Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Roberts College Bowl Selections: Dec 30-31 - Stanford and Vols Hang Tough as Dogs

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bowling Green -1 vs. Idaho: Even though Idaho is playing somewhat of a home game on the smurf turf of Boise State, they’ll be hard pressed to stop the passing attack of Bowling Green’s QB Tyler Sheehan and WR Freddie Barnes who always seem to hook up several times a game.

Arizona +2.5 vs. Nebraska: This game should be a tough defensive battle despite it playing in the traditional scoring fest of the Holiday Bowl. Nebraska wants to run time off the clock and win 13-10 while Arizona wants to quick strike with three-step drops to receivers on crossing patterns to negate any type of pass rush. Look for Arizona to have more success in their agenda.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Missouri -6.5 vs. Navy: Navy is appearing in their seventh straight bowl game, a school record, but they will have a tough time stopping Missouri who has averaged 417 yards per game this season. Look for a close game early on with Missouri taking control in the second half.

Houston -5 vs. Air Force: This game features a Houston squad averaging 449 yards per game passing against an Air Force team that allows only 148 yards passing per game. Houston has junked up late in the season getting beat by lesser opponents, but they should be able to blow out the Falcons in this one.

Stanford +10 vs. Oklahoma: This line has risen rapidly from 7.5. Stanford will not have the fortune of getting Andrew Luck in the game at QB, but the initial line was built in for that probability. Toby Gerhart will be able to do what he wants for Stanfiord against a Bob Stoops led team that doesn’t fare well in Bowl games. Stoops is 3-7 in bowls and 0-4 against the spread when favored by six-points or more.

Minnesota -1.5 vs. Iowa State: Two 6-6 teams that probably shouldn’t even be in a bowl game. Iowa State has the more balanced offensive attack while the Gophers have the stronger defense. Look for the passing game of Minnesota to be the difference in this one.

Tennessee +5.5 vs. Virginia Tech: Ryan Williams is a fantastic RB, but he’ll be facing a Monte Kiffin led defense that has had a few weeks to prepare. The Hokies are one-dimensional and that will hurt them against a tough Volunteer defense. SEC Bowl dogs are 9-1 over the last 10 chances when coming off a win to close the year. This profile fit’s the Vols and they should be primed to get a big win in Lane Kiffin’s first season.

Bowl Season: 4-6
I will have more selections for New Years day posted Thursday night. Happy New Years to everyone and Good Luck to all!
My New Years resolution has begun already with a low carb diet that includes, of all things, cutting out beer. I have traditionally been good with the plan for about three straight weeks shedding about 15 pounds. I'm shooting for 25 pounds.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NFL Notes From Week 16 in Las Vegas: Books Have Great Week, But Less Handle Due to Santa

NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts

Gaming Today Las Vegas

What a week it has been for the Las Vegas Sports Books, and for casino executives, it couldn’t have come at a better time. Between the string of big wins for the house in the college football bowls and a nice ratio of favorites and dogs covering on NFL Sunday, the books were able to close out the final quarter and calendar year with an unexpected cherry on top of the budget.

The one variable in the casino that always has the financial department guessing is the Sports Book. Table games and slots can be forecasted almost to the dollar based on expected drop and win because the percentages always hold true; however, the Sports Book win is always a mystery.

The sharpest prognosticators can’t tell who is going to cover week to week and that makes the finance guys in each casino go crazy because they don’t have a grasp on it like the other departments. When the president of the company asks, "How are we going to close out the year," the bean-counter always gives concrete information followed by, "if we have a good week in the Book."

Well, last week was a great week that made everyone happy. Between the bowl games seeing the favorites go 3-6-1 to start and Sunday’s pro football seeing the perfect mix of favorites going 6-6-2, the books did extremely well.

"It was one of the better days of the year," said Las Vegas Hilton Superbook Executive Director Jay Kornegay. "Anytime you can have a 14-point dog win outright with several other dogs covering, it’s going to be a good day. Then when you put in everyone’s favorite, the Colts, losing outright, it helped make the day for us."

The 14-point dog that won outright was the Tampa Buccaneers who beat the Saints 20-17 giving New Orleans their second straight loss at home after winning their first 13 games of the season. The undefeated team coming into Sunday was the Colts who lost to the Jets 29-15. Despite the game being close in the third quarter, Colts coach Jim Caldwell took out all his stars and watched the second stringers lose their first game of the season.

"The public ratio in favor of the Colts was unbelievable," said Palms Director of Race and Sports Fred Crespi. " It was like 5 to 2 in favor of the Colts in ticket counts, however, we had a lot of sharp money throughout the week that kept pounding the Jets which negated what would have been a one-sided win for us on the game."

The win for the books could have been much better had it been another week in the season without the holidays.

"The last two Sundays have really been good for us, but Christmas and the spending habits of our regular guests hurt the possibilities because we didn‘t have as much action like we did the first 14 weeks," said Kornegay.

In the bowl games, bettors have been baffled. Just when you think you’ve got a trend going, the law of averages circles around. The Pac-10 started the Bowl season 0-2 as favorites, so when USC came to bat in the third outing, coupled with the fact the bowl dogs were 1-6 up to that point, the public had beliefs that Boston College would get there as 7-point dogs.

Las Vegas is usually a very pro-USC town, but after seeing them get thumped a few times in conference play and then watching the other Pac-10 bowl teams go down, the action was split on the game. Even the Sharps bet B.C. down from an opener of nine to seven.

The Public loves to play favorites. The scene couldn’t be set up better for the books right now because of all the underdogs winning. The two biggest favorites of the Bowl season have already gone down with Fresno State and Nevada losing outright to Mountain West teams as 12.5-point favorites.

Coming up this week the books hope to close out the year strong with a full slate of games every day through New Year’s. Most of the games are close spreads and evenly matched on paper which is good news for the books because there will be so many varied opinions which will keep the parlay win percentage up high and ensure a winning day regardless of the results.

Most of NFL Week 17’s games will be circled, or take limited action, with the exception of the few games that mean something.

It will be interesting to see how the Bengals approach this game. They won’t want to get Carson Palmer hurt against that nasty No. 1 ranked Jets defense, but they also have a good enough defense to hold the Jets to modest gains despite the Jets fighting for their playoff lives.

It’s funny how things circle around. Had Brandon Stokely not made the miraculous game winning touchdown at Cincinnati in week 1, Denver wouldn’t even be in this position. But here they are in the final week of the season needing help from the Bengals to make the playoffs.

Because of the variables in numbers involving some of these teams, make sure you make your wagers as close as possible to kickoff because the spread will rise or fall drastically based on implications from other games.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Roberts Week 16 Pro Football Selections: Ravens Keep Steelers Reelin'

Ravens +3 @ Pittsburgh: So this is supposed to be the week the Steelers put it all together in their playoff run. After losing five games in a row -- and barely beating the Packers to end the streak -- they think they can flip on the switch and play better when the chips are down? Well, the chips have been down for quite a while in losses to Cleveland, Kansas City, and Oakland -- three of the worst teams in the league. The Ravens, meanwhile, come in feeling good offensively and defensively. They are playing as well as they have all season with Joe Flacco showing signs of last seasons rookie that led the Ravens to the conference title game. Two teams going in different directions right now and I'll take the one going the right way which is Baltimore.

Baltimore/Pittsburgh OVER 42: It appears that the Steelers can't stop anyone with Troy Polamalu out -- as he will be this week again -- and they have to resort to throwing non-stop just to keep up with teams now. The Steelers are no longer a running team and can't grind clock out as they always have in the traditional sense. They throw now out of need, because their always down, as they will be this week.

Dolphins -1.5 vs Texans: Chad Henne has really come into his own this season and has this team in position for a possible playoff spot without running much of the wildcat offense anymore. The Texans are looking for the playoffs too, but could have taken care of business too many times this season to not have them in this position. They can blame Kris Brown all they want for losing games with missed kicks, but the Texans should have handled their business before making the kicker seal their fate. Look for Ricky Williams to have a big day with Henne doing just enough to beat Houston.

Packers -14 vs Seahawks: Not a big fan of laying two touchdowns in any game, but the Seahawks have shown that they have thrown in the towel. Seattle is coming off of two terrible offensive showings at Houston and worst of all, at home to the 1-12 Buccaneers. Had Seattle been hindered by having offensive weapons out such as their starting quarterback, that may have gave them a pass, but Matt Hasselbeck played both of those games with no intensity. They just want to see the season end, find a GM, and get ready for 2010 while the Packers will give Seattle's defense a steady dose of Ryan Grant.

Mike T's Week 16 Dogs: An Amazing 29-16 Record on the Season

by Mike T.

For some reason every few weeks I drift away from what has done so well for me all year (picking dogs).For the fisrt time in a while I fell below the .667 mark for the season (29-16). I had Dallas over the Saints and then went with two favs and neither got there. The Jets couldn't make a FG (0-3) and the Seahawks just didn't bother to show up for work on Sunday. Well it's back to the drawing board.

Broncos +7 at Eagles
Denver travels to Philly to take on a very hot (5-0) Eagle team. Philly has been known to make big plays in the air but not produce much when it comes to the ground game. This plays right into the Broncos hands as they are one of the top pass defenses in football. Denver should be able to find a way to control the insanely talented Desean Jackson. He's been a spooky nightmare for DBs all year. The Broncos secondary is one of the best in the business though. That along with some pressure on McNabb from Dumervil might make it tough for the Eagles to put up enough points to win.
Broncos 20 Eagles 17

Jets +5.5 at Colts
Yes, I'm going to take another stab at the Jets this week. The Colts have 25 guys listed on their injury report (10 of which are questionable or worse). The Jets are relatively healthy (few guys probable). Every week the Colts find some magical way to win. Maybe that magic wears off a little this week.
Like the Broncos vs Philly, the Jets and their number one defense should match up well against this very talented but banged up Colts offense. With Pierre Garcon out and shut down corner Darrelle Revis on Reggie Wayne the Colts O shouldn't be able to score at will as we've seen them do all year. The Jets hand the undefeated Colts their first loss.
Jets 28 Colts 24

Redskins +7 vs Dallas
This to me seems like one of those spots I love to take. Kind of like Oak over Cin or even Dallas over N.O. last week. The Cowboys beat the undefeated Saints on the road while the Skins got crushed by the Giants last week. As expected the public is all over the Boys. These two teams played each other just a month ago in Dallas and the Skins had them shut out for 58 minutes only to lose a 7-6 heart breaker on the final drive. These two teams despise each other and regardless of their record if I can get a 7 pt home dog in this match up I'll take it every time.
Redskins 22 Cowboys 21

Friday, December 25, 2009

Roberts College Football Bowl Selections: Bad Santa Re-Gifted and Has Left, Time to Win!

What a great start to the Bowl season. It was as if Bad Santa came down my chimney, kicked me in the nads, flipped me off, grabbed my wallet, drank all my bourbon, and then left in my car. Needless to say, the beginning to my wagering season has been tough.

I have started out 0-3 betting on games that I really liked only to watch them get blasted. Other than losing the money itself, at least the games were such blowouts that there was no pain involved. It almost like the tale of shark-bite victims that say the sheeering of the sharp teeth into the flesh leave a numbness of not knowing that your leg is gone.

If I had to do it all over again, I would still take Oregon State, Cal, and Nevada, that is if I didn’t see the score. The ratings I keep told me all three of those games were a higher margin than the spread indicated which has to be wagered upon.

I could waver and drastically adjust, but everything circles around. Once you over-adjust and have a knee-jerk reaction, that’s when you miss out when the true numbers come to fruition. The only adjusting done was to downgrade the Pac-10 participants slightly because of how badly they looked while at the same time, upgrading the Mountain West rating.

It’s obvious the Mountain West is taking no prisoners right now and are relishing in their pride after going 3-0 in their games thus far. In all three of their wins, each Mountain team was an underdog including Wyoming who was getting 12.5-points to Fresno State.

Along those same lines we can downgrade the WAC somewhat because of their awful 0-2 record against the spread and straight up. Both of their entries had the largest spreads of the Bowl season with Fresno State (-12.5) and Nevada (-11.5).

The two conferences collide against one another in the Fiesta Bowl January 4 with TCU a 7-point favorite over Boise State. No adjustment has been made by the sports books on TCU since two of their representaives got bashed. What it says is that the level of play in the WAC with all their gaudy offensive numbers don’t match-up well with play of other conferences. TCU was a strong play before the WAC was unmasked, but even stronger now due to the value of a conference rating shift.

Here’s a few games over the weekend that I will play in hopes of getting back some of the cash Santa took from me. Just because the favorites have gone 1-5 to start the bowl season, it will not deter me. I'm just sorry my rating didn't have a better feel for what was going to happen so I could hae cashed with the money lines on thos games.

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl @ Detroit
Ohio -3 vs Marshall: The Thundering Herd has lost 3 of their last 4 coming in to this game with the one win  against SMU. Ohio nearly won the MAC Title game, losing 20-10 to Central Michigan, but had won four straight going in. Marshall is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 vs. MAC teams.

Meineke Car Bowl @ Charlotte
North Carolina +2.5 vs. Pitt: This is like a home game for Butch Davis and his Tar Heels. Regardless of where they have played, Davis has had his team ready for the Bowl season. UNC is 5-2 straight up in their last seven bowl games and 5-1-1 ATS. Pitt lost a tough season finale to Cincinnati and have a dynamic running attack, however they are coached by Dave Wannstedt. In Pitt’s last 11 Bowl games they are 3-8.

Emerald Bowl @ San Francisco
USC -7 vs. Boston College: The Trojans could be without Joe McKnight and they have three other players suspended, however, the talent pool is grossly weighted with USC. Now it’s a matter of them executing and Pete Carroll with time to work on it usually always gets it done. Look for USC to come out strong being once again the pillar of strength representing the Pac-10’s pride.

Music City Bowl @ Nashville
Kentucky +7 vs. Clemson: Clemson is coming off back to back losses which is a bad trend for any ACC team when facing an SEC team in the Bowls. In the last seven situations it has occurred the ACC has failed miserably going 0-7 straight up and 1-6 ATS. Look for the ACC to be exposed once again as one of the worst BCS conferences.

Independence Bowl @ Shreveport
Georgia -7 vs. Texas A & M +7: Jerrod Johnson has really come on at QB for the Aggies giving them the ability to quick score against anyone. The problem has been their defense. Witness the Aggies last game against Texas where they hung around all game before losing 49-39. The total should fly over in this one even though it’s as high as 67. Georgia has beaten everyone they were supposed to this season except Kentucky, losing their other three teams to top-10 ranked teams. A & M’s defense should allow Bulldog QB Joe Cox to write his own score.

Eagle Bank Bowl @ Washing D.C.
UCLA -5.5 vs. Temple: UCLA is the weakest of the bowl teams to make it from the Pac-10, needing Navy to beat Army to get in. The best thing UCLA has going for them is Coach Rick Neuheisel who is 6-1 ATS in bowls. He gets his team ready and psyched to face anyone when having time to prepare for an opponent. We’ve seen it the last two seasons where he has won big games to start the year despite not having a very good offensive attack. Having QB Kevin Prince as the starter for UCLA will be huge. MAC teams are 1-7 straight up and 0-8 ATS coming off a loss going to Bowls.

Champs Sports Bowl @ Orlando
Miami -3 vs. Wisconsin: This will be the first chance we get to pick against a Big-10 team in the bowls, a trend that has worked out well in recent years. Miami is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 bowl games while the Big-10 went 1-6 as a conference in last years bowls. Big-10 teams are 1-5 straight up and ATS against ACC teams in bowls this decade.

Bowl Record: 0-3

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Pac-10 Stumbles Out Of The Gate Losing Two Straight To Non-BCS Mtn. West

The Pac-10 has stumbled out of the blocks in the bowl season. After going 5-0 last season in bowl games, the Pac-10 is now 0-2 in their first two bowl games against the non-BCS conference of the Mountain West.

Oregon State was whacked by BYU 44-20 in the Las Vegas as underdogs on Tuesday and Utah handled California as an underdog 37-27 in the Poinsetta Bowl Wednesday.

The win for Utah was their ninth bowl win in a row tying them for second all-time with USC from the John Wayne-led years and just beneath Florida State’s 11 in a row set from 1985-96.

The win also serves notice to the BCS committee who has shunned non-BCS conferences, dismissing their validity in the overall scheme. The pairing of the undefeated teams of TCU and Boise State -- the only two non-BCS conference teams playing in BCS bowl games, should serve notice of what the committee’s agenda is. Let them knock each other around without giving them their due by beating a BCS conference team.

Utah is the original BCS buster knocking off Pittsburgh in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and routing Alabama in last years Sugar Bowl.

The Pac-10 has five more teams with a chance to salvage some conference pride starting with the heavily favored USC against Boston College in Saturday’s Emerald Bowl. The Trojans opened as 9-point favorites and have been bet down to 7 with many feeling of the two teams, B.C. is the happier of the two to be playing in the pre-New Years day bowl.

The only Pac-10 underdog of their remaining games is Stanford getting 8.5-points from Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl. This game had bounced around from an opener of nine all the down to 7.5 but the the recent failures of the first two Pac-10 representatives have many feeling less about the strength on the conference.

In other Pac-10 games, Arizona still holds on as a 1-point favorite against Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl. UCLA, the weakest of the Pac-10 teams, has been bumped to a 5.5-point favorite over Temple in the Eagle Bank Bowl in Washington D.C.

Oregon has been seen as high as a 4-point favorite at some books over Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, but is a consensus 3.5-point favorite.

Thus far into the bowl season the underdogs are 4-1 with all four underdogs winning straight up heading into Thursday's Hawaii Bowl with Nevada and SMU. Nevada had been as high as a 16.5-point favorite, but has been seen as low as 11.5 on game day.

The only other real movement involves two of the BCS bowls where Florida has gone to an 11.5-poinit favorite over Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. The Bear Cats lost head coach Brian Kelly to Notre Dame following their Big East champiosnhip game win giving the appearance to many that there is no captain on the ship.

After seeing the bulk of the early action come on Alabama laying the number all the way up to 5.5-points over Texas, it’s been all Long Horn money since dropping the line to 3.5 -- a half-point below what the opener negan with. Texas backers have cited Alabama as being too one dimensional on offense to hang with a balanced attack of Texas as reasons for the support.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Roberts College Football Selections: Oregon St, Cal, and Nevada Look Like the Plays

Tuesday 5:00 pm (PT)
Las Vegas Bowl
Oregon State -2.5 vs. BYU: Offensive attack and speed of Beavers will be too much for BYU to match up against. The Pac-10 is 7-1 in last eight games against Mountain West teams and 3-0 this season. OSU Coach Mike Riley is 5-0 in Bowls while BYU is playing in their fifth straight Las Vegas Bowl going 2-2.

Wednesday 5:00 pm (PT)
Poinsetta Bowl @ Jack Murphy Stadium - San Diego, CA
California -3 vs. Utah: The Utes have lost two of their last three games coming into this Bowl while Cal won two of their last three that include beating the ranked Pac-10 teams of Arizona and Stanford. This is another matchup of the Pac-10 going against the Mountain West where the Pac-10 has dominated. Shane Vereen has been every bit as good as Jahvid Best in the final four games since Best’s injury carrying them to big wins.

Thursday 5:00 pm (PT)
Hawaii Bowl
Nevada -12.5 vs. SMU: Due to Nevada’s top running back Vai Taua being out this game has dropped from being as high as 16.5 to where it is now. But have no fear, the Nevada system led by Colin Kaepernick will be as effective as ever in the pistol offense. The back-up RB’s of Lampford Mark and Mike Ball have been equally as effective when given the chance. Ball had a 184-yard game against UNLV this season while Mark went for over 100 against San Jose State in limited play.

SMU’s passing game led by former Hawaii coach June Jones will put points on the board and help get the total over 72.5, but they will not be able to stop the Wolf Pack throughout the game. Nevada has been one of the better cover teams all season rolling up big scores and it will continue this week.

I really hate to go with favorites in the Bowl games, especially after the first three bowls have seen favorites go 1-2 -- including Wyoming's upset of Fresno State as a 12.5-point dog, but all three of these favorites have a much greater edge over their opponents than the spread indicates.

I'll have more selections listed Friday for Saturday and Sunday's bowl games.

College Football Notes: This Week's Bowls Has Good Teams Lined Up

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

The bowl season began last week and we saw two underdogs win outright and one favorite win. The biggest upset was Wyoming, a 12-point dog – the second largest spread of the bowl season – handing Fresno State a 35-28 double-overtime loss.

For the next three days beginning Tuesday with the Las Vegas Bowl, we’ll get to witness some of the better bowl games, at least on paper. The first two pair top end teams from the Pac-10 and Mountain West. BYU matches up with Oregon State and then Utah squares off against Cal.

As exciting as the Mountain West teams have been, look for the Pac-10 to begin their bowl reign similar to the way their teams did last season when they went 5-0. This season they have six teams in bowls with only Stanford being an underdog in a game which the sharps have already bet against Oklahoma, dropping the Sooners from 9-point favorites to the current line of 7½.

Nevada has the largest spread of the bowls but it has been plummeting from a high of 16½-points to a low of 13½ over SMU, due to the academic suspension of the Wolfpack’s leading rusher Vai Taua. The Pack was already without 1,000 yard rusher in Luke Lippencott due to toe surgery.

The two will be missed but they still have another 1,000 yard rusher in quarterback Colin Kaepernick and two eager performers waiting for their chance to shine in Lampford Mark and Mike Ball. Mark had one 100 yard game this season while Ball put up 184 yards against UNLV. The system in place is still good enough to validate the large spread despite the loss of Taua.

I must admit, I did lose the pool I had going which asked what school would have the first starter to drop out due to failing grades as usually happens just prior to the Bowl games. I laid the chalk with Florida State, who seems to win that mythical pool 80% of the time.

On Saturday the MAC gets to try their first attempt in a Bowl game after going 0-5 as a conference in bowl play last season. Ohio has jumped from a 1½-point favorite to 3 over Marshall.

North Carolina and Pittsburgh face off in the Meinke Bowl, which so far hasn’t generated any action. It’s one of the few games that hasn’t moved all bowl season since the line came at Pitt -3.

USC’s line has been dropping against Boston College in the Emerald Bowl from an opener of USC -9 to 7½.

Sunday we get to see the first of a record 10 SEC teams play when Clemson takes on Kentucky. It’s followed by a Monday game with another SEC squad, Georgia, taking on Texas A&M. Kentucky is a 7-point dog while Georgia is a 7-point favorite.

Everyone will have to wait until next week to pick on the Big-10 teams who went a combined 1-6 in bowl games last season. Not much has changed in the perception of the conference since then.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Mike T's Week 15 Picks

by Mike T.

I'm going to have to bounce back after a disappointing 1-2 week. The Houston blowout was easy. The Bengals and Vikes scored 8 times but 4 of the scores were FGs and that just barely kept the game under. The Jags couldn't get more than 14 at home during a playoff run. I'm now 28-14 on the year. I'm going with 2 favs and a total this week.

Cowboys at Saints under 54
It's hard to find a spot to take an under in a Saints game at home but this could be it. For the Cowboys to stay in this one they need to establish the run early. The Saints are a team that has been riddled with injuries for a while and like the Colts they just find ways to win. The Saints give up 140 yds per game on the ground and have D Line and LB issues. This is a great opportunity to keep it on the ground and the ball out of Brees' hands. The Saints OL is also hurting and we may see some pressure up the middle from Dallas stud DT Jay Ratliff as Brees likes to step up in the pocket. This could force a few punts or hold the Saints to a FG or two. Just enough to keep it under.
Saints 27 Cowboys 23

Jets -6.5 vs Falcons
The Jets are still in the hunt for the playoffs and one game out of first place. The Falcons come into the Meadowlands and its freezing temperatures. They(Atl) are also 1-5 on the road this year and are on a two game skid. Those last two losses virtually wiped out any hopes they may have had for making the playoffs. I expect the Jets to bring a lot of pressure on Matt Ryan (if he starts) and force them into 3rd and long all day. Some defensive turnovers and a solid ground game by Thomas Jones should put this one out of reach.
Jets 24 Falcons 13

Seahawks vs Buccaneers
This is a tale of two teams. The Hawks at home are a respectable 4-2, on the road an awful 1-6. The Bucs are also a terrible road team (0-6). Last week I loved the Texans over Seattle in blowout fashion and it got there. This week I like Seattle to do the same to Tampa. That's just how this league works. This is about the longest road trip a team can make. Tampa will be playing a cold, wet and loud road game. Not a good sign for a team who hasn't won a road game this year. Tampa has quite a few injuries while Seattle is pretty healthy for this time of year. The Seahawks should have no problem handling this team from start to finish.
Seahawks 28 Buccaneers 6

Friday, December 18, 2009

Roberts Pro Football Selections: One Small Fav & Two Dogs

Steelers -1.5 vs. Packers: It seems like only yesterday that Pittsburgh was winning a Monday Night game in Denver validating everyone’s opinion about their prowess as defending Super Bowl Champions. However, since that game, the Steelers have lost five games in a row.

The Steelers haven’t just lost games, they’ve lost to the worst teams in the NFL. During their losing streak they lost at Kansas City, had a home loss to the Raiders, and also lost at Cleveland last week. That’s officially the league’s three stooges. How could this happen, and can it all be repaired after having their crown and terrible towels stomped into the ground by the lowest of dregs.

All those questions are why the line is so light this week against the Packers. Laying less than a field goal at Pittsburgh against anyone is almost unheard of in the Big Ben era. The combination of the crowd, cold weather, and more pride from the crowd should inspire the Steelers to evening up their 6-7 record. Look for a low scoring game with the Steelers defense finding success in shutting down Ryan Grant.

Cowboys +7.5 @ New Orleans: The Cowboys are ready to party Mardi Gras style and they’ll be doing lots of dancing. Both teams will be able to score as they want and it will come down to the final moments of the game where Tony Romo will have his chance to shine on National TV amid all his woes he‘s encountered in December.

The Saints have pulled off some big comebacks this season and may do so again Saturday, but taking the points here looks like the bet.

Bengals +7 @ San Diego: We may see this game again in a few weeks during the playoffs and because of how pivotal it is in who possibly gets that first round bye, expect the Bengals to come with their “A” game which means no more holding back Carson Palmer.

The Bengals have a heavy heart this week and have dedicated this game and the season to Chris Henry. It’s hard to go against the Chargers who are 16-0 in December games behind Phillip Rivers -- it’s almost insane, but this is one of those games that will played with a two-fold purpose by the Bengals with everyone focused more so than they’ve been all year.

Win the game and control your destiny. It’s that simple. I like the Bengals to play well enough to win a very emotional game.

Las Vegas Betting Moves: Aria Opens New Race & Sports Book

By Micah Roberts

The Las Vegas City Center opened over the last week, an $8.5 billion master planned community built right on the strip in between the Monte Carlo and Bellagio. The MGM-Mirage venture began before the economic climate changed drastically in Las Vegas, but the hopes of the most in the city is that it becomes an overwhelming success and helps jump-start Las Vegas in a new positive direction.

I visited the only casino in the center, Aria, amid all the condominiums and high end shops in the mall and came away very impressed, in particular with the Race and Sports Book. It was a new concept they went with from the outset that separates Aria’s book from all others in town.

“The main thing that makes it different from other books is that it’s a loungey type of place,” said MGM-Mirage Director of Race and Sports Jay Rood. “We wanted a place where even if there were no games on TV, it was still a place guests could feel comfortable hanging out in.”

The Book itself is built somewhat like a club with modern couches and comfortable chairs giving the appearance of being in several different rooms wherever you choose to sit. The flat screens and two giant monster screens in the sports area make it impossible to miss any action from all the games, either sitting or standing.

Most traditional books have players all seated one way, facing forward, to a display of games or races in front of them. Aria’s Book keeps the action surrounding you and conforms to how or where you want to sit. It’s a complete relaxed environment that makes watching a game about as good as it gets in Las Vegas.

“It definitely is a deviation from the traditional books we’ve seen built, yet we wanted to keep an area alone by itself away from the sports action to give race players a little privacy, “ said Rood.

In Aria’s Race Book-only area there are 27 seats, each with Interactive Player Terminals (IPT), reserved for serious horse players.

The one thing that remained the same on Thursday night, just like all the other books, was that everyone bet the favored Colts on the road at Jacksonville in what turned out to be a classic rock ’em-sock’em shootout with several lead changes throughout.

The bettors didn’t care that the Colts had clinched and could possibly rest several of their key starters like Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, and Reggie Wayne. All they knew is that the Colts were undefeated and they had covered more times than not.

The Colts opened up a 3-point favorite and by kickoff were sitting at 3 ½. With just over five minutes to go in the game when Wayne hauled in a bomb to make it 35-31, the Aria’s foundation seemed to move slightly with the roar of hundreds of Colt backers.

The public favorite of betting a two-team parlay, favorite to the over, finally hit on Thursday. Every NFL Thursday game this season had gone 'under,' including all three Thanksgiving games.

Other NFL games that moved at MGM-Mirage properties this week include the Broncos jumping to 14-point favorites from the opener of 12 ½. Who was it that finally got into Al Davis' head and said JaMarcus Russell is no good? Needing a backup to play this week due to Bruce Gradkowski being out, the Raiders called up Charlie Frye off their practice squad to get the start. It’s quite possible Russell may be the worst draft pick in NFL history.

The Steelers have a big home game against the Packers as they try to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. The public believes they can do based on the opener moving from pick-em to the Steelers laying 1 ½.

The Patriots have been an awful 1-5 on the road this year, but find themselves with public support at Buffalo this week, moving from a 7-point favorite to 7 ½.

Bad weather is currently circulating in the Carolina’s stretching to northern Virginia and Tennessee. Cities like Baltimore, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia could all see remnants of mother nature’s Christmas cheer by game time. Keep an eye on the doppler and bet accordingly on some of the totals before they move.

The M Resort in Las Vegas has some great Yes-No props regarding the Saints. Will the Saints go 16-0? No is -125 with Yes +105. Will they win the NFC Championship? Yes is even money while the No is -120. The math looks favorable in taking the Yes to go undefeated and Yes to win the Championship.

If you multiplied the money line on your own each week, you’d be hard pressed to get +105 in the Saints three games remaining against Dallas on Saturday, Tampa Bay, and Carolina. On the Championship side, even money would be hard to get multiplying two wins as big favorites. Should the Vikings lose in the first round, the NFC title game spread would be much higher giving the player much value in the prop if betting Yes now.

Read More NFL and College Notes Here on

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

College Football Notes: Three Games Kick Off the Bowl Season This Week

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

When the initial Bowl lines were opened last Sunday, the first spread to get some action was Alabama as a 4-point favorite. By Monday afternoon the line had been bumped to 5½, but then as quickly as it rose, it fell. By Monday evening the line was back to 4 after Texas money came in and it hasn’t moved since.

Here’s a look at some of the larger line movements of the week: Arizona opened at pick’em against Nebraska in the Holiday, always one of the best games of Bowl Season, and was bet up to 2½ which enticed a little Nebraska money. Arizona is currently a 1½-point favorite.

Nevada opened a 14-point favorite against SMU in the Hawaii Bowl and has been bet up 16½. The total opened a bowl season high of 74½ and has bounced around settling at 74.

Oregon State opened a 1-point favorite over BYU in next Tuesday’s Las Vegas Bowl and has been bet to 2½, the number Las Vegas Sports Consultants initially recommended. LVSC’s CEO, Kenny White, had made BYU the favorite on his sheet but settled on the Oregon State number due to all the other line-makers in the office having Oregon State favored by numbers of 3 and 4.

Fresno State opened an 11-point favorite to Wyoming kicking off the Bowl season Saturday in the fabled New Mexico Bowl, got some early Wyoming money dropping it to 10, but then Fresno State action kicked it up to 12½.

Games that have sat at the opening number with no movement include Utah-Cal (-3), UNC-Pitt (-3), OSU-Ore (-3.5), ECU-Ark (-7.5), and Troy-CMU (-3.5).

With the initial first wave of action completed, most of the line movements will occur closer to game day from here on out. The main exception will be when news filters in about suspended players due topoor grades and possible injuries occurring in practice.

College Football Playoffs

Interesting to see how College Football’s Division 1-AA has a successful playoff system in place with no issues whatsoever. Somehow they get the concept of crowning a winner by a bracket format. If you’re the best, you move on and on, until finally someone is crowned. There are no what-ifs and everyone is satisfied that ultimately there will be only one Champion with no teams left undefeated except possibly the winner.

The Las Vegas Books have put up Montana as a 4-point favorite over Villanova in Friday’s Championship game.

This week’s Bowl Lineup

Saturday, Dec.19, 2009

1:30 pm PT ESPN
New Mexico Bowl
Fresno State (8-4, 6-2 WAC) vs. Wyoming (6-6, 4-4 MWC)
Line: Fresno State -12.5,
Total: 54.5
Skinny: FSU RB Ryan Mathews is one of the nation’s top backs averaging 128 yards per game and gets to face a Wyoming defense that allows 170 per game. Wyoming has scored 203 points this season while allowing 327 points to its opponents.

5 pm PT ESPN
St. Petersberg Bowl
Central Florida (8-4, 6-2 C-USA) vs. Rutgers (8-4, 3-4 Big East)
Line: Rutgers -3
Total: 44.5
Skinny: Central Florida is basically playing a home game. CFU has a balanced offensive attack led by RB Brynn Harvey who has rushed for three straight 100 yard games accumulating 14 TD’s on the season…Rutgers feature WR Tim Brown who had 1,051 receiving yards and 8 TD’s this season. The entire team only threw for 2,200 yards and 13 TD’s all season. Rutgers has lost 2 of their last 3 games including a 31-13 pounding by lowly Syracuse.

Sunday, Dec.20, 2009

New Orleans Bowl
Southern Miss (7-5, 5-3 C-USA) vs. Mid Tennessee St (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt)
Line: So Miss -3
Total: 58
Skinny: MTSU defensive front 7 leads the nation in tackles for losses and is third in sacks…So Miss played in this Bowl last season beating Troy 30-27 in one of the more exciting Bowls of the season. 1-5 on the road this season, but the short drive on the Bayou should bring plenty of support making it seem close to a home game for the Golden Eagles. Both teams have a very balanced offensive attack with each featuring a two-headed running attack.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bettors Strike Back at Las Vegas Sports Books

by Micah Roberts

After going over a month straight of getting pounded by the Sportsbooks, the bettors struck back with a big Week 14 in the NFL. The win was fueled by the favorites going 10-4 Sunday where only two underdogs won straight up. Of the two 'dogs that won, Miami and San Diego, both were short numbers that garnered public support and didn‘t really help the books.

The only contest that the public truly lost on the day was the Saints winning by three as 10-point favorites against the Falcons. The other underdog that won but didn’t cover was the Patriots winning by 10 but not covering the spread (12.5). Late Panther money had come in pushing the spread down from 13.5.

The greatest sign of the knowing the public doing well was watching the rush to the local books by all the season contest players of Station Casinos Great Giveaway and Coast Resorts Pick the Pro’s. Hundreds of folks came rushing to the counters asking for results before the late games were even over stating that they had perfect cards in the no-points contests.

The old trend that was good for the first seven weeks of the season of picking on bad teams held true in Week 14. Betting against the Buccaneers, Raiders, Lions, Chiefs, and Rams was a winning proposition. The results went 5-0 with parlay payouts of 20/1 odds.

Read More Here....

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mike T's Week 14 Picks: Two Favorites and a Total

by Mike T.

It was another great week for me as I went 3-0 again putting me at 27-12 for the season. It would have been absolutely outstanding had the Redskins won the game outright. I took the three teams with the points of course but I also made a small parlay with all of them on the money line. That 3 teamer would have gotten me 20-1 but as I wrote the Skins found a way to blow yet another game in the end.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer my condolences to the Hope Johnson family. Hope was a die hard Giants fan who sadly passed away this week. Many Giants players, staff and fans (myself included) knew what kind of warm and passionate person and fan she was. She will be sorely missed.

Texans -6 vs Seahawks
Seattle comes into this game with a 1-5 road record. The Seahawks have been blown out quite often on the road this year and I don't see why this game should be any different. The Texans still have an outside shot at the playoffs if they can string a few wins together. As I've said earlier, Houston only plays one good half of football but that's all they'll need. I like the Texans to roll in this one .
Texans 31 Seahawks 10

Jaguars -2.5 vs Dolphins
This game should give us a better indication of what the AFC playoff picture looks like. If the season ended today the Jags would be in the playoffs. Unfortunately for them it doesn't and they have to play an unpredictable Dolphin team. Jacksonville is 5-1 at home and should be fired up for this playoff type game. I don't expect this one to be a blowout but I do think the Jags will come out on top.
Jaguars 23 Dolphins 16

Bengals at Vikings over 43.5
The Vikes are starting to get banged up in their back seven. They suffered a huge loss when EJ Johnson went down with a gruesome leg injury and is now out for the year. They also have a safety and three corners that are also questionable or worse. I think we'll see Carson Palmer come out firing against this secondary while Favre might have to do the same if the Vikes fall behind. I'm not sure if I like the over more than I like the Bengals, but I bet the over and I'm not going back to the book.
Bengals 34 Vikings 28

Roberts Week 14 NFL Selections: Lots of Live Dogs This Week

As always at this time of year, keep a sharp eye on the weather conditions for some of the east coast and Great Lakes teams. There are huge advantages in betting under on the totals before the moves happen by just following the national weather reports. Most of those moves occur Saturday evening and sometimes as late as Sunday morning when everyone can see the visual of conditions from the pre-game NFL shows.

NFL Network did a great job for all viewers two hours before game time on Thursday showing how difficult it would be to pass the ball under the cold windy conditions and the game went way under the opener of 36 with a final score of 13-6.

Lions +13.5 @ Baltimore: The Ravens welcome the Lions this week. When news came about Matt Stafford not playing, the line moved a full point to 13.5. Duante Culpepper will get his chance to finally play after being upset about his Thanksgiving day game snub. Rain is expected on Sunday and it seems like a lot of points for a struggling Ravens team to be giving anyone. The Steelers were also in a must win position for playoff hopes and failed against a much worse team.

Panthers +13.5 @ Patriots: The Patriots opened 12.5-point home favorites to the Panthers and it has been bet up to 13.5 amid Tom Brady not practicing most of the week and four Patriots players being sent home due to being late for a team meeting. One of the players sent home, LB Adalius Thomas, even popped off to the media -- a no-no is Belichick-land -- about his treatment failing to realize that his team is struggling and lackadaisical attitudes are the first to be attacked in an attempt to rebound.

The Patriots have struggled defensively and the Panthers running attack should be able to move the ball in a game that is expecting rain. This definitely isn’t the Patriots squad we all remember and time is running out. Tough spot for the Patriots this week.

Chargers +3.5 @ Dallas: A team with immense pressure on them this week due to playoff implications is the Dallas Cowboys who welcome the cool and collective Chargers. The Dallas game is intriguing just because the two teams couldn’t be more opposite in December where the Cowboys have failed miserably during Tony Romo’s reign and the Chargers have put it all together under Phillip Rivers command. Look for a close game with lots of value taking the points.

Giants PK vs Eagles: The game of the day! A revived Giants team fighting for their playoff lives against the always strong Eagles at the Meadowlands where rain is expected. At the end of the day, there is a possibility of having a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East with the Cowboys being the odd man out and three games to go.

Broncos +7 @ Indianapolis: History shows the Broncos have always fared poorly against the Colts, but that was always against a Mike Shanahan-led team. Josh McDaniels has a brought a new change to the scheme this season, including bringing in Mike Nolan's 3-4 defense which has taken them to new hieghts in 2009. The Broncos had always lost at san Diego in the past, but won a big Monday Night game there. No matter how good or bad the Chiefs have been, Denver never did well in Kansas city and thrashed them at Arrowhead last week.

The Colts have been waiting for someone to step up and match them, almost hoping for a loss to rid themselves of the pressure heading into the playoffs. They've basically got home field wrapped up and they will take Denver lightly.

After a four game losing streak, Denver has bounced back impressively in the last two by pounding the ball with their very good running attack led by Knowshon Moreno and Correll Buckhalter. Look for much of the same and also for McDaniels to lead the way.He had always game-planned the Colts well while with the Patriots.

Friday, December 11, 2009

College Football Bowls: Early Line Movement

By Micah Roberts

When the initial Bowl lines were opened Sunday night, the first spread to get some action was Alabama as a 4-point favorite. By Monday afternoon the line had been bumped to 5.5, but then as quickly as it rose, it fell. By Monday evening the line was back to four after Texas money came in and it hasn’t moved since.

Here’s a look at some of the larger line movements of the week:

Arizona opened at pick ’em against Nebraska in the Holiday, always one of the best games of the bowl season, and was bet up to 2.5 which enticed a little Nebraska money. Arizona is currently a 2-point favorite.

Nevada opened a 14-point favorite against SMU in the Hawaii Bowl and has been bet up 16. The total opened a bowl season high of 74.5 and has bounced around settling at 74

Oregon State opened a 1-point favorite over BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl and has been bet to 2.5, the number Las Vegas Sports Consultants initially recommended. LVSC’s CEO, Kenny White, had made BYU the favorite on his sheet but settled on the Oregon State number due to all the other line-makers in the office having Oregon State favored by numbers of 3 and 4.

Fresno State opened an 11-point favorite to Wyoming in the fabled New Mexico Bowl, got some early Wyoming money dropping it to 10, but then Fresno State action kicked it up to 12.

Games that have sat dormant at the opening number include:

Utah-Cal (-3)
UNC-Pitt (-3)
B.C.-USC (-9)
ISU-Minn (-2.5)
LSU-PSU (-3)
OSU-Ore (-3.5)
ECU-Ark (-7.5)
Troy-CMU (-3.5)

With the initial first wave of action completed, most of the line movements will occur closer to game day from here on out. The main exception will be when news filters in about suspended players due poor grades and possible injuries.

The one game that could change drastically is the Stanford-Oklahoma (-8) game. Stanford QB Andrew Luck is not expected to play and has been instrumental in Stanford’s nearly unstoppable offensive attack. However, Stanford has not ruled out the possibility of Luck possibly playing since he has four weeks to heal a finger on his throwing hand since surgery. The initial line of Oklahoma favored by 9 had the rating built in with Luck not playing.

College Football Playoffs

Interesting to see how College Football’s Division 1-AA has a successful playoff system in place with no issues whatsoever. Somehow they get the concept of crowning a winner by a bracket format. If you’re the best, you move on and on, until finally someone is crowned. There is no what-ifs and everyone is satisfied that ultimately there will be only one Champion with no teams left undefeated except possibly the winner.

The Las Vegas Books have put up Villanova a 3.5-point favorite to William & Mary for Friday night’s semifinal game. Saturday has Montana laying four to Appalachian State.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

College Notes: Bowl Season Allows Players a Better Edge Against the Sports Books

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

College Football officially moves into the Bowl season now and all the Nevada Sports Books are hard at work setting their lines. The Bowl games can be hit or miss with Books because they are isolated. The Books rarely lose, but when the figures are all added together from the duration of the first bowl game to the BCS Title game, the bettors have had years when they get the best of it.

On a normal College Football weekend there are dozens of games to choose from spanning the entire day. The majority of the bettors during bowl season bet on the day of the game, meaning they are now less likely to play four team parlays or higher which equates to better odds of the player winning.

Sports Books make a living off of feeding themselves with consistent losing parlays played by the public. The average Joe has his betting patterns changed from a strategy of shooting for the big win by betting small on parlays on a normal full schedule, to maybe betting a little more with less games.

So instead of playing that six team parlay – a huge house edge – the bettor now plays a straight bet or a side to total parlay at 13 to 5 odds. If Las Vegas had wagering restrictions like Delaware does – but in a reverse manner – and was only allowed to take straight bets, several Sports Books would close the doors.

Some people make investments and link several games together for all the Bowls, but the bulk of the action for the games will come on game day. The average Joe in Las Vegas wants to keep his cash on him as long as possible. He likes to bet the game before kickoff, root for his side and collect, all in the same day.

So in a way, the Bowl season itself actually allows the Public to do better whether they know it or not.

The Sharps are eagerly awaiting the initial line. Salivating is more like it. As professionals, they already have their lines set based on their rating and are ready to bet all they can on that opinion on whatever games the Sports Books have as the largest variance from their own number.

These guys usually do very well in the bowl season and it’s a good idea to watch the early line movement. Make a note to file on those games and use the moves as a tool when you eventually make your wager as the game gets closer.

The Sharps are coming off a season where they did really well. Most Nevada Sports Books had a great College Football season, but not on straight bets.

Next week, we’ll review a few of the best games and some of the early moves.

Fiesta Bowl

Even though the Fiesta Bowl BCS match-up of TCU-Boise State will turn out to be one of the better games, I don’t like how the College Football machine basically frowned upon each team by putting them together. It’s as if to say, "okay, you both made a BCS bowl from your non-BCS conferences, so go play it, and leave us alone."

The Fiesta Bowl did a great job by getting both undefeated teams because they know it will garner lots of attention. Being to say they are one of the only two Bowl games that have two undefeated teams is nice, but I would have rather seen an opportunity to have four undefeated teams at seasons end to help the cause in getting a playoff system going.

I would have also liked to have seen Boise State or TCU get the chance to play Florida. If either team would have beat a power like Florida, who was No. 1 ranked nearly all season, it would have really been a boost to their conference’s profile.

As it stands now, everyone wipes their hands clean of what had been a mounting thorn in the side of College Football and their perfect BCS system.

College Basketball Notes:

UNLV’s Good Run Great For Local Books

It’s apparent by how well UNLV played on the road last week that their win over Louisville was no fluke. They are a pretty good team, which will bode well for the Las Vegas Sports Books, in particular the local Books.

The excitement level of the Las Vegas locals is taken up a notch when the Rebels do well and for many, if they can’t be at the game itself, there is no better place to go watch the game than a Sports Book. Dozens will gather wearing their Rebel Red, cheering and chanting in unison.

The added boost in public excitement doesn’t necessarily transcend through write figures individually for the game, but the incremental walk-through traffic helps all areas of the casino that include table games, slots, restaurants and bars.

NFL Notebook: Las Vegas Sports Books Collectively Enjoy Their Best Day of NFL Season

NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

Week 13 in the NFL was a big winner for the Las Vegas sports books, the best of the season. It’s very rare when the books beat both the sharps and public in the same weekend, but that’s what happened Sunday. They did well in straight bets, parlays and teasers across the board.

The favorites went 4-10 basically eliminating any substantial liability heading into the Monday night game. Of all the games that moved, from last Monday’s openers to kickoff on Sunday, only three of the moves got there signifying that the big money didn’t win.

Of the 10 underdogs that covered, six of them won straight up – two of them against teams that have combined to win five Super Bowls in the last decade.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, a 15.5-point favorite by kickoff, got beat straight up by the Oakland Raiders. The New England Patriots, a 5-point road favorite at Miami, lost straight up as well. Those two games alone wiped out a huge chunk of the days parlays and teasers eliminating much of the day’s risk.

Two of the moves that got there this week were the Broncos, who opened as 4.5-point favorites closing at 5.5, and the Redskins who were getting 9.5-points on the opener and closed at 8.5.

The Broncos pounded the Chiefs at Arrowhead, something that no one has ever been able to say. The Redskins looked as though were going to join the upset party that Oakland and Miami started, but fell short late, eventually losing 33-30 in overtime.

The busiest game of the day for action was the late game where the home underdog Cardinals won outright to the Vikings. Many books treated the game with extreme caution due to Kurt Warner’s status, but it didn’t stop the public.

The combination of it being a marquee match-up with Brett Favre and the one-loss Vikings along with being the late get-back game for the public after losing all day generated great two-way action creating a four-way win for most books.

For once, the Books were able to sit back, relax and watch a Sunday night game without having to sweat out a side.

Other teams helping the Sports Books win big this week included the Jaguars, Lions and Browns.

The Rams had action against them as the Bears moved from the opener of 8 to 8.5-points. Early in the fourth quarter, Rams kicker Josh Brown booted a 50-yard field goal making the score Bears 17-9 which is where it ended, ultimately hooking all bettors who tried to bet against the lowly Rams.

It wasn’t too long ago when we were writing about how the Sports Books couldn’t make the lines high enough for teams like the Browns, Raiders, Rams and Lions. They were easy bet against teams that the public pounded on every week in their parlays.

But just as the Directors and line-makers across the city said back then, it will cycle around. The tide has turned. These are professional football teams and they are finally playing as their true rating has them. Pro Football is as tough as ever. Collectively, the old ugly four went 4-0 against the number last week.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Mike T's Week 13 Dogs: Redskins Welcome Saints in Let Down Game

by Mike T.

It was another 2-1 week for me as the Pats and the Saints missed FGs, failed 4th down attempts, and a replaced QB with 5 1/2 minutes left kept the game under by one point. It was a frustrating under to watch as their were so many possibilities to put it over.
I'm now 24-12 still winning 2/3 of my games but the last few weeks I've seen some late disappointing let downs that could have gotten there. Nonetheless it's been a pretty good year for me so far and I'm now going back to my early season ways and taking dogs.

Jaguars +2.5 vs Texans
This is the second meeting between these two teams with Jax winning the first one on the road as a 4 point dog. Now the Jags are a 2.5 point home dogs against a team they've already beaten. Jax is also a much better home team than they are on the road. I've had some success with this philosophy earlier this year with Cincy . I have not seen one game where the Texans have played two solid halves of football. They look outstanding in the first half(like last weeks Colts game) and awful in the second half or vice versa. Look for the Jags to put this team away by a score or two by the middle of the 4th qtr.
Jaguars 28 Texans 20

Redskins +9.5 vs Saints
To me this game sets up even better than the Oakland over Cincy game I picked a few weeks ago. The Saints absolutely destroyed a very good, high powered Pats team at home on a Monday night. Now they are riddled with injuries(18 players on the official report), have one less day to prepare and have to travel to the very cold northeast. The Saints are certainly a much more talented team but that doesn't always mean that they will win. This is the NFL. Any given Sunday...
The Redskins have been playing solid football lately, beating Denver and losing last minute heart breakers to division rivals (Dallas-Philly) in back to back weeks. With doubtful injuries to two of the Saints starting O-linemen, I expect the Skins front four on defense to disrupt the timing of Brees and possibly forcing some turnovers. I think the Skins will have a lead in the 4th qtr but holding onto it may be another story. Either way I'll takes the points with the home dog.
Redskins 24 Saints 21

Cardinals +3.5 vs Vikings
After three straight home wins the Vikes have practically clinched their division. Now they travel to Arizona to take on the Cards in what may be a preview to a playoff game. The Vikes should not take this team lightly or they can fall behind in a hurry. With the return of Kurt Warner into the lineup this could be a statement game for the Cards as they look to maintain their two game division lead.
The Vikes are a public play and I'm going to be on the other side with the home dog in a shootout.
Cardinals 35 Vikings 31

Roberts College Football Selections:

Louisiana Tech -23.5 vs San Jose State
Houston -2.5 @ East Carolina
Florida -5 vs Alabama
West Virginia +1.5 @ Rutgers
Nebraska +14.5 vs Texas

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

NFL Notebook: Las Vegas Sports Books Four-Day Weekend Busy As Ever

NFL Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

What a four day weekend it was for the books. It wasn’t necessarily a huge profit weekend, but the books did a massive amount of write on the four consecutive days of big action beginning with Thanksgiving and ending with Sunday’s pro football games.

"It was a long week with lots of action," said Coast Resorts Director of Race and Sports Bob Scucci. "We did very well with all the college games, which had a lot of upsets. On Thanksgiving day we broke about even and were a small winner on Sunday’s games."

Thanksgiving had the makings for a tough day for Las Vegas bookmakers with the first two favorites covering, but the Thursday NFL under trend continued, keeping most of the side to parlay action with the house. Incidentally, the under is 6-0 on all Thursday NFL games this season including 3-0 last week.

Sunday’s games started out pretty good for the books as the favorites went 3-4 in the early games, but then the late games came, with all the favorites covering except for one push, depending on when the Titans game was bet.

"Our biggest games of the day were the Vikings and Colts games," said Scucci, "and they didn’t go our way. We had some sharp money on the Texans that pushed our line, but not enough to offset the public. Fortunately the Vikings game went under. The Vikings and over was a bad decision for us."

Coast resorts had the Vikings-Bears total sitting at 47 all week, but many books across the state shuffled on and off of 46 and 46.5 to 47. The final score in the game was 36-10, but it had to be agonizing for over bettors to watch the Vikings botch a meaningless – to some – extra point with 5 minutes to go, ruining many parlays that were looking for at least the push.

The Colts game brought back memories for Scucci of last season’s encounter when the Texans had a similar collapse while leading, even though last season was a little more painful for the books.

"I remember last year being in almost the same boat with the public all over the Colts and Sage Rosenfels fumbling every opportunity he could late in the game," said Scucci.

Most sports books got a lot of sharp action on the Texans, pushing the initial line of Colts -3 (-120) to -2½ by kickoff, but the straight bets weren’t enough to offset the Colt fever everyone is feeling.

Going into the late game, the books needed the Steelers getting 7½ points at Baltimore without Ben Roethlisberger, who joined the ongoing trend of concussioned players out in the NFL.

"We didn’t have too much liability on the game because it was off most of the week because of Roethlisberger’s status, but when we opened it, it was pretty one-sided wagering with the Ravens," said Scucci.

Back-up Dennis Dixon played a serviceable game for the Steelers until eventually throwing an overtime interception that gave the Ravens the 20-17 win, but not the Vegas cover.

Titanic Win

On Sunday, Matt Leinart was going against Vince Young, and just like in college four years ago, Young pulled out the miracle last second win giving the Titans a 20-17 win.

Depending on when the game was bet determined if you won or lost. Before last Monday night’s game at Houston, the Titans early line was -1. Following the win, the Titans were 2½ and then up to 3 even for most of the week.

"All week long Warner was listed as probable," said Scucci. "We knew about what had happened last week, but all reports were saying that he practiced and was ready to go."

Early Sunday morning a sharp move came on the Cardinals dropping the line to 1½ and then the news about Kurt Warner not playing came, which was a surprise because usually the sharps are all over that type of information.

When news of Kurt Warner possibly not playing hit the wire about 9 am Sunday morning, the line moved up to 3 flat and minus money at some places, but not higher than 3. It was like there was some skepticism about the reports because Warner surely merits a few points, especially with Leinart as the back-up.

By kickoff the line closed at -3½ even, and of course, wouldn’t you know it, the game lands 3.

At the end of the day I became even more impressed by Vince Young than I had ever thought possible. I have always been a doubter of his ability to be successful in the NFL, even after all his great wins early on. I even relished somewhat when he flat-lined and hit rock bottom as if to say like I was right all along about him. But I wasn’t.

College Notebook: Football Winding Down While Big Hoop Matchups Begin

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

Six college football teams remain unbeaten. After this weekend, there will be at least five with the possibility of four remaining going into the Bowl season. It’s very possible that at season’s end we could be looking at the most unbeaten teams since 1951 when four teams all ran the table.

Bowl invitations will begin to be officially announced following this week’s games, but the matchups for most of them appear to be nearly set with a few variations on what happens Saturday.

There are a lot of mediocre teams going bowling this season, but there is also the possibility of having some very intriguing match-ups, pairing both opposites and similar squads.

How does Nevada vs. Houston sound in the Hawaii Bowl, or BYU-Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl, or USC-Nebraska in the Holiday Bowl? Those all look like outstanding match-ups.

Here’s a look at this season’s possible BCS Bowl pairings:

Fiesta Bowl: Boise State appears to be set for a BCS Bowl invitation against Penn State or Iowa.

Sugar Bowl will feature the SEC title game loser, Alabama or Florida, against Cincinnati.

Orange Bowl will get the ACC title game winner, likely Georgia Tech, against TCU.

Rose Bowl: Ohio State is set to play the PAC-10 winner, either Oregon or Oregon State.

BCS Championship Game: Should Texas get by Nebraska this week, they’ll face the winner of the SEC title game, either Florida or Alabama.

A few upsets this week could drastically change the landscape. Should Texas lose, would that mean that TCU, a non-BCS conference team and highest ranked, would get the call to play either Florida or Alabama for the title?

Cincinnati has one last week to impress against a tough opponent in Pittsburgh while TCU is finished for the year. We’ve seen teams hop over ones that are idle following impressive wins and somehow that seems like the scenario that could occur this week.

But Texas can’t lose, can they?

Classless Pete Carroll

With 50 seconds remaining in Saturday’s UCLA-USC game, and the Trojans leading 21-7, USC Coach Pete Carroll said the game wasn’t over. Rather than kneeling down and running the clock, Carroll called for a deep post play running the score up to 28-7. In what had been a defensive struggle all night for both teams, the pass was the best thrown ball of the night for either side.

The move to run it up oddly comes one week after Carroll was irritated with Stanford’s Jim Harbaugh for doing something similar to USC the week before.

The crowds in the sports books loved it. While the sharps had bet UCLA +14 down to 12, most of the small money parlays had USC.

College Basketball Notes

Usually we have to wait until March to see great stories unfold with small-school squads taking down the powerhouses, but we’re already getting a preview of what’s to come with Portland who now has taken down Oregon, UCLA and Minnesota, bumping their record to 5-0 prior to their Sunday night game against No. 8 West Virginia.

The Las Vegas home crowd hasn’t been as deafening as it was Saturday against No. 16 Louisville since the 1980’s. Louisville came in as 2-point favorites and were beaten soundly for most of the game until making a late rally. The Rebels appear to have serious potential to be a major player in the scheme of things this year.

How about the week North Carolina has coming up. On Tuesday they welcome Michigan State and then fly to Lexington to play an equally tough foe in Kentucky. Both games rank as the top must-see battles of the week.

The Miami Hurricanes were expected to finish 10th in the ACC but are off to a 7-0 start despite the low expectations. They’ll be tested this week with a visit by Minnesota and a road game at Boston College.

Look out for Purdue in Big-10 play this season. They are a very sound fundamental team that should make some noise this season. They’ll be tested by Wake Forest on Tuesday.

What’s going on in Westwood? UCLA finds itself at the bottom of the Pac-10 in early season play with losses to Fullerton, Butler, Portland and Long Beach State. However, they can right the ship quickly this week. After a long week of rest, the Bruins will welcome top-ranked Kansas on Sunday.

Washington State’s guard Klay Thompson is leading the nation in scoring at 28.3 ppg and has led the Cougars to a 7-0 start, albeit against marginal opponents. He’ll be tested this week with tough road games at Gonzaga and Kansas State.

Watch every Tuesday for a brand new College Notebook article.