The NFL Lines – Week 14

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on December 8, 2011

Week 13 brought with it a lot of typical performances. The Steelers were typically strong at home; the Cowboys were typically jittery at the critical moment; the Raiders were typically inept when travelling cross-country; the Chargers were typically good at the least useful point of the season; and Aaron Rodgers was at his typical best with the game on the line. Have the contenders and pretenders identified themselves at this point? Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham seek the answer to this question and others in the week 14 lines.

CB – Another nice week for you Nick (the last 4 weeks now having netted a 47.55 unit return for 40.5 units outlaid, or around a 17% POT), but my late season tailspin continues unabridged. For some reason I felt compelled to abandon my long standing ‘never entrust mediocre teams with your cash unless they’re getting a huge start’ rule (Tampa and Oakland – that means you and your negative points differentials) and unsurprisingly, the money remained in the bookies’ bag on both occasions. The good news – my self-loathing cleared just in time for the week 14 picks column (….. What? Of course that’s good news….. now you’re just being hurtful….)

Summary of Week 13 results

NT – 7 selections, 10 units bet, return of 11.40 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 14%

CB – 5 selections, 5.5 units bet, return of 3.84 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -30%

Total – 12 selections, 15.5 units bet, return of 15.24 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -2%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 70 selections, 100.5 units bet, return of 90.86 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -10%

CB – 44 selections, 55 units bet, return of 53.36 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -3%

Total – 114 selections, 155.5 units bet, return of 144.22 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -7%


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


Cleveland at Pittsburgh, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Pittsburgh –13.5 to -14

NT – The Browns don’t look a bad play here. They have covered four of seven against the Steelers and Pittsburgh have won by 14 only twice this year. The Steelers are 1-3 ATS when favoured by 10 or more and the Browns have covered in two of the last three. Bet 1 unit on the Browns +14.

CB – Cleveland on the road in 2011 against strong defences (San Fran and Houston): 2 losses by a combined margin of 50-22. Pittsburgh at home against sides below .500 (Seattle and Jacksonville): 2 wins by a combined score of 41-13. Cleveland have 3 rushing TDs all year; Pittsburgh have only conceded 6 (the league average is 9). So Colt McCoy will have to the heavy lifting here for the Browns – which is a problem when he’s running into the best pass defence (in terms of yards allowed per passing attempt) in the league. I feel like the line is about right and will sit this one out.



Indianapolis at Baltimore, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Baltimore –16 to -16.5

NT – I love how Frank Gilroy is back on television, selling Ultra-Tune with some hot bird. Anyway, the Ravens win this by plenty but like the Pats last week, won’t show too many interesting looks or plays. No bet.

CB – Don’t let the final scoreline of 31-24 against the Patriots deceive you – the Colts trailed 31-3 at one stage before the Pats took their foot off the accelerator. Add to that the step up in calibre of defence from New England to Baltimore and it could be a tough day for Dan Orlovsky and company. Still, do you really trust an inconsistent Joe Flacco to cover more than 2 touchdowns when Baltimore may already be looking ahead at the post season? I don’t – no play. 


New England at Washington, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Washington +8 to +9

NT – The Patriots have won four straight but I still don’t completely trust them, particularly from a betting standpoint, where they are likely to do just enough against the Redskins. No bet.

CB – Two weeks ago the Patriots only had to lay 3 points at Philly; are the 4-8 Eagles significantly different in playing ability from the 4-8 Redskins? On paper they definitely are. But on the field this season, definitely not. In a related story, I’d be delighted to be with New England here if they were only laying 3 points, but more than a touchdown (which if you flipped the home field advantage around would equate to around 14 points)? No thanks.


New Orleans at Tennessee, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tennessee +3.5

NT – Both of these teams have been very friendly to punters lately, each covering four in a row. The Saints have been a little vulnerable on the road this year and the Titans have found their rhythm. I have a lean the Titans but no bet.

CB – Given their comprehensive losses to both Pittsburgh and Houston already this season, at first glance it appears as though the Titans will be no match for New Orleans. However with their last 2 road games having been played in domes (and the 3 prior being played in Florida or Carolina), this is really the Saints’ first foray into cold weather for the season, and thus it has the potential to be a trap game for them against a solid, if unspectacular, opponent. The Saints have played 6 road games so far in 2011, going 3-3 overall, with only 1 win (at Jacksonville) by more than a field goal. That road record has me worried enough to leave this game alone.


Kansas City at NY Jets, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Jets –9

NT – Kansas City have covered four straight against the Jets but I can’t get excited at all about this game, even at the prospect that Tyler Palko may not be the worst quarterback on the field.

CB – Lost in the noise of Caleb Hanie and Matt Forte’s injury potentially derailing the Bears’ season – the Chiefs punted on 11 of 13 possessions. I suspect the Jets won’t allow them the same liberties, having won 5 of 6 at home (New England being the only exception) and all 6 games against sub .500 opponents. Tyler Palko, can I interest your receiving corps in a brief layover at Revis Island?  Oh by the way, the Chiefs on the road in 2011: 3 wins (at Curtis Painter, at Kyle Boller/ Carson Palmer with 2 days to learn the playbook, at Caleb Hanie); a 20-17 loss to the 5-7 Chargers; and losses to the Lions and Patriots by a combined 76 points. You couldn’t bank on the Jets winning by 30+ here, but I think they can cover the 9 and will back them for 1 unit to do so.


Philadelphia at Miami, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Miami -3 to –3.5

NT – This game is one of the top bets of the season with Miami, astonishingly, giving up only 3 points against the hapless “Dream Team” of Philadelphia, who may still be playing Vince Young at quarterback. Vince Young is so bad, I would probably play Landry from Friday Night Lights (the useless tight end/ kicker who somehow made the Panthers then the Lions) ahead of him. The Dolphins have covered six straight. Bet them for 3 units.

CB – Screw you, fate. I write a whole spiel about not backing mediocre teams when not in receipt of a big start and then you try to lure me back in with the rejuvenated Dolphins (won 4 of their last 5, and their last 3 losses coming by a combined 7 points against teams at .500 or better on the season) spotting only 3 points against a potentially checked-out-for-the-season Eagles outfit. At least it gives me a chance to do a Mike McD from ‘Rounders’ impersonation. “I’m gunna lay down this Dolphins -3 hand – it’s a monster, but I’m gunna lay it down.”


Atlanta at Carolina, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Carolina +2.5 to +3

NT – Cam Newton is in sensational form for the Panthers and the Falcons have not covered in four weeks but Atlanta rank third against the run and may be able to contain him. I’d bet the Panthers if forced too but I can’t bet them at the moment.

CB – I’m a little shaken up after trusting Atlanta for the first time in 2011 last week only to see Matt Ryan comprehensively outplayed by rookie Texan TJ Yates (and a holding penalty that cost Atlanta a touchdown from Yates’ only interception of the match – excuse me while I pour another scotch). Anyway, the Panthers’ D does not pose anything like the same threat that the Texans did last week, but their offensive firepower can still provide headaches. Combine that with a so-so road record for the Falcons and I’m not inclined to turn my lean towards the minus into a bet.


Houston at Cincinnati, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cincinnati -3

NT – Houston’s win over Atlanta last week, with third choice quarterback T.J Yates, was huge. The Texans have now made the number in six straight. Cincy have been good all year but have failed to cover in their last four. I have a lean towards the Texans but I’m not keen to take only 3 points on T.J Yates.

CB – Two pretty solid defensive units matching up here (the Texans are firmly in the debate for best overall defence in the league) and with a rookie QB on the road (minus his best receiver in the injured Andre Johnson) in what is likely to be cold weather, I smell a low scoring affair. This feels like one of the most difficult games all week to get a good handle on, and thus apart from a serious look at the ‘unders’ in total points, I’ll let it go around without me.


Minnesota at Detroit, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Detroit –7

NT – It might time for the Vikings to bring in Craig T. Nelson to coach them after a horror first full season for Leslie Frazier. Nelson, who played Hayden Fox on the tv series Coach, actually got the call-up to the bigs with the Orlando Breakers, with whom he made the playoffs with in the second year.

CB – Huge moment coming up for the Lions, having lost 5 of their last 7 but somehow remaining firmly in the NFC wild card race. With Suh’s suspension still hurting their defensive unit and the running game an ongoing mess, I’m not keen to lay the points – nor am I keen to only receive 7 for a 2-10 side on the road in a loud dome potentially without their best player yet again. That was as easy as laying down an 8-4 off suit opening hand.


Oakland at Green Bay, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Green Bay –11  

NT – I love the Packers at Lambeau Field. They have covered 14 of 18 and against a Raiders team who was decimated by the Dolphins. Bet Green Bay for two units.

CB – The Green Bay juggernaut keeps on rolling and with 3 home games left in their last 4, 16-0 is in play if Mike McCarthy and the Packers want to go after it. Oakland’s strength is the rushing game, but as they’re likely to be playing from behind for the majority of the game it may not get much of an airing. Laying double digits never feels comfortable for me though – no play.


Tampa Bay at Jacksonville, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  TBA

NT – Philosophical question: if these two teams disappeared, would anyone notice? Nope. Didn’t think so.

CB – A more complex question: If these two small-market Florida teams completely swapped (rosters, ownership, uniforms, you name it), would anyone other than fans of those two teams and people who have Maurice Jones-Drew in their fantasy leagues notice? I don’t think they would. At the very least, can we get LeGarette Blount and Blaine Gabbert to swap surnames? LeGarette Gabbert would make a phenomenal chardonnay socialist with an indignant swagger, although that is nothing to be proud of. Meanwhile, Blaine Blount could take the adult film industry by storm. I’d pay more attention to Jacksonville Buccaneers (or should that be Tampa Bay Jaguars?) games if some of Blaine Blount’s fellow cast members were present on game day.


Chicago at Denver, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Denver –3.5

NT – Everyone is in love with Tim Tebow at the moment. I don’t blame them. Six wins in seven starts, four comeback victories. But I am actually quite smitten with Caleb Hanie, whose six interceptions and sub-50% completion rate has the Bears looking at, yep, my favourite, Brett Favre. Come back, Old No.4. Another shocker this week should see the champ arrive in the Windy City. Bet Denver -3.5 for 1 unit.

CB – Teeeeee-booooooooww!!! With neither side well placed on the passing front, expect another match this week where running the rock takes centre stage, drives taking upwards of 5 minutes without resulting in points and the last quarter beginning with a score line like 14-9 or similar. Scenarios like that make me wary of laying the points, and I certainly don’t want Caleb Hanie on the road with a second string running back. No play.   


San Francisco at Arizona, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Arizona +3.5

NT – Despite Arizona’s good recent cover form and their overtime win against Dallas last week, the bet here is San Francisco. They are just a dream team to bet on. They covered their big start last week, making it 10.5 covers from 12 games. With six straight covers against their divisional rivals, the Niners look an outstanding bet laying only 3.5 on the road, even without Patrick Willis. Bet the Niners for 2 units.

CB – Don’t sleep on the Cardinals, who have won 4 of their last 5 games – at home they are a sneakily effective unit, defeating Dallas last Sunday and pushing the Giants hard back in Week 4. However, the thing I like most about the 2011 Niners is that unlike some quality teams (cough cough…. Dallas, NY Giants and Baltimore… cough cough), they take care of business against poor sides. 9 of their 10 wins in 2011 have been by 5 or more points and on the road they’ve beaten the Bengals by 5, Eagles by 1 (coming from 23-3 down back when we thought Philly were good), Detroit by 6 and Washington by 8. Expect their number 1-ranked run defence to negate Beanie Wells and force Kevin Kolb to beat them in the air. I fancy their chances in that scenario, and will have 1 unit on the Niners -3.5.


Buffalo at San Diego, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Diego –6.5 to -7

NT – The Chargers should beat up on Buffalo like they did Jacksonville last week but it would take a game man to lay a touchdown on such an inconsistent team.

CB – So Phil Rivers finally puts it together in 2011 just as my Bills get set to make a cross-country trip in an attempt to snap a five-game losing streak? Of course he does (cut to Buffalo fans nodding solemnly as yet another season cops a barrage of sucker punches). No play for me.


NY Giants at Dallas, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Dallas –3 to -3.5

NT – A slight lean towards the Giants here in this critical NFC East clash. The thinking is that Eli Manning can throw all day on the Cowboys secondary, Dallas tend to choke when it counts and the line might be a fraction too big. But I just don’t trust the New York defence. No play.

CB – A massive game in the context of both the NFC East and the NFC Wild Card races. Had this game been played last week I’d have laid the 3 points to be with the Cowboys, but the Giants showed great heart against Green Bay while Dallas were as enigmatic as ever in throwing away a win at Arizona. Matters aren’t helped by having to take around $1.80 about Dallas -3 and around the same quote for the Giants +3.5. I have the slightest of leans to the +3.5 (the half point could prove very handy), but these two are a bit Jekyll and Hyde right now for my liking – no play.  



St Louis at Seattle, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line: TBA

NT – There is no betting open in this but I would be keen to take the Seahawks if 9.5 or less is offered. Marshawn Lynch will have a field day against a team allowing 157.8 rushing yards per game, 32nd in the NFL. A 200-yard game would not surprise.

CB – Do you think that Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworthwill even bother turning up to announce this game, or will some poor production crew member have to pull together the full cast of sound bites from Madden 2012 and fire them out at the relevant moments? Either way, get ready to hear the following: ‘I don’t know what the heck he was thinking on that play’; ‘They go three-and-out and will punt it away’; ‘Third and long coming up’ and ‘Throws it……… incomplete’. Okay fine, you won’t be watching/ hearing this abomination on football, and neither will I. Suffice to say, no betting on this one.

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Recommended bet summary

NT – 1 unit on Cleveland +14 at $1.91 (Luxbet), 3 units on Miami -3 at $1.91 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Denver -3.5 at $1.91 (Luxbet), 2 units on Green Bay -11 at $1.91 (Luxbet), 2 units on San Francisco -3.5 at $1.94 (Flemington Sportsbet).

CB – 1 unit on NY Jets -9 at $1.93 (Luxbet), 1 unit on San Francisco -3.5 at $1.94 (Flemington Sportsbet).

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



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