Wednesday, September 30, 2009

NFL Notebook: Saints Are Now The Public Favorites

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

Every year in pro football there is an "It" team in which the entire betting public attempts to ride week after week throughout the season, and usually get there more times than not. This year it is the New Orleans Saints who have wowed the audience with a seemingly unstoppable offense.

"The Saints are one of the favorites of the public thus far because of their high powered offense and the fact that they have covered easily in their games," said Art Manteris, vice-president of Station Casino’s Las Vegas Sports Books. "I had a few respected people tell me early on how high they were on the Saints, and wagers on season totals reflected so."

Station’s opened the Saints to win 9 games, under -135, and ended up closing 9 over -120. A huge variable in that total’s equation, the road games at Philadelphia and Buffalo, was answered when the Saints and Bills both destroyed the McNabb-less Eagles, making the early moves seem to have a huge edge at this juncture.

Last Sunday the Saints rolled into Buffalo and made it appear that it was a close game, and then reeled off a running attack that closed the game out like all top covering teams do. It wasn’t about Drew Brees throwing 300 yards plus, it was about total game control.

Next up for the Saints?

Could it be that we have a great match-up of two 3-0 teams this early in the season with the outspoken Jets traveling to New Orleans this week? Of all the defenses in the league, the Rex Ryan posse looks like the most vicious and angry among them. He’s brought on a persona and swagger that all the players are going along with.

Pro Football Moves of the Week

The Eagles opened Monday at -9½ as a circled game. By Sunday, Chiefs money came in enough to drop the line to -7. Kansas City was never in the game as Philly won easily 34-14.

The public drove the Saints up from a -4½ favorite Monday to a closing number of -6 after being at -6½ for some time. The Saints covered easily.

The Oakland Raiders opened as -1½ point favorite on Monday but Broncos money moved the line to Denver -2½ by kickoff. The move was correct as Denver smoked the hapless Raiders in front of their home crowd of creatures.

Dead Game: There was virtually no action one way or another on the side or total of the Browns/Ravens game last week.

Sports Books Tough Day on Sunday

"We had a lot of risk with some of the favorites early on with the parlay cards and off the board parlays," said South Point Director of Sports Bert Osborne. "If it weren’t for the Vikings not covering their -6½ point spread, it could have been a lot worse when dealing with all the favorite parlays played throughout the day.

"A lot of those big spreads came in on the early games," Osborne continued. "The Ravens, Patriots, Giants, and Packers covered and the public was also with the Jets."

Though support came from the public on a lot of the favorites, the sharp players didn’t have many plays this week. Two of the only sharp moves of the day were on the Titans getting +2 and +1½ at the Jets.

"The public did well against the books on Sunday," said Osborne. "When the Bears came in along with the Saints and Broncos in the late games, it didn’t set up a great position for the house going into the night game with the Colts and Monday’s game with the Cowboys."

Despite the line moving on the Cardinals at home, the public kept betting the Colts, who they had all just seen beat the Dolphins last week. The Cowboys were also an attractive team just because no one wants Jake Delhomme on their ticket, and also the fact that the Cowboys lost their opener in their new stadium. They couldn’t lose two in row at home, could they?

Two-pt conversion of the week

Pittsburgh opened as -4½ favorite and was bet down to -3½ EVEN by kickoff. In the late stages of the game, the Bengals scored making the game Steelers 20-15 and did the right thing in going for a 2-pt conversion, but when they failed, it gave the Steelers and their bettors a nice cover for the time being. And then the Bengals came back with a late drive and converted two fourth-down conversions, and scored the game winning touchdown.

Broncos Looking Good

Denver controlled the clock for 36 minutes and ran for 215 yards on offense while holding the Raiders to 137 yards total offense in their 23-3 win at Oakland. The win gave the Broncos the top rated defense in yardage and points allowed. Kyle Orton has yet to throw an interception, but the Bronco offense did have a turnover, their first of the season.

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