|Rams should be improved this season|
Lou D’Amico started offering spreads on every week of the NFL season in 2005 when he was running the Plaza, and brought the popular attraction with him to Cantor Gaming in 2008 when he opened the M Resort race and sports book. The initial action is always small, but the talk is always large.
What these spreads do is give bettors a chance to argue with each other on what is a good or bad line throughout each of the weeks. When I went through this process myself, I found several teams to be rated too high with not enough respect given to others, while also not seeing as much of an adjusted variance on teams expected performance as the weeks went on.
Here’s a look at a few of the games that caught my attention the most where there looked to be a 1-point edge on what the game might be when that week finally plays:
Week 2: Denver at Giants +1: The spread doesn’t look too out of whack, maybe pick ‘em would have been better, but the Broncos travel and hype of the Manning brothers from the New York media have me thinking this will be a great spot for the Giants.
Week 3: Rams +4.5 at Dallas: The Cowboys only covered one home game last season and on paper, they still look to be the same team trying to overcome mediocrity led by Tony Romo. Of all the teams on Cantor’s list of odds, I found more value with the Rams games than any other. I like the direction they’re going in led by coach Jeff Fisher. Any team that can cover all their division games last season, playing in one of the toughest divisions, has got my attention.
Week 4: 49ers at Rams +4: Coach Fisher was able to beat the 49ers at home and tie them on the road last season, devising a strong game plan against Jim Harbaugh’s attack. This will be a pivotal game early for the Rams that might shape their season and the home crowd should be up for it.
Week 6: Colts +2.5 at Chargers (MNF): I’ve got the Chargers downgraded a little more than this, even though they made a positive coaching change. Phillip Rivers isn’t the same quarterback he was three years ago and they’re severely lacking in talent around him to make plays, especially on the offensive line. The Colts should have a let down from 2012 -- they played way over their heads, but they are the better team with the better QB here. If Rivers plays the same as he has the past two seasons, and the Chargers start out slow again, the Colts should be -1 by kickoff.
Week 7: Broncos at Colts +3.5 (SNF): The Peyton Manning tour continues with one epic game after another for him, probably none bigger than this one. Indy still loves him, but they’ve moved on. The environment for this game make taking over a field-goal a must.
Week 7: Vikings at Giants -3 (MNF): I think we’ll see the Vikings fall back quite a bit in 2013 and by the time this game occurs, we will likely be looking at Giants -6, especially since it‘s a Monday night game where everyone plays the favorite. The public will also have six weeks of watching Christian Ponder to help sway their opinion. It doesn’t mean the Giants will win, but just forecasting for value, there is no way -- unless Manning gets hurt -- that this game will be 3-flat by kickoff.
Week 8: Seahawks at Rams +4 (MNF): Another Rams home game against the NFC West elite and getting 4-points. It’s hard to pass up considering they split last season -- covering both, the Rams are improved, and they have all the confidence in the world in their system behind Fisher. The Monday night crowd will be a huge edge in this one, and if the Rams are as improved as I think they will be, you’ll be lucky to get +3 by kickoff. .
Week 10: Seahawks at Atlanta PK: The Falcons were -3 in the playoff win against the Seahawks last season, and not much has changed with the Falcons. They might even be better with an improved running game led by Steven Jackson. The home team deserves more respect here, maybe -1.5.
Week 12: Patriots -1.5 vs. Broncos (SNF): I expected the Patriots to be a field-goal in this one, so laying less than that at home against anyone is pure value. The Broncos will be very good this season, but the situation is little different for them coming into 2013. Bill Belichick at home against Manning has always been a good combination for Patriots success. When they met Oct. 7 last season, the Patriots were 6-point home favorites and won 31-21, the Broncos largest loss of the season.
Week 13: Broncos at Chiefs +4.5: After losing at New England, the Broncos would appear to have a cup cake on the schedule against the Chiefs, but I have a feeling Andy Reid will regain the Chiefs home edge they lost last season. Getting +3 or more was always value with the Chiefs at home, and I think Alex Smith will bring back that Arrowhead edge.
Week 13: Patriots PK at Houston: I saw enough between these two last season in two games to feel that not laying anything with the Patriots is sort of a gift. The Patriots beat the Texans 42-14 (-5.5) in the regular season and 41-28 (-9.5) in the playoffs. Maybe it will be different in Houston, but at pick ‘em, I like the Pats chances of covering.
Week 14: Seahawks at 49ers -2.5: This is one where the 49ers should be at least -3 at home, and by kickoff will likely be higher.
Week 15: Saints at Rams +1.5: At this stage on the season, the story on the Rams will be known. The Saints are getting all kinds of respect in all their spreads just because of Jay Payton returning, but aren’t being penalized in the number for the defense returning. The Rams will be favored here even if they’re sub .500.
Week 16: Steelers at Packers -3: I think by this time of the year, the ratings on these two teams will be drastically different with the Packers offering huge value at this price. This is basically saying the Packers and Steelers are equal with only home field separating the two squads, and I don’t find that to be true now, and especially not in week 16 at Lambeau Field. Laying a field goal with Green bay at home is a gift.
More fun will be able to be had within two weeks as they LVH Super Book, MGM Resorts and William Hill sports books are scheduled to release their NFL season win totals. Unlike the individual point spreads where the action through the bet windows is minimal, the season win totals have professional bettors lining up like a pack of hungry wolves waiting to pounce on any perceived edge with limit wagers.
Cantor Gaming's 16 weeks of spreads for 2013 NFL Season