a total of N/A;
More coming soon as the QB situation unravels.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ New York Giants (-9.5) with a total of 45.5;
I was actually blown away by this opening number, and, not surprisingly, before we can even write a blog 24 hours later, the line has come down a solid 2 points at some books. How far is too far, though? Jacksonville got away with murder last week, committing 6 turnovers and somehow still winning a game they simply had no business winning. Meanwhile, the Giants turned the ball over 5 times, and like normal, they lost. You just can't play like that and expect to win. So, how do these teams follow up? Jacksonville has a strong rushing attack, but Garrard looked a little out of sorts last week. Manning lost Hakeem Nicks, so he has to deal with a slew of backup receivers. There are a ton of questions to be answered from each team. At 9.5, I like Jacksonville. At the current number, it's a tough call. I think you still have to bank on Jacksonville playing til the final whistle.
Carolina Panthers @ Cleveland Browns with a total of N/A;
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) with a total of 42;
I'm not really sure how long it's going to take for the League to take notice of the Buccaneers, because this line is quite hefty. And, much like the Giants/Jags game above, the initial move on this puppy has been straight down, and precipitously. Some of that is because Tampa Bay put a shutout hurting on the Niners last weekend, but on the flip side, Baltimore put a severe 24-point beatdown on the hapless Panthers, as well. But the key point to take away from those games is that not only did the Ravens win the turnover battle, but two of those turnovers led directly to 14 points, and in the span of about 1 minute of football. So, really, they probably shouldn't have covered that game, and Tampa continues to outperform everyone's expectations. And now we're at that part of the season where you sort of "are what you are." Tampa believes in itself, and that team believes it can win every game. I like getting almost 2 scores with the dog.
Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5) @ Chicago Bears with a total of 41.5;
That Bears defense is in for a rude awakening, here. After making Brett Favre look old and Tyler Thigpen look young, the Bears get to face, arguably, the scariest single player in the NFL as 3.5-point home underdogs. From a pure line value standpoint, there's no question that getting over a FG with a competent home team is succulent. The Bears have been running the ball more, executing quicker pass plays, more screens, and trying to limit Cutler's ability to give the game away. So, in effect, they've turned Jay Cutler into Kyle Orton. Congrats, Chicago. Hah. Did the Eagles deserve to cover that game against the Giants? Probably, given New York's turnover issues, the same issues that plague the Bears. However, if Chicago can take care of the ball, they can score on the Eagles defense, which is decent, but not tremendous. To me, there's a key number's worth of line value on this one. I'm not sure that's enough to fade Vick.
Green Bay Packers @ Atlanta Falcons (Pk) with a total of 47.5;
I know we're supposed to focus more on just line value, but the initial move of this line has stood the hairs straight up on top of my head. Atlanta quickly moved to a 2.5-point home favorite, and there's really no obvious reason why, at least from looking at the last couple weeks. Both of these teams have been winning, and Green Bay has been causing teams to fire Head Coaches. Aaron Rodgers is nearly unstoppable, and Matt Ryan is lethal at home. How can we explain this line shift? To me, this game is going to be decided by 1 score. No one is going to get run out of the building, and neither team is going to be truly "out" of the game until it's over. In most cases, I'd take the underdog, but at less than a FG, the line move really makes you wonder. Also, you have to think that perhaps Green Bay looks a hair better than they are, thanks to playing two teams that seem to have given up on the season. The Packers defense has been coming on strong, and I still find the Falcons defense a little suspect. At a Pk, though, it's a value on Atlanta. At 2.5, it's probably off by a half point.
Miami Dolphins @ Oakland Raiders with a total of N/A;
Kansas City Chiefs (-1) @ Seattle Seahawks with a total of 43;
This is an intriguing one, since you're basically looking at a pick'em game between the Chiefs, who peaked early, and now are sort of settling back into the middle of the pack, and the Seahawks, who can beat the Cardinals, but outside of that, they seem to be flailing a bit. Early in the year, Seattle was a great team to back at home and a poor team to back on the road, but lately, they're awfully tough to figure out. Some key turnovers led to a failed cover on the road in New Orleans, but Matt Hasselbeck is throwing the ball well and finding guys. I will give the Chiefs credit, though. They are a tough team, and they know this is a winnable game. They also strike me as the team that wants this one more. And even though this line might be inflated a tiny bit on Kansas City's side, I don't think it's near enough to warrant a play on either team. If you're betting this one, you're doing it for other reasons, and those, to me, point to KC.
St. Louis Rams @ Denver Broncos with a total of N/A;
San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts with a total of N/A;
San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) @ Arizona Cardinals with a total of 38.5;
San Francisco got shut out and looked foolish last weekend in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and if that division weren't such a turd-show, we might be looking to fade the Niners in a season failure letdown spot. Instead, they take their traveling circus on the road to face an Arizona team that, really, can't look a whole lot worse. And this is Monday Night Football? You have to think the Cardinals are going to treat the National ESPN game like it's their superbowl, and the fact that the Niners open up as 5.5 points better than any team on a neutral field is still a joke.