By Micah Roberts
We saw somewhat of playoff game Thursday night between the 49ers and Chargers because whoever lost was going to have tough time qualifying for a playoff position.
One of the most important games of the week have the Eagles and Giants each sitting at 9-4 and battling for the NFC East crown. The Eagles beat the Giants 27-17 in week 11, but in the process, the Giants did somewhat of a good job in containing Michael Vick. The Las Vegas Hilton Super Book opened the Giants a -3 (+105) favorite, but was quickly moved to -2 ½ (-120) with bettors finding value in getting +3 with Philly laying .15 cents more.
For those looking to get +3 at -110, the South Point sports book has the only flat number in town. They continue to be the only book in Las Vegas that uses only flat numbers. Their next move is likely -2 ½, so get it fast if that side is attractive.
The battle for the AFC South could end this week should Jacksonville dispose of the Colts like they did week 4 with their 31-28 win. A two game advantage with two to go and owning the first tie-breaker could have the Jaguars sending last season’s AFC Super Bowl representative home before the playoffs begin. Should the Colts win, the final two weeks will become very interesting. The line has been steady all week with the Colts a 5-point favorite.
Based on the way Peyton Manning’s confidence has looked shattered over the last few weeks, taking the points in what figures to be a tight game does have some value. Just to show how much things have changed with each team’s rating since that week four matchup, the Colts were 7-point favorites on the road at Jacksonville.
As for the Bears Monday night, it’s looking more like Vikings rookie quarterback Joe Webb will get the start as Tavaris Jackson is out and Brett Favre is very doubtful. The Hilton’s early line had the Vikings a 1 ½-point favorite before last weeks games, but currently have the game off the board, as does every other book besides Lucky’s, who currently have the Bears 6-point favorites. It’s hard to believe Favre still has the type of impact on a line, but it’s more about the inexperience of Webb who is sure to get a heavy dose of the Monsters of the Midway throwing the kitchen sink at him.
Seeing the Vikings play a home game outside again for the first time since 1981 will be a pleasant sight. I always enjoyed the edge they had their as the home team in December where the elements always played a major impact. Each of their Super Bowl appearances were always influenced because of the advantage they had at home.
Early forecasts for Monday night call for snow showers at nine degrees which could once again give the Vikings a home field edge and negate their disadvantage of Webb starting. The Bears play in a cold weather city as well, but we saw last week just how good they are in it offensively as New England wiped them up on their home field in the snow. Because of the forecast, no sports book in town has the total up. Whatever the number is, under looks like the way to go, and get it fast, like in as soon as it goes up, because it will only go down from there.
The largest move of the week was somewhat tame with the Saints moving from +3 (-120) to +1 ½ at Baltimore in a critical game before their match with the Falcons next week. The Bengals dropped from an opener of -2 ½ to -1 ½ based on the Browns starting the more efficient Colt McCoy over Jake Delhomme. Seahawks money also found their way to the windows taking +7 and +6 ½ against the Falcons who are now 6-point favorites. The Falcons are very public team and the number should balance the sharp plays eventually forcing a move back up.
The Titans and Texans meet up again this week in Nashville, and while two 5-8 teams don’t really create much interest, the rematch between Andre Johnson and Cortland Finnegan should be exciting to watch. Houston beat the Titans 20-0 in week 12 where the two slugged it out, or rather Johnson did. The Texans were initially getting 2-points, but the line has settled at +1 ½.
I been playing in a weekly contest the local newspaper has called the Las Vegas Review-Journal NFL Challenge representing VegasInsider.com and have held my own weekly despite two horrendous weeks going 37-32-1 on the year. The contest uses the Las Vegas Hilton Super Contest lines and requires five selections a week. The current leader is the Hilton’s Executive Race and Sports Director Jay Kornegay at 41-29.
LVRJ NFL Challenge
Here are my contest selections for week 15:
Jaguars +5 @ Indianapolis
Buccaneers -6 vs. Lions
Jets +6 @ Pittsburgh
Falcons -6 @ Seattle
Bears -3 @ Minnesota
I have been guest hosting Sports Book radio on ESPN 1100 am here in Las Vegas while regular host Brian Belssing is away. On Thursday's show we had Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman on who gave his NFL selections along with the Las Vegas Review-Journal's UNLV beat wirter Matt Youman's as we discussed what happned to the Rebels Wednesday night against UCSB. I closed out the last half hour with VegasInsider.com's Brian Edwards as he broke down the week 15 NFL card and gave insight to Florida's new coaching situation. Friday's show will be live at the M Resort and Spa's race and sports book where I will be with Bruce Marshall discussing everything going on in sports this weekend, including the 2022 Qatar date for the World Cup. The shows are archived daily on VegasInsider.com, check it out.