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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Inside The Points - Week 2
Fritze Schlottman
September 17, 2004

As predicted, the books cleaned up on the new players last week. The line had 12 home favorites week 1 and that was way more than was reasonable. Only nine home teams won their games SU and only seven covered the spread. The most damage was done on the Ravens game (a road favorite vs. Cleveland). Everyone was betting Baltimore as a third of all money wagered last week came in on this game. Needless to say, it was a huge loss for the players. The public won only three games, the Lions game early and the other two late when the heavily supported Eagles covered against the Giants and the Vikings covered against the Cowboys.

This week, the Sports Gods change their focus to the overs. Total points per game in week one was a paltry 38.9 points, well below the league average of 41 points per game. I expected a shift for the sports gods to take away the players advantage. But no, they seem intent on hunting the public that plays overs by making the average total line 42.6. I’ll take the points and look under the total this week. The line is still stacked against the home favorites with 11 home favorites, so it’s money on the dogs week 2.

Last week’s performance ATS showed why using 2003 statistics to forecast 2004 games is no advantage. I went 7-7-2 (50%) with my side picks indicating no advantage for the sharp player. Toss out those old stats and rely on trends and fundamentals until the data comes in. My winning % on sides should turn up at the end of the month when there’s enough data points. On the other hand, totals did much better with a 10-6 (62.5%) mark for the opening week. I’ll try and keep that pace up this week.

ST. LOUIS AT ATLANTA

Vegas Line

ATL -2.5 TOTAL 47 (bet down to 46)

Predicted Outcome

STL 24 ATL 21

Records

STL

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

ATL

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

STL Side

The Rams have a long term loss ATS trend in away games (19-28-1), but St. Louis is very good on turf (70%). This makes sense in that most of the Rams away games are played on grass while visiting teams have a surface disadvantage. Using the same logic the Rams aren’t a great road favorite either. And given that most of the NFC plays on grass, St. Louis isn’t very good ATS against their conference as well.

ATL Side

The Falcons, on the other hand, have not been very good at home covering just 36% of the games ATS from 2001-2003. As a home dog, they’re worse, with a record of 6-12-1 from 1998-2003 in that situation. Last season, the Falcons were just 1-7-1 as a home dog. Against good teams, and by good I mean playoff teams, ATL is just 5-11-2 ATS from 2001-2003.

STL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: 1st 4 games

UNDER TRENDS: VS. Conference

ATL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: None

UNDER TRENDS: None

Recent Meetings

        STL     ATL  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
10/13/2003 ATL 0 STL 36 496 119 377 209 73 136
1/6/2002 ATL 13 STL 31 458 192 266 255 107 148
12/2/2001 STL 35 ATL 6 422 89 333 320 128 192

Commentary

Can someone please explain to me how the Falcons are favored in this game? When the number first came up, I thought it was a mistake. My second thought was that this must be a trap. Then I ran to the window before the number changed.

The series history is that the Rams kill the Falcons. Over the last three years, Atlanta has yet to hold St. Louis to under 30 points. On the other hand, the Falcons have averaged just six points per contest against the Rams defense. That said the Falcons didn’t have QB Michael Vick available. Last season, Vick had a broken wheel and missed the game. Six points for the Falcons sounds a bit low for having that great talent on the field so I made and adjustment upwards to compensate.

Atlanta looked good in the first 20 minutes of the 49ers game, but faded down the stretch and nearly had the game go into overtime. The Falcons offensive line did not look good against the 49ers blitz and ATL’s receivers also couldn’t get open against the SF’s man coverage. The Falcons rushing game managed just four first downs and the passing game had only eight. Even Vick had a so-so day either with just 163 net passing yards.

The Rams self-destructed against the lowly Cardinals. STL tore up the Cardinals defense, amassing 448 total yards. Arizona couldn’t stop the run (STL averaged 5.9 yards per rush) and they couldn’t slow down the Rams passing game either (averaged 8.0 yards per reception). St. Louis had 27 first downs vs. 14 for the Cardinals. But three turnovers killed long drives by the Rams offense and the Cardinals covered with the game going under the total.

I just can’t find a reason not to take the Rams and the points. Say what you want about their offensive line, but if a team rushes for 176 yards, they didn’t get there by magic, someone has to be blocking. I think St. Louis will be able to run the ball and then attack a questionable Atlanta secondary. This is my best side bet of the week and I think the game goes under the total but don’t see an advantage in this play.

PITTSBURGH AT BALTIMORE

Vegas Line

BAL -4 TOTAL 36

Predicted Outcome

BAL 14 PIT 20

Records

PIT

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

BAL

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

PIT Side

Pittsburgh has no trends in play other than the home team has won the last three contests.

BAL Side

The Ravens are a very tough home side winning 63% of their games (27-16-5) in the period 1998-2003. BAL is also good favorites winning 60% of their contests in that situation during that same period and 70% of their games as home favorites.

PIT Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: DOG, ROAD DOG, PLAYOFF TEAMS

BAL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: 1ST 4 GAMES

Recent Meetings

 

 

 

 

PIT

 

BAL

 

 

Date

Away

Home

Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/28/2003

PIT 10

BAL 13

214 56 158 279 123 156
9/7/2003

BAL 15

PIT 34

339 98 241 231 88 143
12/29/2002

BAL 31

PIT 34

351 175 176 422 114 308
10/27/2002

PIT 31

BAL 18

283 110 173 360 67 293
1/20/2002

BAL 10

PIT 27

297 154 143 150 22 128
12/16/2001

PIT 26

BAL 21

476 158 318 207 58 149
11/4/2001

BAL 13

PIT 10

348 123 225 183 41 142

Commentary

Looking only at the statistics, the Ravens should have won their game against the Browns. Baltimore had more first downs (16-10), more total plays (67-55), better average per rush (3.4-2.9), and more completed passes (38-24), but they lost the big one…turnovers (3-0) and lost the game. The Browns stacked the line, put a corner on the Ravens tight end and dared BAL QB Kyle Boller and the Ravens receivers to beat them…and he couldn’t. Getting a Pro Bowl starting tackle back in the line-up will help the Ravens offense, but moving the ball will be problematic until Baltimore gets consistent QB play.

The Steelers took an early lead on the Raiders behind their new running game, got tied, and then had to win the game on a late drive. The game went over, but that was the result of both teams turning over the ball in their own territory more than offensive proficiency. The Steelers managed just 237 total yards against the Raiders. The Ravens defense is better, so don’t expect a lot of scoring from PIT.

I want no part of either side. I won’t put money again on BAL until Boller shows me he can beat man coverage and I can’t bet the Steelers on the road with a new conservative offense against a very tough Ravens defense. I like an under play as a way of giving thumbs down to both offenses.

HOUSTON AT DETROIT

Vegas Line

DET -3 TOTAL 43.5

Predicted Outcome

HOU 24 DET 21

Records

HOU

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

DET

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

HOU Side

Houston hasn’t been in the NFL long enough to build up any long-term trends. They have done well against the NFC, but eight total games isn’t enough for me to trust.

DET Side

The Lions are not good home favorites…they have a record of just 6-11-0 since 1998 in that situation. Detroit doesn’t do well against the AFC (8-16) ATS in that same period.

HOU Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: VS. CONFERENCE, 1 ST 4 GAMES

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

DET Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: HOME FAVORITE

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

The Lions should be flying high after their first road win since dinosaurs roamed the land. Statistically, they were beaten by the Bears last week. There may be a let-down this week as the Motor City Kitties return home for a game against the nearly-expansion Texans.

The Lions lost first downs 13-18, total yards 262-342, rushing yards 77-128, and passing yards 185-214 last week to Chicago. The 2.6 yards per carry is the most disturbing as it indicates the Lions will not be able to control games on the ground once again. And then there’s Detroit’s normal injury problems- the Lions have once again lost a starting receiver for the season.

Houston ’s stats on offense last Sunday were better than the Lions- but they were only equal to the Chargers, except for the two interceptions and two fumbles which cost the Texans the game. Houston gained 336 yards, but gave up 324 total net yards, had 110 yards rushing, but gave up 122, and so on.

I really don’t like the fact that the Lions can’t run the ball and are coming off an emotional victory over a divisional foe. On the other hand, Houston doesn’t have a history of going on the road a winning games either (just seven total road wins ATS in franchise history). Not a game I’m going to get involved in as there are better opportunities, but I like Houston to pull the upset.

CHICAGO AT GREEN BAY

Vegas Line

GB -9 TOTAL 42.5

Predicted Outcome

GB 27 CHI 17

Records

CHI

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

GB

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

CHI Side

They always lose to the Packers

GB Side

They always beat the Bears if Bret Favre is in the building.

CHI Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: ROAD, ROAD DOG

GB Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: FAVORITE, VS. DIVISION

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        CHI     GB  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/7/2003 CHI 21 GB 34 275 44 231 307 97 210
9/29/2003 GB 38 CHI 23 361 181 180 380 187 193
12/1/2002 CHI 20 GB 30 304 74 230 396 181 215
10/7/2002 GB 34 CHI 21 380 45 335 457 124 333
12/9/2001 CHI 7 GB 17 189 50 139 352 167 185
11/11/2001 GB 20 CHI 12 262 43 219 368 100 268
12/3/2000 GB 28 CHI 6 330 104 226 304 81 223

Commentary

I expect a little letdown for the Packers after they man-handled the Panthers on Monday night, but this is a Bears game and that seems to bring out the best from Green Bay year after year.

The Packers are averaging 29 points per game in the series while the Bear average just 17. The 12 point edge is more than the 9 point spread and should favor the Packers with an edge to the over as well.

The Bears hired Mr. L. Smith as head coach, if for no other reason than he had beaten the Packers while he coached for the Rams. It sounds far fetched, but such is the hatred in this series that Chicago would probably go to any lengths just to beat Brett Favre. Coming off a home loss to Detroit, this Bears team can’t be in good spirits for a trip to Wisconsin.

Perhaps, the Packers are looking past this game…no, it’s still the Bears and the Packers, lay the points with Green Bay and take the over.

DENVER AT JACKSONVILLE

Vegas Line

DEN -3 TOTAL 41

Predicted Outcome

DEN 17, JAX 14

Records

DEN

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

JAX

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

DEN Side

The Broncos are not a good road team ATS. Denver is 9-14-1 in their last two seasons on the road. However, they are worse against their conference foes going 9-19-0 in the period 1998-2003.

JAX Side

No trends in this game.

DEN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: FAVORITE, VS. CONFERENCE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

JAX Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: HOME DOG

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

This looks like a letdown game for the Broncos. They were really up for the hated Chiefs on Sunday night, now they have to travel across the country to play in hot and humid conditions.

Looking at the stats from last week’s games is more or less meaningless because there’s a world of difference between the Chiefs defense and the Bills. Kansas City couldn’t stop a Girl Scout troop while Buffalo is one of the great under teams in the NFL. Had I bothered to plug the numbers into the handicapping formula, Denver would have been a big favorite which is misleading under these circumstances. That said the Jaguars are built to stop the run, starting two very physical defensive tackles. This will be a better test of Denver’s new rushing game then the Broncos got last week.

Jacksonville could win this game in an upset, but I can’t lay money with their offense right now. They had to covert three fourth down plays on the Jag’s final drive just to score a touchdown against the Bills last week. Denver can play a little defense as well, so I suspect this will be a tight, low-scoring game. I have an under ticket in my pocket as I think the Broncos won’t bring their A game in the heat and humidity while the Jaguars offense is still looking for a breakout game on offense. Maybe the latest hurricane will bring in some weather as well.

CAROLINA AT KANSAS CITY

Vegas Line

KC -5 TOTAL 46

Predicted Outcome

KC 24 CAR 17

Records

CAR

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

KC

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

CAR Side

Carolina has been good in this situation. As a Dog, they are 18-12-1 since 2001 and 32-22-3 since 1998. The Panthers are also 25-11-1 ATS against playoff teams.

KC Side

Arrowhead is one of the worst places for visitor to play. The crowd noise is so deafening that teams often can’t audible. It makes sense that the Chiefs are 21-14-1 as home favorites since 1998.

CAR Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: 1 ST 4 GAMES

KC Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

I like the Chiefs in this game mostly for their advantage in the running game. Despite their loss at Denver, RB Priest Holmes looked, well like Priest Holmes should look…terrific. He led Kansas City with 151 rushing yards, a 5.8 yards per carry average and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Panthers running game was doing a whole bunch of nothing, and that says a lot against a very ordinary Packers defense. Defensively, neither team could stop the opposing running games of Denver and Green Bay. So it’s logical to assume that this game sets up to be a running contest where both teams try and ram it down the other’s throats.

With the loss of Carolina’s best wide receiver and return man, I like the Chiefs even more. Panthers QB Jake Delhome did not look good in his opening game and without his favorite wide receiver he’s going to feel the heat from KC’s blitz. The Chief are going to put eight and nine in the box to make Carolina one-dimensional. If the Panthers fail to adjust to the blitz like they did on Monday night, this game won’t be close. If they can grind out first downs on the ground or find a tight end that can run down the field and catch the ball, Carolina can stay in the game. I just can’t take a visitor against the Chiefs in Arrowhead off a KC loss-give me KC.

SAN FRANCISCO AT NEW ORLEANS

Vegas Line

NO -7 TOTAL 42.5

Predicted Outcome

NO 27 SF 17

Records

SF

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

NO

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-1-0)

Trends

SF Side

The 49ers have the normal West Coast dichotomy- they cover at home and get blown-out on the road. San Francisco is just 8-13-3 ATS on the road since 2001 and 16-28-4 since 1998.

NO Side

The Saints don’t have any significant trends in this situation.

SF Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: TURF, ROAD DOG

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

NO Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        SF     NO  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
10/20/2002 SF 27 NO 35 418 143 275 422 179 243
1/6/2002 SF 38 NO 0 407 138 269 126 40 86
11/11/2001 NO 27 SF 28 415 164 251 488 152 336

Commentary

I’m looking for a bounce-back effort from the Saints at home this week. New Orleans needs this win more than the 49ers do. Starting 0-2 SU at home and 0-2 vs. conference would be digging themselves a big hole early in the season. While their divisional foes ( Tampa Bay, Carolina, and Atlanta) didn’t look good either and 1-1 will probably lead this division after two games, New Orleans doesn’t want to spot the Panthers two home games. I look for a “spirited” week of practice for the Saints and NO should be breathing fire by kick-off.

It will be interesting to see how the 49ers come off their heart-breaking loss to the Falcons at home. For those of you that hadn’t heard, they didn’t convert a two-point conversion on the last play of the game. I suspect that this young team may have their tails down this week and will have a hard time putting the Atlanta game past them.

Motivationally, New Orleans has the advantage. They are also fundamentally the far more talented team. Unfortunately, they are the Saints and are prone to making the critical mistake. A touchdown is too much to lay for my comfort level, so I won’t play the game as a side.

WASHINGTON AT NEW YORK GIANTS

Vegas Line

WAS -3 TOTAL 42

Predicted Outcome

WAS 21 NYG 14

Records

WAS

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

NYG

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

WAS Side

The Redskins are a pretty good road team, but nothing to bet on. It’s been a long time since they’ve been a road favorite so there’s little data to go on to see if there’s any kind of edge that can be played. However, the Redskins have struggled against their own division going 16-26-2 since 1998 ATS.

NYG Side

No significant trends for the Giants in this situation.

WAS Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

NYG Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: GRASS, 1 ST 4 GAMES

Recent Meetings

        WAS     NYG  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/7/2003 WAS 20 NYG 7 288 150 138 220 120 100
9/21/2003 NYG 24 WAS 21 456 124 332 399 129 270
12/8/2002 NYG 27 WAS 21 447 132 315 316 111 205
11/17/2002 WAS 17 NYG 19 166 60 106 299 88 211
10/28/2001 NYG 21 WAS 35 353 157 196 388 42 346
10/7/2001 WAS 9 NYG 23 181 57 124 309 142 167

Commentary

I refuse to put money on the Giants right now. This team is unhappy. It’s pretty obvious to me by their performance and by the grievances they’ve filed against their new head coach that they aren’t buying whatever Tom Coughlin is selling. The G-Men’s offensive line is just dreadful and their defense (especially that train wreck of a secondary) can’t stop anyone. This team may well implode by October and by that time QB Warner will be in the hospital or replaced by Eli Manning.

The Redskins won their game, but the offense wasn’t exactly clicking. Mark Brunell has 125 yards passing in a grind it out game where the visiting Buc’s had only 10 snaps on offense in the first half. RB Clinton Portis did the damage on offense with a big run for a touchdown to start the game but then showed some durability by playing his part in Washington’s ball-control offense. The Redskins didn’t score another touchdown in the game, but the only major against them came on a fumble return for a touchdown by Tampa’s defense, so an improved effort by Washington’s defense.

To me, this is an under game all they way. Washington’s going to pound away with their running game and shorten the game while the Giants offense will continue to struggle. Already have my under ticket and looking forward to making more money off the Giants each and every week.

INDIANAPOLIS AT TENNESSEE

Vegas Line

TEN -1.5 TOTAL 47

Predicted Outcome

IND 24 TEN 21

Records

IND

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U AWAY (1-0-0)

TEN

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

IND Side

No significant trends in this game.

TEN Side

No significant trends in this game.

IND Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: ROAD, DOG, GRASS, ROAD DOG

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

TEN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: VS.CONFERENCE

Recent Meetings

        IND     TEN  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/7/2003 IND 29 TEN 27 338 117 221 327 93 234
9/14/2003 TEN 7 IND 33 291 127 164 236 53 183
12/8/2002 IND 17 TEN 27 389 92 297 348 119 229
11/3/2002 TEN 23 IND 15 378 80 298 198 121 77

Commentary

This is another game where I think the wrong team is favored in this contest. The Titans are playing at home and Adelphi is a difficult place to walk in and come out with a win, but the Colts have so much going on offense that it’s hard for me to imagine that they will self-destruct two games in a row.

Indianapolis should have beaten the Patriots on opening day. Had it not been for and interception and a fumble inside New England’s five yard line, the Colts would be favored in this game with the Titans. I think the Patriots defense is better than the Titans, so expect another offensive show from the Colts.

Tennessee had a tune-up game with Miami on Saturday. They went down to Florida and worked on their running game while the Dolphins showed all their warts on offense. I didn’t learn much from that game because it wasn’t broadcast nationally, but having that the Titans top running back dinged doesn’t help Tennessee’s cause.

If Indianapolis is going to get to the Super Bowl, they can’t go two games behind the Patriots with a loss head-to-head. They do not want to go to New England in January. It’s early to say this is a must-win game, but assuming the Pats go 13-3 or 12-4 this season, the Colts would have to run the table, go 13-1, or 12-2 the rest of the season to host a playoff game against New England. Motivational edge goes to the Colts here, and I’ve already got my ticket.

SEATTLE AT TAMPA BAY

Vegas Line

NO LINE

Predicted Outcome

None

Records

SEA

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS AWAY (1-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-1-0)

TB

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

SEA Side

The Seahawks are bad road favorites going 3-8-2 in that situation since 1998.

TB Side

The Buc’s play good teams tough at home. They are 25-16-4 at home against playoff teams since 1998.

SEA Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: VS. CONFERENCE

UNDER TRENDS: FAVORITE

TB Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: HOME DOG

UNDER TRENDS: VS. CONFERENCE

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Vegas is still waiting for the word on Seattle’s running back situation.

NEW ENGLAND AT ARIZONA

Vegas Line

NE -8 TOTAL 41.5

Predicted Outcome

NE 20 ARI 14

Records

NE

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (0-0-1), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

ARI

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

NE Side

The Patriots aren’t great road favorites. They are just 4-10-1 in that situation since 1998.

ARI Side

The Cardinals always seem to struggle ATS. The red birds are just 30-45-0 as dogs and 8-16-0 against the AFC since 1998.

NE Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

ARI Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: HOME, GRASS, HOME DOG, VS. CONFERENCE, 1 ST 4 GAMES

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

This is a classic let-down game. The Patriots are coming off an opening night thriller against the Colts and now go to the desert to play a day game in 100 degree heat against a Cardinals team that beat both the Packers and the Vikings on their home field last season.

There is no obvious reason you should be betting the Cardinals because New England is the Super Bowl champs, if they aren’t they best team then New England is among the best squads in the NFL, and if the Pats could beat the Colts by three, covering this number against Arizona should be a piece of cake. On the other hand, the Cardinals are the worst franchise in the NFL, and if they aren’t the worst team this season, they will end up somewhere in the bottom four, and if the Cardinals lost to the Rams by a touchdown, they should lose by more than that number to the Super Bowl champs. If you don’t believe the Cardinals can win, neither will the Patriots. New England will come out flat, its offense will wilt in the 100 plus degree heat, and the Cardinals will keep this game close.

CLEVELAND AT DALLAS

Vegas Line

DAL -4.5 TOTAL 39

Predicted Outcome

DAL 21 CLE 17

Records

CLE

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

DAL

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

CLE Side

The Browns have a favorable ATS record against playoff teams. Cleveland is 13-8-1 in that situation.

DAL Side

The Cowboys are good ATS at home (28-17-3) since 1998, but not very good against the AFC (8-15-1).

CLE Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

DAL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: 1 ST 4 GAMES

UNDER TRENDS: FAVORITE, VS. AFC

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

The Cowboys are coming off a loss to the Vikings in which the ‘Boys secondary struggled in coverage against Randy Moss. The secondary struggled in part because Dallas’ pass rush was non-existent. On the other hand, Dallas’ offense looked decent and the ‘Boys offensive line did a pretty good job protecting the quarterback.

The Browns are coming off a big week in which they beat the hated Ravens at home. Cleveland didn’t put up great numbers in that contest, but you wouldn’t expect great offensive numbers when both teams line up and hammer the ball on the ground at each other.

I just don’t see Bill Parcells starting the season out 0-2 SU. Cowboy practice season must have been a little more physical this week as the motivational edge goes to the ‘Boys. Not a game I’m going to run out and bet, but I think the Cowboys win this game and cover the spread.

BUFFALO AT OAKLAND

Vegas Line

OAK -3.5 TOTAL 38

Predicted Outcome

OAK 17 BUF 14

Records

BUF

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

OAK

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

BUF Side

The Bills have no significant recent trends.

OAK Side

The Raiders have no significant recent trends.

BUF Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

OAK Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: HOME, HOME FAVORITE, 1 ST 4 GAMES

UNDER TRENDS: VS. CONFERENCE, SHORT TERM UNDER STREAK

Recent Meetings

        BUF     OAK  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
10/6/2002 OAK 49 BUF 31 479 80 399 495 142 353

Commentary

The bankroll I’ve made betting Bills games under continues to grow. As long as statuesque QB Bledsoe continues to play tackling dummy behind a very shaky offensive line guard-to-guard and the Bills defense is healthy and in a nasty mood, I’m playing the under when Buffalo goes on the road.

The Raiders were a mixed bag last week, looking desperate early in their game against Pittsburgh but being able to move the ball through the air when Oakland’s offense started clicking. The running game was scarce and the Raiders will need to be more balanced on offense or it will be tee-off time on QB Rich Gannon. Oakland’s offensive line isn’t as talented this year as it has been in the past and it’s not going protect Gannon from bodily harm if the Raiders drop back and pass 40 times per game.

The Bills offense is simply dreadful on the road for the past few years. Bledsoe looks like a deer caught in the headlight as the rushers fall around him. ‘Not confident that situation gets better this week as Oakland will blitz more and test the Bills receivers and offensive line.

NEW YORK JETS AT SAN DIEGO

Vegas Line

NYJ -3 TOTAL 45.5

Predicted Outcome

NYJ 27 SD 21

Records

NYJ

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

SD

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

NYJ Side

The Jets are a very good road team ATS. New York has a 29-16-3 record in that situation since 1998.

SD Side

The Chargers are a poor home favorite. The Bolt-heads are 7-11-1 in that situation since 1998.

NYJ Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: VS.CONFERENCE

SD Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        NYJ     SD  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
11/3/2002 NYJ 44 SD 13 413 165 248 243 73 170

Commentary

The Jets look like my over team this season so long as Pennington stays healthy and the NYJ defense can’t stop anyone.

Pennington is one of the few quarterbacks that can complete 60% of his passes week after week. That incredible accuracy opens up opposing defenses and stretches them not only vertically, but also from sideline to sideline. As a result, the Jets running game looks better than it probably is because opposing linebackers are playing off the line of scrimmage in order to quickly get back into their drop zones. RB Curtis Martin looked half his age last week and the Jets offense dismantled the Bengals’ defense.

The Chargers running game should have its way with the Jets defense. New York has yet to find an answer on the interior of its defensive line and the increase in speed on the defensive roster has yet to pay dividends. This game may be another shoot-out and I’ll be playing the game Jets and over the total.

MIAMI AT CINCINNATI

Vegas Line

CIN -5.5 TOTAL 38.5

Predicted Outcome

CIN 14 MIA 13

Records

MIA

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-1-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

CIN

SU (0-1-0)

ATS (0-1-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

MIA Side

The Dolphins are good choices ATS against conference foes. Miami is 21-6-1 since 1998 in that situation and 16-8-0 in their first four games of the season since 1998.

CIN Side

The Bengals reached the .500 mark last season and that is the first time in some time that they haven’t been among the league’s worst teams. Naturally, Cincinnati’s ATS record reflects those unhappy times. The Bengals are just 19-27-2 at home since 1998 and 5-8-1 as a home favorite.

MIA Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS:

UNDER TRENDS: ROADDOG, VS. CONFERENCE, 1 ST 4 GAMES

CIN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: VS. CONFERENCE

UNDER TRENDS: 1 ST 4 GAMES

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Butt-ugly game of the week. A bad match-up for both offenses is another under play for me.

The Bengals have to pass the ball to score. Unfortunately, the Dolphins’ strength on defense is their secondary. That puts a lot of pressure on the Bengals new starting QB. He has to carry this Bengals team, but if he makes a mistake Miami will capitalize.

I don’t see how either team is going to put together 75 yard drives. This looks like another slug-it-out game where both squad play conservative and try to avoid the fatal mistake. That’s an under formula in my book and I bet that before I jump on either squad.

MINNESOTA AT PHILADELPHIA

Vegas Line

PHI -3.5 TOTAL 48.5

Predicted Outcome

PHI 28 MIN 24

Records

MIN

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U AWAY (0-0-0)

PHI

SU (1-0-0)

ATS (1-0-0), ATS HOME (1-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (1-0-0), O/U HOME (1-0-0)

Trends

MIN Side

Like most teams that ply inside domes, the Vikings struggle ATS when they have to play outside. Minnesota is 18-28-2 on the road.

PHI Side

The Eagles are one of the great ATS teams since 1998. Philadelphia is 26-15-1 as a favorite, 34-20-4 on turf, 20-7-1 vs. conference, and 18-10-1 against teams >.500.

MIN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: ROAD, DOG, ROAD DOG, VS. CONFERENCE, 1 ST 4 GAMES

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

PHI Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: HOME FAVORITE

UNDER TRENDS: TURF

Recent Meetings

       

MIN

 

 

PHI

 

Date

Away

Home

Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
11/11/2001

MIN 17

PHI 48

301 56 245 487 272 215

Commentary

Over, over, over….this game is going way over the total as neither teams’ defense is going to do anything to slow down the opposing offense.

Taking away the Giants big touchdown run at the end of their contest with Philadelphia and the Eagles still did nothing to slow down the Giants rushing attack. NYG averaged an indecent 8.2 yards per carry on the ground against Philadelphia. Minnesota has a huge offensive line and will outweigh the Eagles defensive line by a considerable margin. The Vikings averaged 4.9 yards per carry against a better Cowboys defense last week. That offensive line is going to pound Philadelphia’s front, setting up play action down the field for the big play.

The Eagles will counter by matching up Terrell Owens on a shaky Vikings secondary. Owens is much too physical for any of the Vikings corners and Minnesota doesn’t get enough of a pass rush to take the pressure of the Vike’s secondary. He may get another three touchdowns this week. Scoring over seven touchdowns in a professional game is difficult to do, but I just don’t see it any other way.

College Thoughts

In no particular order:
Michigan St . +3
UCON +7.5
Rutgers -12.5
SDSU +20.5
Kansas +3
Georgia Tech -9
Minnesota -4
Virginia -31