The NFL Lines – Week 15

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on December 15, 2011

Tim Tebow comes through in the final quarter while the Cowboys implode again (if Tebow were traded to Dallas, would these two effects cancel each other outs)? The Falcons and Jets grab the inside rail for wild card spots in the NFC and AFC respectively. The stakes continue to escalate in week 15 of the NFL – Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham sit down to thrash out the haves from the have nots once again.

CB – From here on in you can’t just view games through the prism of performances to date, injuries etc. – you now have to give significant weight to motivation. Which teams desperately need wins to stay alive? Which teams have already locked in playoff spots and may now be focused more on reaching the postseason with a healthy squad? And which teams have quit on their coach and their season? Week 17 is always littered with games where the conundrums pop up, but they can on occasion rear their heads in weeks 15 and 16 – be ready to factor these things in.

Summary of Week 14 results

NT – 5 selections, 9 units bet, return of 5.73 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -36%

CB – 2 selections, 2 units bet, return of 1.93 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -4%

Total – 7 selections, 11 units bet, return of 7.66 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -30%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 75 selections, 109.5 units bet, return of 96.59 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -12%

CB – 46 selections, 57 units bet, return of 55.29 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -3%

Total – 121 selections, 166.5 units bet, return of 151.88 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -9%


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


Jacksonville at Atlanta, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Atlanta –12

NT – The Jaguars have been unreliable betting propositions this year but they are 3-0 ATS when given 10 or more points. With a fairly stout defence and the Falcons distracted by the health of coach Mike Smith, the Jags look a good bet with 12 points. Bet them for 2 units.

CB – Returning to the Georgia Dome is a big plus for Atlanta, who defend the run well (quelling Jacksonville’s best attacking weapon in Maurice Jones-Drew) and are coming off an excellent outdoors game from Matt Ryan (who usually performs to a much higher level indoors). The Falcons have played 3 sub .500 teams at home so far (winning by 4, 14 and 10 points) while the Jags have played 3 teams above .500 on the road so far (losing by 29, 4 and 10 points). If the line had snuck down below 10 points I could have been with the home team, but 12 seems about right to me – no play.



Dallas at Tampa Bay, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tampa Bay +6.5 to +7

NT – These teams have combined to cover only 2 of their last 14. Both are highly unreliable. No play.

CB – The good news for Dallas fans – Tampa have lost 7 straight and appear to have stopped caring at all after the Titans loss in week 12. The bad news for Cowboys fans – their side could play against 11 hobos with no knowledge of football whatsoever and somehow still contrive a way to leave the hobos with a chance to win on the final drive of the match. Stay well away from this game.



Carolina at Houston, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Houston –6.5

NT – How about that T.J Yates? He was outstanding, driving the Texans to a last second victory over the Bengals. I was very keen on Houston here but no Wade Phillips has me concerned so I'm going to let it go.

CB – Carolina’s 4 wins thus far in 2011 have come against sides with a combined record of 12-40, and they’ve played 3 above .500 teams on the road for losses by 5, 14 and 14 points. More telling though are their defensive stats against teams above .500 – conceding 30, 34, 30, 31, 30, 49 and 31 points. Meanwhile, the Texans have conceded 14 points or less in 9 out of 13 games and 5 out of 6 at home (including a pair of 17-10 wins against Pittsburgh and Atlanta). I really like this line for the Texans – 1.5 units on at the -6.5.


Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Indianapolis +6.5

NT – The Colts are absolute garbage but I cannot take the Titans laying nearly a touchdown on the road with Jake Locker, who is still unproven yet.

CB –  Little to nothing at stake for Indy (still 2 games clear on the bottom and thus can win a game,  go 1-15 on the season and still get Andrew Luck), while the Titans are still in the wild card race. Win this and their week 16 home game against the Jags and they could head into Houston in week 17 with a 9-6 record. If the Texans already have their playoff seeding more or less entrenched by that time (unlikely given the current AFC logjam at 10-3), 10-6 could be available for the Titans. The Colts haven’t gotten within a touchdown of a team since week 5 and with Tennessee desperate to stay in the playoff picture, I think they can cover the 6.5 start here – bet them for 1 unit.


Green Bay at Kansas City 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Kansas City +13.5

NT – Double-figure favourites have not fared well this year but this game looks like it could be a major blowout. The Packers are 4-3 ATS when spotting 10 or more this year but against a Chiefs team in disarray, this is a must for the minus. Play it for 2 units.

CB – Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said they would keep going flat out at least until they secured a number 1 seed in the NFC, which they would do with a win here. The Chief’s last 3 home games have netted a total of 22 points scored (61 conceded), while the Packers last 3 on the road have netted 110 points scored (albeit 88 were also conceded). Can Tyler Palko score points against the Green Bay defence? He’ll need to. Only a firm view that double digit road favourites are a bad idea prevents me from stepping into the minus this time around.


Seattle at Chicago, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Chicago –3.5

NT – Caleb Hanie may be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL right now. Sorry A.J Feeley, Tyler Palko and Mark Sanchez. With Seattle winning four of their last five and with this game having significant wildcard implications, the Seahawks are worth a throw. Bet Seattle for 1 unit.

CB – Lessons learnt over the past 3 weeks: you don’t want to trust Caleb Hanie under almost all circumstances. Lessons learnt over the past 5 years: you don’t want to trust Tarvaris Jackson on the road against even a competent defence, let alone one which has conceded only 2 touchdowns in the past fortnight (one of which was a Hail Mary that should have been intercepted by Brian Urlacher). Feels like a low-scoring game to me, and one I have no desire to bet in.


Miami at Buffalo, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  TBA

NT – No betting up, no interest whatsoever with both these teams well out of the hunt and the Dolphins with a new coach.

CB – When I was a kid, Buffalo v Miami games in the winter used to mean something. Sadly though, those days have long since departed. Do you think that Jim Kelly and Dan Marino are (a) saddened and a touch disgusted that their once proud (and formidable) AFC East teams are little more than fodder these days, or (b) secretly happy that no QB for either franchise has come even close to replicating the efforts of these two upstanding gentlemen? Either way, the demise of the once-vaunted Bills makes me sad, and you shouldn’t bet in games that make you sad.


New Orleans at Minnesota, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Minnesota +6.5 to +7

NT – The Saints spotting only 6.5 in a dome against a 2-11 team? Yes please. Bet New Orleans for 2 units.

CB – New Orleans may be taking a page from the Wizard of Oz playbook with their views on whether there’s any other place like home, causing outrage across Kansas in the process. The Saints have played 7 road games so far in 2011, going 4-3 overall, with only 1 win (at Jacksonville) by more than 5 points. Whilst playing in a dome should help Drew Brees fire up the passing game, it is worth noting Minnesota’s record at home against teams above .500 in 2011: 4 narrow losses of 26-23 (Detroit), 33-27 (Green Bay), 27-21 (Oakland) and 35-32 (Denver).


Cincinnati at St Louis, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Louis +6 to +6.5

NT – Cincy are on a five-game non-cover streak, the Rams four. I have a lean towards the Bengals but I can't bet them in current form.

CB – The Bengals and Titans are in basically the same boat re. the AFC Wild Card race – if Cincy can win this and a week 16 home game against Arizona, they would be gunning for a 10-6 season in the final week at home against a Ravens whose playoff seeding may already have been locked in. That should be sufficient motivation for them to prove too good for the insipid Rams – 1 unit on the Bengals -6.


Washington at NY Giants, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Giants –6.5 to -7

NT – Eli Manning is in sensational form at the moment and with Brandon Jacobs starting to show some form, the Giants are looking rather formidable. The Giants have won 8 of 10 against the Redskins and should have too many points for Washington. Bet the minus for 1 unit.

CB – Much like Dallas, the G-Men have a distinct tendency to play up or down to the level of their opponent (beating New England and Dallas on the road and almost toppling Green Bay at home, whilst losing to both Seattle and the Vince Young-led Eagles at home and almost doing likewise against the then 0-6 Dolphins). Couple that with these facts: (a) 5 of the 7 Giants wins so far in 2011 have come by 4 points or less and (b) the Giants now control their NFC East destiny, meaning it is theirs to screw up, and the neon ‘TRAP GAME!’ sign is flashing brightly. Leaving this one alone.


Detroit at Oakland, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Oakland +1

NT – I can't make heads nor tails of this game so I will be giving it the old Les Kiss.

CB – I can’t remember 2 teams with solid records (8-5 for the Lions, 7-6 for Oakland) where my opinion has waxed and waned quite this much. The Lions have conceded 158 points in their last 5 games and won only 3 of their last 8; the Raiders return home after being pantsed twice on the road and have a negative points differential this season of 64 points.  And then there are all the delays of the game for penalties to be handed out, especially with the return of Suh from a 2-week suspension. This game might take 8 hours to complete. I’m more excited about prop bets for ‘number of face mask penalties’, ‘number of personal fouls’ and ‘number of times an opposition player was streaking down the sideline before wearing a steel chair across the helmet’ than I am about a more traditional wager in this game.


Cleveland at Arizona, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Arizona –6.5 to -7

NT – The line is spot on the mark here. The Chargers have been a wonderful betting team of late but the Browns are good enough defensively to keep it close. No play.

CB – Arizona’s 2011 home record: 4 wins (including wins over Dallas and San Francisco), a 31-27 loss to the Giants where they led for much of the game and a 32-20 loss to the Steelers – totally respectable. Meanwhile, remember preseason when I picked the Browns as a sleeper on the basis of an easier-than-average schedule? Well, since their one road win against Indy in week 2 they have travelled (and lost) to Oakland, San Francisco, Houston, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh – all above .500 teams, with a combined record of 44-21. The frisky 6-7 Cardinals are therefore the worst team they’ve played on the road since week 2, and as such I can’t launch into the otherwise tempting minus here – no play.


New England at Denver, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Denver +6 to +6.5

NT – I am really on the Tim Tebow bandwagon. I also think he matches up well against the Patriots. They'll look gone but Tebow will get the job done – bet 1 unit on the plus.

CB – 6 of Denver’s 8 wins have come by a combined 18 points, while 9 of New England’s 10 wins have come by a touchdown or more. Just remember that last week had it not been for a out-of-bounds brain fart and then a fumble from Marion Barber, Caleb Hanie and his second string running back would have gone into Denver and come back out with the win. All of which makes me lean a little to the minus, but considering this is broadly equivalent to a 12-point spread if the game were being played in New England, I’m loathe to bet.


NY Jets at Philadelphia, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Philadelphia -3  

NT – The Jets have found some scoring lately but I am not betting Philly games for the rest of the year. Who knows whether Jekyll or Hyde will turn up.

CB – Really? One win over the now 4-9 Dolphins and we’re all back on board the Eagles Express? Quick tangent: With each team having played 13 games, that means each division has 52 games combined to its name thus far and ‘par’ would be 26 wins per division. The AFC North leads the way with a 31-21 record, just ahead of the NFC North (30-22). More telling is the other end of the scale though – the Colts drag the AFC South (21-31) into last, but in second last is the much vaunted (and this year overrated) NFC East (23-29). Now throw in these facts: (a) the Jets are 7-0 against sub .500 teams, (b) they have it all to play for in terms of an AFC wild card spot, (c) the Eagles are 1-5 this year in front of their disgruntled home crowd and (d) the Eagles can only reach 8-8 and therefore have nothing but ‘spoiler value’ and ‘saving Andy Reid’s job’ to play for, and I’ll happily take the points – 1 unit on the Jayy Eeee Teee Essss with the 3 start.


Baltimore at San Diego, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Diego +1.5 to +2.5

NT – I don't buy into this Chargers late season run. It is absolute bollocks. They are such a gutless team and they deserve nothing. The Ravens need to keep winning to maintain control of the division and I expect their defence to get the job done against Phil Rivers and company. Bet Baltimore for 1 unit.

CB – Since when was beating Jacksonville and Buffalo a free pass to being feared again? Those wins took the Chargers’ 2011 record against sub .500 teams to 5-1, but did nothing for their 1-6 record against good teams (the one win coming against Kyle Orton, with Tim Tebow coming into the game late and nearly pinching it for Denver). Do you really want to take on a defence which has only conceded 15 touchdowns (9 passing, 6 rushing) in 13 games? Or one which has taken down the 10-3 Steelers (twice), the 10-3 Texans and the 8-5 Jets this season? I don’t, and thus will have 1.5 units on the Ravens -1.5.



Pittsburgh at San Francisco, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line: TBA

NT – Ben Roethlisberger is still in a moon boot while Patrick Willis is highly unlikely. This should be a stout defensive struggle but I won't be betting until teams are decided.

CB – Wish I had known before last week’s Niners-Cardinals game that San Francisco had hired Towellie (he of South Park fame) as their new offensive co-ordinator. How else could you explain Frank Gore getting only 10 carries (for 72 yards, no less) while Alex Smith went 18/37 for 175 yards? Or when facing 3rd and 1 when trailing 21-19 with just over 2 minutes to go in the 4th quarter, deciding to go for 2 (incomplete) passes rather than having Gore or Hunter pound the ball for the single yard needed to keep the drive alive? During the post-game handshakes I’m pretty sure Towellie asked Arizona head coach Ken Wisenhunt if he wanted to get high, was knocked back and then said in disgust “You’re a towel”. In any event, when the Niners played Baltimore their offensive line couldn’t keep Alex Smith upright, and I expect Pittsburgh to dole out a few more sacks to him as well. With both Ben Roethlisberger’s health and the line for this game currently uncertain, I can’t recommend a bet here.

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Recommended bet summary

NT – 2 units on Jacksonville +12 at $1.91 (Luxbet), 1 unit on New York Giants -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Seattle +3.5 at $1.94 (Luxbet), Green Bay -13.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 2 units on New Orleans -6.5 at $1.91 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Denver +6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet) and 1 unit on Baltimore -1.5 at $1.80 (Flemington Sportsbet).

CB – 1.5 units on Houston -6.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Tennessee -6.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on Cincinnati -6 at $1.93 (Luxbet), 1 unit on NY Jets +3 at $1.83 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on Baltimore -1.5 at $1.80 (Flemington Sportsbet).

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




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