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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Inside The Points - Week 3
Fritze Schlottman
September 24, 2004

I hate being right, but it was pretty obvious that the Grand Pooba of Points (Ken White) and the sports gods set a trap for the favorites and the over players last week…and once again the books made out like bandits. There were just six overs and ten unders. Grumbling and crumpled tickets on the sports book floor was the order of the day as players took the worst of it.

As an under player, my total picks continued to be red-hot at 11-5 for a 68.75 winning percentage for the week. The battle between chalk and the dogs was a tie with both sides getting a split which was better than my personal record. Dogs killed the chalk in early action while all the late games seemed to go the way of the favorites. Fortunately, I’m a totals player and will play no more than four sides per week so the damage to my wallet was less than my record here would indicate. Nevertheless, I wait in anticipation for a few more weeks of data points to give me some direction.

This week the Sports Gods try a new tactic, the old 10-7 split. NFL games average 41 points per contest with 37 points being the most likely followed by 41. Looking at the totals for the week, to my surprise there are no 41’s, 40’s, 37’s or any other number near the center of the distribution curve. Thinking in sports terms, the Sports Gods are playing goalie covering both corners of the nets. There are five games in the 34-35.5 point range, one game at 38, zero games from 39-42, one game at 43, one at 44, two at 44.5 and four games over 45 points. So, they’re covering the highs and the low’s and leaving the middle open. Time to put the puck in the five hole and look to bet low numbers over and high numbers under the total this week.

Chalk players look to take another tail-stomping. There are 11 home favorites, one pick, and just two road favorites to choose from. What’s worse is that there are five games with double-digit favorites. I may make a field bet against the casino and put money on every dog knowing that there’s no way in heck chalk is going 11-2-1 SU any week and certainly not ATS. I’ll let you know how that comes out next week.

ARIZONA AT ATLANTA

Vegas Line

ATL -10 TOTAL 43

Predicted Outcome

ATL 24 ARI 14

Records

ARI

SU (0-2-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U AWAY (0-1-0)

ATL

SU (2-0-0)

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

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

Trends

ARI Side (1998-2003)

ROAD (36% ATS), DOG (40% ATS), TURF (29% ATS), ROAD DOG (38% ATS)

ATL Side (1998-2003)

NONE

ARI Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: 1 ST 4 GAMES (39% OVERS)

ATL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        ARI     ATL  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
9/30/2001 ATL 34 ARI 14 336 91 245 389 121 268

Commentary

My first thought when looking at this game was who the heck is Atlanta to be laying 10 points to anyone? I think the Sports Gods are putting this number up based on Vick’s performance last week against the Rams where he ran for over 100 yards and beat the favorites by more than a touchdown, and the series history wherein the last meeting the Falcons beat the Cardinals on the road by 20 points (however they only marginally out-gained the Cardinals in that contest).

Looking at each team for an edge, the Falcons have outscored their two opponents this season by an average score of 27.5 to 18 for a total of 45.5 points. However, there’s only a two yard difference between Atlanta’s average total yardage (322) and that of their opponents (320). The 9.5 points per game edge the Falcons have enjoyed over the first two weeks can be attributed to being +2 in turnover margin and being more efficient on offense than their opponents.

The Cardinals, on the other hand, are being outscored 20-11 on average for a total of 31 points per contest. As bad as that is, Arizona has been out-gained by a margin of nearly two-to-one (214-412 yds./game). The reason they’ve managed to hang around in games is their +4 turnover margin. No telling how badly the Cardinals would have been beaten if not for their opponents’ (cough, Rams) mistakes.

You can’t get me to lay double-digits with the Falcons and I flat-out refuse to put money on the Cardinals on the road. With a combined average of 36 points per contest, I think the total line is too high and will take the under in this ball game.

BALTIMORE AT CINCINNATI

Vegas Line

BAL -2.5 TOTAL 35.5

Predicted Outcome

BAL 21 CIN 20

Records

BAL

SU (1-1-0)

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

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

CIN

SU (1-1-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS HOME (0-1-0)

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

Trends

BAL Side (1998-2003)

FAVORITE (60% ATS), TURF (67% ATS)

CIN Side (1998-2003)

DOG (40% ATS), TURF (38% ATS), VS. DIVISION (36% ATS), 1 ST 4 GAMES (30% ATS)

BAL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: ROAD(33% OVERS), 1 ST 4 GAMES (30% OVERS)

CIN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: 1 ST4 GAMES (39% ATS)

Recent Meetings

        BAL     CIN  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/7/2003 CIN 13 BAL 31 353 223 130 268 100 168
10/19/2003 BAL 26 CIN 34 391 110 281 303 59 244
12/1/2002 BAL 27 CIN 23 247 148 99 381 73 308
11/10/2002 CIN 27 BAL 38 325 162 163 372 123 249
12/23/2001 CIN 0 BAL 16 305 157 148 281 150 131
9/23/2001 BAL 10 CIN 21 382 64 318 203 67 136

Commentary

At first glance, this game looks like a home series with the winner of five of the last six contests enjoying a good nights’ sleep in their own bed (presumably). The average score in these contests is BAL 25 CIN 20 for a total of 45 points and a margin of five. The 45 point average is well above the 35 point line put out by the Sports Gods.

Looking at the Ravens this season, they’re averaging 16.5 points on offense and giving up the same on defense. However the Ravens are being out-gained by their opponents by a margin of 256-280 yards per game.

The Bengals aren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard either. Cincinnati is scoring 20 points per contest, but giving up 22 for a total of 42 points per game. Like the Ravens, the Bengals are being out-gained by their two opponents (280-332) but are plus one in the turnover battle.

Combining the two teams 2004 totals, you would expect an 18-19 game with a total of 37. Again, the total line is 35.5 meaning that the series and the 2004 game history both point to an over in this contest. As far as the sides go, there’s too much uncertainty with either quarterback situation for me to go out and bet this game, so I’ll stay off either side in this contest.

PHILADELPHIA AT DETROIT

Vegas Line

PHI -4.5 TOTAL 44.5

Predicted Outcome

PHI 24 DET 17

Records

PHI

SU (2-0-0)

ATS (2-0-0), ATS AWAY (1-0-0)

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

DET

SU (2-0-0)

ATS (2-0-0), ATS HOME (1-0-0)

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

Trends

PHI Side (1998-2003)

ROAD (68% ATS), FAVORITE (63% ATS), TURF (63% ATS), ROAD FAVORITE (73% ATS)

DET Side (1998-2003)

HOME DOG (70%)

PHI Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: ROAD (38% OVERS), TURF (40% OVERS), ROAD FAVORITE (38% OVERS)

DET Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

I can’t quite figure out how the Eagles are only 4.5 point road favorites in this contest. Arguably, they are the best team in the NFC right now and Philadelphia is much healthier than the banged-up Lions.

The Eagles are averaging 29 points per contest and giving up only 16.5 for a whopping margin of 12.5 points per contest. However, they’ve been out-gained in their first two games by an average of 26 yards per contest and are a plus two in turnovers.

The Lions are one of the surprise teams in the league at 2-0 SU. Detroit has scored two defensive/special teams touchdowns in their first two games and is plus five in turnover margin. Detroit is averaging 24 points on offense and giving up an average of 16 points for a difference of +8. That’s score line is misleading as the Lions are being out-gained by nearly 100 yards per game!

I don’t understand the total line in this contest. I make the total 41-42 so 44.5 is way off the reservation unless you think McNabb and Owens are going to abuse the beaten-up Lions secondary. I dread picking against the Lions and their 70% cover rate at home, but I think the Eagles match-up well against Detroit team that’s only averaging 86 rushing yards per game. Reluctantly, give me the Eagles and the under on Sunday.

HOUSTON AT KANSAS CITY

Vegas Line

KC -10.5 TOTAL 48.5

Predicted Outcome

KC 27 HOU 20

Records

HOU

SU (0-2-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS AWAY (0-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-0-0), O/U AWAY (1-0-0)

KC

SU (0-2-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS HOME (0-1-0)

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

Trends

HOU Side (1998-2003)

NO LONG-TERM TRENDS

KC Side (1998-2003)

HOME FAVORITE (60% ATS), 1 ST 4 GAMES (65%)

HOU Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NO LONG-TERM TRENDS

UNDER TRENDS: NO LONG-TERM TRENDS

KC Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        HOU     KC  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
9/21/2003 KC 42 HOU 14 316 107 209 426 168 258

Commentary

It seems the NFL has found a way of stopping the Chiefs high-powered offense. Teams are putting their best cover corner on TE Tony Gonzales and forcing Trent Green to find one of his wide receivers. That’s worked so far as KC’s offense has been…well average at 20.5 points per contest. The Chiefs defense continues to be dreadful, giving up an average of 31 points per game for a total of 51.5 and a margin of -10.5.

Houston has struggled out of the gate at 0-2 SU. Like KC, the Texans are struggling on offense, averaging just 18 points per game on offense while giving up 27.5 for a margin of -9.5 and a total of 46.5. However, unlike the Chiefs, the Texans are out-gaining their opponents by 66 yards per game while Kansas City is being out-gained by 86 total yards in each of their first two games. Being -5 in turnover margin has killed the Texans in their first two contests.

So, why is KC a 10.5 point favorite at home with an injured Priest Holmes? I have no idea. I like Houston and the points in this contest. If Holmes won’t play or is questionable, jump on the under as well.

PITTSBURGH AT MIAMI

Vegas Line

PICK TOTAL 34

Predicted Outcome

MIA 17 PIT 13

Records

PIT

SU (1-1-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS AWAY (0-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-0-0), O/U AWAY (1-0-0)

MIA

SU (0-2-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U HOME (0-1-0)

Trends

PIT Side (1998-2003)

NONE

MIA Side (1998-2003)

VS. CONFERENCE (78% ATS), 1 ST 4 GAMES (67%)

PIT Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

MIA Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: VS. CONFERENCE, 1 ST 4 GAMES

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

In what at first glance looks to be one of the uglier contests of the week, the Steelers will start a rookie quarterback on the road while the Dolphins continue their search for an effective signal-caller.

The Steelers are being outscored by a touchdown per game. Pittsburgh is averaging 18.5 points on offense and yielding 25.5 points on defense for a margin of seven and a total of 44 points per contest. PIT is being out-gained by their opponents by 35 yards.

It’s common knowledge that Miami is dreadful on offense. Through two games, the Dolphins are averaging just ten points scored per game. A lot of that ineffectiveness can be attributed to MIA’s lousy 45 yards rushing per week. The ‘Fins defense has hung in there and to my surprise Miami has more yards on total offense than their opponents through two weeks. Turnovers are killing them however and the Dolphins are -4 in that category.

If Pittsburgh was starting QB Tommy Maddox, I make this game a 35 point total. Without him I’m taking both the under for the game and the under for the first half. I’m going to pass once again on the sides as turnovers will likely decide this contest and I have no idea which way the ball will bounce.

CHICAGO AT MINNESOTA

Vegas Line

MIN -10 TOTAL 44.5

Predicted Outcome

MIN 24 CHI 17

Records

CHI

SU (1-1-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U AWAY (0-1-0)

MIN

SU (1-1-0)

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

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

Trends

CHI Side (1998-2003)

NONE

MIN Side (1998-2003)

NONE

CHI Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: ROAD (40% OVERS), TURF (31% OVERS), ROAD DOG (39% UNDERS, VS. TEAMS >.500 (35% OVERS)

MIN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: 1 ST 4 GAMES

Recent Meetings

        CHI     MIN  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/14/2003 MIN 10 CHI 13 232 87 145 393 178 215
9/14/2003 CHI 13 MIN 24 208 80 128 400 202 198
10/27/2002 CHI 7 MIN 25 218 44 174 364 148 216
9/8/2002 MIN 23 CHI 27 368 80 288 364 136 228
11/25/2001 CHI 13 MIN 6 235 142 93 316 124 192
9/23/2001 MIN 10 CHI 17 284 47 237 319 104 215

Commentary

This is one of the series where the home team wins every game and the game goes under the total. Looking at the series history, the last three games and five of the last six contests have gone under this week’s total line of 44.5.

Chicago is averaging 18.5 points per game and only surrendering 15 for a total of 33.5 and a spread of +3.5. Minnesota is scoring 25.5 points per game and giving-up 22 for a total of 47.5 and a spread of 3.5. That makes the predicted total for the game 40.5 and also points me under the total in this game.

Looking back at the series history and comparing it to this week’s spread, had there been a 10 point spread in each of the games, the Bears would have covered four of the last six contest. That’s enough to get me to take the Bears and the big hook in this game.

CLEVELAND AT NEW YORK GIANTS

Vegas Line

NYG -3 TOTAL 38

Predicted Outcome

NYG 9 CLE 6

Records

CLE

SU (1-1-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U AWAY (0-1-0)

NYG

SU (1-1-0)

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

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

Trends

CLE Side (1998-2003)

NONE

NYG Side (1998-2003)

HOME (37% ATS), HOME FAVORITE (35% ATS)

CLE Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

NYG Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: 1 ST4 GAMES (38% OVERS)

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

God-awful game number two. The Browns really got beaten up in Dallas last weekend, losing a number of key starters on the offensive line and on the defensive line, and then there’s that rookie TE that everyone but Vegas is getting worked up about. On the other hand, I have a Giants team that gets seven turnovers from the Redskins and only won the game because the G-man’s defense is more effective in punching touchdowns than New York’s offense. Does someone really need to win every game?

As demonstrated in Dallas last week, Cleveland is largely ineffective on offense and now that they will be starting a new LT against Giants DE Michael Strahan what little production they’ve managed to generate may evaporate completely. The Browns are averaging 16 points of offense while giving up 11. Being +4 in turnover margin has helped Cleveland score the few points they’ve managed so far. Cleveland is averaging 110 yards on the ground and 116 through the air, and the Browns have been out-gained by a margin of 122 yards every contest. Tough to make a case for the Browns going on the road and winning the game outright.

The Giants generated most of their yardage in slop time against the Eagles. Seven turnovers and a late TD run in Philadelphia have artificially pumped up their numbers so that NYG is averaging 18.5 points on offense while surrendering 22.5 for a margin of -4. Most handicappers have the Giants as the weakest team in the league after two weeks and some even downgraded them after their victory over the Redskins, if that was possible. If one of the two teams is going to be able to move the football, it’s more likely to be the Giants as they are averaging 119 more yards on offense per contest.

Certainly a game where I’m looking under the posted total as I can’t make an argument that either team can or will be able to sustain long drives and stick the ball in the end zone. Yet another game where turnovers and field goals will decide the outcome, neither side will see my money.

NEW ORLEANS AT ST. LOUIS

Vegas Line

STL -6.5 TOTAL 48

Predicted Outcome

STL 28 NO 21

Records

NO

SU (1-1-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS AWAY (0-0-0)

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

STL

SU (1-1-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS HOME (0-1-0)

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

Trends

NO Side (1998-2003)

NONE

STL Side (1998-2003)

VS. CONFERENCE (37% ATS)

NO Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: ROAD (64%), DOG (62% OVERS), ROAD DOG (65% OVERS), PLAYOFF TEAMS (68% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

STL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: HOME FAVORITE (60% ATS), 1 ST 4 GAMES (64% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: VS. CONFERENCE (39% OVERS)

Recent Meetings

        NO     STL  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/17/2001 STL 34 NO 21 310 68 242 365 56 309
10/28/2001 NO 34 STL 31 320 93 227 474 48 426

Commentary

I just hate playing either side of this game as both teams are wildly unpredictable. I’d rather put all my money in the center of the floor, light the cash of fire, and dance naked around the burning bills than put that money on either of these two teams.

This is the Saints first game on the road after their opening two games at home. New Orleans is averaging 18.5 points scored per contest while surrendering 24 for a -5.5 margin and a total of 42.5. The scoring fairly represents the one-sided nature of the games as the Saints have been out-gained by an average of 101 yards per contest.

The Rams have spent the first two weeks screwing-up on offense. St. Louis is out-gaining their opponents but that -5 turnover margin has killed drives and as a result the Rams are scoring just 17 points per contest while giving up 22 for a margin of -5 and a total of 39.

The series history is way over the 48 total with the away team winning both contests. Gun to my head, If I had to put money on a side, I’d take the Rams but neither the sides or the over/under will see my cash this week.

JACKSONVILLE AT TENNESSEE

Vegas Line

TEN -6.5 TOTAL 35.5

Predicted Outcome

JAX 16 TEN 20

Records

JAX

SU (2-0-0)

ATS (2-0-0), ATS AWAY (1-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U AWAY (0-1-0)

TEN

SU (1-1-0)

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

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

Trends

JAX Side (1998-2003)

NONE

TEN Side (1998-2003)

NONE

JAX Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

TEN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        JAX     TEN  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
11/16/2003 JAC 3 TEN 10 271 126 145 246 96 150
10/26/2003 TEN 30 JAC 17 297 54 243 320 133 187
12/22/2002 TEN 28 JAC 10 214 75 139 298 175 123
10/13/2002 JAC 14 TEN 23 198 130 68 370 152 218
11/4/2001 JAC 24 TEN 28 309 70 239 362 146 216
9/23/2001 TEN 6 JAC 13 329 119 210 264 87 177

Commentary

This is a series Tennessee has dominated winning five of the last six and five straight. The average score over the last three years is TEN 21 JAX 13.5 making the spread 7.5 and the total 34.5. However, four of the last six games would have gone over the 35.5 posted total. The early edge would seem to go to the Titans with the over/under decision requiring more investigation.

Looking at the 2004 team statistics through two weeks, Jacksonville is scoring just 10 points per game but surrendering eight for a total of 18 and a margin of +2. The Jags offense has done nothing and only averages 200 yards in total while the Jacksonville defense is giving up 299.

Tennessee isn’t exactly lighting it up either, scoring just 17 points on average while giving up 19 for a margin of -2 and a total of 36. Both Tennessee and their opponents have been able to move the ball with total offense and total defense over 300 yards.

There’s just no way anyone can count on the Jaguars scoring more than 14 points per game. They seem content to not take any chances on offense, punt the ball, and trust their defense. Tennessee won’t get their average of 168 yards on the ground and will be lucky to get to the century mark against a JAX defense that allows just 75 yards on the ground. I wouldn’t want to lay nearly a touchdown on a low-scoring game so that puts me on the Jaguars and the under in this contest.

SAN DIEGO AT DENVER

Vegas Line

DEN -10 TOTAL 45.5

Predicted Outcome

DEN 27 SD 14

Records

SD

SU (1-1-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (2-0-0), O/U AWAY (1-0-0)

DEN

SU (1-1-0)

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

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

Trends

SD Side (1998-2003)

GRASS (40% ATS)

DEN Side (1998-2003)

1 ST 4 GAMES (61%)

SD Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

DEN Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: HOME (60% OVERS), FAVORITE (60% OVERS), HOME FAVORITE (61% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        SD     DEN  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
11/16/2003 SD 8 DEN 37 96 40 56 448 201 247
9/14/2003 DEN 37 SD 13 303 121 182 382 197 185
12/1/2002 DEN 27 SD 30 434 220 214 417 156 261
10/6/2002 SD 9 DEN 26 314 79 235 417 117 300
11/11/2001 SD 16 DEN 26 243 96 147 338 127 211
10/21/2001 DEN 10 SD 27 379 107 272 263 81 182

Commentary

This has been a very lop-sided series over the years with the Broncos winning four of the last six and the only two Charger victories coming at home. In the three games in Colorado, Denver has averaged 30 points per game while San Diego has averaged just 11 making the margin 19 points and the total 41, basically a blow-out. The lines maker has priced that in and the Broncos will have to cover ten points to get the ATS victory but 45.5 points seems a little steep to me.

The Chargers are averaging a surprising 27.5 points on offense while giving up 27 for a margin of .5 and a total of 54.5. Then again, those totals came against two very defensively challenged football teams in the Texans and the Jets.

The Broncos are much better on defense giving up an average of 15.5 points per game while the offense has scored 20, but that reflects the extremes of the rugby scrum against the Jaguars in week 2 and the track meet against the Chiefs. Denver is probably somewhere in the middle on offense, but the low points against is pretty accurate at this point in the season given that Denver is only allowing 247 yards against on defense.

I just can’t see San Diego putting 27 points up on this Denver defense on the road and the Chargers may struggle to get to seventeen. That puts me on the under in this contest. Can the Broncos win by ten? Yes they can, and I’ll lay the points for the purpose of my prediction, but I’m not going to bet the sides.

GREEN BAY AT INDIANAPOLIS

Vegas Line

Off the board or circled game.

Predicted Outcome

None

Records

GB

SU (1-1-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U AWAY (0-1-0)

IND

SU (1-1-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (2-0-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

GB Side (1998-2003)

TURF (26%)

IND Side (1998-2003)

NONE

GB Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: TURF (74% OVERS), VS. AFC (63% OVERS), PLAYOFF TEAMS (62% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

IND Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: VS. NFC (74% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

NO RECENT MEETINGS

Commentary

Two really bad trends in this game, the Packers can’t win in domes and the Colts can’t cover the spread without James. No recommendation until there’s more news on James’ status.

SAN FRANCISCO AT SEATTLE

Vegas Line

SEA -11 TOTAL 44

Predicted Outcome

SEA 24 SF 17

Records

SF

SU (0-2-0)

ATS (2-0-0), ATS AWAY (0-1-0)

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

SEA

SU (2-0-0)

ATS (2-0-0), ATS HOME (0-0-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U HOME (0-0-0)

Trends

SF Side (1998-2003)

ROAD (36% ATS), DOG (39% ATS), TURF (38% ATS), ROAD DOG (32% ATS)

SEA Side (1998-2003)

NONE

SF Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: TURF (63% OVERS), ROAD DOG (64% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

SEA Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: FAVORITE (38% OVERS)

Recent Meetings

        SF     SEA  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/27/2003 SEA 24 SF 17 290 59 231 394 89 305
10/12/2003 SF 19 SEA 20 261 111 150 333 147 186
12/1/2002 SEA 24 SF 31 299 142 157 507 80 427
10/14/2002 SF 28 SEA 21 351 161 190 334 123 211

Commentary

One thing that I’ve learned through the years is that western teams win at home and stink on the road. This is a series that defies that theory with the away team splitting the series with the home side.

Looking at the series history, the last two games have gone under the total posted by Vegas while the 2002 games went over. However, SF was a playoff caliber team that season and Terrell Owens, Jeff Garcia, etc are long gone.

The Seahawks have gone on the road and won their first two games. They weren’t pretty, but they were wins nevertheless. SEA is averaging just 15.5 points on offense and the defense is giving up 6.5 for a margin of nine points and a total of 21. The ‘Hawks offense has yet to really click as the team is averaging less than 300 total yards per game.

The 49ers are better than their 0-2 record. They are scoring 23 points per contest while giving up 25.5 for a margin of 2.5 and a total of 48.5. However, the 49ers are actually out-gaining their first two opponents by 100 yards per game.

There’s no way I can make a case for Seattle laying 11 points here. Give me nearly two touchdowns and the under and I’ll cash both tickets. SF is my side of the week.

TAMPA BAY AT OAKLAND

Vegas Line

OAK -4 TOTAL 34

Predicted Outcome

OAK 17 TB 10

Records

TB

SU (0-2-0)

ATS (0-2-0), ATS AWAY (0-1-0)

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U AWAY (0-1-0)

OAK

SU (1-1-0)

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

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

Trends

TB Side (1998-2003)

NONE

OAK Side (1998-2003)

VS. INTERCONFERENCE (63% ATS)

TB Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: ROADDOG (40% OVERS)

OAK Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: HOME (60% OVERS), HOME FAVORITE (61% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        TB     OAK  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
1/26/2003 OAK 21 TB 48 365 150 215 269 19 250

Commentary

This game would be stinker game number three if not for the sub plot of Chucky returning to Oakland. It seems like forever in the fortunes of these two teams, but back in January 2003 they played in a Super Bowl. Now the Raiders will have their revenge game against a hapless Buc’s team and their former coach.

Tampa Bay just can’t get anything going on offense, averaging eight points and 220 yards per game. The Buc’s rush for just 61 yards per contest putting tremendous pressure on a passing game that lacks a deep threat to open up secondaries.

Oakland can’t run the ball either, averaging just 67 yards on the ground. However they have been able to score 17 points per contest.

A big revenge spot here for Oakland. I can’t see Tampa Bay scoring under these conditions, so I’ll take the Raiders and the under in this contest.

DALLAS AT WASHINGTON

Vegas Line

WAS -3 TOTAL 35.5

Predicted Outcome

DAL 17 WAS 14

Records

DAL

SU (1-1-0)

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

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

WAS

SU (1-1-0)

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

OVER/UNDER (0-2-0), O/U HOME (0-1-0)

Trends

DAL Side (1998-2003)

ROAD (40%), VS. DIVISION (65%)

WAS Side (1998-2003)

FAVORITE (27% ATS), VS. DIVISION (38% ATS), 1 ST 4 GAMES (30% ATS)

DAL Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: 1 ST 4 GAMES (61% OVERS)

UNDER TRENDS: ROAD (35% OVERS), GRASS (37% OVERS), ROAD DOG (40% OVERS)

WAS Total (1998-2003)

OVER TRENDS: NONE

UNDER TRENDS: NONE

Recent Meetings

        DAL     WAS  
Date Away Home Total Rush Pass Total Rush Pass
12/14/2003 DAL 27 WAS 0 326 222 104 161 106 55
11/2/2003 WAS 14 DAL 21 400 208 192 213 89 124
12/29/2002 DAL 14 WAS 20 186 38 148 352 151 201
11/28/2002 WAS 20 DAL 27 328 211 117 315 83 232
12/2/2001 DAL 20 WAS 14 337 215 122 277 81 196
10/15/2001 WAS 7 DAL 9 386 211 175 226 103 123

Commentary

Big, big under game here. The series averages are DAL 20 WAS 12.5. Dallas has won five of the last six contests SU with the total of five out of six of the games going under this week’s total of 35.5.

Looking at the season numbers, neither of these two teams are lighting it up on offense. The Cowboys are averaging 18 points and the Redskins 15. The Boys have the weaker defense after two games, but playing on the road at Minnesota has never been good for your defensive stats. ‘Not at all sure who’s starting the game at QB for Washington, but that uncertainty leads me to believe that RB Clinton Portis is going to get at least 30 carries while Dallas will try and find a healthy body to play running back.

I really don’t like either side in this contest, but that under has my mouth watering and my pocket burning. I’ll take the under on the first half and the game and pass on either side.

College Thoughts

In no particular order:
NC STATE +8.5
Boston College +1
Wyoming +4.5
Wisconsin -3.5
Minnesota -14.5
Ark. St . +5.5
Boise St . -21
Texas Tech -5.5
Virginia -24.5