NFL Betting Preview Week #7 October 21, 2012
The Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Philadephia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons all have byes in Week 7.
In a matchup of two of the best teams in the AFC, the Ravens head to Baltimore this week to take on the Texans.
The Ravens hung on last week to defeat Dallas 31-29. Joe Flacco passed for 234 yards on 27 for 36, and Ray Rice added two touchdowns in the victory. The Ravens have been impressive offensively, ranking 2nd in the AFC averaging 385 yards per game. However, the victory was bittersweet. The Ravens lost their spiritual leader and linebacker, Ray Lewis, who tore his right triceps and will be out for the season. To make matters worse, Baltimore also lost top corner back Lardarius Webb for the season due to a torn ACL. Terrell Suggs has also not returned from off season surgery, leaving an already banged up Ravens defense with even more holes to fill.
The Texans finally fell last week to the Packers on Monday Night, losing 42-24 in basically what was a blow out for Green Bay. Previously undefeated, Houston simply could not stop Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay passing attack, as Rodgers light them up for a season high six touchdowns. They held running back Arian Foster to his lowest total of the season. He ran for just 29 yards on 17 carries as the Texans offense was generally stagnant.
The number opened at Houston -4 and moved quickly with big bets coming in on Houston. It is still available at -6.5 at some shops, -7, and some books may even offer -7.5. The total opened at 46 and is now at 48 or 48.5
The Ravens clearly haven’t been the same team defensively this year, and this is without losing their top corner and best available line backer in Ray Lewis. They will have a hard time containing a potent Houston offense that features one of the best running backs in the league in Foster, and wide out threat Andre Johnson, along with tight end Owen Daniels.
The Texans are one of the top ranked teams offensively, but they haven’t faced any potent offenses other the Broncos and Packers. Their other opponents include Miami, Jacksonville, Tennessee and the New York Jets. The Broncos and Packers put up 25 and 42 points, respectively.
We like the over in this one — Over 48
The Browns face the Colts in what will be a battle of rookie signal callers.
Luck has had some ups and downs during his first season as a pro – last week was one of the ‘downs.’ The Colts were beaten down at New York, by a Jets team that clearly had a solid game plan against the rookie. Even without corner Darrell Revis, who was lost for the season a few weeks ago, the shaky Jets defense limited the Colts to just 9 points in a 35-9 win. Luck had one of his worst games of the season, going 22 for 44 for 280 yards, two picks and a fumble.
The Browns finally got their first win of the season last week against divisional rival Cincinnati. They snapped an 11 game team losing streak dating back to last season in the 34-24 win. Brandon Weeden played well in the win, throwing for 231 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The other standout rookie for the Browns, running back Trent Richardson should be able to play Sunday after being injured in last week’s win.
Opened at Indianapolis -3.5 and is now at -2 or -1 depending on the sportsbook. The total opened at 44 and is now at 45.5.
The Colts laid an egg last week, and are clearly a better team than the product they put out on the field last week. We see them extra motivated this week against a Browns team that is riding high after their first win of the season. We don’t doubt the Browns will be prepared to face off against the Colts, we just don’t think they have the personal or execution to match the Colts at home. Reggie Wayne is a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses and leads the NFL in targets. Even though, standout corner Joe Haden will cover him most of the game, Wayne moves around so much that it will be hard for the Colts to contain him. Luck should be motivated this week and has a strong matchup against a weak Browns defense. We’ll lay the points with the Colts.
Our pick – Colts -1
The Packers head to St. Louis off a monster win last week against the previously undefeated Texans. Green Bay dominated from the outset, demolishing the Texans 42-24. Rodgers seems to finally have found a grove throwing for 892 yards and 3 touchdowns in his past three games. However, the Packers lost D.J Smith to a season ending injury last week and will be without linebacker Nick Perry this week.
The Rams fell to Dolphins last week in a 17-13 loss. Though, they gained a season high 462 yards against Miami, they were held to just one touchdown and two field goals in the loss. Though the Rams are averaging just over 18 points per game, they will have a chance to do some damage against a poor Green Bay defense that in ranked in the bottom half of the league in scoring defense.
The number opened at St. Louis +6 is now +5 mostly everywhere. The total opened at 44.5 and is now at 45.5.
Though this one screams trap for the Rams, we can’t help but want to fire away. The public is all over Green Bay, and wagers are coming in at a 3 to 1 ratio for the Pack. Even though, the Packers are banged up defensively, we like Aaron Rodgers to continue his torrid pace. His timing with his receivers has gotten better each week, and the Rams offense is nothing to write home about. We think Bradford will continue to struggle without Amendola, and even though Green Bay’s defense is beat up, the Packers should be able to put up at least 24 points, and that should be enough against a weak Rams offense.
The Titans got a critical win last week in Pittsburgh, in a game that likely saved, albeit small, their chance of them making a run at the postseason. Led by Matt Hasselbeck, who again will start for the injured Jake Locker, the Titans won 26-23 on a last second field goal. Hasselbeck threw for 290 yards and a touchdown in the win. Chris Johnson also had his best game of the season rushing for 91 yards against the Steelers.
The Bills are also coming off a close win. Facing the Cardinals at home, Buffalo fought back to force overtime. The 19-16 overtime victory allowed them to stop a two game losing streak. The Bills still need to work defensively; they are only 2nd in points allowed, 32 to their opponent which allows 34 points per game.
The line has not moved at all from a Buffalo -3 open. The total is 46.5 everywhere up 1.5 points from the opening number of 45.
While both teams have no problem giving up large amounts of yardage, we favor the Titans in this matchup. Hasselbeck will again fill in for the injured Locker, and has done an admirable job so far running the offense. Kenny Britt has another week under his belt against weak secondary, and Chris Johnson may have finally found his legs again. The Bills have been especially terrible against the run, allowing over 700 yards on the ground in their last three games. If CJ2K can get rolling – which we think he will, it should be no problem for the Titans to keep this one close.
Robert Griffin heads into his first NFC East matchup against the defending Super Bowl Champions.
RG3 and the Redskins are 3-3, but it is clear the young rookie has left his mark on the league. After six games Griffin not only leads all QBs in rushing, he has six touchdowns on the ground, second only to Arian Foster. But that’s not all; he currently leads the NFL in completion percentage at just over 70 percent. The Skins pulled off a big win last week in Minnesota, a game in which RG3 ran for 138 yards, and two touchdowns and threw for 182 yards and one score.
The Giants will need to take a recipe from last week if they want to contain Washington’s potent rushing attack. They did a terrific job last week against the Niners, holding them to 80 yards rushing in a 26-3 victory. The Giants haven’t played well in Met Life Stadium so far, they are just 2-5 in divisional home games, and 0-2 in NFC East action.
Opened at Giants -7 and is now -6 pretty much everywhere. The total is the largest one on the board this week at 51, and has moved up a fair bit from the opening number of 48.5.
This one should be an exciting one to watch regardless of if you wager or not, but that’s not what we are here to do now is it? It’s almost hard to remember Robert Griffin III is a rookie, because of how he’s gone so high above expectations this season. The Giants should be the toughest test he’s had all year, and though we think he could perform well, it’s a dicey matchup. The Giants held SF’s potent rushing attack to just 80 yards less week, and seem to finally getting into that mid season form that eventually wins them a super bowl. The Giants defense is better than expected and has defended against the run well the pat few games.
We think picking a side is just a little too risky, but we love the under in this matchup. Both teams should run a lot, especially with the reemergence of Bradshaw for the Giants. This will burn clock, and perhaps the Giants will force RG3 into his first bad day as a pro. Regardless, we think the total is a tad too high in this matchup.
Bet on Under 51
The Cardinals go into Minnesota off a tough loss at home last week at against Buffalo. Arizona has dropped its last two games after a 2-0 start to the season, and will likely again be without starting quarterback Kevin Kolb, who is expected to be out 6-8 weeks with a variety of injuries including cracked ribs. This vaults John Skelton into the starting spot, which will have to deal with the pressure that ultimately sidelined Kolb. The Cards have allowed a league high 28 sacks, with 22 of them coming in the last three games.
The Vikings are also coming off a loss of their own. Ponder had some costly mistakes in a 38-26 loss at Washington last week, including a pick six and a fumble deep in Vikings territory that was converted into a Redskins touchdown. Though Ponder has been consistent most of the season, he has to be more careful with the ball if the Vikings want to keep winning. He’s throw four interceptions and lost a fumble, in the Vikings last two games.
The spread opened at Minnesota -4.5 and has moved to -6.5. The total has not moved from the opening number of 40.5.
With both teams coming off losses, it will be hard to predict how each team will react. Still, -6.5 for a Vikings team that hasn’t proven seems like a little too large of a number. Of course, the Cardinals will be without starter Kevin Kolb, but Skelton has filled in more than admirably in the past and was 6-2 as a starter last season. Arizona is also one of the top defensive teams in the NFL, but Patrick Peterson should do a decent job on the explosive Percy Harvin. This one stands to be close, and we like the Cardinals and the points.
The New Orleans Saints are coming off a bye week after their first victory against the Chargers last week. Mired in a 0-4 start, the Saints rallied from behind to get a 31-24 win at home. The Saints league worst defense finally stiffened in the 2nd half, and didn’t allow any points after the Chargers scored a touchdown on their first possession of the half. Drew Brees again led the way, throwing for 370 yards on 29 of 45 for four touchdowns.
The Buccaneers and Josh Freeman had one of their best weeks of the year against the hapless Chiefs. The Bucs pounded the ball with a season high in rushing yards with 145 and Josh Freeman had his best day of the season so far, throwing for 318 yards passing. The Bucs defense swarmed a Chiefs offense lead by Brady Quinn and Jamal Charles, holding them to just 240 yards on the day.
Tampa Bay opened at +3 and has moved to +2 and +1 at some shops. The Total opened at 49 and is at 49.5 pretty much everywhere.
This is one our favorite ones of the week. The Saints got a reprieve on their lost season last week against a Chargers team that just seems to choke away games late.
On the other hand, the Buccaneers have been improving steadily every week, and stand to put a hurting on a Saints team that has been absolutely miserable defensively. Freeman is finally connecting with his receivers, Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, and their defense is finally playing better. Brees historically has not played well in Tampa, and lost last season 26-20 in a game where he threw three interceptions. This year, he heads into Tampa with a much worse team around him, and without head coach Sean Payton. The Buccaneers should be favorites in this match up.
The Cowboys head into Carolina on Sunday reeling after a tough loss last week at Baltimore and riding a three game losing streak. Last place in the brutal NFC East, Dallas desperately needs a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Boys’ outgained the ravens 481 to 316 in a 31-29 loss last week, and held the ball for the vast majority of the game. The Cowboys rushed for 227 yards, but will be without half back Demarco Murray who will miss this week’s game with a sprained ankle.
The Panthers are fresh off a bye week in Week 6, and look to improve an offense that has just produced 10 points in their last two home games. Cam Newton has certainly regressed this season, and had career lows in completion percentage and passing yards in an October 7th loss to the Seahawks. It will be a tall order to turn their offense around against a Dallas team that leads the NFL in passing yards allowed and is second in total yards.
The line opened at Carolina +2.5 and is still available at a few books, though, it is trending downward to +2 and +1. The total hasn’t moved much off the 45.5 number and is at 46 at a few books.
While we are normally a fan of the home dog, especially in this underdog upset ridden season. Carolina just isn’t very appetizing to us. Though it seems like a must win game for both teams, for some reason we feel Dallas is more motivated. Also, the matchup screams a Dallas victory. Cam Newton has not moved the ball well this year, and has shown no signs of improvement. We doubt that changes even with a bye week to prepare, as the 2nd year QB looks lost in the pocket. Even though, Dez Bryant is banged up he should play, but the Cowboys should not need him against a Carolina team that seems lost.
The Jaguars are desperately searching for answers to their 1-4 start. It all starts at the quarterback position for Jacksonville, a position 2nd year QB Blaine Gabbert needs to improve at – if the Jaguars are to win some games this season. The Jags are last in the league in total offense, averaging just over 240 yards per game – a pathetic total for this last into the season. Defensively, they’ve also struggled allowing 27 point per game which is 25th in the league.
The Raiders have improved over the past several weeks, and almost pulled a huge upset against the still undefeated Falcons. Oakland doled out 474 yards of total offense against the Falcons – a season best, but ultimately fell 23-20 on a Matt Bryant field goal. The Raiders pressured Matt Ryan better than most defense he has faced this year, sacking him several times and picking off the young QB three times.
Opened at Oakland -5 and has move to -4 at all sportsbook. The total opened at 44 and is now at 43 at mostly all shops.
The Raiders shouldn’t be -5 favorites over the vast majority of teams in the NFL, but in this case it’s probably justified. The Raiders look especially enticing in this matchup due to their play last against the Falcons, and one thing Gabbert has not been able to handle this season is pressure. The young QB is easily rattled and doesn’t have much of a receiving core, anyways. We could see the one coming down to a field goal, but we think it’s unlikely. Handing it to Maurice Jones-Drew every down becomes predictable and this Jags team looks like they’ve already half given up on the season.
There always seems to be some bad blood as these two rivals face off and this year is no exception. Both coming in with 3-3 records, this is a huge game for both teams.
The Jets dominated a game last week against the Colts, beating the 35-9 on the back on a 161 yard, three touchdown performance from Shonn Greene. Still, Mark Sanchez finished just 11 of 18 for 82 yards and a touchdown, one of his lowest outputs of the season. Jets’ Coach Rex Ryan of course is already running his mouth, telling the Patriots that “I think we’re going to be them” – the Jets could improve to 3-0 in the division with a win on Sunday.
The Patriots suffered a tough loss last week, on the road, in Seattle. Despite a big day for Brady, a game in which he attempted a career high in passing attempts with 58, the Patriots ultimately fell to the Seahawks on the road. The Jets should have a reason to be scared of a motivated Tom Brady, in the past four games he has thrown 10 touchdowns against the Jets and has had a passer rating of 112.7.
The Patriots -7.5 opener has moved the most out of any other line this week, and is at -10.5 or even -11 or -12 at some books. The total has just moved .5 from its opener of 47 to 47.5.
Even though we feel like the Patriots will dominate this one in blowout fashion, it’s really hard to take such an inflated price even for a home favorite with a great matchup. The Jets simply don’t have the offensive firepower to match the Pats, but then again, the Patriots defense has not been very good this year. Last week they allowed rookie signal caller Russell Wilson to have the best game of his short career against them. Still, we can’t help but envision a thrashing at the hands of the Belichick and company, so we’ll reluctantly go with the Patriots.
The Steelers have been a victim of not being able to close out many games this season, and that has contributed to their 2-3 record. Pittsburgh hasn’t been under the .500 mark in Week 7 since the 2006 campaign after a Super Bowl win the previous year. Pittsburgh again blew a game late in the fourth quarter last Thursday, as they lost to the Titans 26-23. Steelers’ kicker Shaun Suisham missed a 54-yard kick with 54 seconds left, but left enough time for Rob Bironas to hit a 40 yarder for the Titans at time expired.
The Bengals also suffered a loss last week at the hands of the Cleveland Browns. Now 3-3, the Bengals need a divisional victory to keep pace with the 5-1 Ravens. The Bengals have lost back to back games after winning their first three games, and gave up a season high 21 points in the fourth quarter to the Browns last week.
This opened at pk and is still available at some places. The total hasn’t moved from the opening number of 45.
Though, the Steelers are banged up on the offensive line and will be without two of their top running backs, they have been dominate in Cincinnati in recent years, winning 10 out of their last 11 at Cincy. Dalton has not played well in two career games against the Black and Gold, and has failed to top 170 passing yards in both starts. Big Ben realizes the importance of this game and won’t let the Steelers lose this one. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Green/Dalton combo to finally struggle against the Steelers in primetime.