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Football betting: NFC East/North Regular Season Wins Predictions
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The Dallas Cowboys (O/U: 10) are hoping to become the first team to ever play in its own stadium at a Super Bowl this season. After gaining a victory in the playoffs last year for the first time since, Dallas could be poised to make a deeper postseason run in 2010. Quarterback Tony Romo leads a balanced offense. The club will need to improve its red zone offense this season after ranking just 14th in the league in scoring offense last year despite finishing 2nd in the NFL in total offense. The schedule appears to be one of the most difficult slates in the league this season. The Cowboys will have to battle five teams on the road that reached the playoffs in 2009. Dallas fails to meet football betting expectations for an under.
The New York Giants (O/U: 8.5) struggled to a 3-8 finish in its final 11 contests of 2009 after a 5-0 start. The collapse of the defense was the main problem for New York. After ranking 5th in the NFL in scoring defense in 2008, the Giants slipped to 30th in the category last year. On offense, quarterback Eli Manning has enabled New York to finish in the top 8 in total offense in each of the last two years. Like Dallas, the Giants must face five playoff squads from 2009 away from home. Once again, New York fails to produce a winning season for an under.
It's a new era for the Philadelphia Eagles (O/U: 8.5) after the offseason trade of veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb. Kevin Kolb and Michael Vick will be counted on to keep Philly's offense moving in 2010. Under McNabb, the Eagles finished in the top 6 in the NFL in scoring offense in three of the last four seasons. With the exception of a trip to Dallas, Philadelphia won't face a team on the road that went to the postseason in 2009. After recording just one losing campaign in the last decade, the Eagles win at least nine games again for an over.
New Washington Redskins (O/U: 7.5) head coach Mike Shanahan is hoping that McNabb will boost a franchise that posted only two winning seasons in the last decade. While the defense has ranked in the top 10 in the league in total defense in each of the last three seasons, the offense has struggled in recent years. McNabb will certainly help but the lack of other playmakers on offense will doom the Redskins to an under in the difficult NFC East.
In the NFC North, the Green Bay Packers (O/U: 10) are looking to build on last year's trip to the playoffs. After ranking in the top 6 in total offense and defense in 2009, the club appears to be strong enough on both sides of the ball to make a run at a Super Bowl bid in 2010. While there are a few difficult road games on the schedule, Green Bay is good enough to get over the number this season.
The Minnesota Vikings (O/U: 9.5) are still waiting on a decision from quarterback Brett Favre. While many football betting skeptics are quick to dismiss Minnesota's hopes without Favre in 2010, the club did win ten games en route to a division crown in 2008 without him. Running back Adrian Peterson and an outstanding defensive line could enable the Vikings to contend this year, if Favre shuts it down. For the third straight year, Minnesota wins at least ten contests for an over.
After being the most aggressive team in free agency this offseason, the Chicago Bears (O/U: 8) are hoping to challenge the Packers and Vikings in the NFC North. While the addition of Julius Peppers will aid the defense, the unit still has some question marks heading into this season. On offense, the lack of quality wide receivers will hinder the club's air attack. Chicago suffers through another losing campaign for an under.
The Detroit Lions (O/U: 5) have been limited to just two wins over the last two seasons. With the recent draft choices of quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Detroit has the potential to build something down the line. This year, Detroit improves a little but not enough to avoid an under.
NFL: Is Super Bowl Pointspread Correct?
Any coach past or present will tell you the game of football is about two things, blocking and tackling. While that is absolutely true in its simplest form, Super Bowl XLIV is different from the past with the possible exception of just a handful of contests for the Lombardi Trophy. Start with the total of this confrontation, set at 56.5, the highest ever, surpassing the Giants and New England figure of 54 points two years ago. The most recent pointspread shows Indianapolis -4.5, with 67% of the betting action at Sportsbook.com on that side.
After the Colts solved the Jets defense in winning the AFC Championship, most educated oddsmakers were thinking Indianapolis as three-point favorite against the winner of the NFC contest. However, since New Orleans was dominated statistically in their matchup by Minnesota, most thought 3.5 or four points would draw relatively divided action. With roughly 15-20 percent of the dollars wagered on the side of the Super Bowl by this past Sunday, the vast majority of the action had been on Indy, moving them to -5.5 points , but the Dwight Freeney news shoved to number back down to -4.5. In breaking down the two teams, is the number accurate?
Peyton Manning vs New Orleans pass defense
Peyton Manning has arguably been the best quarterback in football the last eight years, except when Tom Brady had a better New England club. The Colts have averaged 283 yards passing against teams that allowed 218, that’s almost a 30 percent difference vs. any defense they have taken on this year. Manning makes uncommon sight adjustments to blitzes and gets rid of the ball quickly. New Orleans on the other hand can be riddled by opposing teams via the pass. Take away games this season in which the Saints faced teams who preferred to run like Carolina, Detroit, Buffalo, Miami and the Jets, and the New Orleans secondary surrendered 277.6 yards in the 12 other contests or roughly what the Colts totaled all season. Granted, some the yardage allowed was after New Orleans had built big leads in several early games, but there were a number of late season contests in which they were also torched.
Nobody in football makes better in-game adjustments than Manning and his offensive coordinator Tom Moore and nobody this season did a better job in stopping opposing teams by forcing turnovers than the Saints. Defensive coordinator Greg Williams is on record as saying how they attacked Brett Favre is similar to how they want to get after Manning. The Jets had Darrelle Revis to at least take away Reggie Wayne and they did a good job in limiting Dallas Clark. It does not appear Manning will face those same obstacles against Saints secondary.
Spread Differential – Indianapolis -7
Drew Brees vs Indianapolis pass defense
Drew Brees might not have All-Pro type receivers like Manning has in Wayne and Clark; however he has a stable that any Kentucky thoroughbred barn would be proud of. No team in professional football had a more diverse passing attack than New Orleans. The Saints had seven different players catch 35 balls or more during the regular season. Coach Sean Payton has set up his offense very much like a basketball team that has both exceptional depth and the skill to score points. Only Manning has the ability to scan the field as quickly to find an open receiver as Brees, who also has keen understanding of taking what the offense gives as well as wanting to dictate the tempo to keep the defense guessing. The Colts are better equipped to limit or contain the New Orleans passing game. Bookend defensive ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis can bring a heap of trouble off the edges. Freeney in particular is going to demand a double team, unless his troubled ankle proves otherwise, as normal backup tackle Jermon Bushrod is not equipped to make this a solo project. Mathis’ edge over right tackle Jon Stinchcomb isn’t as definitive; just the same the Colts DE is the better player. Antoine Beathea is an emerging star at safety for the Colts, with the rest of the secondary somewhat dependant on what happens up front.
Spread Differential – New Orleans -3
Indianapolis running game vs. New Orleans front seven
For two teams in the Super Bowl, this is one area that is about as unusual as you will find. The Colts running game is reminiscent of Bill Walsh’s and Joe Montana’s first winning Super Bowl team from the 1982 season. The 49ers were a pure passing team and ran the ball just to give the defense something to preoccupy from time to time. The Indianapolis front office had not been impressed with Joseph Addai since they won the Super Bowl in 2006 season and drafted Donald Brown from Connecticut. Addai doesn’t hit the edges as well on the stretch plays, working better between the B-gaps and making cuts. Indy posts a laughable 3.5 yards per carry against teams that permitted 4.1. The offense line seldom gets a chance to go out and drive block, however does appear less potent in this aspect of the game from the Super Bowl team from three years ago. Beyond Sedrick Ellis, the Saints defense front absorbs more punishment than it creates. New Orleans gives up 4.6 yards per carry, since their linebackers lack extensive speed to quickly fill gaps. It would seem Indianapolis could do business here, but has shown no inclination to commit to the run, rushing over 100 yards twice on last 12 contests. Expect the Colts to be satisfied carrying the ball their usual 23 times and leave it to their MVP to close the deal.
Spread Differential – Even
New Orleans running game vs Indianapolis front seven
Besides turnovers, if the Saints are going to upset the Colts, this is where it has to come from. Guards Carl Nicks, Jahri Evans and center Jonathan Goodwin must have special day opening up holes for Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. Saints coach Payton needs to show restraint here and get physical upfront with the Colts. Gouging the Indianapolis defense for four to five yards a pop opens up tight end Jeremy Shockey and slot receiver Robert Meacham in the passing game. Payton may try the screen game, however few have had success against linebackers Clint Session, Gary Brackett and safety Beathea, who can all run and are sure tacklers. Instead, as part of the running game, they should include trips (three receiver sets) to the short side of the field, with Bush standing behind them and sending him into motion to the wide side of the field, hopefully drawing a linebacker. This gets Bush in the open field for essentially a screen pass or comeback slant route underneath with blockers, more or less a run play in the Saints’ offense.
Spread Differential – New Orleans -1
Reggie Bush gives the Saints a home run hitter in returning punts, however the way to stop him is what Minnesota did, have the punter sacrifice a few yards to increase kick coverage and get right in his grill upon the catch. Indianapolis continues to spend little time in this area and is strictly run of the mill. Where the Colts have edge is at place-kicker. Matt Stover came in when Adam Vinateri was injured. The 42-year old Stover will be the oldest player ever participate in the Super Bowl and has 20 years experience, including being the Ravens kicker during the 2001 Super Bowl campaign. Stover’s range is limited to about 45-yards, especially outdoors and has made 80 percent (20 of 25) of field goals in his postseason career. Kicker Garrett Hartley is young enough (23) to conceivably be Stover’s son. Hartley has made 24 of 26 field goals in his two years, but the pressure is all together different on the game’s biggest stage. Plus, Hartley has kicked in a dome the last two seasons and realistically is untested, though his game winner over Minnesota was impressive.
Spread Differential – Indianapolis -1
It would seem these two coaches couldn’t be any more different with each facing unprecedented scrutiny for the first time. Jim Caldwell, to the chagrin of his team, gave up a 14-0 season and a chance for perfection to be in this position and it worked. Caldwell’s strength is in his beliefs and defensive. He altered the mechanics of the Colts defense, still playing a lot of Cover 2, but blitzed twice as much as his predecessor Tony Dungy. With young players at corner due to injuries, he followed the Colts’ ideologies of players expected to step up and perform. He is a low key leader who trusts his assistants and his team.
Sean Payton’s arrival into the NFL showed a fertile offensive mind who couldn’t devise enough trick plays and use them quickly enough. Like many great offensive teams, the coach and quarterback become one on various levels and Payton has trusted Brees from the beginning. Payton took some lumps the last couple of seasons, which has brought about a new found maturity. As opposed to Caldwell, he embraced the notion of a perfect season when his team was 13-0. He makes no bones about playing to his strength (offense) and turned the defense over this season to Gregg Williams. His biggest task this game is not letting his emotions affect his play calling.
Spread Differential -None
There have been a number of teams that have won their first Super Bowl without having been involved in this maniacal environment, but having the experience is certainly a plus. Teams’ playing in this contest for the first time against experienced foe are desultory 6-11 ATS. Though players say they understand, sometimes its months later in reflection that they realize they were satisfied to make the Big Game as opposed to truly desiring to win it. Payton and Brees have the heart of an assassin, thus their preparation and desire is predicated on going home as champions. The city of New Orleans, with all that has happened once Hurricane Katrina made land, feels like it is playing with house money and welcomes the idea of their football team playing for the city’s first championship, instead of craving it.
The Indianapolis team that was at this same location in 2007 was probably the worst of the four previous (2003-06) Colts playoff teams. That club found a hot rookie running back in Addai and the offensive line got into a bull-dozing mode and they plowed their way to championship. That experience gives the Colts an edge knowing what to expect and what level of performance is necessary. Teams favored by three to six points in this truly American game are 8-2 ATS.
Spread Differential –Indianapolis -3
Bottom Line - Having the best quarterback in the game who doesn’t make many mistakes, a better defense and better than half the roster having Super Bowl experience leads to figure below.
Cumulative Spread Differential – Indianapolis -7
NFL: NFL Week 8 Sightings
Before bettors can move on to Week 9 in the NFL, it’s important to review what we’ve seen most recently. Let’s take a look back at the Week 8 sightings then get ready to profit this coming weekend. Sportsbook.com already has the LIVE ODDS ready for Week 9, plus the GAME MATCHUPS and BETTING TRENDS to help you prepare.
It was a long Sunday night in Cheese-land and probably a pretty slow work day Monday in much of the state of Wisconsin after Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings defeated the beloved Packers at Lambeau Field late Sunday afternoon. The realization is complete, no matter what Green Bay had hoped for, Brett Favre is still a very good quarterback and he makes the players around him better.
It was also an EXTREMELY painful day for coach Mike McCarthy and GM Ted Thompson, as their worst nightmare came true. About the only thing that will heal this wound is beating Minnesota in the playoffs and going to the Super Bowl. In the end, the Minnesota front office was able to do something Green Bay’s front office wasn’t willing to do, swallow their ego, do embarrassing public groveling and secure the quarterback they needed.
Talking to a bookie in Wisconsin, he absolutely cleaned up, with over 80 percent of his action on the Packers; many betting more than usual because of their desire to have their modern day Benedict Arnold get his.
Here is what we know. Minnesota is decidedly stronger along the offensive and defensive lines than Green Bay. Brad Childress is emulating his former boss Andy Reid in surrounding his quarterback with playmakers who are difference-makers. Coach McCarthy should return his salary for one game for his performance in Week 8.
The sportsbooks returned to the winning side this past Sunday, thanks to two games in particular. Indianapolis was a solid 11-point favorite and was -13 by Sunday morning. A rare off day by Peyton Manning standards exposed just how ordinary Indianapolis offense can be when he’s not right. The boxscore shows Manning passed for 347 yards, however at least seven of his incompletions were throws he usually connects on. San Francisco coach Mike Singletary needs to put in offense with Alex Smith throwing from the shot-gun more, he looks much more comfortable.
The other bonanza was the Giants. Bettors saw Brian Westbrook out, Giants off a pair of bad losses and incredible road record and tripped over themselves to bet the G-Men, moving the line from +3 to -2 at kickoff on New York. The more mentally and physically prepared team was Philly in building 33-7 halftime lead. Eli Manning looks like the quarterback from early 2007 and both lines are unable to compensate for other weakness.
Next Sunday’s night Dallas at Philadelphia should be fun.
Both the Colts and Giants were in a number of parlay and teasers along the San Diego who was -10 in six-point teaser cards, helping the books.
The Buffalo and Carolina game of a week ago had an impact on this past Sunday. The Bills were a fairly popular among handicappers having pulled off consecutive road upsets and at home as underdog. Obviously nobody was watching Buffalo play, as a case can be made Ryan Fitzpatrick is the worst No.2 quarterback in the NFL. He was just awful taking over for Carson Palmer in Cincinnati last season. And despite being the under center for both upsets of the Jets and Panthers, Fitzpatrick had passed for less than 120 yards per game. Nothing changed as he totaled 117 yards thru the air in Buffalo’s convincing 31-10 home loss.
Carolina still has issues, but when they have the right mindset and execute coach John Fox football, these Cats are handful. Carolina was determined from the first snap, something Arizona wasn’t (still gloating evidently from Giants win), and shoved the ball down the throat of supposedly stout run Cardinals run defense for 270 yards. Kurt Warner looked every bit of 38-years old, throwing five interceptions and fumbling. Off a sound performance and catching the Saints off a Monday night game, Carolina is intriguing underdog in the Bayou as underdog having a 7-1 ATS mark in New Orleans. The Cardinals whine about respect playing in the Super Bowl, but dud performances like that only back what people believe about their inconsistency, as does the 1-3 SU and ATS home record. All three losses were as favorites.
Chicago Bears fans have been groveling all season wondering what happened to the Kyle Orton who couldn’t keep starting job in the Windy City. Sunday, they finally saw him in Denver’s whipping by motivated Baltimore team. The public punched the Ravens ticket moving them 1.5-points from early Saturday afternoon to -4.5. Watch for how the Broncos react, with Pittsburgh in the Mile High City next Monday.
Know your Numbers- Teams allowing 40 or more points and playing the following week were 3-0 SU and against the spread, taking their record to 6-2 ATS on the year.—Short numbers have not been healthy for favorites. Home favorites of three or less are 13-10, 12-10-1 ATS and backing small road faves at three or less produces 4-8 SU and ATS record. –After four weeks, NFL favorites were 36-26 ATS, however, that has flattened out, with the chalk 25-28-1ATS the last month. –This has been happening with regularity of lately. Teams traveling three time zones struggle with initial trip. This season, the first 10 games that applied the visitor was 2-8 ATS. The last four contests after coaches knowing what to expect and warning squads are 4-0 ATS. Watch for results of Detroit and San Diego this week.