2011 NFL Week 14 Point Spreads & Odds

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton celebrates after the Panthers score against the Washington Redskins in the second half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, North Carolina on October 23, 2011. Carolina won 33-20 UPI/Nell Redmond .

Four spreads of note:

Giants +3 @ Cowboys, 8:30PM ET, Sunday
This game is the ultimate crapshoot; it could play out in a variety of different ways, none of which would be surprising. But if you’re looking for value, I almost always go with the underdog when it comes to betting on NFC East teams. When NFC East teams are expected to win against an inferior opponent, for whatever reason they seem to underachieve. Examples of this include the Cowboys’ loss to the Cardinals last week, or their failed cover against the Dolphins and Redskins, respectively, in previous games. The Giants also lost to the Seahawks at home, failed to cover against the Dolphins at home, and lost the Eagles as a 6-point favorite in Week 11. On the flip side, the Giants covered and won against the Eagles (Week 2), Patriots (Week 9) and Packers (Week 13) as underdogs of seven points or more. Granted, New York was also crushed by New Orleans in Week 12 but my point is this: NFC East teams often represent value when they’re the underdog and are good fade material when they’re supposed to win. I don’t have hard data here so take this simple approach with a grain of salt. But again, from a pure value standpoint it sure seems like NFC East teams rise to the challenge when they’re the dog.

Raiders +11 @ Packers, 4:15PM ET
As I’ve written many times on this site: It’s Green Bay and then everyone else. And with how poorly Oakland played last Sunday in Miami, there will be plenty of bettors that look at the spread in this game and lay the 11 points without hesitation. But let’s keep in mind that the Raiders’ backs are against the wall here. They’re now tied with Denver for first place in the AFC West and while they play undefeated Green Bay this Sunday, the Broncos have a very winnable home game against a Jay Cutler and Matt Forte-less Chicago team. Thus, we’re probably going to see Oakland’s best effort. With the amount of injuries that the Raiders accumulated in the past month, it was only a matter of time before they suffered a letdown like they did last weekend against the Dolphins. Thus, I’m thinking they bounce back strong this Sunday and at the very least stay within 10 points of the Pack.

49ers -3.5 @ Cardinals, 4:05PM ET
This is a game you look at and you say, “49ers are only -3.5? Sign me up.” But Arizona proved last Sunday in its win over Dallas that it hasn’t given up on the season despite the fact that the playoffs remain a longshot. The Rams, on the other hand, gave up weeks ago and bettors will probably rush to the window to lay coin on a Niners team that routed St. Louis by 26 points last week. What I’m saying is that this is your classic trap game. Oddsmakers claim that they don’t lay traps for bettors but why is this game only 3.5? San Fran is 10-2 this season while Arizona is 5-7. Even with home field advantage factored in, the line still seems too low. I’m not suggested that the Cards will win outright but something tells me oddsmakers are banking on this being a field goal game either way.

Falcons -3 @ Panthers, 1:00PM ET
I wrote this in my recap of Week 13 and I’ll mention it again seeing as how it relates to this article: I don’t think there’s that wide of a gap between the Falcons and Panthers right now. On paper, Atlanta has better overall talent. But on paper, Atlanta had better overall talent than Houston and it lost 17-10 despite the fact that Andre Johnson suffered another hamstring injury in the second half and T.J. Yates started for the Texans at quarterback. The Falcons will once again be without top cornerback Brent Grimes and nickel back Kelvin Hayden, which means Dominique Franks and Chris Owens will receive plenty of looks this Sunday from Cam Newton. Given the inexperience of Franks and Owens, they become a weakness that Newton may exploit. There’s always value in a home dog and given the injuries the Falcons are currently dealing with on both sides of the ball, I’d give Carolina a long look this Sunday.

2011 NFL Week 14 Odds:

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2011 NFL Week 10 Point Spreads & Odds

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan (R) talks to New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick after the Jets beat the Partriots during their AFC Divisional NFL playoff football game in Foxborough, January 16, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Four spreads of note:

Patriots +1 @ Jets, 8:20PM ET
This has got to be the most interesting spread on the board this week. The Jets opened at –1 at some books while others had them listed as a 2.5-point favorite. I would be shocked if the line didn’t flip to Patriots –1 by kickoff because everyone must have the same thought: Bill Belichick and Tom Brady aren’t going to lose three straight games. That said, Rex Ryan’s defense is playing championship caliber football right now. The Bills could do absolutely nothing offensively last Sunday against the Jets, and at home, no less. Plus, this is a revenge spot for Ryan and Co. so again, it’ll be interesting to see where the line moves from here.

Steelers –3 @ Bengals, 1:00PM ET
I’m really surprised that the line for this game didn’t open at 3.5. I know the Bengals are at home and are 6-2, but the last time they played a top-notch defense they were held to 8 points at home by the 49ers. Judging by the public betting numbers that are listed at sites like The Spread.com, it appears everyone is on Pittsburgh and why not? They’re the more experienced team and they’re coming off a loss to Baltimore so you know Mike Tomlin and Co. are ticked off. Unless oddsmakers are assuming this will be a three-point game either way, why not put the line at 3.5 and try to generate more two-sided action? In other words, I like the Steelers because I don’t have to worry about the hook. There’s very little value in Cincinnati outside of the fact that they’re a home dog.

Saints –1 @ Falcons, 1:00PM ET
The Saints opened as 2.5-point favorites at most books and now the game is down to a pick’em at some places. New Orleans is still the better team on paper but Atlanta has won three straight, are at home, and the Saints are just 2-3 on the road this year. Also, the Falcons still have a bad taste in their mouths from when several New Orleans players took photos on Atlanta’s logo after the Saints won in the Georgia Dome last season. This game should tell us a lot about the direction of the NFC South and I’ll tell you what, the Falcons’ defense has played very well the past couple of weeks. Don’t assume that Drew Brees is going to light them up in thier own house. This should be a great game.

Giants +3.5 @ 49ers, 4:15PM ET
Unlike the Steelers-Bengals game where I thought the line should be 3.5, I’m wondering why this spread isn’t 3 on the nose. Is this is a trap game where oddsmakers want you to overvalue New York because of the hook? The Giants are coming off a huge win against the Patriots and some are waiting for the 49ers to fall, so why is there extra motivation to take New York (i.e. if you take the Giants, you also get the hook so why not ride Big Blue)? I don’t get it. Either way, I see more value in the total. I have a hunch this is going to be a low-scoring game. I could see Eli Manning struggling against a stingy San Francisco defense and New York’s D answering the challenge of slowing a hobbled Frank Gore. The total (42.5) is set right based on how these two teams have scored this season, but I like the under.

2011 NFL Week 10 Point Spreads:

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2011 NFL Week 9 Odds & Point Spreads

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick waves for members of his defensive to join him during a timeout in the second quarter of the Pittsburgh Steelers 25-17 win at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on October 30, 2011. UPI/Archie Carpenter

Four spreads of note:

Buccaneers +9 @ Saints, 1:00PM ET, Sunday
For the record, I think this line is set right. The Saints have proven to be much better and much more explosive at home than they have on the road this season. But the Bucs just beat the Saints three weeks ago, are coming off a bye and didn’t just lose to the previously winless Rams. So why are they 9-point underdogs? It’s a revenge game for New Orleans in more ways than one but will the betting public be willing to lay nine points in order to take the Saints? It’ll be interesting to see where this line winds up but either way, it’s not falling to the key number of 7 or rising to the key number of 10 so bettors have a tough decision to make if they choose to wager on this game.

Giants +9 @ Patriots, 4:15PM ET, Sunday
I’m starting to develop a very general, very subjective take when it comes to betting on Giants games. If they’re not expected to win, jump on them and be glad to take any points oddsmakers throw your way. If they’re expected to win, either fade them or run like hell. In Week 1 they were expected to beat the Redskins and lost outright as a 2.5-point favorite. Two weeks later when they were 9-point underdogs on the road against the Eagles, they won 29-16. When they were expected to beat the Seahawks in Week 5, they lost outright at home. And when they were expected to run all over the hapless Dolphins last Sunday, they needed a fourth-quarter comeback to win but failed to cover the 9.5-point spread. Granted, they did cover against the Rams in Week 2 and the Cardinals in Week 4 when they were expected to win. But both of those games were a little too close for comfort. What’s my point? I like the G-Men getting 9 points this Sunday, even with Bill Belichick and New England’s win-after-a-loss streak on the line. New York just has a habit of showing up when nobody thinks they will.

Rams +4 at Cardinals, 4:15PM ET, Sunday
I smell a trap. The Rams are coming off a huge upset of the Saints and now they’re 4-point underdogs against a brutal Arizona team? Why isn’t this a 1 or 2 point spread? Even 3 points I can see but 4? This one doesn’t make sense and when a spread doesn’t make sense you either go the opposite way of conventional thinking (in this case, take the Cardinals), or you lay off entirely. I just don’t see how the Cardinals could be favored by anything more than 3 points in a game where both teams are 1-6. Especially seeing as how Kevin Kolb will be a game-time decision with turf toe.

Ravens +3 @ Steelers, 8:20PM ET, Sunday
This game opened at 3.5 but is already down to 3. I think if oddsmakers left the spread at 3.5 they would get more three-way action but I have to believe that public bettors would be all over Pittsburgh with the line sitting at 3. Baltimore has looked like a speedboat without an engine the past two weeks while Pittsburgh has won four in a row, which includes its win over New England last Sunday. The Steelers might suffer a hangover from the Patriot game but I highly doubt it. They’re playing the Ravens; these two teams always get up to play each other. It’ll be interesting to see where this line winds up at kickoff.

2011 NFL Week 9 Point Spreads:

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2011 NFL Week 8 Odds & Point Spreads

Four spreads of note:

Patriots –3 @ Steelers, 4:15PM ET
Even though both teams have five wins on the year, I think this line is set right. The public is a huge supporter of the Patriots and the Steelers have played inconsistent football all season. That said, New England’s defense can be had through the air and Pittsburgh’s passing game is among the top 5 in the league. If Ben Roethlisberger can protect the football and connect on a couple of big plays, there’s absolutely no reason to believe Pittsburgh can’t win this game outright – especially at home.

Cowboys +3.5 @ Eagles, 8:20PM ET
It’ll be interesting to see where this line winds up at kickoff. After weeks of being crushed by Philadelphia’s poor play, people started to hop off the Eagles bandwagon. But maybe Philly’s week off has made folks change their perspective on Andy Reid’s squad. That said, Dallas is 5-0 against the spread in its last five games against Philadelphia and 5-2 ATS in its last seven road games versus the Eagles. Philly’s run defense is brutal so if the ‘Boys can get DeMarco Murray going again, they may pick up a huge divisional win on Sunday night.

Lions –3 @ Broncos, 4:05PM ET
Matthew Stafford is presumably questionable for this game with an ankle injury but the Lions are 3-point favorites. That’s interesting considering the Broncos are at home and have old Uncle Mo on their side. Despite his poor play for 56 minutes last week, Tim Tebow has breathed new life into the Broncos and considering Detroit has to travel cross-country, has no running game, and can’t stop the run, I’m a little surprised to see them favored by a field goal. Maybe oddsmakers feel as though they have one more week before the public starts to jump off Detroit’s bandwagon.

Bengals –3 @ Seahawks, 4:15PM ET
This isn’t a very attractive game from a fan’s standpoint, but it’s an intriguing matchup betting-wise. The Bengals are 4-2 but they’re about to travel cross-country to a hostile environment with a rookie quarterback. I know Andy Dalton has played fairly well this season but the Seahawks are always a different animal when they’re in their home digs. Just knowing what we do about the Hawks and how they play at home, I would take the points here (even with Cincinnati coming off a bye).

2011 NFL Week 8 Point Spreads & Totals:

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2011 NFL Week 7 Point Spreads

Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner (#33) runs past Carolina Panthers linebacker James Anderson (#50) in the second half of an NFL football game at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia on October 16, 2011. The Falcons defeated the Panthers 31-17. UPI Photo/Erik S. Lesser

Four spreads of note:

Falcons +3.5 @ Lions, 1:00PM ET Sunday
Apparently the Falcons showed enough last week in their win over the Panthers to make people believe they’re starting to turn things around. Either that or folks are slowly starting to climb off the Lions bandwagon. The spread for this game opened at Detroit –4.5 and within a day it was down to 3.5. Considering Atlanta was viewed as a potential Super Bowl team this season, the Falcons look like a value getting over a field goal. With Julio Jones iffy to return from a hamstring injury, we could see a lot of Michael Turner again this Sunday, especially considering Detroit has had its issues with stopping the run. The Falcons relied heavily on Turner last week against Carolina, as he rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns. Personally, I think the total is the most attractive play in this game. Forty-seven points seems way to high for two teams that have struggled at times offensively.

Bears -1 @ Bucs, 1:00PM ET Sunday
The Bucs beat the Saints last week at home and they’re now a 1-point underdog against a Chicago team that hasn’t won back-to-back games all season? I guess that’s not too surprising seeing as how ugly the Bucs have looked at times, but it’s not like the Bears have performed any better away from Solider Field (0-2 with two non-covers at New Orleans and Detroit). There’s value here somewhere but it’s hard to figure out which teams will show up this Sunday, especially seeing as how the game is being played in London. Both of these squads have had rather uneven performances from week-to-week this season.

Steelers –3.5 @ Cardinals, 4:05PM ET
The spread in this game seems awfully low to me, even when you account for home field advantage. That’s probably because the Steelers have looked great one week (see Titans), only to come out the next week and barely beat an inferior opponent (see Jaguars). If the Cardinals have any chance of getting back into the NFC West race, they need to win on Sunday. The problem is that Kevin Kolb hasn’t been the quarterback Arizona thought it was getting when it traded for him this offseason. The Cards have been in every game this year except their disastrous Week 5 showing in Minnesota, but Kolb just hasn’t gotten it done in the fourth quarter.

Chiefs +4 @ Raiders, 4:05PM ET, Sunday
It’s funny, the Raiders opened as a 3-point favorite with Kyle Boller under center and as soon as they announced that Carson Palmer would start, the spread climbed to 4 points. So Palmer, who hasn’t taken a snap in a live game since January, is worth a full point in a divisional game? I know he’s familiar with the offense thanks to the time he spent with Hue Jackson in Cincinnati but so much for easing the guy in. That speaks volumes towards Oakland’s confidence in Boller. It’ll be interesting to see how this game plays out come Sunday.

2011 NFL Week 8 Point Spreads & Totals:

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