Saturday, November 28, 2009
by Mike T.
Had the Giants maintained their 2 score lead against the Falcons late in the 4th quarter, I would have had another fantastic week. The Raiders (almost called the score) and Eagles did get their for me though and that puts me at 22-11 for the season.
Titans -2.5 vs Cardinals
After the Titans first win Chris Johnson said he could see them winning 10 in a row. I'm now a believer. I expect the see Tennessee run all over the Cards D while controlling the clock and keeping Warner on the sidelines.
Titans 27 Cardinals 20
49ers -3.5 vs Jaguars
The Jags are a surprising 6-4 this season but in my opinion haven't beaten one quality team this year. They've struggled to beat teams like Buffalo, KC and St Louis in overtime and all at home. Now they have a long road trip to SF against a tough scrappy Niners team. I think the 49er defense will shut down MJD and win this one rather easily. I wouldn't be surprised to see Alex Smith have a big game as well.
49ers 31 Jags 10
Patriots at New Orleans over 56
This game has all the makings of a classic. Two extremely high powered offenses with slightly above defenses that can be scored on. I can't see how this game isn't a shootout from the word go. This could be a lot like the Colts- Pats game from a few weeks ago.
Saints 41 Pats 38
Friday, November 27, 2009
Eagles -9 vs. Washington: Crucial game for Philly as they begin their second go-around with division rivals within the next six games. They have to stay as close as possible to Dallas within the division while keeping pace with Green Bay and ahead of the Giants in the wild card chase. The Redskins meanwhile are looking to get their first road win of the season.
Bears +11 @ Vikings: The Bears slim chance of making the playoffs rest with this game. It’s do or die time and I like a team in a position where the entire season is on the line, and they know it, going against a very comfortable team in cruise control where everything has come almost too easy.
Seahawks -3 @ Rams: What a match-up this is, we have the Seahawks who are 0-5 on the road and the Rams who are 0-5 at home. Seattle hasn’t even covered in any of their road losses while at least the Rams have gone 2-3 getting points at home as they are this week. Look for Matt Hasselbeck to have a d ecent game with the Rams not being able to keep up with Kyle Boller starting.
Cardinals/Titans OVER 46: This game could come to a shootout. Not many teams are better than Arizona on the road this season. The Cards are 4-1 against the number on the road going against a Titans team that looks like one of the better teams in the league right now. The Cardinals will not be able to stop the run. Despite their early season success against the run, they have allowed two straight backs to get over 100 yards. They’ll get a heavy dose of Chris Johnson while the Titans defense will be hard pressed to slow the Cards passing attack.
I had an opinion on the Patriots Monday night, but there are too many in agreement which is taking me off the game. The Saints opened 3-point favorites and are down to 1.5 now. Even worse is that the parlay counts in Las Vegas Books are already at a 5 to 1 clip in favor of the Pats. If I had to choose now, I'd go with the home team just because there is too much weight on the bandwagon which always makes one of the wheels fall off.
The game I find the most intriguing is the UCLA-USC game. It won’t match the action of the Boise State game, or have as much on the line for that matter, but the city of Los Angeles is up for grabs.
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel preached about getting to the level of USC very soon. Little did he expect it to get that way by USC getting closer to their level. UCLA has won three straight coming into this game while USC has lost two of their last three in embarrassing fashion. This game is about saving some dignity for Troy while UCLA will use it to show prosperity.
USC has been a solid 14-point favorite all week. Even though the game is at the Coliseum, you can still expect to have a large contingency of powder blue in the stands who are excited as ever for this game based on the appearance of a down USC team.
Look for an offense led by UCLA Freshman QB Kevin Prince to outduel the more famous QB in USC's Matt Barkely and keep the game close. This is the best time to shine for UCLA and win the Los Angeles recruiting war. Neuheisel will have his team ready for this game while USC is adjusting to playing in a weed-whacker type bowl.
UCLA +14 gets the money this week and if you're brave, take a shot on the possibility of a major upset on the money-line.
Other Saturday Games:
Arizona -3.5 @ Arizona State
Houston -29 vs Rice
Notre Dame +10 @ Stanford
North Carolina -6.5 @ NC State
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone out there and hopefully I can help to get some smiling turkey on your face before the rush comes in. Don't sweat the in-laws and don't sweat the poor carving. Hopefully after the Cowboys game, you're sitting nice waiting on the Broncos to come in for either a money line play or winning on the points.
Here are three games I'm looking at for the Holiday weekend. Should those games get there, it won't be a Happy holliday for many bettors, but every bookmaker in the world will show a profit. Usually the player gets there on Thanksgiving, but let's not hope this week, unless you're the Player.
Green Bay -11 @ Detroit
Oakland +13.5 @ Dallas
Denver +7 vs Giants
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
Thanksgiving weekend brings out more than the turkey and the yearly offering of cranberry gelatin and candied yams; it also brings out one of the most festive weekends in Las Vegas Sports Books.
Historically the Thursday crowd has been a little reserved throughout the day. Perhaps, they can’t believe they get day football on a Thursday and they don’t have to work. It’s kind of a culture shock.
Folks are relaxed and fixed on hitting their four game parlay early with the two early NFL games. Inevitably, the short trip to the book turns out to be a longer as the player watches the entire Lions game just to see if the first two legs of his parlay are alive in which case, win or lose, another bet will be made for the 1:30 games.
This Thursday there is one college football game and three NFL games and they combine to make a powder keg of action for the books. On the three NFL side alone, they will be the largest parlayed action of the week on any trio of games.
The action is weighted with public opinion and they usually all have the same side.
The books can’t make up the payouts of 13-to-5, 6-to-1 and 10-to-1 with winning parlays while the straight bets are holding a mere 10% juice on the bettors’ losses.
In most cases, the public does very well on Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because the Lions are always bad and the Cowboys are always good. It’s probably more because of the Lions. When the totals – usually the over – come in, it’s lights out for Las Vegas books.
On Friday, after the relatives have all left, the dishes are done and the girls are out shopping for all the tremendous can’t miss sales offered at the malls, that is the first day of pure relaxation for the typical Las Vegas sport bettor.
It’s a 9 to 5 day of college football lined up with one-loss Pittsburgh going to West Virginia, the Iron Bowl between Auburn and Alabama, Nebraska-Colorado and the shootout in Boise between the Broncos and Nevada.
Whether you win or lose on Thursday and Friday doesn’t matter because Saturday has another full slate of games going from 9 am to 8 pm with all the great cross-state or city rivalries that didn’t happen last week. Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Washington, Arizona, South Carolina, Mississippi and Utah will all have Civil Wars going on this weekend.
In the City of Angels, to close out the day, Tommy Burger takes on In-and-Out Burger as USC welcomes UCLA in a battle for Los Angeles and recruits. This looked like it was going to be a cake walk for the Trojans a few weeks ago, but in light of recent events in Troy, this could be a realization of all of UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel’s speeches coming to fruition.
By the time Sunday rolls around for the full schedule of NFL games, everyone is worn out. Not only the bettors, but the tellers and supervisors at the books taking the bets. Think about it, they have now gone four straight days of intense betting from thousands of bettors waiting in line one after another with little chance to catch their breath and minimal breaks. Win or lose this week, think about their week and flip them a $5 bill and just say, "Happy Holidays."
Because it’s a big four-day weekend for the books with several games tied to each other all week, the mounting risk for Sunday’s pro games will be pretty substantial. Depending on how the games go Thursday, there will be a lasting effect on what the results will be Sunday regardless of how Sunday’s games turn out.
However you choose to spend your holiday, good luck in all your games this week and have a great Thanksgiving weekend.
Hang on Sloopy
Still have to believe that THE Ohio State marching band is the best in the country. Their play as the Buckeyes won for the sixth straight time over Michigan resounded loudly to the somber Wolverine crowd, especially late in the game, almost in a taunting fashion. They must have played “Hang on Sloopy”, a Buckeye favorite, 100 straight bars as the final 2 minutes slowly ticked away and you could almost read the cartoon captions over Rich Rodriguez’s head saying, “stop playing that damn song”.
When you bet the Ohio State-Michigan game was the factor in winning or losing the bet. Ohio State was a 12-point favorite for much of the week and dropped to 10 late Friday night and early Saturday morning. The game landed 11, 21-10 Buckeyes.
Come Back Saban, Geaux Away Miles
LSU fans have long been tired of Coach Les Miles play-calling and recruiting and they got another reason to dislike him more after failing in the crunch at Mississippi. With only one second on the clock, down by two near the goal-line, the play called from a disorientated LSU sideline was to spike the ball. When they did, time ran out, and Miles looked like a deer in head lights during the post-game interview knowing that he froze in the clutch and cost his team their third loss of the season.
One of the largest moves of last week was Kent State who opened as 13-points dogs at Temple and was bet down to 9.5 by kickoff. At halftime, the move looked to be just as prophetic as so many moves involving MAC teams with Kent State leading 10-9. Whatever the Temple halftime speech was, it worked! The Owls put a 38-3 second-half beat down on Kent State ultimately winning 47-13 with the Sports Books keeping all the chips.
Husky Angel & Touchdown Jesus
Connecticut’s 33-30 double-overtime victory over Notre Dame was considered to be the team’s greatest win ever, not only because of who they beat and where, but more importantly – it finally gave some relief to the U-Conn squad after losing one tough game after another following Jasper Howard’s death.
The Huskies played with heavy hearts for their slain teammate and it seemed kind of fitting that they win the game in front of Touchdown Jesus. The Huskies had lost three straight by a margin of four points or less since Jasper was killed. The win pushes U-Conn to 5-5 with a chance at making a bowl should they beat Syracuse on Saturday.
The Notre Dame loss may also be the end to the Charlie Weiss era that has seen a worse winning percentage over his tenure than his predecessors Bob Davie and Tyrone Willingham over the same span. Weiss looked pretty good with Willingham’s recruits when he arrived, but his own crop hasn’t produced much.
Should the school let Weiss go they would be biting the bullet of $18 million for the remainder of his contract. Who says the economy is bad if decisions like that can be made without hesitation?
Presumptuous Cat fans
The Arizona Wildcats have never won the Pac-10 in their 32 years in the conference, nor have they been to the Rose Bowl. With less than a minute to go in the Oregon game leading 31-24, the Arizona student body rushed through the aisles and crowded the sidelines anticipating the greatest celebration in Arizona football history. Had they won, they would be in control of their destiny.
In a scene straight out of the "Bronx Tale," they put the ultimate "Mush" on Arizona because Jeremy Masoli led the Ducks straight down the field for the tying score and eventually won in double-overtime 44-41. Not sure many of the kids took solace in the fact that Arizona still covered the spread as a home dog.
NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
The tide has officially turned. After weeks of waiting for the NFL’s worst teams to show up against whatever number the Las Vegas Sports books hung on the board, Week 11 had two of the leagues worst teams not only show up, but beat two of the leagues best teams.
The Kansas City Chiefs, an 11.5-point underdog, beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 while the Oakland Raiders, a 9-point dog, beat the Cincinnati Bengals.
Through the first 8 weeks of the season, the Sports Books had been inflating the line in hopes that eventually some of the leagues bad teams would find some takers. The public had been getting the best of the Books all season, including the worst day in Las Vegas Sports Book history in week 7, but things have definitely shifted back into the Books favor over the last four weeks.
"It was a good day for the books," said Lucky‘s Sports Book Director Jimmy Vaccaro. "Anytime you get that many underdogs to come through, we’ll do okay."
The dogs once again did well going 8-5-1 against the number.
"We did well with the Chiefs and Washington early, and poorly with the Colts winning. We opened the Ravens a 1-point favorite and closed the Colts minus-1," said Vaccaro.
The Colts continue to be the public’s steady source of reliability pushing their record to 10-0 and 7-3 against the spread.
"In the late games we actually needed Cincinnati against Oakland. We opened the Bengals minus-9 and closed at 7.5," said Vaccaro. "San Diego was another game that didn’t go well for us. We opened the game minus-3½, went to 4, 5 and then closed at 6. We couldn’t get any Broncos action. Looking at Chris Simms, it was like he was looking for his dad (Phil Simms) to come in."
The Broncos definitely got off on the wrong foot with Simms, who couldn’t muster anything in the pivotal AFC West game that saw the Chargers roll 32-3. The game had been off the board all week at most Las Vegas Books and wasn’t hung until late Saturday.
Tampa Bay still showed their true colors with a 38-7 loss to New Orleans, but overall, the Books can’t ask for anything more than what was shown in week 11 where the statement "On Any Given Sunday" still means something.
Hello Matt Stafford! The Lions number one draft pick has arrived. Even though the game was against Cleveland, the numbers he threw up against them were quite impressive. He went for 422 yards and five touchdown passes including the game winner as time ran out in the Lions 38-37 win.
The Buffalo Bills get a new Head Coach and at the same time, they get a new receiver. All season long the conservative Bills have silenced one of the leagues best weapons, but in a week 11 loss to Jacksonville, the new coach got Terrell Owens involved with a season high 9 catches for 197 yards and a TD.
Everyone has kind of been mystified how Cardinals QB Kurt Warner has been able to stay around the league so long without having any type of injury since 2005 that has kept him out of a game. On Sunday, he took a hit from the Rams that took him out the game, giving the reigns to back-up Matt Leinart with a 21-3 lead. Leinart held on to win 21-13, but gave up what looked to a be a certain cover for Cadinal bettors.
"It was one of those situations where I didn’t feel perfect, so I just wanted to be cautious with it," Warner said after the game. "I actually feel pretty good right now. Just a very, very slight headache. I remember everything that happened. I didn’t get knocked out."
The Packers-Lions and Raiders-Cowboys games are all likely to be bet one sided with the favorites, but where do you go with the Giants visiting Denver? Both teams are sliding with 6-4 records. The Giants were very fortunate to win against the Falcons last week and the Broncos have lost four straight after starting the season 6-0. The timing of the game couldn’t be worse for Denver with QB Kyle Orton’s ailing ankle on a short week.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
by Mike T.
It could have been another great week for me if the Dolphins maintained the two score lead they had into the 4th quarter. In the past four weeks I've gone 10-2 with my only two losses being the Dolphins in weeks 7 & 10. That's the way it goes sometimes. I am now 20-10 for the year.
This is a real ugly looking week for me as once again, there are eight teams that are favorites by more than 8 points. There is no doubt that at least one of these big dogs get there on the money line. So here goes....
Raiders +9.5 vs Bengals
I've done quite well with the Bengals often this season. This week however, I'm going against them. The Bengals are on the road for the second straight week after a hard fought win in Pittsburgh. They'll be without star RB Cedric Benson and they do have a bit of a tendency to play down to lesser opponents. The Raiders have FINALLY made the long overdue and much needed switch at QB. Some of the whispers around the locker room seem to indicate that the players are in favor of this move. Gradkowski seems to be a much better student of the game and spend a lot more time studying film and taking notes than Russell does. I expect this team to be fired up and rally around their new starting QB. Look for a close game here with the Raiders having a shot at a late game winning FG.
Raiders 19 Bengals 17
Giants -7 vs Falcons
After a 5-0 start the Giants are now 5-4 and if they have any dreams of making the playoffs this is the game to get back on the winning track. The Giants have had two weeks to prepare for the Turner less Falcons. Former Falcon, now Giant LB Michael Boley may have had a lot to do with helping coaches prepare for this game. I think Brandon Jacobs will have a bigger role this week and for the rest of the year as it is now starting to get cold in the northeast. The biggest obstacle for the Giants will be to contain Tony Gonzalez. If they can hold him to modest numbers the Giants should win this one by two or more scores.
Giants 27 Falcons 13
Eagles -3 at Bears
The line on this game seems about right but I don't think Philly is going to have a hard time beating this team badly. Philly is on a two games skid and like the Giants if they want to see the postseason this is one of those games they just have to win. Jay Cutler has been downright awful especially in night games. They been having trouble scoring on offense and they've given up over 40 points in two of their last four games. Eagles roll.
Eagles 31 Bears 14
Raiders +9 vs. Bengals: A couple of key components have made this an attractive wager on the Raiders, No JaMarcus Russell starting for the Raiders and No Chris Benson running for the Bengals. Each have been intricate in the stagnant awful play of one program and the reversal of fortunes for the other. The change at quarterback for the Raiders will give them a chance to stay in the game and compete for the win, which hasn’t been the case in most of the games Russell has played because he isn’t dedicated enough. Bruce Gradkowski may not have the arm of Russell, but has much more football sense. Look for a possible upset as the Raider faithful gets something to really cheer about this week.
Lions -3 vs. Browns: Maybe Eric Mangini’s offense will open up a bit more because their playing the Lions, but chances are he’ll resort to his usual conservative Big-10 football approach. If Mangini does decide to throw further than 15 yards down field, the Browns are likely to be out of their element because they never do it and won’t have enough practice to execute. The Lions have been competitive in spurts and love to show off their QB’s gun at any chance. Look for big plays between Stafford and Johnson this week and a Lions win by 14.
Patriots -10.5 vs. Jets: Bill Belichick had a tough week in the press and he’s really not happy. He’s also got a grudge going against the Jets and their Coach after the week 2 trash talking. The Patriots lost that first game as they were getting Tom Brady acclimated back into the system. It’s safe to say the Patriots are hitting on all cylinders offensively now and knowing Belichick’s style, he’ll look to pound the Jets with no mercy to make a statement. Wouldn’t be surprised to see the Patriots put 40 on the board.
Chargers -4 vs. Broncos: It appears that Chris Simms will be starting for Denver which spells bad news for a team trying to stop a three-game losing streak. Since Denver started 6-0 after beating the Chargers on a Monday night, the two teams have gone in opposite directions with the Chargers winning four straight. San Diego may have been tough to beat even with Kyle Orton starting just because of how well their Defense has played during the win streak. Denver will have their moments in this game led by Knowshon Moreno, but the high powered offense led by Phillip Rivers and a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson will put too many on the board for Denver to keep up.
Titans +5 @ Houston: This was the game that started the demise of the Titans back in week 2. The Titans handled the Texans all game piling on yardage led by Chris Johnson going wild, but gave up too much late to Matt Shaub and Andre Johnson. The Titans are now recharged and playing inspired ball since Vince Young has been in the starting lineup. They have won three in a row and done with ball control and a positive turnover ratio. Look for a high scoring game with the Titans winning by a field goal.
BYU -10 vs Air Force: Cougars have a lot to prove after terrible win, just barely beating winless New Mexico.
Nevada -29.5 @ New Mexico State: One of the best offenses in the country who love to put up big numbers on the ground and air.
Oregon/Arizona OVER 57.5: Two of the best offenses in the country battling it out in beautiful weather. Game should be close with the winner scoring at least 40.
Nevada -29.5 @ New Mexico State: One of the best offenses in the country who love to put up big numbers on the ground and air.
Oregon/Arizona OVER 57.5: Two of the best offenses in the country battling it out in beautiful weather. Game should be close with the winner scoring at least 40.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Betting action was non-stop on Saturday
by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
The Sharps did well at the sports books on Saturday on both their early and late plays. Early last week they were on games like Mississippi, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, Oregon State, Clemson, Nevada, Cal and TCU.
On game day, they came with underdogs like Notre Dame and Indiana. Overall, the Sports Books still fared well despite not doing well with the large straight bets. The Book’s equalizer came with the public play on parlays mixed in with more events to wager on than usual.
"We grinded out a win Saturday," said Las Vegas Hilton Super Book Executive Director Jay Kornegay.
"Saturday had to be our busiest day of football this season thus far. It was just non-stop all day long with a full schedule of College Football games, College Hoops getting into their schedule, a Full NBA and NHL schedule, and then the big fight (Cotto-Pacquaio); it was a huge day of volume all around."
Generally when a large favorite like Manny Pacquaio (-330) wins, it’s a great scenario because most of the betting public like to play the underdog getting plus money, but that’s not the case when Pacquiao fights because of the large following he has and they don’t care what the price is – they just know Manny is going to win.
Most Sports Books reported a win on the fight that saw great action that was close to reminding many of big bouts from yesterday’s Vegas. By sheer volume, the Books were able to juice out a win. Pacquaio can definitely carry a card like no one else and it would be fun to eventually see Floyd Mayweather and him get together.
Best Team In Texas?
No. 4 ranked TCU made a resounding statement to the nation Saturday night in their 55-28 thrashing of Utah. The Horned-Frogs not only left some skeptics impressed, but representatives from the BCS Bowls of the Orange, Fiesta and Rose Bowls were in attendance watching.
TCU already is the highest ranked team from a non-BCS Conference, and their win over the respected Utes, a BCS buster from last season who handled Alabama quite easily in the Sugar Bowl, should make considerations for their role in the overall mix favorable.
TCU is 10-0 for the first time since 1938 when Heisman Trophy winner Davey O’Brien led them to an undefeated National Championship.
Give Gerhart Some Love
Speaking of the Heisman, Stanford RB Toby Gerhart just thrust his name into consideration in a pool of no considerable stand outs this year. Monster games with 401 combined yards and 6 TD’s against highly ranked Oregon and USC that led directly to his team winning should count for more than many of the top contenders who are being considered for lifetime achievements rather than being the best this year.
Gerhart has rushed for over 1,400 yards and scored 19 TD’s this season, all substantially more than the favorite to win, Mark Ingram of Alabama.
The 55-21 loss to Stanford was the Trojans’ worst since a 51-0 defeat at home against Notre Dame in 1966. Head Coach Pete Carroll lost in November for the first time at USC after 28 straight victories. And for the second time in three weekends, Carroll endured the worst loss of his nine seasons.
"I’m not sure I have the right words to describe being humbled like this," Carroll said. "I don’t really know where to put it. ... We have fallen apart and given our opponents the opportunity to do whatever they want, but you have to give Stanford a lot of credit."
Anyone for the Rose Bowl?
The Pac-10 entry into the Rose Bowl is still a bit foggy, but it would be a nice change to see a team like Stanford get in no matter how slim the chance is. Arizona is an interesting choice as well. They could get their first ever Rose Bowl bid by winning their final three games of the season against Oregon, Arizona State and USC. Didn’t say it would be easy, but it is a big enough goal within reach for the team that may help them "Bear-down" this week.
As it sits now, Oregon would be the representative facing an Ohio State team who loves facing high powered offenses in Bowl games.
State of O-H-I-O
Buckeyes Head Coach Jim Tressel’s conservative play calling has cost them wins against USC and Purdue this season, and went to a new low in the fourth quarter of their 27-24 home win over Iowa.
With over two minutes to go in a tie game, Tressel called for three straight running plays opting to take his chances in overtime in a game that he basically shut down offensively in the fourth quarter while leading by two touchdowns.
The 105,000 in attendance all booed in unison, a sign they were also tired of the continuing trend.
Down south, No. 5 ranked and undefeated Cincinnati is now calling Ohio the bUCkeye state as they currently reign as state Champions. Bearcat WR Mardy Gilyard said it best about the differences between THE State University and Cincinnati.
"They can chill up there and run the ball all day in the Big 10," Gilyard said after UC beat West Virginia 24-21. "We’ll be down here gunslingin’, throwing the football and having fun and winning games."
The Buckeyes are all set for the Rose Bowl in what has been deemed as a disappointing season and visit a down Michigan at the Big House this week. This could be a great spot for Michigan to pull off a big upset while OSU pretends like they’re happy about winning the lowly Big-10 again.
Cincinnati has a couple tough dates remaining with a rejuvenated Illinois team and one-loss Pittsburgh who are having their best season since 1982, Dan Marino’s last season.
Watch every Tuesday for a brand new College Notebook article.
NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
Week 10 of the pro football season turned out well for the Las Vegas Sports Books, especially if being one of the local books that take in lots of parlay action. The Sharps did well with a few games on straight bets, but a few weeks of unpredictable action has produced a rather indecisive betting pattern with the small money on parlays making it good business for the books.
Of the 13 games on Sunday, the Favorites went 4-9 with five dogs winning straight-up. In the game of the day between the Patriots and Colts, it was a bookmakers’ wish come true with the favored team winning but not covering, which eliminates much of the square action on the money line.
I’m still not sure what Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick was thinking by going for a 4th and 2 at his own 28 yard line with just over two-minutes remaining, leading in a 34-28 game. Based on all the boo’s everyone hears at their stadium when a coach punts in a conservative play call from anywhere, most fans were thinking, "This is my kind of coach," at least until it failed.
Even though the Colts were the game of the day and had lots of betting volume on it, the action was split by the public with no presence of sharp play making the game a win-win for the books as the final posted event on the schedule.
"The sharp money had a pretty good day, while the average Joe’s didn’t fare so well." said Las Vegas Hilton Super Book Executive Director Jay Kornegay. "Overall it was a decent day for the house"
The biggest winner of the day for the books came as a surprise to many. You would think that with Steelers losing that the Sports Books would have done well considering how everyone just saw them dismantle Denver on Monday night, but that wasn’t the case.
"The Bengals were the surprise flavor of the week," Kornegay said, "The general public was all over the Bengals."
The best decision of the day for the books came in the Saints-Rams game where just about every parlay in the city had the Saints on it.
"Our best game of the day was the Rams covering despite getting some wise-guy action on them," said Kornegay.
The Saints have now gone three straight games without covering after starting the season 6-0 ATS. Last week’s game with the Rams looked about as simple as it gets considering the 13.5-point spread was in the neighborhood of what it had been for the Saints with good teams like Atlanta and Carolina. Who knew that "The Lou’s" home crowd was so intimidating?
Another game the books did well with last week was the Chargers beating the Eagles 31-23 making it two straight wins over a stereotypical tough NFC East team.
"We did really well with the Chargers winning," said Kornegay. "We had been bet on the Eagles a few times throughout the week leading up to Sunday."
The early move on the Eagles came as somewhat of a surprise because of how poorly Philly did the last time traveling west when they lost to the Raiders, but it may have been more about the inconsistent nature of San Diego in recent years.
Despite the dregs of the NFL lingering at the bottom with only one or two wins on the year, there are 22 teams with records of 4-5 or better that still have a legitimate shot at vying for the final 12 playoff positions with seven weeks to go in the season. Even a team like 3-6 Tennessee stands out as a possibility because of their recent three game win streak
Titans RB Chris Johnson had 132 yards rushing with 9 catches for 100 yards totaling two TD’s in their 41-17 blasting of Buffalo Sunday. It’s the first time since Billy Cannon back in 1963 that a player in franchise history has done the double-triple. Johnson is putting up MVP numbers and making a hungry Titans team (3-6) one that nobody wants to play down the stretch. Good Luck to Houston trying to stop Johnson this week.
Another Cancer WR Infects Dallas
Three weeks ago Roy Williams made comments about how the No. 2 WR on the team was getting better passes from Tony Romo which is why his numbers aren’t as good as the phenom, Miles Austin.
Romo shrugged it off in the same manner he did last year when Terrell Owens quipped that TE Jason Witten and Romo were conspiring secret plays behind his back.
Since the comments, Romo has tried to get Williams into the game more and in the process has made them worse by not giving Austin as many looks. Two weeks ago at Philly, Austin only had one catch, a big one for the game winning score. Last week at Green Bay, Romo again went to Williams and failed miserably with a key drop and a fumble, yet Romo kept going to him and bypassing the playmaking Austin.
Despite the loss, Williams was happy to have his first 100 yard game in 25 games and scored in the final seconds of a 17-7 loss, the first loss in November given to Romo in 13 games. Austin only had four catches for 20 yards. When Dallas took off after being a mediocre 2-2, it was Austin’s big plays that led the way to four straight wins with him scoring in each. If Dallas wants to really contend, less-Williams and a reclassification of who is No. 2 on the team looks to be the move.
Just wondering if Jets DB Kerry Rhodes has something to say this week as his 4-5 Jets roll into New England in the aftermath of the Colts disaster. The week of their first meeting in week two, There was a lot of jaws flapping from the Jets side saying how they were going to do, and then they went out and beat the Pats. Somehow it seems like Coach Belichick isn’t too happy right now and is looking to take it out on someone and the Jets should give plenty of ammunition for Tom Brady’s loaded gun. Laying 10-points with the Patriots looks to have lots of venom at least when searching the cover in this revenge match.
AFC West Showdown
Ever since their week 6 Monday night encounter, the Broncos and Chargers have gone separate ways to the extreme. San Diego hasn’t lost since Denver’s win that night and the Broncos haven’t won making them tied for the division lead.
The Chargers have manned up and played everyone tough at home and on the road while Denver is reeling since their week 7 bye. The bye was the worst thing that could have happened to Denver who were feeding off the momentum.
Following the off-week, the traveled east to lose at Baltimore, went home to lose to Pittsburgh on a Monday night, and then flew back east on a short week to lose to Washington last week.
Because of the tailspin, the Broncos will again be an underdog. The winner of the game will be leading the division with six games to play until the playoffs. If Chris Simms is forced to play for the injured Kyle Orton as he did in the second half of the Redskins game, The Chargers could win by three touchdowns.
Watch every Tuesday for a brand new NFL Notebook article.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
by Mike T.
Things have been pretty, pretty, pretty good for me the last few weeks. For the second straight week I have gone 3-0. I'm also 8-1 in the last three weeks with the only loss being Miami against the Saints which still burns a little. That puts me at 18-9 for the season.
Last week I really liked the dogs as I thought the numbers were being over inflated and sure enough the dogs went 10-3. This week it appears that odds makers have readjusted the lines. This is the first week of the year that I am actually putting money on a favorite that is over 7 points (something I hate to do). Unlike last week I think we will see quite a few big favorites cover on Sunday.
Dolphins -9.5 vs Bucs
If you had the Bucs on the money line last week you were a genius. I sure a hell wish I had the balls to to make that bet. That said, the Bucs played their Superbowl last week getting six sacks, three picks, a blocked punt and a huge KO return against the Packers and their turn-style offensive line. And before anyone breaks out the anointing oil on Josh Freeman, he only completed 45% of his passes and is now about to play his first career road game against Miami. I expect the Fish to hold the ball for over 40 minutes and have 200+ yards on the ground.
Dolphins 28 Buccaneers 3
Chargers -1 vs Eagles
The Bolts are coming off a huge road win against the Giants and are now playing very inspired football. They have a very realistic shot at winning the AFC West, something most wouldn't have thought just a few weeks ago. Shawne Merriman and the the Chargers front seven got 5 sacks and two forced fumbles against a very good Giants offensive line. The Eagles have had line issues all year and now may be without LT Jason Peters(ankle). I think we'll see McNabb running for his life throughout the game which will probably result in a few turnovers.
Chargers 27 Eagles 17
Bengals +7 at Steelers
I've done very well taking the Bengals this year and as long as they are still getting 7 points I have to take them again. This game does look like a trap though, but it also looked like a trap last week as 3 point home dogs to the Ravens. The Bengals are 3-0 on the road and if they win they will be 5-0 in the AFC North and own all tie breakers. This should be a hard fought game with both teams looking to take sole possession of their division.
Bengals 24 Steelers 21
Titans -7 vs. Bills: I love the way Vince Young has come in and lead the Titans with confidence and poise the last weeks getting their first two wins of the season. The Titans haven’t committed any turnovers and there is a renewed energy with the team that hasn’t been there since week vs. Pittsburgh. Look for Chris Johnson and the Titans to have a fairly easy time this week.
Saints -13.5 @ St. Louis: The last few weeks we’ve seen inflated lines with the Falcons and Panthers against the Saints; two good teams getting lots of points. Now we get the Rams only getting 13.5? Is it because of that rowdy crowd in the Lou? Come on, this is a bad team whoever they play and laying two touchdowns shouldn’t be that big of a deal against the Rams wherever they play.
Chargers -1 vs. Eagles: Chargers are playing excellent ball on both sides, especially the defense led by Shawn Merriman who has shown up the last four weeks. The last long trip the Eagles took to the west coast didn’t turn out well for them as they lost to the lowly Raiders. Phillip Rivers is on target with everything right now and will find a way to win.
Cowboys -3 @ Green Bay: It’s that time of the year, November, and Tony Romo doesn’t lose. He’s won 13 in a row in November and he’ll continue the trend this week led by a Dallas defense that is salivating at getting a chance to face the Packers weak offensive line that lets Aaron Rodgers get hammered every week. Since getting Miles Austin into the game plan, they have connected big every week leading to wins and it won’t stop this week.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Utah +20 @ TCU: The biggest game of all this week with the most on the line. The bettors have bumped the Horned-Frogs from -17 to -20, but Utah will be ready for this game. This is basically the same Utah team that won 13-10 over TCU last season and are 4-1 in the last five seasons. Looks for Utah to play a close game and maybe pull off the upset.
South Carolina +17 vs. Florida: This is Florida’s last bump in the road in the way to go undefeated. Cocks Head Coach Steve Spurrier will have his team ready defensively and be able to slow down the Gator attack like just about everyone else has in SEC play. It’s the perfect spot for a slumping SC team to make one last push for themselves on the season; this is their title game and their Coach would love to see nothing better than a win like three years ago.
Other Plays This Week:
Nevada -7 vs. Fresno State
Notre Dame +7 @ Pittsburgh
USC -11 vs. Stanford
Houston -4.5 @ Central Florida
Ohio State -16 vs. Iowa
Mississippi -5 vs. Tennessee
by Micah Roberts
Man, do I envy everyone out there from where ever you may be sitting right now. Most of you have had the bulk of your football season played in what could be considered real football weather outside your window. Today in Las Vegas is the first real official day of fall after having a non-stop succession of sunshiny days at 75 to 85 degrees.
It may not seem like that big of a deal, but the mindset one gets from gray skies and cool air is part of what makes football so great. It what inspires kids in Ohio and Pennsylvania to have arguably the best brand of football. Wearing flip-flops in Mid-November only evokes thoughts of the Caribbean and steel drums, not football.
So now that I got my Colorado sweat-shirt on and have run some laps in the cool air, I can get in my three-point stance and feel the football spirit like every else across the country.
Perhaps the Las Vegas weather has also inspired several others in town too because the action has been pretty good at all the Sports Books. Last week, there were hardly any line movements, especially in the NFL, whereas this week, it’s been the complete opposite.
Since the openers on Monday, only the Saints-Rams game has gone without movement on the side or total. Ten of the 15 NFL games this week have had movement on the side.
Read More Here.....
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
Pro football Sunday couldn’t have started out any better for the Sports Books when six of the first seven games saw the underdog cover with three of them winning outright. It only took nine weeks for some of these bad teams to come around, a little longer than the books would have liked, but it’s better late than never.
The previously winless Buccaneers were victorious over the Packers as 10-point dogs and ended up winning by 10, knocking out a lot of risk on the day for the books.
"The Green Bay game was the key to our whole day," said Coast Resorts Director of Race and Sports Bob Scucci, "That was the one game that had the most one sided parlay and teaser action of the day."
Big favorites like the Patriots and Colts both got wins, but fell short of covering the spread, further eliminating outstanding future risk for the day.
"We did well with the Patriots game, but not as much as you might think with the Colts," said Scucci. "We had wise guy money on the Texans as well as public action weighted to that side because of how well Houston has played lately. News of the injured Colts secondary also contributed to swaying the public opinion in the belief that the Texans offense could expose them.
By the time the 1 p.m. games rolled around it was almost as if the entire day’s risk had been wiped clean with a restart button hit on the late games as the players tried to get back all the money they lost early.
Despite being little liability remaining with the parlays and teasers, the win wasn’t as good as last week because the "sharps" did well.
"We did really well in all parlay and teaser categories, but didn’t fare well on the straight bets," said Scucci. "The wise guys were on games like the Cardinals, Texans and Bengals, as opposed to last week when we did well in just about every category."
The Saints have been one of the favorite public teams all season, but it’s apparent that even the public can smell a bad line. The Saints were bet down by the Sharps from a 14-point favorite all the way down to 11½ by kickoff, but the normal public ratio on the Saints dropped considerably from weeks past.
"I think it’s a matter of most people seeing what happened last week with the inflated line in the Falcons game with the Saints and also watching the ground attack of the Panthers control the game at Arizona," said Scucci. "This week was the lowest ratio of wagers on the Saints side out of any of their games this season. It was a pretty evenly balanced between the two."
It should be noted that not all is perfect for the remainder of the season. Yes, the Lions, Chiefs and Bucs played well, but the books did have the benefit of having the three lost souls of the Raiders, Rams and Browns off on a bye, which ultimately forced the public to choose other games on the wagering menu rather than the easy, "I’ll take a 5-game parlay with whoever those guys are playing against."
It should also be noted that the books did a great job in going against their own, and recommended, numbers in inflating their spreads to ease against the crush of play on certain teams.
In the case of the Patriots against a good Miami team, the true number was around 9, but not above 10. The game was opened Patriots 10½ and moved up to 11 and landed 10 meaning the books got most of the chips in that one and put a notion of doubt in a few players minds about laying the big spreads.
It’s likely after we see the three bad teams that had byes this week play competitively and cover a few themselves that we’ll see the spreads cycle back around to the true numbers before the sharps take advantage as they did this week with the Colts line.
All it takes for many of the regular players is to see a few wins on the ATS (against the spread) stat line of a team to make them consider playing some of these bad teams. Losing in weeks prior betting against them also helps change a philosophy.
The Giants had good action from the public and sharps against the Chargers because of the perception that the G-men couldn’t lose four straight games, along with the difficulty of a west coast team traveling to play on the east coast. The line opened New York -4½ and closed at -5½.
With just over two minutes to go the Giants kicked a field goal putting them ahead 20-14 and more importantly, covering the spread. Philip Rivers and San Diego drove right down the field using almost all of the clock and scored a touchdown in the final seconds giving the Chargers the upset win and provoking lots of expletives from the Sports Books crowds.
We can’t call what happened late in the Lions-Seahawks a bad beat because no one bet the Lions. It was a good-beat, but unfortunately many of the public’s late parlays were wiped out by what had just happened with the Giants game minutes before.
Some may have taken solace in the fact that the Giants lost because their tickets were ruined anyway by the Lions covering. The 11-point dog Lions were down 20-25 with less than a minute to play and driving down field looking to go for the game-winning score, and that’s when pick-six happened.
The Seahawks answered the prayers of several bettors around the world by intercepting a Matt Stafford pass and taking it 61 yards for the score making it 32-20 with only a few seconds left. This time around it was the Boss-Bookies with expletives who were looking to close out a great afternoon of winning football for the house.
Dog Day Afternoon
It was another winner for the books, despite numbers not so good on straight bets. Only two favorites covered among the first 11 games, and five of the underdogs won outright.
If given the choice, the Books probably would choose a ratio of 5 favorites and 6 dogs just to keep even with the Sharps who generally take the points rather than lay. That type of mix also has enough upsets to make it tougher for the parlay combinations to hit which keep the Books ahead of the public. An extreme one way or the other doesn’t turn out so well for the house.
Wake Up Lovie!
The Bears are 4-4 thus far and it can be attributed to Smith not taking control of his team and doing what they do best which is running the football and taking time off the clock. For Papa Bear’s sake, give your defense a chance Lovie. The more Smith lets Cutler throw incomplete passes, the more time his defense is going to be on the field and made to look worse than they are.
In Sunday’s 41-21 blasting by the Cardinals, Matt Forte ran 5 times and Cutler threw 47 times. That pace was dictated by Cutler early, thanks to some nifty audibles which happened to call for his number time and again, and when they got behind Cutler got his wish to put up some great personal stats. Through it all, the team got beat allowing over 40 for the second time in three games.
Lovie still has the Super Bowl creditability with the city which will last for a few more years, but Cutler’s true agenda is being exposed by many and if he keeps it up he may be given the Milton Bradley treatment soon.
Welcome To The Show
Rookie Josh Freeman’s debut as the Buccaneers’ starting QB was a smashing success. Despite a swift wind swirling in Tampa, the kid led the team to their first win of the season by throwing 3 TD’s showing the type of leadership and command of the offense that made him the Bucs first round draft choice.
Head Coach Raheem Morris’ faith in Freeman in the draft raised many eyebrows, but of all people, Morris should know something about Freeman since he used to be an assistant at Kansas State while Freeman was there.
Of all the owners in football, you have to love Bud Adams for his approach three weeks ago when he suggested that he might like to see how Vince Young could do since the other guy isn’t doing so well. Adams is a class owner who has never played the power moves like some of the other teams representing ego. Since the move, The Titans are 2-0 and haven’t committed a turnover.
by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
Best college football games attract the most action
Many of the big games last week had equally big moves led by the cash of some of the sharpest groups in town. Over the first nine weeks of the season, the majority of the line movements have been on middle of the pack ACC teams, MAC teams and an occasional Big West or Mountain West side.
Last week we saw the biggest of all the games such as LSU-Alabama and Ohio State-Penn State get played by the sharps. The big games always attract the most action from the public because of the pre-hype of radio, television, internet and even newspapers – if there are still any subscribers in the country.
Regular fans know the game is on TV and they have been talking point-counterpoint with their buddies all week and get pumped up enough to make a wager on the game, usually coming Friday or Saturday morning. The normal Sharp philosophy is to find the best games available regardless if it’s broadcast anywhere, using the value of their information in lesser known attractive teams and games to their advantage.
So witnessing Alabama drop from a 10-point favorite to 7 by kickoff came as somewhat of a surprise. The Penn State game moved from being a 3.5-point favorite to 5 by kickoff. In both instances they got beat, except for the short span that they got LSU with the 10 and 9.5. The majority of the money came after those moves.
In both instances, the public and sharps were on LSU and Penn State, meaning the book did very well by knocking off two of the most bet games of the day eliminating risk on future parlays for the remainder of the day.
Moves that didn’t get there for the Sharps last Week: Notre Dame losing outright to Navy, Wisconsin barely winning at Indiana and Michigan losing outright to Purdue.
Moves that won for the sharps last week: Michigan State clubbing Western Michigan, Louisville hanging tough with West Virginia, Arkansas hammering South Carolina and Baylor winning outright at Missouri.
Just by looking at the games they did well on and the games they didn’t, it gives an example of what they have been more successful at over the years picking the lines apart on the lower class teams and shying away from the bigger games.
However, it should serve well to note that in November with so much more data and tendencies accumulated through this length of the season, there can be a more accurate read of the higher profile teams.
SEC Officials At It Again
All season long the SEC officials have been ridiculed by the media, fans, and coaches for their lack of vision. The SEC even acknowledge their errors by suspending an entire crew after the Florida-Arkansas game, but last weeks error in the Alabama-LSU game cost a whole lot of bettors some money because it happened to mess with the spread.
With 5:54 left in the game and Alabama leading 21-15 – where the spread closed at Alabama -7 with nearly everyone having LSU – the Tigers appeared to intercept a Tide pass at the 31 yard line. After several reviews clearly showed both feet in-bounds, the officials said no catch and gave Alabama the ball and they went on to kick a field goal that just about killed everyone’s LSU bet making the score 24-15.
LSU may have been hard pressed to go 69 yards and get the win had they gotten the call their way. They had a back-up QB running the show who didn’t move the ball well upon coming in, but at least give the kids a chance based on what really happened on the field. What good is replay when even the official reviewing can’t see straight?
A few conspiracy theorists in the wagering public may think otherwise as they often suggest after bad beats, but this isn’t about any kind of point shaving or a question of scandal in those regards, it’s simply about making the right call which this conference has trouble with every week. Even Florida Head Coach Urban Meyer, who has been the beneficiary of several of these calls, got fined $30,000 two weeks ago for speaking out against the officials.
"The difficult issue that I have is telling my team," LSU Head Coach Les Miles said. "The issue is telling Patrick Peterson who, in his mind, knows that it’s an interception."
The only conspiracy theory that can be logically conjured up is the SEC’s greed to have two undefeated teams going into the SEC Championship game which ensures that at least one of their teams will play in the National Title game. With it comes big Title game money for the conference and all the schools.
The conference definitely has a problem and it’s likely to play out all this week in the media everywhere, a voice the SEC can’t just fine to shut-up. Just call the game fair and don’t do any rash anti-get-back calls like happened in the Big-10 last week with Iowa against Northwestern where it appeared the officials tried as hard as they could to be tough on Iowa for their own mishaps in previous Iowa games.
A week after losing 37-0 at Wisconsin, Purdue went to Michigan and took out the Wolverines 38-36, their first win in the Big House since 1966 when Bob Griese was the quarterback. Not even Gary Danielson, Jim Everett, Drew Brees, or Kyle Orton could do it.
Joey Elliott was able to make the feat happen that no one else has in 43 years by throwing for 367 yards and two touchdowns, but how he did it is a matter of roots.
"He’s (Griese) an Evansville (Ind.) native, just like myself," Elliott said with a grin.
Purdue now sits 4-6 with a chance of making a bowl by winning out against Michigan State and Indiana. Regardless if they make it, 2009 will definitely be a memorable year just for upsetting The Ohio State University and winning at Michigan. With a couple of bounces their way at Oregon or Northwestern and maybe a few Protestant officials at Notre Dame, Purdue might be playing for one of the higher ranking bowls.
Stanford Goes Bowling
Toby Gerhardt ran for 223 yards and three scores to clinch Stanford’s 51-42 win over No. 7 ranked Oregon, a week after the Ducks had just knocked off USC. With the win, the Cardinal will be eligible for a bowl for the first time in eight seasons.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
by Mike T.
It felt good to get back on the winning track last week. I had two dogs and a total get there for me putting me at 15-9 for the season.
There have been an unusual amount of big favorites covering in blowout fashion all year. This trend is not likely to continue throughout the entire season.I think things are starting to get back to normal where for the first time this season 4 teams that were 10+ point dogs covered last week. With six teams as a 9+ point favorite again this week I think it may be another good opportunity to take some of these over inflated numbers. I'm going with 3 more dogs this week.
Texans +9 at Colts
The hot and cold Texans come into Indy as a 9 point dog against the high powered Colts. Matt Schaub will not be facing CB Marlin Jackson or Bob Sanders as they are both out for the season. Ryan Moats is also getting the start after his 126 yd 3 TD game last week, while Steve Slaton will be on the bench figuring out how to cure his fumblitis. I expect this to be a high scoring game with the Texans winning if they can play two good halves of football.Texans 34 Colts 28
Dolphins +10.5 at Patriots
Miami heads up to New England to take on their division rival. For the Fish to have any chance in this one they will have to play like they did in the first half against the mighty Saints. That is exactly what I expect them to do. The Pats D should see a heavy dose of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams while Tom Brady waits to get on the field. Should the Dolphins use this game plan I think they can not only cover but win the game outright.
Dolphins 27 Patriots 24
Bengals +3 vs Ravens
Dolphins 27 Patriots 24
Bengals +3 vs Ravens
It seems a little odd to me that the Bengals (5-2) are home dogs in this one since they've already beaten the Ravens (4-3) on the road this year. I don't know what else they have to do to get the respect they deserve. Wins against GB and Balt on the road and a home win against Pittsburgh should be enough as well as coming off a 45-10 beating they put on Da Bears two weeks ago.The Bengals have had two weeks to prepare for their division rival and I believe they will be fired up to win this one and remain in first place in the AFC North by a half game until the Steelers play on Monday night.Bengals 31 Ravens 17
Cardinals +3 @ Bears: Arizona falls into that category of being to win anywhere, as we a couple weeks ago at New York, and also being able to lose to anyone like we saw last week in their home game against the Panthers.
They may seem like a risky bet, but this is more about going against the Bears who are still trying to figure out their identity with Jay Cutler at the helm. Last week they went to their running game for the first time all season with Matt Forte and didn't let Cutler's interceptions beat them.
This week, they'll get a team who can put points on the board and be forced to use Cutler's turnover machine.
Panthers +13 @ Saints: Why even mess around the Saints? Well, getting four-points of value is a good beginning to the answer. The proper line should be around 9 or 10 at most, but is inflated because of Las Vegas' current losses with bad teams and lovable favorites like the Saints and Colts.
The Panthers have also owned this team over the last four years winning 7 of 8 games. Jake Delhomme should be happier than ever going to his home and getting some good luck Gumbo where he has had some of his best games. In his last 5 games against the Saints he's had 8 TD's and only one pick.
The power running game of the Panthers will not be stopped by the Saints who haven't been put to the test for four quarters against a good running team. The Dolphins had them on the ropes, but let them off the hook with bad play calling in the second half. If the Saints had trouble with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, then they're really going to love Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams.
Not only is the points good value here, but a money line play at +600 is worth a shot.
Dallas-Philadelaphia OVER 49: The last two seasons these two teams have had shootouts in their first meeting. The game has gone over 50 in 3 of the last 4 games. The best sign is that the game is in November where Tony Romo is virtually unbeatable and has his best games statistically throughout his career. If there was a November Hall of Fame, Romo's picture would be the silhouette on the logo.
No worries about Philly scoring either. Donovan McNabb and DeSean Jackson like to make bigsplays with regularity and with Dallas' weak coverage and suddenly meek pass-rush, they should score big again.
Denver +3 vs Pittsburgh: Everyone knew the Broncos were phony and they proved it at Baltimore, or so the experts are claiming. Doesn't matter that they beat Dallas, New England, and San Diego in a Monday night road game, does it? Those were flukes, and a team like the World Champion Steelers will expose them further, right?
The same argument was made the last time the Steelers had just won the Super Bowl. They strolled into Denver as 3-point road favorites and got beat straight up.
Denver's lapse last week was a mere matter of a team coming off a bye, traveling from the west to play and early game in the east. Western teams traveling east very rarely fare well, no matter what a teams record is. Starting out 6-0 and then having to wait two weeks killed some momentum, but the buildings blocks that got them big wins are still there.
The home crowd will make a huge difference and Denver will win straight up again as a dog like they have done four times already this season.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Penn State -4 vs. Ohio State: This game is based purely on the maturation of PSU QB Daryll Clark who has become the most efficient QB in the land thanks to his play ever since the big loss to Iowa. The Buckeyes have taken care of business in the Big-10 outside of the Purdue loss and covered on nearly occasion. Look for Penn State to win this game by at least 7.
Houston -1 @ Tulsa: The Cougars are on their way to an 11-1 season and Tulsa will not stand in their way. They have one of the premier offenses in the land and it will be featured with at least 40 points in this game.
Michigan -6 vs. Purdue: This is the lowest line Purdue has had in Michigan for some time and it’s a gift to bettors. Purdue will score some, but their defense has trouble stopping anyone other than a troubled Sophomore named Pryor. Look for Michigan to win by at least 14.
Other plays that will get there this week:
Baylor +14.5 @ Missouri
LSU +7.5 @ Alabama
Louisville +18 @ West Virginia
Notre Dame -11.5 vs. NAVY
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
USC is latest victim; is it Bama’s turn?
Sound the sirens, we have a possible upset alert in Tuscaloosa this week. No. 3 ranked Alabama welcomes No. 9 LSU this Saturday in what could be the Crimson Tide’s last major hurdle in an attempt to make the SEC Championship game undefeated to play Florida.
Every week, a top-10 team has fallen. Last week we said good-bye to USC. Could Alabama be that team this week? Of all the top-10 teams playing this week, Alabama would be the most logical choice.
LSU’s only loss of the season was against Florida and their offense has been much more impressive in their two wins since that loss. Two weeks ago they beat Auburn 31-10, a team who came back a week later and beat a ranked Ole Miss squad. Last week they had a tune-up against Tulane and won 42-0.
Alabama should be afraid. Not only is its hopes of a national title on the line, but if they lose to LSU, they won’t even get to play Florida for the SEC Title should LSU win out.
Alabama has four games remaining in the regular season, but has been struggling down the stretch. Their near loss to Tennessee two weeks ago was another unimpressive win that contributed to them dropping from No. 2 to third this week without even playing.
Should Alabama get by LSU, the rejuvenated Auburn Tigers may have something for them in the Iron Bowl played Thanksgiving weekend.
Taps for USC
USC no longer has to complain about playing in the Rose Bowl as they have in years past because their reign as Pac-10 Champs is over following Oregon’s 47-20 blasting of the Trojans Saturday night. It was USC’s worst defeat since 1997 and their first loss by more than seven since 2001, Pete Carroll’s first year as head coach.
What’s really surprising is that the public jumped off the wagon before it fell off the cliff. Las Vegas is usually a very pro-Trojan crowd that has generally bet them in big games during Carroll’s remarkable run. USC just doesn’t lose too many big games, but couldn’t find many takers Saturday, who all seemed to be correct.
"We couldn’t get any action on USC," said Lucky’s Sports Book Director Jimmy Vaccaro. "Oregon was one of our bigger losers on Saturday."
Vaccaro said they even dropped the USC money line all the way to -125 because of little action on USC and most of the Oregon money coming in on the plus money straight-up side. Usually a 3-point favorite is anywhere from -150 to -160 on the conversion chart.
Oregon QB Jeremiah Masoli threw for 222 yards and a touchdown and ran for 164 more and a TD in Ducks Fright Night trick-or-treat special over USC.
"I don’t know if we made a statement, this is just what we planned on doing," Masoli said. "If it makes a statement it makes a statement. That’s just Oregon football and how we roll."
It may be a little too late in the BCS rankings for No. 8 ranked Oregon to have a chance at the Title game, but since losing to Boise State in their first game of the season, not many have looked better than Oregon. Whoever wins the Big-10 can expect to be double-digit underdogs in the Rose Bowl to Oregon.
Books do well on Saturday
The monthly fall trend of casinos being able to rely on the Sports Book’s College Football win contributing to the overall scheme continued in week 9. The mix of action and indecisiveness of the small money players on the marquee games has kept them guessing all year. Teams like Florida, Texas and Alabama, who are on TV every week, are all undefeated and popular weekly plays, but have been the most unpredictable of all against the spread.
Middle of the Week
Many folks are skeptical about believing in No. 4 Iowa and it showed right away at the betting window last week when Iowa opened up an 18.5-point home favorite to Indiana. Why shouldn’t everyone question that many points? The Hawkeyes have only one convincing win all season which was in week 2 against Iowa State where they won by 32.
Every one of their seven other games this season had been won by 11 points or less. In their last four games they had barely hung on needing fantastic finishes to win, so it wasn’t surprising to see the first few large bets come in on Indiana taking the points.
The line settled at 17.5-points for all the weekend plays which is when most of the smaller money comes in, and in most cases, they like to play the favorites.
Indiana looked like they were not only going to cover, but get the straight-up win; they took a 21-7 half-time lead.
The Hoosiers still had the lead going into the fourth quarter at 24-14, and then the tidal wave came. Iowa made big play after big play for a 28-0 run to close out the game giving Iowa a 42-24 win with a margin of 18 points, right in the middle of where the move went, meaning the books got beat on both sides of the spectrum. Sharp money won with the early wagers and the small money won with their weekend wagers.
Moves of the Week
Mississippi opened a 3-point road favorite at Auburn and by kickoff the game had moved to 6-points. Auburn ended up winning the game outright 33-20.
No surprise to find a MAC game getting early movement, which it did Monday when the Toledo/Western Michigan matchup came out at Pick and because of who bet it, was quickly bumped to -2 and then -2.5 where it closed. Toledo cruised to an easy 26-14 win over Western Michigan.
Penn State was one of the moves that happened later in the week. They opened a 14.5-point favorite and was bet small early and finally closed at 17. Northwestern gave them a battle for the three quarters but couldn’t hang on, giving up the possible win and cover, losing 34-13.
Watch every Tuesday for a brand new College Notebook article.
Bettors bitten by a pack of live NFL dogs
by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas
One week after having perhaps the worst single day Las Vegas Sports Books have ever seen, the house scooped most of the chips in week 8. As great as the Sunday win may have been, which in some cases was the best of the season thus far, it doesn’t even begin to nibble off the deficit created the previous week.
"We did well for the day," said Lucky’s Sports Book Director Jimmy Vaccaro. "Handle was up across the board and on parlay cards, likely due to the great week the public had last week."
The win was spurred by the public’s intrigue of big games between good teams, but also finally having one of the public’s darlings of the year, the Colts, not cover for only the second time this season while remaining undefeated.
"Our best game of the day was the 49ers covering against the Colts," said Vaccaro. "We also did well with the Dolphins and Eagles decisions. We opened the Eagles at -1½ and Giant money moved it to Giants -2½."
Large money and small money contributed to many of the books’ biggest games of the day and it had to be encouraging for the books to at least be able to root for decent teams like the 49ers and Eagles. Those two games were the foundations of many of the betting public’s parlays and when they went down, so did the risk.
The easy "bet against" games weren’t there either. Tampa Bay and Kansas city had bye weeks and it helped that two of the worst teams in football played against each other. Attempting to pick a side in the Lions-Rams game had to be a tough dilemma for the public, but there was some late action on a side.
"We got a little bit of late money on the Rams when it was announced that Calvin Johnson wouldn’t play," said Vaccaro.
The Rams would go on to win 17-10 late, but it still remained the least bet game of the week
The books also found a way to get some money on bad teams, or at least a couple of them. Both the Raiders and Browns were opened with over-inflated lines as a reaction to the bet against trends.
The Browns were getting 13 in the opener at the Bears, while the Chargers opened as 17½-point home favorites to the Raiders. The Bears closed at 10½ while the Chargers closed at 16.
The Browns looked to be keeping it close, but fell apart late and blowing the cover. The Chargers jumped out to a 21-7 lead and from there played clock management only scoring three more points winning 24-16.
In the Chargers’ case, even though some books didn’t do well with some sharp money, they must be pleased to see a team as bad as the Raiders at least show some fight and compete. The Raiders were still bad, but they are still a professional team playing another. That type of professional pride has been absent this season from too many teams.
There are no polls like in college football, and no one is voting based on margin of victory. For years the books have always been able to rely on the Pro Football line being the most sound of all the sports because of the professional product being placed on the field. Remember the term "On any given Sunday?" If a team was double digits, whoever they were in whatever situation, it usually presented good value.
This week, there is more relief for the books because the Browns, Rams, and Raiders all have byes and there is a full menu of quality teams playing against each other.
Even in the instance of America’s new team, the Saints, they’ll be playing a Panthers team coming off a big win in Arizona which should play into some of the public’s thoughts when deciding what to do, lay the 14 or take the 14.
I would lay 1-6 based on Week 9’s schedule that the books will have one of their better Sundays of the season this week.
In Vince We Trust
The winless Titans turned to Vince Young last week and he responded with solid, conservative execution in the 30-13 win over the Jaguars. Young mixed in the short passes with some timely running and best of all, no turnovers. The Jags also had a tough time getting pressure on Young and recorded no sacks. It also helped that Chris Johnson ran for 228 yards and two monster TD runs.
Stat Line of the Week
Maurice Jones-Drew only carried the ball 8 times Sunday, but on two of them he took it all the way for a 79 and 80-yard TD runs. MJD finished with 177 yards and an average of 22.1. Those type of numbers are reserved solely for old Big-8 conference college super backs like Billy Sims who would play a quarter racking up 35 points against a team like Colorado and then sit while the back-ups got their game on.
Big Play Jackson
DeSean Jackson became just the second player in NFL history with six TDs of at least 50 yards within the first seven games of a season and the first since Elroy "Crazy Legs" Hirsch had six in 1951. His latest was a 54-yard second quarter toss from Donovan McNabb that essentially buried the Giants.
Broncos Party Over?
The public hasn’t been too keen on the Broncos during their run, in fact, they have probably been the Sports Books only friend this season. Betting against Denver finally paid off Sunday when the Ravens beat them down 30-7 in all facets. They looked lost and befuddled coming off their bye which essentially ruined any momentum they had while going 6-0. Monday night they get a visit from Pittsburgh and will be a slight home dog again.
The last time the Steelers were the defending Champs, they rolled into Denver as favorites too and Denver won straight up. This week under the lights against another good opponent with an energized crowd, the Broncos should present great value to win again.
What Now For Favre?
Could it be that Brett Favre’s motivation and drive will be diminished now that he accomplished his two-year goal of sticking it to the Packers? He’s got eight regular season games left along with the playoffs, but no more against the Packers. His hope was all along when the saga started to beat the Packers playing for a hated division opponent and show the entire Packer organization that they made the wrong choice by taking Aaron Rodgers. For some reason, him playing again never seemed about winning the Super Bowl, but rather an agenda of personal revenge against an old employer. If he stays the course, "Who dat" is even going to have trouble hanging with the Vikings.