Thursday, October 14, 2010

Las Vegas Lines Moves For NFL Week 6, College Football and MLB LCS

At first glance, when looking at the NFL line moves from this week, you’ll see that all the moves have gone in favor of the underdogs. It definitely is a sign of the times based on the way things have gone this season. The ratings have all been re-adjusted based on last week’s games and apparently by early betting indications out there, not enough respect was given to the ‘dogs.

The Chargers opened 8 ½-point favorites at St. Louis and currently sit a -7 ½. The Saintsopened -5 at Tampa Bay and it’s been dropped to -4. The Bears opened -6 ½ against the Seahawks and has settled at -6. The 49ers opened -7 against Bay Area rival Oakland and is now -6 ½. The Titans opened -3 at Jacksonville for Monday night’s game and is now -3 (even).

Those are all the games that don’t involve movement based on the uncertainty of quarterbacks this week. The Packers were -6 ½ against the Dolphins, but when Aaron Rodgers status became in question just about every book took the game down. Lucky’s sportsbooks kept the game up at Packers -3 ½ and then moved to -4 ½ after Rodgers practiced Thursday. No one still had a line up around town as they wait for more information.

Other considerations to ponder in this game beyond Rodgers include his best target thus far, tight end Jermichael Finley, being out, Finley’s back-up, Donald Lee, being out and linebacker Clay Mathews being doubtful. The Packers have been snake bitten this entire season with costly injuries that have hurt their overall rating. Their linebacking corps with Nick Barnett and now Mathews is a huge blow to go along with the offensive loss of running back Ryan Grant, a position they still can’t get going with Brandon Jackson carrying the ball.

Rodgers point value to the Packers is worth close to 6 points. Over at Philadelphia, there was the possibility that quarterback Michael Vick could play against the Falcons which would have been about a 2-point adjustment over Kevin Kolb. The Eagles opened up 3-point favorites and have been bet against down to -2 ½.

The big adjustment of the week goes to the Steelers and QB Ben Roethlisberger who is worth about 3 ½ points to his team. He has the luxury of facing the Browns who will be giving signal caller Colt McCoy his first NFL start, not quite the most desired place any rookie could hope for. Can you imagine the excitement of finally living your dream and starting an NFL game for the first time and then having the reality sit in of actually having to face the league’s top defense on their home field?

Of all the games this week, the Steelers look to be the best play with little worries. Laying only 13-points against a suspect Browns team who will have difficulties all day seems very fair. Roethlisberger should be able to ease into his own game quite rapidly with good field position all day. Probably the most excited to see Big Ben back is Hines Ward, Mike Wallace and Heath Miller who have been used primarily as blockers through the first four games.

The Vikings opened up as low as 2 ½-point favorites against the Cowboys and was dropped to -1 ½ on the basis that QB Brett Favre might sit due to soreness in his elbow. If Favre doesn’t play, the line would be Cowboys -1, but Favre will be in there. He’s got a new toy (Randy Moss) to play with on offense and should be ready to roll.

The thing that makes the Vikings game tough to handicap is the desperate nature of both 1-3 teams. It’s easy to simply recall last year’s divisional playoff game that the Cowboys layed down in, but that was a far superior Vikings team on each side of the ball with a much better, more confident and less controversial Favre. If both these team were 3-1 instead of their current plight, betting the Vikings at -6 would be no problem, but this particular matchup reeks of danger for both sides.

The biggest disparity between what the adjusted ratings say and what the line is in the San Diego-St. Louis game. My rating has the Chargers being 10-point favorites on the road even though they’ve had three tough road losses in as many tries. Yes, the Rams are vastly improved and Sam Bradford looks terrific, but the last impression I have with them against the Lions last week is probably closer to being the truth than the weighted wins against the Redskins and Seahawks. Hard to say a 0-3 ATS road team has value laying over a touchdown, but the Chargers do according to the numbers.

College Football Moves of the Week
Syracuse opened +2 ½ against Pittsburgh and is now pick’em.
Mississippi State opened +9 ½ at Florida and is now -7 ½.
Idaho opened +2 ½ at Louisiana Tech and is now favored -1.
San Diego State opened +3 at home against Ai Force and is now +1.
Florida International opened -3 on the road at North Texas and is now -5 ½.

Pro Baseball Championship Series
The Texas-Yankees series should be a good one with lots of compelling stories with a team that had never won a playoff series going against the team with the most, but the Phillies-Giants has all my attention. I’m pretty excited about seeing Tim Lincecum face off against Roy Halladay in what looks to be the most impressive playoff matchup of power pitchers, quite possibly, in baseball history.
Think about it, you have the defending two-time Cy Young award winner going against a former Cy Young winner - and one of the most dominant AL pitchers over the last decade -- who is sure to win the award this year. They both come into game one Saturday night with stellar performances in their first playoff outing; one with a two-hit, 14 strikeout performance and the other with a no-hitter.

When we think of classic pitching matchups we think of the 1960’s with Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson and Juan Marichal, but we never saw them face each other in the playoffs. Whitey Ford and Koufax squared off twice in the 1963 World Series as the leagues top winning pitchers, but I think this is a little better because of how nasty and dominant they were in their last outing.

The Phillies opened as -170 favorites for Game 1 and are currently -165 at the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book with a total of 6 under -120. With the way these two are pitching right now, 5 ½ flat almost sounds like a better number. How can you bet that game over?

The Hilton also opened the series price with the Phillies as -250 favorites. The Yankees were posted as -180 favorites over the Rangers. I like the Rangers and Phillies to meet, but I can’t say I’d be sad to see the Giants make it. The pitching battles between the two NL teams look to be of epic proportions until we get to Game 4 of the best-of-seven battle.

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Archived Sports Book Radio show I did Thursday, October 14 talking about football and baseball. 

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