The NFL Lines – Week 12

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on November 23, 2011

With all of the bye weeks now out of the way, it’s a 6-week sprint to the playoffs from here. Houston and Chicago are both 7-3 but now have to solider on (pun 110 per cent intended) without their respective number one quarterbacks, while the Giants laid a big egg at home on Sunday night, handing Dallas the inside running in the NFC East. There are more than a few games in week 12 with potential playoff implications – Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham are back to run the ruler over these (and the remaining) games.

CB – Okay, after a poor week 12 and staring down the barrel of an almost 11 unit overall deficit with 6 weeks plus playoffs to go, we may need to shake things up a little and rant about a few non-football things in the column. If this tactic doesn’t result in a strong profit on turnover from the week 12 suite of matches, I’m not sure which other trick shots we’ve still got in the bag. Stranger things have happened though – like Vince Young winning a football game against a 6-3 side on the road despite throwing 3 picks. I am still trying to digest that one, as is my wallet.


Summary of Week 11 results

NT – 4 selections, 6 units bet, return of 0.96 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -84%

CB – 3 selections, 4.5 units bet, return of 5.77 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 28%

Total – 7 selections, 10.5 units bet, return of 6.73 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -36%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 58 selections, 84.5 units bet, return of 71.49 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -15%

CB – 35 selections, 44.5 units bet, return of 46.76 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 5%

Total – 93 selections, 129 units bet, return of 118.24 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -8%


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(Please note – all times are American ‘Eastern Time’ – add 16 hours to get to AEDST)


Green Bay at Detroit, 12.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Detroit +6 to +6.5

NT – The last time the Packers failed to cover in consecutive weeks was against Miami in week six of the 2010 season. After failing to make the number against Tampa Bay, expect Aaron Rodgers and company to bounce back against the Lions. Bet 1.5 units on Green Bay spotting 6.

CB – The opportunity to be in receipt of almost a touchdown for a 7-3 side playing at home should be right up my alley. It really should. But this Packers juggernaut simply scares me too much. Moreover, their 5 road wins so far in 2011 have come by 7, 10, 11, 6 and 7 points. In light of that, it feels like the line is pretty close to spot on, so I will steer clear of this game.


Miami at Dallas, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Dallas -7 to -7.5

NT – The Dolphins, akin to the great Shogun Lodge, love getting home when it is all too late. The difference between Miami and Shogun Lodge? I never wrote a song about the Dolphins and the Bob Thomsen trained champion occasionally won. No play but a lean on the plus.

CB – There’s a third key point of difference there – late November was never “a Shogun time of year”. Maybe that bodes well for the Dolphins. At home and against an inferior team, Dallas should win and win well. But that’s simply not how the Cowboys roll, as evidenced last week when taking forever to squeeze out a win over the apathetic Redskins – the sixth of their 10 games in the 2011 season to date have been decided by 4 points or less. No bet for me.


San Francisco at Baltimore, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Baltimore -3 to -3.5

NT – What a cracking match-up between my high flying Niners and the very good Ravens, both coached by the Harbaugh brothers, the first time in League history it has happened. The line is spot on here. The Niners face their biggest test and the Ravens do lift for big games but there are question marks on how Flacco goes against this high class defence. The Niners have not missed a cover all year so they are the play if a bet is necessary.

CB – This should be a terrific match-up, one where I think we can take the points. The Niners are still only a late week 2 fadeout against Dallas away from being undefeated, and what has impressed me most is the way they have kept their foot on the accelerator against inferior sides. The same cannot be said of Baltimore, who in the last 5 weeks have lost to both Jacksonville and Seattle and almost (should have?) lost to Arizona at home. In a game with two strong defensive units and two shaky-at-times QBs I’m expecting a tight, low-scoring game and thus can be on San Francisco +3.5 for 1 unit.



Houston at Jacksonville, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Jacksonville +3.5 to +4

NT – How could the Jags have lost to the Browns last week? It was a horrible defeat and ruined my high on them, even at home as an underdog against Matt Leinart. I haven’t felt as letdown since Valerie was fired from The Hogan Family.

CB – In week 8 the Jags received 9.5 points at Houston and lost by 10; flip the home field advantage around and a 3.5 to 4-point spread here would make sense, all else being equal. Of course with the loss of Matt Schaub and the return of Matt Leinart to playing QB in the NFL, all is far from equal. If Gary Kubiak is smart, he and his offensive coordination team will have spent their bye week studying tapes of San Francisco; in particular, how they focused on their strengths (running the ball and defending) and minimised the impact of their weakness (Alex Smith). If the Texans can turn into the Niners 2.0, they claim the AFC South comfortably. If not, an implosion is possible. I need to see Leinart in action before wagering on (or against) the Texans just yet – as Grantland’s Bill Simmons often points out, how can you trust a guy who lied to rat out his friend on an episode of Punk’d?


Carolina at Indianapolis, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Indianapolis +3.5

NT – Pump me full of Dexy’s, handcuff me to the lounge and give me a free monkey and I still doubt I could stomach this game.

CB – Call me crazy, but I don’t like betting in games between teams with a combined record of 2-18. There’s a temptation to keep laying the Colts as they go into full-fledged ‘Suck for Luck’ mode, but bear in mind that their 0-10 record sees them 2 games clear of the second worst team in the league right now. They can win a game, finish 1-15 and still assure themselves of Andrew Luck’s services in 2012. And with 3 road games plus homes games against Tennessee and Houston left on the Colts’ schedule, this is their best chance to avoid 0-16. Buyer beware in this game.


Cleveland at Cincinnati, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cincinnati -7 to -9

NT – The Browns have been poison all year while the Bengals have failed to cover only twice but in what should be a dour AFC North contest, the line looks a little big. The Bengals have failed to cover their last eight as a favourite of 7 or bigger and the last time they covered when favoured by a touchdown was December 2006. Bet the Browns for 1 unit and hope their defence holds.

CB – The Bengals in 2011: beat Cleveland by 10 on the road, lost a narrow one at Denver, lost a tight one at home to the now 9-1 Niners, won 5 games straight, lost by 7 to both of the AFC North alpha dogs in Pittsburgh and Baltimore. Translation: this is a legitimately solid team. With the schedule they’ve got left to face a final record of 10-6 is in play, which would likely give them an AFC wild card spot. The Browns’ 4 wins in 2011: Indy (their only road win, and the only time all season they’ve racked up 20 points), Miami by 1 at home, Seattle by 3 at home, Jacksonville by 4 at home. Combined record of those 4 teams: 10-30. Translation: The Browns are terrible, and anyone who tipped them as their 2011 sleeper to finish 10-6 must feel pretty dumb right now…. I’m not going to throw good money after bad by sticking with the Browns – pretty happy to lay the 7 points here for 1.5 units.


Minnesota at Atlanta, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Atlanta -9.5

NT – The Falcons have not covered in three of their last four at home while the Vikings are going to rely on a white running back named Toby. That is like expecting good Chinese food from a restaurant called “Ian’s Dim Sims”.

CB – Much depends on Adrian Peterson’s fitness here – if he can’t go, it seems like the Vikings will struggle to score points. Against a Falcons line-up who have only lost 2 games at home (to Green Bay and New Orleans in overtime, no less) and have averaged more than 25 points per game in the Georgia Dome, that seems quite relevant. At any rate, I do have the slightest of leanings to the minus here, but far from enough to recommend a play at this one.


Buffalo at NY Jets, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Jets -8 to -9

NT – The Bills have been rolled 106-26 in the last three weeks. The Jets have Mark Sanchez under centre. I’ll shoulder arms on this one which, as an aside, was my favourite stroke when I played, followed by the forward defensive. I had quite the flourish when leaving.

CB – How could leave the lap shot (it was too deft for me to call it a sweep) behind square off that list? You’ve changed. The Jets suck but the Bills suck even more, losing their last 3 games by a combined 80 points as Nick alluded to above. As a Buffalo fan, I’m so glad we offered Ryan Fitzpatrick a $59 million extension a few weeks back before his almost inevitable post-contract swoon. Money well spent…..


Tampa Bay at Tennessee, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tennessee -3 to -3.5

NT – I trust neither of these teams. The Bucs should be slightly better than their record suggests, the Titans slightly worse. But no result here would surprise. No bet.

CB – 2 small market teams who are completely middle-of-the-road in terms of 2011 performance clash here in perhaps the most ‘beige’ match of the season. Don’t expect much in the way of excitement or fireworks, nor complete ineptitude to keep you on your toes. Tennessee need the win more to stay in touch for the AFC South title (you know, just in case Matt Leinart pulls out a few ‘vintage’ performances that hark back to his Arizona Cardinals days) and may be the better side by a fraction. The only query in my mind in terms of laying the 3 points here is the looming Titans’ QB controversy – at what point do they shuffle veteran Matt Hasselbeck off and give rookie Jake Locker the job? I’m sitting tight on Titans games until the answer becomes clear.


Arizona at St Louis, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  TBA

NT – I can’t quite figure out if this is off the board because bookmakers are concerned about the Cardinals’ quarterback situation or if they are showing mercy on the most degenerate gamblers.

CB – Back in my university days, the argument was posed many a time that every group of attractive female friends allowed at least one less attractive girl to be part of the group. ‘Glass half full’ believers theorised that this phenomenon could be attributed to taking the young lady in question under their wing, so to speak. More cynical ‘glass half empty’ types snidely suggested that the young lady was kept around to make the others in the group all feel better about their own appearance. From a male perspective the truth was, is and always will be unclear. What I do is this – the NFC West is by far the least attractive girl in all of the NFL, and I’m not drunk enough to wager on her….. umm….. I mean, games involving teams from that division.


Chicago at Oakland, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Oakland -4.5 to -5

NT – I know Jay Cutler is out but I still cannot understand this line with the Bears arguably the third best team in the NFC and the Raiders only just better than their mediocre AFC West opponents. The Bears are going to be able to run on the Raiders and if Caleb Hanie can prove reasonably competent, the Bears can cover for the sixth straight week. Bet 1.5 units on Chicago.

CB – To work out the appropriate line for this game, you need to do 2 things: (1) Work out what you think the line would have been with a healthy Jay Cutler under centre for the Bears and (2) decide how many points the downgrade from an injured Cutler to back-up Caleb Hanie is worth. With Cutler fit, I’d have had the Bears 7.5 point favourites at home and therefore 1.5 point favourites at Oakland (swapping the roughly 3-point home field advantage around). Without Cutler though, expect the Raiders to focus on defending Matt Forte and the run, daring the inexperienced Hanie to beat them in the air. I’d say that’s worth close to a touchdown, shifting the line towards Oakland by around 5 points or so. With the line on offer being right around that number, there’s no play to my eye.


Washington at Seattle, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Seattle -3.5 to -4

NT – Seattle have only failed to make the number once in the last eight weeks while the Skins made the number against the Cowboys after failing to cover five straight. The Skins cannot score. Bet the Seahawks for 1 unit.

CB – My perplexing though for the week involves Seattle. Look at the Seahawks’ schedule over the next 3 weeks: home to Rex Grossman, home to Vince Young or a semi-broken Mick Vick, home to the Rams. They were 2-6 a fortnight ago; it’s conceivable that they could be 7-6 when they head to Solider Field in week 15 and the Bears shell them (note: I had ‘shell them by 20+ points’ drafted here until Jay Cutler was ruled out for an extended period). Still, if you were a Seahawks fan, you’d take that ‘7-7 but coming off a hiding against a quality team’ scenario, right? I’m leaning to the minus, but would place my faith in Lindsay Lohan before I placed faith in Tarvaris Jackson – no play.


Denver at San Diego, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Diego -6.5

NT – The Chargers have been disgraceful this year. With Tebow just winning and the Chargers defence ordinary, I fancy Norv Turner could be about to coach his last game. Bet 1 unit on the plus.

CB – Given the typical arc of a Broncos game these days (stink it up for most of the game, somehow staying in hunt, then riding an eclectic suite of plays to victory) and Tim Tebow’s allegiances to God, why hasn’t anyone compared Tebow to Bishop Fred Pickering from the movie ‘Caddyshack’ as yet?  To make sure no-one had beaten me to the punch, a Google search of the two names together was undertaken and nothing relevant came up – success! I looked at the Broncos schedule and tried to work out how long this run can last before it comes a fourth quarter rally comes unstuck, Tebow screams out ‘RAT FARTS!’ and gets struck by lightning. Week 14 at home to Chicago looks a prime candidate. I have a lean to the Broncos at the surprisingly big plus given that the Chargers are 4-6, but not enough to have a bet here.


New England at Philadelphia, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Philadelphia +3

NT – Most bookies are keeping this off the board, waiting for news on Mick Vick. Why has he never been called Mick before? From here on in, he is Mick at the Nut.

CB – As of Wednesday night, both Tom Waterhouse and Flemington Sportsbet were fielding a line on this game, albeit that no-one else was. Here’s the thing I don’t get about this line for the Patriots. They’re laying 3 points in Philly, which is broadly equivalent to laying 9 at Foxboro. In the past 6 weeks they’ve laid 9.5 to the Jets, 7 to the Cowboys and 9 to the Giants (all at home) and more poignantly, laid 3 on the road when facing Pittsburgh in week 8. Do you really think that a Vince Young-led Eagles line-up could go toe-to-toe with Pittsburgh? Puhh-leeze. Throw in the fact that New England have only played 2 sub .500 teams so far (Miami and San Diego, beating each by 14 points) but have at least 4 left on the schedule (and potentially all 6, depending on how the 5-5 Broncos and 5-5 Bills fare from here) and you have an underrated potential 1-seed in the AFC laying too few points to a non-contender. I will have 1.5 units on the Pats -3, thanks.


Pittsburgh at Kansas City, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Kansas City +10.5

NT – The Steelers defence should have a field day against the outstanding permed mullet of Tyler Palko but I’m not laying double figures on the road.

CB – Given that Arrowhead Stadium provides one of the better home field advantages in the NFL, this line seems a little big at first. Then you remember that (1) Tyler Palko is the Chiefs’ new QB; (2) Mike Tomlin and the Steelers have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game whilst the Chiefs have  a short week coming off MNF; (3) the Steelers need to keep winning to stay in the AFC North picture because the Ravens have them covered tie-breaker wise; and (4) again, Tyler Palko is playing QB for the Chiefs. *In my best NFL head referee voice* “After reviewing the key points, the ruling on the field that the line is too big is overturned. The bet is declined.”



NY Giants at New Orleans, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line: New Orleans -7

NT – The Giants seem set for their annual collapse and won’t get it easy against a Saints team that can pile on the points. Jimmy Graham is up for a big, big game. No bet though. The line is about right.

CB – Yes, Sean Payton and the Saints have had 2 weeks to prepare for this game. And yes, the Giants stunk out the joint last Sunday night against Philly, especially with their abject failures to run the ball effectively. I don’t expect the same problem to arise against the Saints, who conceded 5.2 yards per carry to opposing running backs (the worst in the league). Now throw in these facts: (1) New Orleans passing defence has only come up with 5 interceptions thus far in 2011 (tied for 28th with the Colts); (2) The Giants have recorded 31 sacks, the equal leader in the league. Whilst the Saints deserve to be favourites for this game I feel like 7 points is too many for a 7-3 side to be conceding to a 6-4 side, so I’ll have 1 unit on the Giants +7.


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Recommended bet summary

NT – 1.5 units on Green Bay -6 at $1.91 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Cleveland +9 at $1.77 (Sportingbet), 1 unit on Seattle -3.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on Chicago +5 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Denver +6.5 at $1.91 (Luxbet).

CB – 1 unit on San Francisco +3.5 at $1.87 (Tom Waterhouse), 1.5 units on Cincinnati -7 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1.5 units on New England -3 at $1.84 (Flemington Sportsbet) and 1 unit on NY Giants +7 at $1.92 (Sportsbet).

Thanks to Joe Robbins/ Getty Images North America for use of the photo



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