Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mike T's Week 8 Picks: 49ers, Dolphins & Balt-Den Under

by Mike T.

If not for a 2nd half meltdown by the Dolphins I would have had a perfect week. I still can't understand why a team that runs the ball so well changed their game plan at halftime and appeared to want to get in a shoot out with the Saints. Had they stuck with the 1st half plan Miami would have won big. I'm now 12-9 after going 2-1 last week. I'm going with 2 dogs and a total this week.

Dolphins +3.5 @ Jets
I expect to see the Dolphins rebound after a heartbreaking loss to the Saints last week. The Jets have 11 guys listed on their injury report with only 5 of them probable while the Fish are practically injury free at this point. I could see a lower scoring more ball control game from both teams than we did the first time these two teams met(31-27 Mia). The difference in this one may a few Ints by Sanchez
Dolphins 21 Jets 14

49ers +13 @ Colts
It's hard to come up with a reason why I think the Niners have a chance in this one but I think they do. Aside from the line being off by a few points I think the Colts may start out a little flat and will have to work their way back into this game. We will probably see a heavy dose of Frank Gore while trying to keep the high powered Colts offense off the field. The Colts will try to rally from behind to pull off the win which is likely but I think the Niners hang on to win a close one.
49ers 24 Colts 23

Broncos +3.5 @ Ravens (41.5 total)

This is a good test for both of these teams.The Broncos have been quite a surprise this year. They are playing great defense and mistake free offense. The Ravens have lost 3 in a row including a disappointing loss at the Vikes two weeks ago. Both teams are coming off a bye so they've had plenty of time to prepare for this one. This is one of a few games that I don't want to miss. I expect to see a low scoring great defensive game with the Ravens handing Denver their first loss.
Ravens 16 Broncos 10

Roberts Week 8 Pro Football Selections: Time to go Against Colts & Saints

49ers +13 @ Indianapolis: The Colts have been riding high but their running into a 49ers squad that is getting little respect from the public in this game. The proper line for this game should be 8 or 8.5. Anytime you can get value that high with a dog crossing over 10 points and into the 13 area, it's a good play. We're not talking about the Bucs, Browns, Lions, Rams, or Chiefs here, we're talking about a solid 49ers squad that plays good defense and can move the ball.

Titans -3 vs Jaguars: Regardless of Vince Young starting, the Titans running game will be what gets them the win this week. If Young can use his legs more and pass less avoiding turnovers, the Titans should win this game by at 13. Look for Chris Johnson to have a big day against the poor Jacksonville run defense.

Giants -1 @ Eagles: The Eagles opened up a 3-point favorite but the G-men are getting the money, as they should be. Eagles had a short week with their Monday night win while the Giants come in on a two game losing streak. A big bonus for the Giants may be that WR Mario Manningham, and his dropped passes, may be limited giving Hakeem Nicks more playing time and opportunities to score in his fifth straight game. Perfect spot for the Giants.

Panthers +10 @ Arizona: Jake DelHomme was given a vote of confidence amid cries from the Charlotte folks to pull him after throwing 13 picks thus far. The last time he faced the Cardinals he threw five interceptions in the playoffs. Just because the entire universe and logic shows the Cardinals should expose DelHomme again, it looks like getting point in this game is the right side. Proper line on this game is -7.5. look for DelHomme and Steve Smith to have their best day of the year.

Falcons +11 @ Saints: Wait until Monday to bet because the line will go much higher. Proper line for this game is -6 or -6.5, but due to the nature of betting patterns and payouts with the Saints, their line is over-inflated. The Falcons are a good football team, not one of these also-rans who should be getting double digit points. The crowd will be electric, but last years division champs will have something for the Saints on Monday. Possible upset and worth a money line play.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Roberts College Football plays this week

A couple games look like mis-matches to me. Not sure why Florida State is laying less than double digits this week against NC State, but that is the play. Lay the Seminoles.

In another odd line, Idaho is only laying -3 at home to Lousiana Tech. This game should be at least 7.

Florida St -9.5
Idaho -3

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Las Vegas Money Moves: Lots Of Over-Inflated Lines in Week 8 Pro football Lines

by Micah Roberts

the aftermath of last week’s awful Week 7 of pro football action, the Las Vegas Sports Books have tried to combat the correct public perception of a few teams by inflating the lines of a few teams beyond what the power ratings and Las Vegas Sports Consultants suggest.

Public favorites like the Saints and Colts who have combined to go 11-1 against the spread this season have had almost 3 points added to their ratings this week. LVSC recommended the Colts -9.5 against the 49ers this week and was opened at -11.5 at the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book and that still didn’t stop the public who have bet it to -12.

The Saints Monday Night Football game against a good Falcons team had a release of -7.5 and the Hilton opened it -9 and was quickly raised to -10.

“We have been inflating our send numbers to the books after coming up with what our normal odds making rating would be,” said LVSC’s senior oddsmaker Mike Seba. “We have to adjust with the way things are currently and hope that things turn around. These type of high numbers used to have value in the NFL, it’s not like college where they have to impress the polls.“

As an example of what kind of adjustment has been made, Seba gave insights to his thinking in making the number for the Saints Monday night game.

“In a normal scenario, the Saints would be about a 6 or 6.5-point favorite. This is a pivotal division game for the Falcons and will be bringing their best game. In situational type of odds making, we look less at what happened to the Falcons last week at Dallas and look at what’s at stake for the Falcons this week. If they lose, so does their chances at winning the division,” explained Seba.

To show how just how big of an initial inflated number LVSC suggested at 7.5 when their ratings came up with 6 or 6.5, just consider that they straddled over “7” which is the second highest margin of victory in football over the last five years at 9.1%. Only “3” has a higher margin of victory at 14.5% over the same span.

Read Here for more.....

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sports Books Get Hit Harder than Ever in Week 7 Pro Football Action

By Micah Roberts

Nevada Sports bettors got a major stimulus package on Sunday, and the giving party to the program was the sportsbooks. If you didn’t win betting pro football last week, it’s likely you didn’t bet.

Sunday was the toughest of all seven weeks this season for Nevada Sports Books and quite possibly -- after all the figures are in -- will rank as one of the worst ever. All the big favorites covered, all the big public games covered, and every lucky break, bounce, tip, and calls went to the bettor.

When the favorites go 8-2-1 in the first 11 games, it’s never a good equation for the books because the public always bets the favorites. In the only three games that didn’t cover, no one cared as the Bills and Texans games were two of the least bet games of the week, both in wagers and ticket counts. Plus, the Bears closed as one-point road favorites but a lot of books had the Bengals listed at pick 'em just before kickoff.

No matter what side they had in the Texans (-3) 23-20 win over the 49ers, straight bets were returned, and parlays were just reduced because of the tie, which in most cases can be worse because it keeps every parlay bet on that game alive going into the others. A push on a day like Sunday would have gladly been traded for any decision on the game just to cut the larger picture risk.

The straights bets aren’t what hurt the books Sunday. A book can make up the difference of losing a couple straight bets from -110 juice and volume from all other wagers on all typical Sunday What a book can’t make up is the parlays when every side goes the public way. When the betting masses hit payouts of 6/1, 11/1, 20/1, 40/1, and higher, the book can’t make it up over the course of a day, and in Sunday’s case, maybe an entire month.

During the week there weren’t that many line movements on the sides, but the one that the Sharps and Public both agreed on was the Steelers. Generally when the Sharps do well, so do the books and the Public lose.

The Steelers were bet from an opener of -4 to -6. The course of the game seemed to indicate the Vikings may be able to stay close or pull off an upset as it was 13-10 Steelers heading into the fourth quarter, but then that’s when the crazy stuff happened.

After the Steelers returned a fumble for a TD that looked to be the cover, crowds at the sportsbooks roared as the Steelers were back up by 10. Before the bettors could stop high-fiving each other with approval, the Vikings’ Percy Harvin ran the ensuing kickoff back for TD.

Just as the public was beginning to rip up their morning game 5-teamers, Brett Favre was intercepted and the Steelers took it 77 yards for a TD, bumping the final margin to 10 much to delight of everyone, except those behind the counter.

That 10-point (27-17) winning margin by the Steelers was the second lowest of the early Sunday games. Of those 11 games, only one game was won by less than 10 points and that was the aforementioned Houston push, which helped no one.

There were only two games that were double-digit favorites and they were covering before half-time. All the dreggs of the NFL resurfaced again a week after believing that maybe the tide had turned. The leaders of the pack were the Raiders, Buccaneers, Browns, Chiefs, and Rams, all of whom didn’t cover, again, and were bet against as a group.

As crazy as the Steelers game ended, nothing compares to what happened in the Saints-Dolphins game. The six-point underdog Dolphins jumped out a 24-3 lead and there was a sigh of relief from some of the books after getting pounded in the six early games. The biggest risk of the day for the books, after the early results were posted, was the Saints -- a favorite wager of the public who had gone 5-0 against the spread this season.

Following half-time, the Saints systematically broke down a tired, weak Dolphins team in the second half outscoring them 36-10. The books would have even settled for a push at one juncture, getting at least some luck when the Saints missed an extra point and ultimately kept the game as a possible push with the Saints ahead by 6. Early game pushes like the Texans game are no good, but at that juncture of the day it’s much better paying off a parlay of 20/1 than 40/1.

With 1:53 remaining in the game, the final nail in the coffin was hammered into the sportsbooks day when the Saints intercepted a Dolphins pass for a touchdown making the score 46-34. There was a tense moment at the end when Miami had a chance to get the back-door cover, but the final drive stalled at the Saints 5-yard line.

With the Saints posting up another 40-something on the board, it was the fourth time in the six games they have covered and scored that many points. Is there any wonder why the public has this team included in every one their betting options?

At the end of the day, there was some relief when the late game had the 7-point favored Giants losing (17-24) outright to the Cardinals giving the G-men their second straight loss.

Another bonus to the overall bottom line, which could mask the severity of the day, was the books posting the futures of pro baseball’s American League winners. The N.Y. Yankees win helped the strip properties much more than the local properties because of the overall tourist traffic throughout the year. When one of the favorites wins on futures, it’s always a good hold for the books.

Next week there are six games favored over a touchdown with the high being the Raiders getting 16 at San Diego. After this week, if there was ever a time to attempt to make a case for the dogs, there is surely to be value with several of them in the extreme over-reaction to the lines we see.

College Football Notebook: Ducks & Trojans Clash

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

Only one top-10 team was upset in week eight with Miami falling in overtime to Clemson, 40-37, but there were nearly a couple of giant take downs that would have really shaken things up in the BCS rankings.

Alabama needed a blocked 44-yard field goal with seconds left to preserve a tough fought 12-10 victory over Monte Kiffin’s attacking Tennessee defense, keeping the dream 1-2 match-up in the SEC Championship game alive.

Iowa scored a touchdown with one second left at Michigan State to secure a 15-13 win and remain unbeaten and in control of their own destiny for the Big-10 title and a possible chance at the BCS Title game.

This week’s games could present a real shake up for some of the top teams on the road, most notably USC and Texas.

Oregon and the offense run by QB Jeremiah Masoli welcome the Trojans Saturday night and will give USC all they can handle. Last week against Oregon State, USC’s stingy defense gave up a season high 36 points and 482 yards, something that Oregon should find encouraging in their Rose Bowl quest.

Oregon is 4-0 in conference play and has looked like one of the best teams in the country this season following their season opening loss to Boise State.

Texas visits Stillwater for a battle against a regrouped Oklahoma State team that will present Texas with their toughest hurdle among their final five games. Should Texas get by this week, their plan of making the BCS Title game becomes all the more easier.

Nevada Crystal Ball

 Since starting the season 0-3, Nevada has won four straight and in each of those wins the sharp bettors have been dialed in to how they’ll perform. In every instance since the Wolf Pack’s last loss, the opening spread has moved 2 whole points or more by kickoff.

Two weeks ago at Utah State, the move was against Nevada who opened -9 and closed at -7, barely winning 35-32. On the three other occasions, the moves have all been massive onslaughts siding with Nevada, including last week’s 70-45 pounding of then one-loss Idaho. The game opened -13 and closed at -17.

Next up for the Pack this week is a visit by Hawaii. It might be a good idea to watch which way the opener moves and follow the sharp who has a really good read on this team right now.

Move of the Week

The sharpest of all the betting sharps in the world made a huge push on Oregon last week at Washington, laying the opener of Oregon -6.5 and betting all the way up the ladder to -10 with early action on Monday and Tuesday. By kickoff there had been some buy back on Washington at +10 and most books closed the game at 9 or 9.5.

The move seemed peculiar just because of how well Washington had played at home all season going 4-0 ATS, including big wins against top ranked USC and a ranked Arizona. Couple that with the big look ahead game Oregon had with USC in Eugene and it seemed like a good spot for the Huskies.

But that is why this particular sharp is who he is; he sees match-ups beyond what we all see. Oregon rolled 43-19 making Washington look more like last season’s winless squad rather than the competitive team they had been this year.

Middle of the Week

Purdue opened a 10-point favorite over Illinois. By Thursday, a little Illini money had come in dropping the game to -9.5. By kickoff the game had been pushed up to -10.5 and of course the game landed on 10 with Purdue winning 24-14.

In a similar, but not entirely same instance, Ball State opened -3 at Eastern Michigan. Dog money came in early dropping the game to -2 where most of the action was taken up till kickoff when it moved to 2.5 with more favorite money. Of course it lands on 2 with Ball State winning 29-27 and the sports books giving back most of the money on pushes and lose the early bets.

Yo-Yo Move of the Week

UNLV opened a 3-point favorite at New Mexico and the Lobos money came in at about the same time and rate of the Oregon moves pushing New Mexico to a -1.5 favorite. By kickoff, the Rebels were pushed back to a -1.5 favorite. The end result was that the opener was the proper line as UNLV won their first road game of the season 34-17 giving Rebels Head Coach Mike Sanford a career road mark of 8-17 ATS.

No Love for the Super-Frosh?

It’s surprising not to hear many in the media talking about the remarkable exploits of Pitt’s freshman tailback Dion Lewis who had his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the year last week in their 41-14 win against South Florida. The 111-yards pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season and his two touchdowns gave him 11 with four games remaining.

His name hasn’t been mentioned for the Heisman, even though he has more yards and TD’s than everyone’s favorite, Mark Ingram of Alabama. Part of the criteria of being a Heisman candidate, beyond numbers, is a player’s contribution to the team’s success.

Ingram has definitely been the key to Alabama’s undefeated run, but Lewis has also been just as valuable. Consider that Pitt is 7-1, undefeated in the Big East, and is off to their best start since 1982, Dan Marino’s senior year.

Behind Ingram in most of the expert opinions are the nationally televised favorites of Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen. Popularity and coverage look to be what this award is about based on those candidates.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Mike T's Week 7 NFL Picks

by Mike T.

After disappointing losses by the Giants and the Chargers I went 1-2 last week. I'm now 10-8 for the year. This is yet another week with a lot of touchdown or more favorites which is something I never like to lay. Therefore, I am again limited to the plays I can make. So I have 1 dog, 1 pick em' and 1 total.

Vikings at Steelers
As many now know it is almost impossible to go into Baltimore and Pittsburgh in back to back weeks and sweep. It's only been done once in the last 13 times. I do think the Curtain will win this game but with the line moving from 4 to 6 I'm going to stay away from the side and go with the under (46) in this one.
Steelers 21 Vikings 17

Bears at Bengals
This game opened at Cinn -3 and is now a pick. I don't really understand why this line has moved so much. I'm not complaining though, as I like Cincy to bounce back at home this week. The Bears are really thin at the LB position which could mean a big game out of former Bears RB Cedric Benson. In fact I think he may run wild on them. Benson 150 yards 2 TDs.
Bengals 24 Bears 14

Saints at Dolphins
I'd have to be out of my mind to go against the Saints two weeks in a row but I'm going to. I expect to see a game similar to the Colts/Phins Monday night game earlier this year. Lots of ball control ground work for the Fish and quick scores from the WhoDats. This one will be a lot closer than the blowout the Saints had last week. Out of conference road game after a huge conference win which may ultimately give the Saints home field is a recipe for let down. I'm taking the wildcat and the 6.5 points.
Dolphins 24 Saints 22

Roberts Week 7 Pro Football Plays: Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Miami

Week 7 Pro Football

Panthers -7 vs. Buffalo: DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart got the Panthers running rejuvenated last week against Tampa Bay when each ran for over 100 yards and they get a chance to face the Bills run defense that got chewed up by the Jets last week for 318 yards.

Through the first four games of the season the Panthers had gone overboard with Jake Delhomme and the passing game trying to get Steve Smith the ball with no success. Last week the run-pass ratio was 48 to 17 in favor of the run and they got a win. Seems like a good winning strategy to continue. Look for the Panthers to keep that winning formula going this week.

Steelers -5.5 vs. Steelers: To give a little back ground of how tough this game may be for the Vikings, consider that only one dome team has won at Pittsburgh since 2004 and that the Steelers haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 28 straight games, home and away.

Further past evidence of possible struggles by the Vikings this week lie with the fact that they’re coming off a win against the Ravens. Since 2004, only the 2005 Bengals (among 13 occurrences) have won back to back games in consecutive weeks against the Steelers and Ravens.

This is obviously a different Vikings team and have shown they are one of the best in the league. The Ravens have been one of the top run defenses in the league forever and are allowing 91 rushing yards per game this year, but Peterson didn’t seem to have any problems going for 143 yards.

On two occasions this season, week 3 and 4, Peterson has been held in check. Steelers legendary defensive guru Dick Lebeau will have a big target on Peterson this week as the focal point to beating the Vikings and a healthy Troy Polamalu should help in executing that game plan.

As for Brett Favre, he’s only faced the Steelers four times in his career (2-2), including his first NFL start, and lost in his only game at Pittsburgh. This will be his second game of the year outdoors with his first coming in week one at Cleveland when he wasn’t so orientated with the offense yet.

Dolphins +6 vs. Saints: It hasn’t been a good idea to bet against the Saints this season, and if you have in every game, you’ve lost all five games. But this week presents a good spot for an upset based on the Dolphins running game being able to run the bal, kill the clock, and keep the Saints high powered offense off the field.

The Dolphins new QB, Chad Henne, looks as poised and confident as ever showing why he was the only four year starting quarterback in Michigan history. The Dolphins defense at home should be able to put some pressure on Brees and force him to make some errors, something that no one has been able to do with any consistency this season. It should be a close game!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Roberts College Football Plays: Huskies, Rebels, & Haweyes

Week 8 College Football Plays

Washington +10 vs. Oregon - This game opened up Oregon -6 and was quickly bet up to -10 by the sharpest player in Las Vegas. It’s usually not wise to go against that type of play, but I liked Washington from the start on the basis of their home wins alone against ranked opponents like USC and Arizona, along with a near upset opening week vs. LSU.

Oregon has their high-octane QB Jeremiah Masoli back this week and they’re coming off a bye, but the combination of Washington’s fired up crowd, Jake Locker making big plays, and Oregon looking ahead to their big game in Eugene next week against USC makes this a great spot for Washington.

This also is worth a poke at taking the money line for a portion of the allotted wager.

UNLV pk @ New Mexico: UNLV has been winless on the road forever and are 0-2 this season. The Rebels just got pounded back to back weeks at home by the ranked team of BYU and Utah. Coach Mike Sanford is 7-17 in his career against the spread as a road team.

It doesn’t sound like the Rebels could beat anyone in any instance, does it?

Almost, but the one instance they should win on the road comes this week against the New Mexico Lobos who are 0-6 this season. A hungry team is tough to play, especially when you have your own issues, but sometimes really bad is just bad.

Iowa pk @ Michigan State - Everyone is so weary of taking a chance on Iowa as they head towards the BIG-10 title. This is the last real hurdle for the Hawkeyes before their final test in Columbus against the struggling Buckeyes.

Last week everyone was betting against Iowa at Wisconsin and it was the wrong choice. This week it’s been the same type of pattern and should see similar results. The bet-against game will be in Columbus for all the marbles when Ohio State will be devalued and Iowa is then over-valued.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Vegas Early Moves: Steel Curtain Has Something For Peterson

By Micah Roberts

The biggest NFL game of the week has the undefeated Vikings (6-0) traveling to Pittsburgh (4-2), where the main storyline beyond all the Brett Favre hoopla, will be Adrian Peterson going against Dick LeBeau’s attacking run defense.

Peterson had a great game last week against a good Baltimore run defense pilling up 143 yards, but the Steelers may be a tougher task this week since Pittsburgh hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 28 straight games.

The bettors obviously feel the same way since the opening line of -4 has been bumped up to -5 ½, with the total also dropping a half to 45.

“We had some varying opinions in the office with that game,” said Las Vegas Sports Consultants CEO Kenny White. “I had the game the highest at -4 and we settled at -3 ½ as our opener. Pittsburgh‘s a tough place to play, they’re physical, the Vikings just came off a game with another physical team in Baltimore, and Minnesota has been very lucky to be undefeated at this point.”

Evidence of White’s theory about the physical nature of playing back-to-back games with Baltimore and Pittsburgh taking their toll lies within the past history of teams playing these two traditionally good defenses. Since 2004, only the 2005 Bengals out of 13 occurences have won back-to-back games in consecutive weeks against the Steelers and Ravens.

Back to Back Games vs Ravens & Steelers Since 2004
Browns 2004 Lost both
Bengals 2004 Lost both
Giants 2004 Lost both
Eagles* 2004 Won vs. BAL, lost @PIT
Vikings 2005 Lost both
Bengals 2005 Won both
Titans 2005 Lost @PIT, won vs. BAL
Browns 2006 Lost both
Chargers 2006 Lost @BAL, won vs. PIT
Cardinals 2007 Lost @BAL, won vs. PIT
Browns 2007 Lost @PIT, won @BAL
Bengals 2008 Lost both
Browns 2008 Lost both
* The Eagles were undefeated coming into their matchup at Pittsburgh. Brad Childress, now the Vikings head coach, was their offensive coordinator.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

College Football Notebook: Alabama Looking Like the Real No. 1

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

Like cream, Alabama rises to top

After coming on strong the last few weeks, while Florida struggled, Alabama has become the AP poll number one team. Two weeks ago, Alabama received 10 of the first place votes. Following Saturday’s games, they received 39 of the 59 votes on the basis of their impressive win over respected South Carolina.

Florida has struggled the last few weeks and their lack of impressive wins while being favored large weighed in on the voters. In Florida’s four SEC wins, they have won by an average of only 14 points with the margin helped significantly by a 34-point win over Kentucky. They had 10-point wins over Tennessee and LSU before needing a last second field-goal to beat Arkansas in Gainesville when favored by 26.

At the same time Alabama has won by an average margin of 19 points a game in SEC play with their lowest margin coming last week with a 14-point win over ranked South Carolina as 18-point favorites.

Tumbling in the polls were Virginia Tech and Ohio State who virtually said good-bye to any hopes they had of playing for the BCS Title.

Virginia Tech was starting get a lot of respect with the voters because of their consistent defense and special teams play every week, but a loss to a good Georgia Tech team dropped them from fourth all the way to No. 15.

The Buckeyes fell from seventh to No. 18 after getting routed in West Lafayette by Purdue who was 1-5 coming into the game. Their loss opens the door for an undefeated Iowa team to be the Big-10’s only legitimate campaigner for a title shot.

Iowa is currently No. 7, but could conceivably pass both Cincinnati and Boise State based on strength of schedule with impressive road wins at Michigan State and Ohio State before the season is over. They’ll need help along the way from one of the many tough opponents Texas still has to play and hope that USC falls at Oregon in two weeks.

No. 3 Texas looked almost as raggedy against Oklahoma as they did against Colorado two weeks ago, but then again, maybe the Buffs are coming around after upsetting undefeated No. 17 Kansas.

USC looks to be the best team in the Nation right now, and the voters apparently agree somewhat as they bumped the Trojans to the No. 4 slot. The team getting the worst of it in all the rankings is Boise State who once again got passed despite winning their game.

Purdue Exposes Ohio State and Tressel

Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel lived up to his billing as a conservative play caller by bringing out the field goal out on a fourth and goal at the two yard line early in the fourth quarter when the 13-point favored Buckeyes were down 23-7, showing once again that Tressel can’t make the right call in a big game.

The entire nation watched as Tressel let the season slide away with similar calls in the USC game and his final move last Saturday let all know that Ohio State is officially out of the running for any kind of Championship run.

If you’ve got a Championship offensive line, with a Championship attitude, fourth and goal should present no problem at all in the calculations of what to do.

Buckeye-land isn’t too happy at the moment and the fact that the this team with expectations of titles is lingering where they are with two losses isn’t sitting well. Knowing that they have the base of this team for two more years led by quarterback Terrelle Pryor doesn’t ease the restlessness.

The Public was on the Buckeyes once again, but larger money did come on Purdue pushing the opening line of -13 to -12 by kickoff.

Easy Move of the Week

The TCU Horned Frogs were early 20-point favorites over Colorado State in Mountain West action and the line quickly jumped to 24-points by kick-off. TCU rolled with a 44-6 win and fortunately for the books this game happened early rather than late like many of the Mountain West games because the entire public would have been on the game. Because the game was early, it only attracted most of the action from sharp players on straight bets.

Text of the Week

Former Purdue quarterback Drew Brees had a simple message for current Boilermakers signal caller Joe Elliott.

"Drew Brees texted me last night (Friday) and said: ‘Hey, go out there and shock the world, have fun. I’ll be watching.’"

Elliott did as he was told and led Purdue to its biggest upset in years. He threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns, and the Boilermakers stunned No. 7 Ohio State 26-18.

So Cal Prep Battle

In 2006 Oaks Christian Quarterback Jimmy Clausen was the highest No. 1 rated QB to come out of high school since John Elway. He turned down a scholarship to play at nearby USC and signed with Notre Dame.

In 2008, the No. 1 rated Prep QB was Mater Dei’s Matt Barkley. USC didn’t lose this one though, because they signed him just after his high school sophomore year at about the same time Clausen turned down USC.

The two met Saturday under the Golden Dome in a good football game displaying both of their skills and what made them so highly rated. Pete Carroll let Barkley loose for the first time this season and he responded with 380 yards and two TD passes in USC’s 34-27 win. Clausen passed for 281 yards and two TD’s in the loss.

NFL Notebook: Bad Teams Make For a Great Weekend in Books

NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

It doesn’t get any better for the sports books than week six of NFL action. In a climate that has seen the big favorites cover week after week, the swing back to underdogs finally happened with some of the worst teams in football coming up big on Sunday.

"We had a pretty good day," said MGM MIRAGE Director of Race and Sports Jay Rood. "One of our biggest games of the day was when the Chiefs beat the Redskins straight up."

The Redskins loss to the Chiefs a -6½-point favorite was one of many upsets on the day that included a 14-point dog, and a 10-point dog all getting beat straight-up.

When upsets occur in the fashion they did Sunday, the book does extremely well on all types of bets beyond the standard point spread. Between teasers being eliminated and chalk money line plays going down the drain, there is nothing better than the big upset.

On Sunday, there were quite a few. Overall there were five straight-up underdog winners on a day when the favorites went a combined 5-8 against the spread.

The biggest upset of the day occurred when the 14-point underdog Raiders beat the Eagles 13-9 and the 10-point favored Jets lost 16-13 to the Bills. Beyond the upsets, the teams that won but didn’t cover really helped the books.

"Two of our biggest parlay games of the day were Pittsburgh and Green Bay," Rood said. "When Cleveland covered, it wiped out a lot of our extended parlay risk."

The biggest loss of the day for MGM-MIRAGE happened in a game that might appear to have little interest.

"We got a lot of game day money on Houston +5," said Rood after the Texans had upset the Bengals 28-17.

The Bengals had opened as a -3½-point favorite and had been bet up to -5½ at some places through the week, but the trend on Sunday was the Texans.

The Falcons game was not a good decision to close out the day for the books. What limited parlay build-up they had through the day all came to cash when the Falcons beat the Bears 21-14, covering the spread that opened -3 and closed -4 by kickoff.

Saints are Marching!

We’ve all be waiting for the Saints’ stereotype of being soft on each side of the line, but so far it hasn’t happened. The Saints have gone up against two of the NFL’s toughest lines, once at Philadelphia and last week with the Giants, and slapped a 48-spot on each of them.

Could it be that the Saints really are that good? Safe to say, yes, they are very good. How long it lasts will be seen. Good teams come and go in phases throughout the year. It’s a long season with lots of trends, but to give a team like the Giants, one that was perceived as being among the best teams in football, a complete non-stop pounding for 48 points in 48 minutes is a pretty impressive feat.

The remainder of the Saints’ schedule is very favorable and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make a run at 16-0. Their toughest road game will be in Atlanta on Dec. 13 and their toughest games at the Superdome, where they look invincible, are the Patriots, Cowboys and Falcons again.

By already having defeated two of the top teams in the NFC, it’s looking like their road to the Super Bowl could be very smooth for the Saints. Bettors and fans everywhere have fallen in love with the team because they cover the spread every week. Bookmakers can’t make the line high enough, and if it was hard attracting money on the Giants, how does anyone presume on getting action with anyone else?

Following the win over the Giants on Sunday, the Saints had been dropped to 4-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl and 2-to-1 to win the NFC.

Total Move of the Week

With news of possible bad weather in the New England area, the initial total of 43½ in the Titans-Patriots game dropped quickly to 40 on Friday and by game day closed at 38. Most of the moves were adjustments by the books based on the forecast rather than a huge money move. Those that did get their bets in on the sliding under were finished by halftime as the Patriots put up 45 points en route to the Patriots 59-0 win.

Haven for the Winless

For the sixth consecutive week the Washington Redskins played a winless team and for the fourth time, they gave their opponent their first win of the season. Four weeks ago the Redskins let the Lions into the win column for the first time since 2007. Two weeks ago they gave the Panthers their first and then last week allowed the Chiefs to join the party.

The only winless teams remaining are the Titans, Buccaneers and Rams. To give the Redskins a little credit, they did beat both the Rams and the Bucs for their only two wins of the season. It gets a lot tougher for the Skins from here on out. They play the Eagles and Cowboys a few times, along with the Giants, Saints, Broncos, Chargers and Falcons. Things could get a lot worse for Jim Zorn’s squad before they get better.

Jets Flying Low

Rex Ryan and the New York Jets came out firing on the season with lots of brash talk and confidence and started out 3-0 with expectations of grandeur. They called out the New England Patriots on all fronts and came through much to the delight of the New York media and fans. Since that high point of beating the Patriots, the Jets have fallen on tough times by losing their last three, including last week’s embarrassing loss to the Bills in which rookie Mark Sanchez looked like a rookie throwing five interceptions.

Game Ball

All questions about Tom Brady should have been answered with his efforts in the snow against the Titans Sunday. In one quarter alone, he set an NFL record with 5 TD passes as the Patriots took a 45-0 lead into the half. He came out for one series in the second half and threw his sixth TD making him easily the player of the week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mike T's Week 6 Picks Ridin' High

by Mike T

I had a good week 5 going 3-0 and putting me at 9-6 for the season. I was able to get back to my usual strategy by taking some dogs. That's where I feel most comfortable. My Ridin' High title really has multiple meanings this week. First, I'm excited about going to New Orleans this weekend to see perhaps one of the biggest games of this early season. Second is that we may possibly see a few of the undefeated teams get their first loss. So i guess I'll just start with the game of the week.

Giants +3 @ Saints
The 4-0 Saints have the 5-0 Giants coming into the Big Easy. This is by far the toughest test for each of these teams this year. We can talk all day about the talent on both sides of the ball of these fine squads. They can both kill you with the run or the pass and defensively they can shut you down and create turnovers. However, there are a few things that stick out to me as far as this game goes. The loss of Saints LT Jamaal Brown hasn't hurt them as much as some would think as Jermon Bushrod has played well in his absence. He's still nursing an ankle injury though and he'll be lined up against Osi Umenyiora on Sunday and should see a few blitz packages come from Brees' blind side. For the first time since week one Dominick Hixon will be returning kick offs while unimpressive Sinorice Moss sits the bench. Hixon is always a threat to "take one to the house". A small advantage like this could be the difference in the game. The Giants are also 18-3 in their last 21 road games. Eli is also playing his first game in his hometown while Archie and Peyton will be there to root him on. I'm taking the G-Men.
Giants 35 Saints 31

Ravens +3 @ Vikings
This may sound crazy but if the Vikes bring the same game they brought last week against this Ravens team they will lose badly. They may have won 38-10 against the Rams but if you watched the game it told a much different story. The Rams actually had more first downs, more yards, more time of possession and unfortunately for them a lot more turnovers. The Rams fumbled three times in the redzone and threw a pick as well. They also had seven costly penalties for 82 yards. A good team would have beaten the high ridin' Vikings. With some early money coming in on the Vikes, the Ravens may be just the team to end their 5-0 start. I expect the Ravens to hit this team in the mouth early and often and not look back. I can also see Favre throwing a couple ints to Ed Reed and co. as they will be trying to play catch up.
Ravens 27 Vikings 17

Chargers -3.5 vs Broncos
The Broncos are another high ridin' team that has to come back down to earth at some point. I loved the Broncs last week, this week not so much. This is the first week of the season where Denver is getting the early money. The 2-2 Chargers are practically in a must win situation or they will find themselves down three games and a home division loss to the Broncos. The Broncos will give up more points than have all year so far and I expect Klye Orton to struggle a little more in this game than he has this year. The SD corners should be able to contain Marshall and Royal and win this one fairly easily.
Chargers 24 Broncos 10

Roberts College Football Selections: Red River Rivalry Controlled By Texas

Texas (5-0) -3 vs. Oklahoma (3-2): The Longhorns have won three of the four in this series covering all four games. The three wins Texas has over that span have all been by double digits. The Sooners are playing strictly for pride at this point while Texas is playing for a position in the BCS Championship game. Much more at stake here for Texas.

Texas hasn’t run the ball well this year and they’ll need a better performance then they had last week against lowly Colorado. Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley should have enough offensive firepower to outscore a Sooner team still not in sync with Sam Bradford.

Notre Dame (4-1) +10 vs. USC (4-1): It’s never a good idea to bet against the Trojans but this looks like a nice spot for Notre Dame to pull off a possible upset. Notre Dame has lost seven straight to USC and six of the losses were by double digits. The last two meetings, Notre Dame got clubbed a combined 76-3.

The reason Notre Dame should do well this game rests with QB Jimmy Clausen who can move the ball effectively against anyone. He’s averaging over 300 yards per game passing with 12 TD’s. USC will be piloted by a more comfortable Matt Barkley, but he’ll be forced to throw more in this game which Pete Carroll would like to avoid. The home crowd will play a huge role in this game and rattle the freshman late.

Florida (5-0) -26 vs. Arkansas (3-2): The Razorbacks have a great offense averaging 451 yards and 37 points per game. They’ll be heavily tested this week against the great Gators defense that is allowing only 6.4 points and 202 yards per game. Florida will score in all areas of offense, defense, and special teams making the cover easy in this game. The Gators are 11-3 in their last 14 games at home against the spread.

Iowa (6-0) +3 @ Wisconsin (5-1): In a similar situation last season, Wisconsin was undefeated, lost to Ohio State and then got blown away by Iowa 38-16. This year, it’s the same thing as a deflated Badger team gets their first loss of the season and welcomes Iowa. Iowa has won 5 of the last seven meetings in this series and has their hopes set in running the Big-10 table and getting a shot at the BCS Title game. Look for an inspired Iowa performance this week and play the money line.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Las Vegas Line Moves: Books Attempt To Combat Sharp Parlay Card Action

by Micah Roberts

NFL Line Moves: Lines Courtesy of Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook

Bengals opened a home -3.5 point favorite and is up to the dead number of -5.5 against the Texans.

Broncos opened as an underdog again at +4.5 for their Monday Night game at San Diego and it has been pushed down to +3.5. It’s the first time all season that the Broncos have been bet on which usually means the they’ll be a good bet against with so much weight and opinion on their side.

All the key numbers have been bet from other than a few huge -14 point favorites. The only action among those 3 two-touchdown favorites has been bets on Detroit at Green Bay despite Calvin Johnson possibly not playing.

* Bills money knocked the Jets off of -10 to -9.5.
* Viking got some money laying only -2.5 pushing it to -3 even.
* Tampa Bay found some takers as a home dog at +3.5 against the Panthers pushing
the number to +3 even.
* Saints opened up a -3 -120 favorite and found a few takers pushing it to -3 -125 , an obvious sign the books don’t want to get off “3” in what will be a big game
* Seahawks laying only -2.5 at home against the Cardinals found takers and the number is now -3 even.
* The Falcons at home laying -3 flat to the Bears got some attention and bumped it to -3 -125 in what will be another large wagered upon game since it’s the Sunday night get-back game. Depending on how the books do on Sunday, this game should eventually find its way to -4.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

College Football Notebook: BCS Possibilities

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

We’re only half-way through the college football schedule, but things are heating up with several possibilities ready to unfold. Here’s a look at the top teams in the country and what they have to do to have a chance at playing for the BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl on Jan 7.

Florida (5-0): Responded well under dire circumstances with a limited Tim Tebow playing at the toughest night crowd in college football. Their road is paved and set for a clash with Alabama in the SEC Championship game. The winner will play for the overall BCS Title.

Alabama (6-0): Still have a key home date on Nov. 7 against LSU and play a dangerous South Carolina team in Tuscaloosa this week, but if all goes well, they’ll have their chance to play for the National Title by beating Florida in the SEC Championship game.

Texas (5-0): Untested team that lost respect in their game against Colorado last week. They can regain some voters with an impressive win against Oklahoma this week. If they get by the Sooners, they still have four dangerous games on their schedule with three of those on the road at Missouri, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M. In the BIG-12 Championship Game, they’ll likely play either Kansas or Nebraska. Of all the top tiered teams, Texas could really earn some respect by running the table and would surely play either Florida or Alabama for the Championship if they did so.

Virginia Tech (5-1): Impressive home wins over Miami and Nebraska and a well played loss to Alabama to start the year have the Hokies in contention. Should they get by Georgia Tech this week they should have clean sailing with a road game at East Carolina maybe giving them their biggest test until the ACC Championship game where they’ll likely play Boston College who they just pummeled last week. Their hope is to run the table and root like heck against Texas in all their tough games along the way.

Boise State (5-0): No matter how many games they win against no losses, no one will give them a shot at the title. The voters set themselves up for that possible decision two weeks ago week when they dropped the Broncos in the poll despite winning their game and then the coaches bumped USC past them this week when both were idle. Their toughest game remaining comes at Tulsa this week. After that, the toughest WAC teams they’ll play will be Idaho and Nevada in Boise. The scenario where they might be considered for a shot at the BCS Title is if everyone in front of them loses two games.

USC (4-1): The Trojans are at Notre Dame this week, then have a tough game at Oregon and a visit from Stanford as obstacles. Their defense still has them very well respected with voters as does their big early season win at Columbus. If Virginia Tech or Texas stumbles, and USC runs the table we could see them playing Florida or Alabama for the title.

Ohio State (5-1): If the Buckeyes get through the last three weeks of their Big-10 schedule unscathed, they’ll be shouting for National consideration from the Buckeye friendly voters. Prior to the season it seemed like only Penn State was a road block on Nov. 7 in their quest, but it turns out their final two games after could help their cause. They get respected Iowa in the Shoe’ Nov 14 and then go to Michigan for their finale Nov. 21. They’ll need a lot of help in front of them to have any shot playing for the title, but they’re still technically still alive.

Cincinnati (5-0): They have been consistent all season, but have tough games remaining at South Florida this week, West Virginia on Nov. 13, and at Pittsburgh to close out the season. Even though the Big East is a BCS Conference, their lack of playing a quality schedule will stack up poorly against the one loss teams ahead of them. Until that time comes, voters will keep them on the back end of polls further hurting their chances no matter what they do.

Buckeye FG Saves Books From Middle

The Buckeyes opened -13½ favorites over unbeaten Wisconsin and the line was pushed Thursday to -16. By kickoff on Saturday, Ohio State was sitting at -14½. With the score 28-13 early in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes made what seemed like a meaningless field goal, but it helped the books avoid getting middled on the sharp Wisky buy-back at 16, 15½, and 15. The public didn’t want anything to do with the Badgers and still laid the Buckeyes at any number on their parlays.

Buffs Bully Longhorns Around

At least they did for the first half, which gave No. 2 ranked Texas a huge scare at half time when lowly Colorado lead 14-10 at the break. Texas eventually won 38-14, but they didn’t cover. They also gave the National Media, many of whom went to bed on the east coast before the final results, a not too glowing perception of Longhorn football after watching No. 3 Alabama roll easy over a ranked Ole Miss team in the afternoon.

Texas managed only 313 yards against Colorado with only 46 yards coming on the ground. Even Toledo was able to compile 624 yards against Colorado. The biggest disparity besides the score was the penalties which went 20-8 in Texas’ favor.

Sharps Bet, then The Followers

Houston opened a -3 point favorite last week at Mississippi State. After being hit a few times by the Sharps, by Thursday, Miss St. was a -1½ favorite. Naturally when everyone see‘s Gordon Gekko make a move everyone else has to follow and by kickoff State was a -3 point favorite. Of course, without even having to see the game, we all know what happened… YES, Gekko goes to jail and Houston wins by 7 and the house wins all bets.

Line Moves of the Week

Kent State opened getting +5 at home and was bet down to +1½ by kickoff, with Kent State winning outright 55-36. Chalk one up to that sharp group and their knack for getting solid info of MAC games before anyone else. Hmmm, why is it that MAC games became part of the regular rotation a few years ago instead of on the limited added game list?

Mississippi was bet down from the opener of +6½ to +4 by kickoff in their home game against Alabama. The Tide rolled easily 22-3.

Army was a home dog getting +10½ from Vanderbilt and by kickoff, Army was +8½. The Army gets the straight up win 16-13.

Change of Heart?

Duke was bet down from +16½ to +14½ on Thursday, but then bet back up to 16 with NC State money by kickoff. The first move was the right one as Duke won outright 49-28.

ACC Teams Involved in Steam Plays
Every week a correlation has occurred with middle-tiered ACC teams getting bet on or against. Somebody has a really good read with Duke, Wake Forest, Virginia, NC State, and Maryland. Week after week, those teams have bet on or against by the sharps more than any conference, including the MAC.

Watch every Tuesday for a brand new College Notebook article

NFL Notebook Week 5: Broncos & Falcons Help Books

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

The 13 pro football games on Sunday had six favorites and seven underdogs covering the spread, which made for a winning day for most Nevada sports books.

The books were hoping to beat a couple of the big favorites, but were only able to knock one of them down, which could have been the igniter to start an awful day.

However, their luck prevailed. Despite three of the four double digit favorites coming in easy, many of the parlays were quickly wiped out when other shorter favorites – like San Francisco and New England – failed to cover.

"We had a very exciting day in the book with emotions high on each side of the counter," said South Point Sports Book Director Bert Osborne. "The public won a few games and we won a few."

The few the public had going early on simply required betting against the league’s bad teams – the Rams, Buccaneers, and Raiders. They also didn’t like the Lions, but their late touchdown helped make the only winner for the books against the double digit favorites.

When factoring in how other public teams like the Cowboys, Panthers, and Bills failed to cover, things started to turn the houses’ way. This was well after agonizing with the early drama of the Giants, Eagles and Vikings blowouts before the first quarters had even ended.

Then the late games came with the high-profile game of the day in which everyone loved the Patriots.

"The Broncos winning was our best decision of the day," Osborne said. "I can’t believe that no one is giving Denver any respect. Josh McDaniels had such a tough start there with all the negative publicity that I guess there is still some lingering doubts that his way isn’t going to work out, but it looks like his entire team is behind him all the way."

The Broncos 20-17 overtime win was the fourth straight-up underdog win of the day joining the Browns, Bengals and Falcons.

"The 49ers game was good for us against the public, but we had some big late money come on the Falcons," said Osborne.

The 49ers had opened as a 2-point favorite and was bet up to -2.5 through Saturday, but dropped all the way to pick by kickoff. The sharps were also on the side of the Broncos. Denver money came early in the week when the line was +3.5 points and stayed at +3 until kickoff.

One of the other sides the sharps were on was the Titans getting 4-points at home against the Colts. The public didn’t want much to do with the winless Titans with most betting the Colts, putting the sharps and books on the same side again.

The Colts’ 31-9 win was the final football game posted on Sunday and most books took a loss on it just because it was the final team on many parlay cards. Even though the total was bet down from the opener of 46.5 to 44.5 by kickoff, the game staying under was the best scenario because the late "bail out" parlay of the day was the Colts and over.

Denver still gets no respect

While the Broncos have won some close games contributing to their 5-0 record, rather than saying they’re lucky, how about the notion that Josh McDaniels made them mentally tough from the first day he got there?

The defense is leading the way, but last week the offense showed it has finally come together with great performances by Kyle Orton, who has Brandon Marshall fully involved as ever. This Monday they travel to San Diego for an AFC West divisional game where the Chargers will be favored by 4.

Anderson better than Quinn?

Cleveland’s Derek Anderson completed only 2 passes in 17 attempts on Sunday for a whopping 22 yards and a sweet QB rating of 15.1. But, who cares? The Browns won their first game of the year 6-3, thanks to some timely Bills turnovers and Jamal Lewis moving the chains.

So far, so good for Eric ManGENIUS in making the QB move when he did. Two weeks ago the Browns almost beat the Bengals in overtime the week after Mangini made the quarterback change. Brady Quinn may still be the QB of the future, but it’s apparent Anderson has something that makes the team better even when he isn’t good.

Back Door Cover of the Week

With less than five minutes remaining in the Steelers-Lions game, you could hear a simultaneous array of explicit words at sports books throughout Nevada when Daunte Culpepper hit Dennis Northcutt for a 25-yard TD pass making the score 28-20. The Steelers were 11-point favorites and were the only double digit favorite not to cover on Sunday. Had the Lions not scored, there would have been a serious run on four and five team parlays hit by the public.

The Winless Strike Again

There is a nice four-way battle for teams trying to match the Lions 0-16 record set last season. The leading candidates are the Rams, Titans, Chiefs and Buccaneers, all at 0-5. Tampa Bay has history on their side with a run in 1976-77, but the Rams may win this Derby on the basis of their "talent" and "leadership."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Roberts Pro Football Picks: Lions, Browns, and Vikings Look Nice

Lions +10.5 vs. Steelers: Not sure how long I can ride with the Lions, but I’m on them again this week. Of all the big favorites this week in the NFL, this looks like the one game that doesn’t get there just because of how the Steelers play to the level of their opponents and the life that the Lions have in them. Big Plays for Calvin Johnson this week who keeps the game close.
Pick: Steelers 24-20

Vikings -10 @ Rams: Looks like a trap, but the Rams will have to rely on Kyle Boller and a bunch of no-namers at WR to make it happen since they are on their third string WR corps. Favre lets the ground game take over and Peterson has a big day.
Pick: Vikings 24-3

Browns +6 @ Bills: The new offensive scheme led by Derek Anderson, Mohamed Massaquoi, and Jerome Harrison will do enough to get their first win of the season. The Bills are in no mans land with too much talent on offense and no direction from the staff. This may be the upset of the day against an over-confident Bills squad.
Pick: Browns 23-20

Mike T's Week 5 Picks: 2 Dogs and Something Else

by Mike T.

Last week was great for anyone who likes to lay big numbers. They all got there. Unfortunately for me that's just not my style. Take last week's Saints-Jets game for example, I wrote "I do think the Saints will win by two scores or more but I just don't like laying 7 or more. I'm going with the over in this one". Because of my refusal to lay 7 or more it wound up costing me a little. I went 1-2 for the week putting me at 6-6 for the season. I going to try to get back to taking a couple dogs this week.

Falcons +2.5 @ 49ers
The niners are riding high right now and if you've been betting them you're doing well (4-0 ATS). I think that comes to an end this week. The SF defense was outstanding last week but the offense didn't really much ( not that they had to). I do not see a repeat performance from this young impressive disciplined defense. This opponent is going to bring a much tougher challenge to the 49ers than the likes of Sea or StL. Atlanta has had 2 weeks to prepare for SF as they are coming off a bye week. They bring with them a 100.4 rated passer a solid ground game and a solid defense.
Falcons 24 49ers 16

Broncos +3.5 vs Patriots
If in week 1,I told said that Klye Orton would have more touchdowns, a higher passer rating, and more yards per attempt than Tom Brady by week 5 everyone would have told me to check myself into a mental institution. Well a crazy as is sounds, he does. Couple that with the fact that Denver has only allowed 6.5 point per game and you have yourself a surprisingly good football team. Tom Brady hasn't put up the massive numbers most expected yet and I doubt he does it this week either. I can see this one being a low scoring game with the Broncos pulling it out in the end.
Broncos 14 Patriots 13

Cardinals -5.5 vs Texans
This is the only favorite I like this week. The Cards have had 2 weeks to prepare for this very average Texans team. To me this is the week that Arizona has to make a statement if they want to be considered a playoff caliber team. I think the Cards are going to come out firing on all cylinders taking an early lead and never looking back. The Texans do have a pretty good offense so we should see a shootout but I think the Cards will win the turnover battle which will put them up by more than one score.
Cardinals 34 Texans 21

Friday, October 9, 2009

Roberts College Football Selections: LSU Should Take Advantage of Florida

LSU (5-0) +7.5 vs. Florida (4-0): This is a tough spot for the top ranked Gators who will be forced to make a decision on Tim Tebow real quick. If he plays, he’ll play cautious and not be the battering Ram QB we have all grown to admire. If he doesn’t, it puts backup John Brantley in a tough position for his first start at the toughest road crowd in College under the lights.

The winner of this game has gone on to win the BCS title game the last three seasons. LSU has won 21 straight night game at Tiger Stadium and 32 straight on Saturday night games there. This looks like a perfect position for LSU to pull off the upset and getting points is a bonus because it should be a tough low scoring game.

Alabama (5-0) -4.5 @ Mississippi (3-1): Bama opened -6.5 and has been bet against thus far. Big game for both teams. Ole Miss has only playing at home once this year while struggling offensively on the road. Alabama has the weight of being a top-5 team on the road, a year when their falling more than normal. Have seen more consistency with Bama against good teams than what Ole Miss has shown against mediocre teams.

New Mexico State (2-3) +10 vs Utah State (1-3): This line opened 13.5 and has been bet down, but can’t find any reason for Utah State to be favored that high on the road other than their three quality losses to Utah, Texas A&M, and BYU.

Mississippi State (2-3) -1.5 vs Houston (3-1): The Cougars opened a 3 point favorite, but I have seen enough of Miss State to move the ball effectively in losses to LSU and Georgia Tech the last two weeks to believe they’ll play well this week. Houston’s deflating loss at El Paso as a huge favorite last week will still linger.

Nevada (1-3) -10 vs Louisiana Tech (2-2) Friday Night: After watching the Pack dismantle UNLV last week scoring 63 points, while having 3 players rushing for over 170 yards, I think they will continue to roll this week.

Duke (2-3) +14.5 @ N.C. State (3-2): Game opened 16.5 and has been bet down. This is the second straight week the sharps on picking on the Wolf Pack after driving the Wake Forest line to the favorite side, and they got there.

Last Week: 1-3
Season Record: 8-14

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Las Vegas Money Moves This Week: How & Why The Books Move The Line

By Micah Roberts

The college football line moves are interesting to watch each week just to see what games the sharps pick on. I say "pick on" because it’s a tiered process of how the line evolves. A sportsbook has a few consultants who use a variety of methods to come up with rating. The book gets those recommendations, and then does what they want with the quality they pay for.

Most books use those consultant numbers to shade an opening line one way or another based on what the consensus, or market, number is out there using the top Las Vegas SportsBooks and the known high volume off-shore books as a barometer.

At that point, by conforming to what the market dictates, the initial lines paid for from the consultants are already diminished. On many occasions, the line will move to where the paid service recommended which gets us to the folks who force the line moves.

Read More....

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

NFL Notebook: Las Vegas Books Small Winner in Week 4

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

The sports books struggled on Saturday with a lot key favored teams covering, making it their least profitable Saturday of the season after five weeks.

In pro football, the books had gone 1-2 vs. the public through the first three weeks, but week four started out great. Sports books cashed in big when the highly-favored Bengals failed to cover the spread against Cleveland.

"We did really well in the early games with teams like the Titans and Ravens not doing well," said MGM-MIRAGE Race and Sports Director Jay Rood. "But in the late games with favorites like Saints and 49ers coming through, we gave some of it back."

The encouraging note for the books is that the two teams that had been a virtual bet-against all season, the Browns and Buccaneers, covered their spreads despite losing.

The downside is that a team like the Saints continues to roll much to the delight of the betting public, who throw the Saints on just about every parlay ticket because it has been a given that they’ll win and cover no matter what the spread is.

"Right now, we’re over-inflating the pro lines to start the week," said Lucky’s Sports Book Director Jimmy Vaccaro. "With the favorites coming in like they have and the small money (public) coming on the favorites regardless, we’re looking to see if we can tempt the smarts a little early and watch every game very closely throughout the week."

The Colts are like the Saints, who have become one those public teams that are bet regardless of how high the line is. After not covering week one, they have rolled to three straight covers including Sunday’s no sweat game against the Seahawks that allowed bettors to kick back and relax by halftime.

This week the Colts are -4 at the winless Titans, a tough game, but nevertheless, one that will still be bet by most of the public. The Saints have a bye week, so the public will have to look elsewhere for making their easy money this week.

NFL Matchup of the Week

The pro football matchup of the week has the 3-1 New England Patriots visiting the 4-0 Denver Broncos. The matchup’s underlying theme has rookie head coach Josh McDaniels facing his mentor, Bill Belichik – both are sure to wear their matching gray hoodies.

Despite Denver’s impressive win over the favored Cowboys last week, the Patriots still come in as a -3.5 point favorite. Both teams answered a lot of up in the air questions that were asked prior to their matches.

The Patriots moved the ball effectively on offense, yet still not to their own expectations, or their fans who are still waiting for the 2007 version of the Pats to return. Their greatest accomplishment may have been slowing down the Ravens high powered offense that had run and thrown on everyone all season.

The Broncos 17-10 win over Dallas proved that their stingy defense against the likes of Cincinnati, Cleveland and Oakland may have been more about them just being good, rather than citing the faults of their opponents.

Dallas still managed 317 total yards, well below their season average, but holding the Cowboys scoreless for the final three quarters was the most impressive feat. Denver still ranks No. 1 in total defense and points allowed with only 26 through four games, and is the only team in the NFL to have not allowed a touchdown pass.

The underdog role will be Denver’s for at least their next four games, which have them on the road at San Diego and Baltimore and then at home against the Steelers. Depending on how they do in those games, and if Washington’s offense shows up anytime soon, will determine whether or not they’re favored in their Nov. 15 matchup at the Redskins.

Parlays of the Week

Despite the Saints being off this week, the majority of public plays will have the following teams linked: Minnesota -11 at St. Louis, Philly -13 vs. Tampa Bay, Indianapolis -4 at Tennessee and the Giants -15.5 vs. Oakland.

Should all four of those large favorites get there, the books will be in for a rough week five.

You can see some of the inflated prices that Vaccaro discussed earlier, but it’s likely the lines will go higher just because all four of the teams’ opponents are winless on the season.

In the case of teams like Kansas City, St. Louis, and Oakland, there’s no telling when these teams will put some offense into their attack, while at the same time playing a little defense. I really sympathize with the books trying to combat against those dregs on a weekly basis because it doesn’t look like they’ll get anything going for some time.

Week Four Game Balls

Jacksonville’s David Garrard continued the league’s assault on the Titans pass defense with 323 yards passing and three touchdowns in the Jaguars’ 37-17 win. Pittsburgh’s Rashard Mendenhall finally lived up to his first round draft pick billing as he stepped in for an injured Willie Parker and ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Chargers.

Smart Call of the Week

I’m Cowboys Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett near the goal line and down by 7 with no timeouts left, time running out, and it’s third down. My supposed star receiver, Roy Williams is out with an injury, but I still have All-Pro tight-end Jason Witten. Rather than throw to Witten on any of the last two downs, I use him as a decoy in blocking assignments.

I have two receivers flanked left and one to the right. One of my guys on the left is the lanky leaper, Miles Austin, covered by 5’10” journeyman cornerback Andre Goodman. On the right, I have little used Sam Hurd, who has 28 catches in his four year career, going against arguably the best cornerback in football in Champ Bailey.

So guess who I’m going to? That’s right, I’m going right at the All-Pro because I‘m crafty that way. I zig when they zag, because their thinking I’m going to go with my best at their weakest player, so I’m going to outsmart them.

For two straight plays, good Tony Romo passes on slants to Hurd were batted down by Bailey which ended the game and led to Denver’s victory formation in their 17-10 win. Jerry Jones is sure to let his feelings be known about that final sequence.

College Football Notebook: At least 6th Top 5 Team to Fall Again This Week

by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today

SEC’s Florida, LSU battle in Baton Rouge

This week we get another chance to watch a top-5 team fall out again, which will be the sixth time this season. The No. 1 ranked Florida Gators travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU for what is sure to be an epic battle and help shape the face of the 2009 season between the two teams that have won the last three National Championships.

The winner of the big game under the lights will be in the driver’s seat and if the winner is LSU, things could get real interesting just because LSU has a much tougher road ahead of them. Following Florida, the Tigers have to play Auburn and then they have two tough road games later in the season at Alabama and Mississippi.

Florida’s road gets much easier if they are able to dispose of the Tigers this week with only a road game at South Carolina presenting any real danger. They don’t have to play either Alabama or Mississippi on their schedule unless it’s in the SEC Championship game.

The big story coming into the game is the status of Tim Tebow after suffering a concussion in Florida’s win at Kentucky last week. Team officials have been quiet about all reports which causes some concern, but it would be a major shocker if he didn’t play.

Since 2000, the two teams have played to a near stalemate with Florida holding a 5-4 lead. Over the same time span, each team has won two BCS Titles and three SEC Titles. Needless to say this game is huge and it will be interesting to see what side the bettors lean towards.

New Ranked Teams This Week

Hard to believe a 5-0 SEC team is just getting introduced to the top-25 this week, but Auburn under new coach Gene Chizik made that leap and find themselves No. 17. South Florida’s win at Syracuse gave them a 5-0 record and they joined the party at No. 23. Missouri was ranked earlier last month and fell out of the polls without losing, but they’re back in at No. 24. South Carolina is also ranked for the first time this season at No. 25.

Undefeated Hawkeyes Hopes Alive, Barely

No. 13 ranked Iowa is 5-0 for the first time in the current coaching regime after surviving a big scare from Arkansas State, winning 24-21 as a big 21 point favorite after being up 21-7 to start the fourth quarter. It’s possible the Haweyes were looking ahead to their game this week against Michigan and the dreams that could be as the Conference representative in BCS play. Iowa has now won 8 straight dating back to last season and just as a refresher note, Iowa was the only Big-10 team to win a bowl game last season.

Buffs Bettors get Win Gift Wrapped

Colorado got a nice back door cover on Thursday night at West Virginia. With the score 35-17, the Buffs heaved a deep pass down the sideline for a touchdown to cover the 17 point spread with only three-seconds remaining, much to the joy of the folks who pushed the game down to 16 by kickoff.

Herbstreit Finds the Best Dogs

The former Ohio State Buckeye quarterback turned analyst for ESPN’s Gameday is worth listening to for bettors just for his insights on the live underdogs he chooses. He caught my attention when he called for UNLV to upset Oregon State, which they almost did, losing 23-21, but still covering the 7 points.

A week later he went through all kinds of reasons why Washington would beat USC as a 19 point dog, and sure enough he was right on the money, not only with the cover, but the straight up win. Who calls for that type of dog to win outright?

Last week he had a feeling about Virginia Tech being in a let down spot at Duke, a 17-point dog. Duke ended up playing an inspired game and moved the ball well against the tough Hokie defense but fell 34-26.

College Line Move of the Week

The best move came early and often on Michigan State at home against Michigan. The original line had Michigan favored by -1, but quickly moved to State being favored until it eventually closed with the Spartans being a -4 point favorite.

This was one of the strongest plays by a top service and it came through with a 26-20 win in overtime, but not without causing some sweat thanks to more late game heroics by Michigan Freshman QB Tate Forcier who tied the game with seconds left. In the end, it was Forcier who forced an errant pass, intercepted in overtime that doomed Michigan.

Because Michigan failed to tackle following the OT interception, State ran it in 25 yards out for the clinching score meaning that all the late followers of the service play got paid too because most of them laid -3.5 or -4, when the suggested send was laying up to -2.5. It was likely State was just lining up for the game winning field goal when the Wolverines true weakness, tackling, exposed itself again.

USC Good or Cal Just Bad?

The best assumption after USC’s 30-3 win at Cal last week is that Cal is not quite the team many of us thought they were as they go tumbling out of the top-25. USC on the other hand can have their struggles attributed to just being a young team that will experience some leadership issues with their freshman quarterbacks.

USC’s system is sound and when they click on all facets of special teams, defense and the running game like they did Saturday, the QB becomes less of an issue. The Ohio State win gave them some pre-mature confidence, but the Cal game gave the young USC uniform their swagger back.

Despite getting romped in their last two games by conference teams, Cal still feels they have some ball to play.

"I have confidence in these guys," Cal coach Jeff Tedford told reporters after Saturday night’s loss to the Trojans. "There is a lot of football left to be played. There is no way in the world that we are folding our tent. I don’t believe that about this team."

Mater Dei High Can’t Even Do That

UNLV was tied 28-28 with winless Nevada Saturday and then it got ugly as the Wolf Pack reeled off 35 straight points to close the game out 63-28. What’s worse is that UNLV allowed three different Nevada runners to rush for over 170 yards and compile 773 total yards on offense.

Boise State Drops

Not quite sure why Boise State decided to play UC-Davis at this juncture of the season, but their 34-16 win Saturday cost them one spot in the poll. Despite winning the game, they got passed by Virginia Tech for the No. 5 position.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Las Vegas Sports Books a Small Winner Over Weekend: Huge Favorites for Week 5 of NFL

by Micah Roberts

Las Vegas Sports Books struggled on Saturday with a lot key favored teams covering, making it their least profitable Saturday of the season after five weeks. In Pro Football, the books had gone 1-2 against the Public through the first three weeks, but week four started out great.

“We did really well in the early games with teams like the Titans and Ravens not doing well, said MGM-Mirage Race and Sports Director Jay Rood. “But in the late games with favorites like Saints and 49ers coming through, we gave some of it back.”

Over at the Las Vegas Hilton, Executive Director Jay Kornegay had similar results.

“We lost a little on Saturday and won a little on Sunday.” said Kornegay. “I wouldn’t call it a push, but overall we were slight winner.“

The encouraging note for the books is that the two teams that had been virtual bet against all season, the Browns and Buccaneers, covered their spreads despite losing.

read more.....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Mike T's Week 4 Pro Football Picks

by Mike T.

The first few weeks of the season I usually try to find some dogs to cover or win outright. Last week I had a tough time trying to find three of them and wound up going 1-2 putting me at 5-4 for the season. This is another tough week for me to try and find some dogs. There are 8 games that have the favorite laying a touchdown or more. With that said I only have one small home dog this week.

Miami +1 vs BuffaloChad Pennington's injury makes Miami a home dog. This doesn't seem to be as much of an issue as most would think Pennington has thrown for just over 400 yards with 1 TD, 2 ints, and a fumble lost in three games. Not exactly the type of numbers that would scare a defense. Dolphins QBs aren't asked to do much with their running game and the Wildcat. The Bills will be going without their Starting MLB and their two starting safeties. I expect to see a heavy dose of running from Brown and Williams keeping the Bills O of the field.
Miami 24 Bills 17

Cincinnati -5 1/2 at Cleveland
This is the first favorite that I am taking this year. Here we have two teams headed in opposite directions. The Browns may be the worst team in the league right now, while the Bengals seem for real and if they are these are the type of games they have to win. The Browns have one of the worst running attacks and with injuries to three linemen and a doubtful Jamal Lewis it will be even harder to run the ball. The Bengals have a nice balance on offense and should have their way with the Browns.
Cincinnati 27, Cleveland 13

Saints -7 vs JetsThe Jets are coming into a very loud and energetic Superdome without CBs Lito Sheppard and Donald Strictland. CB Darrelle Revis is also nursing a hammy but will go. That can't be good for them. This game kind of reminds me of the '85 Bears-Dolphins Monday night game. Buddy Ryan's 46 defense vs Marino's high powered offense. Fast forward a quarter century and we see Rex Ryan's blitz happy D vs Brees' use the whole field O. This game may be close for a quarter or two but in the end I think the Saints are going to roll. With the Jets thin secondary Brees will eventually find guys wide open in mismatches. I do think the Saints will win by two scores or more but I just don't like laying 7 or more. I'm going with the over in this one
Saints 38 Jets 24

Roberts Week 4 Pro Football Picks: 2 Sides & 2 Totals

Lions +10 @ Bears:
This game rests entirely with Jay Cutler and based on what Cutler has done in his career as a big favorite, compounded with how well the Lions have played on the road in the last year make this spread way too high.

Cutler has always played to the level of his opponents at home. He has never had that killer instinct to just destroy lesser teams and part of the reason is that he’s selfish. If he blows out a team, how is he going to throw 40 times in game when the coach will likely want to run the clock out? How is he going to get his Pro Bowl stats if he plays a smart game?

Detroit should play an inspired, loose game Sunday led by the special teams of Aaron Brown and a couple of timely Cutler intercepts. Matt Stafford will do just enough to the control the game which will likely include a nice long hookup with Cal Johnson. This could actually be an upset. If that were to happen, would hate to be Cutler in Chicago on Monday. Milton Bradley thought he had it bad.
Pick: Bears 22-20

Patriots -2 vs. Ravens:
All conventional wisdom points to the Ravens with their new high tech offense and their always consistent defense to take down anyone. All the stats point to the Ravens in every angle imaginable. However, The Pats as a short favorite at home is too much to pass up.

The addition of Wes Welker will give Tom Brady his crutch back, and the added weight of every bettor in the world jumping on the Ravens bandwagon this week, abandoning their normal pattern of taking the Pats, is too much for the wooden wheels to hold. Look for Brady to find his deep ball a few times to Randy Moss in a statement game.
Pick: Patriots 34-21

Dallas/Denver OVER 42:
The Las Vegas Hilton SuperBook opened the game total at 44 and has been bet down to 42 while other books still have the game at 43. Last week, Denver’s total was 38 at Oakland and the Cowboys were 46 Monday night against the Panthers making the initial line appear to favor the Cowboys tempo as does the current side which has the road team bet up from an opener of -2.5 to -3.

The Broncos have the leagues number one rated defense in yardage and points scored against, but have compiled those numbers against the offenses of Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Oakland. Their offense appeared to struggle throughout all their games, but they have been affective at churning minutes off the clock with short passes and a strong running game ultimately wearing out teams in the second half.

It would appear that the initial total looks closer to what it should be, but with money betting the total down and betting the favorite up to -3, the thought process is the Cowboys will be able to expose the Broncos defense and the dink and dunk offense of Denver won’t be as good in catch up mode, unless Brandon Stokely saves the day again.

The running back issue with the Cowboys is not an issue because Tashard Choice has proven to be just as effective as Marion Barber and Julius Jones. The Broncos look to have gelled more and more each week with Josh McDaniels new system and now they finally get to have a fully functional Brandon Marshall added to the mix along with Knowshon Moreno.

All signs look to having this game resemble Dallas’ game tempo with the Giants than it does against the Panthers which should make this a very high scoring, entertaining game.
Pick: Denver 32-31

Jets/Saints total OVER 45.5:
This game opened 46 with the Saints favored by 6.5 and his since dropped a half on the total, but been bet up to Saints -7. Despite only allowing 7 points at Buffalo last week, the Saints defense is really not that good. Rex Ryan will let Mark Sanchez let it fly to expose their weakness and Thomas Jones will carry the load with timely runs.

Leon Washington is at a point now where he is ready to get looses and the Saints special teams are the perfect team for him to bust loose on. The flying Jets defense will slow Brees enough to keep the game close and put the Jets in a possible position to win. The entire world is betting the Saints and that is never a good sign, not to mention all the stars being aligned for last weeks favorite cover-fest.
Pick: Saints 30-27