The NFL Lines – Week 3

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on September 22, 2011

The opening skirmishes of the NFL season have been bad for top notch quarterbacks. Peyton Manning had surgery before the season commenced and the Colts now look like fodder. Michael Vick was concussed in Week 2 and his Eagles lost to a late rally by Atlanta. Week 2 also saw Tony Romo suffer cracked ribs, miss a couple of series where Jon Kitna threw two picks and bravely return to game, helping the Cowboys across the line in overtime and record a push against the -3 line. Will another top QB bite the dust in Week 3? Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham weigh in with their thoughts.

CB – In 2008, Miami, Minnesota and San Diego all recovered from 0-2 starts to the season to clinch their respective divisional titles. There’s still time! We’ve got 15 weeks (plus playoffs) to turn this around! Week 3 is a week where ensuring you don’t overreact to opening losses (or opening wins for that matter) is paramount. Keep this axiom in mind as we roll through the picks for this week. In fact, as we go through each game I’m going to think about where I’d have placed the line for this game had they played in the opening week, then try to establish whether subsequent reactions to the two matches played thus far by each team are valid. It’ll be my Week 3 methodology, for want of a better phrase.


Summary of Week 2 results

NT – 5 selections, 7.5 units bet, return of 2.87 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -62%

CB – 3 selections, 3 units bet, return of 2.85 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -5%

Total – 8 selections, 10.5 units bet, return of 5.72 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -46%


Summary of Overall results

NT – 11 selections, 15.5 units bet, return of 7.44 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -52%

CB – 7 selections, 7 units bet, return of 6.58 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -6%

Total – 18 selections, 22.5 units bet, return of 14.02 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -38%

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(Please note – all times are American ‘Eastern Time’ – add 14 hours to get the AEST)


New England at Buffalo, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Buffalo +7.5 to +9

NT – It has been a long time since the Bills have rolled the Patriots but the Bills have looked good in the opening couple of weeks. The 7.5 to 9 points looks about right.

CB – Has this match occurred in opening week, I’d have had the line set at Patriots favoured by nine and whilst my Bills have exceeded expectations to date with a 2-0 start, it’s unwise to consider winning form against Kansas City and Oakland as any sort of reference for playing New England. No bet.


Jacksonville at Carolina, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Carolina -3

NT – I have a lean towards the Jags here but they are a poor 4-13 straight up in their last 17 road games and Cam Newton has shown more than I thought he had. No play.

CB – I’d have set this line as Carolina favoured by one in opening week but been immensely afraid of wagering on either team. Cam Newton has done some nice things in his two performances to date and after the epic stink bomb from Luke McCown last week, you’d imagine fellow rookie QB Blaine Gabbert will get the nod for the Jags. I’m still scared of wagering on either side. No bet.


NY Giants at Philadelphia, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  TBA

NT – Markets down waiting for information on Michael Vick. I mark it Philly -7.5 if he is in and -3 if he is out but obviously at this stage there is no play.

CB – Philly by about five or six points would have been my opening week rating for such a game, but the complexion of this game has really been turned on its head by the injury to Michael Vick. If he plays, I think the Eagles by six is still about the right line. If he doesn’t, this moves much closer to a pick ‘em. Too risky for my blood – no bet.


Denver at Tennessee, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tennessee -7

NT – The Broncos managed only four wins last year and only covered twice on the road all year but they did manage to down Tennessee in Nashville. The Titans were mighty impressive against Baltimore but this is a real letdown situation for them. The Broncos at the +7 seems a little bit big. Play for 0.5 units.

CB – After predicting Tennessee to go 8-8 and Denver to go 4-12 pre-season, I’d have set the line for this game at the Titans by a touchdown or thereabouts. Little to nothing has changed in my assessment of both teams over the first two weeks, so I think this line is spot on. No bet.


Houston at New Orleans, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  New Orleans -4

NT – My first inclination here was to bet the Saints giving only 4 but the ability of the Houston offense against the porous Saints secondary has me scared. No play though I will be looking to play the over hard in totals markets.

CB – Had they met in opening week I’d have set New Orleans as seven to eight point favourites for this match. So far the Saints have lost a terrific shootout at Lambeau Field to the defending Super Bowl champions and summarily disposed of Chicago. The Texans have beaten teams where Kerry Collins and Chad Henne respectively played at QB – congratulations. I think Houston has a reality check coming their way this weekend and will have two units on the Saints at the minus.


Detroit at Minnesota, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Minnesota +3 to +3.5

NT – Perhaps a little too belligerently, I marked the Vikings small 1 point favourites here so I am obliged to play them at home with 3.5. The Vikings have shown patches of good form – against San Diego and in the first half against the Bucs – but they were abhorrent in throwing the game away against Tampa Bay. Donovan McNabb looks washed up too. So I recommend a 1 unit play on the home underdog based on Adrian Peterson's ability to run and the fact I am still not sure about the Lions.  The Vikings have also beat Detroit in their last five at home.

CB – Pre season I’d have called this a pick ‘em game (a projected 6-10 team hosting a projected 8-8 team). The two weeks to date have made me feel slightly more positive about the Lions and slightly more negative about the Vikings and the almost certainly washed-up Donovan McNabb, so in this instance I think the line shift is justified. No bet.


Miami at Cleveland, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cleveland -2.5

NT – I am still reasonably high on the Dolphins despite two home losses this year. I was disappointed with them against the Texans in particular. They aren't a bad road team though, going 11-3 ATS in their last 14 road appearances. Against an overrated Browns team, the Dolphins can be tried again though a loss this week and the only thing they will be trying again will be my patience. Bet 1.5 units on the Dolphins +2.5.

CB – Had they played two weeks ago I’d have sent my 2011 sleeper Browns out at six point favourites in this match. So far the evidence for my sleeper prediction is far from compelling, but by the same token the Dolphins aren’t exactly tracking towards the playoffs either. The Browns needs to prove themselves and soon – I will sit this game out because there’s every conceivable chance that I simply picked the wrong 2011 sleeper, and throwing good money after bad never pans out in the long run.


San Francisco at Cincinnati, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cincinnati -3

NT – The Bengals are bad this year. They snuck home over the Browns but then folded against the Broncos. The Niners have been solid in two home games but their offense still stinks. I'll have to wait and see how they go on the road before playing them.

CB – Two weeks ago I’d have treated this game with contempt and not given it a second thought. No change there.


NY Jets at Oakland, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Oakland +3

NT – The road spelt little fear for the Jets last year and I don't expect it to against the Raiders despite two solid showings by Oakland. The Jets went 6-2 outside New York in 2010, covering five times. The Raiders only went 4-4 ATS. The 3 points on offer at Luxbet is a gift. Bet 1.5 units.

CB – If my Super Bowl champion tip had only been laying three to Oakland in the opening week, I’d have happily taken the minus, with the correct line closer to six in my mind. There’s a quantum leap involved from taking on Denver and Buffalo to taking on the Jets, one I think will find the Raiders lacking. One unit on the Jets at the minus.


Baltimore at St Louis, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Louis +4

NT – The line of 3.5 to 4 seems spot on here. I like the Ravens defence a lot but the offense was very disappointing against the Titans.  No bet.

CB – Had they played in opening week I’d have only favoured Baltimore by one or two points, but the loss of Steven Jackson is really hurting the Rams’ running game and allowing defensive units to focus more of their energies on stopping Sam Bradford. In this instance, the line shift is justified to my eye. No bet.


Kansas City at San Diego, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Diego – 15

NT – The Chargers smash the sorry Chiefs, who are a very real chance of having a 1-2 win season this year (and whom I would collect plenty on if it wasn't for the incompetence and deception of those at IAS) but the line of 14.5 to 15.5 seems about right considering the Chargers haven't shown much yet.

CB – Wow. Pre season I’d have had the Chargers favourites by seven or eight here, but the Chiefs have been cataclysmically bad over the first two games. As much as the huge start looks tempting, I just can’t take a team that looks on the verge of a collective meltdown. No bet.


Atlanta at Tampa Bay, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tampa Bay -1 to -2

NT – I marked this one down as the Bucs favoured by 3 and you can get a flat 1 but I don't quite know where these two sit yet so I'm going to let it slide. No bet.

CB – Had this been opening week I’d have favoured the Bucs by four or five here, and little has changed in my mind. Atlanta scored three of their five touchdowns against Philly on shortened fields caused by Michael Vick turnovers. Including playoffs, since the start of the 2008 season the Falcons are 20-6 at home but only 13-13 away. Oh, and Josh Freeman wins football games. One unit on Tampa at the minus.


Arizona at Seattle, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Seattle +3.5

NT – It needs to be explained to me how the Seahawks are getting 3 points at home here against an equally rubbish NFC West opponent who lost twice to Seattle last year. This should be the Hawks giving the 3. Seattle were 6-3 at home straight up and against the number in 2010 and I expect them to be much more formidable than the team that got smacked by the Niners and Steelers. The Seahawks are the bet of the week. Play for 2 units.

CB – The reality TV series ‘Search for a competent NFC West team’ will take more than two weeks to resolve. Be patient. In the meantime, no bet to be had here.


Green Bay at Chicago, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Chicago +3 to +3.5

NT – I am all over the 3.5 available here. The Packers were outstanding in week one but they took a while to get going against a pretty ordinary Panthers team and the Bears kept it close in all three last year and could nearly have pinched the NFC Championship game if Jay Cutler stayed healthy. I am shocked you can get 3.5 about the Bears at home, where they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven. Bet 1.5 units on the plus.

CB – I would have broadly agreed with this line in the opening week and whilst I’m growing a little sceptical of the Packers defence, the line still feels about right for now. No bet.


Pittsburgh at Indianapolis, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Indianapolis +10.5

NT – I have a small lean the -10.5 here as I think the Steelers make Kerry Collins' life a nightmare but I don't want to lay double figures away from home so no bet.

CB – The only team competing with Kansas City for the ‘biggest freefall of 2011’ award, the Colts finally have an answer to exactly how much Peyton Manning is worth to their franchise. Pittsburgh’s defence may be getting old, but Kerry Collins is older. My pre season assessments of the Colts all went out the door with Manning, so it’s best that I don’t have a wager here.



Washington at Dallas, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  TBA

NT – There is a major doubt over the health of Tony Romo so no markets up yet. I mark it Dallas giving 4.5 with him available and giving 2.5 if he isn't.

CB – Pre season I’d have been very warm on the Cowboys here (something in the eight to nine-point favourites range) but the injury to Tony Romo has me very concerned. On injury grounds alone, I’ll be sitting this match out.


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Recommended bet summary

NT – 1 unit on Minnesota +3.5 at $1.91 (Sportingbet), 1.5 units on Miami +2.5 at $1.96 (Luxbet), 0.5 units on Denver +7 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on New York Jets -3 at $1.86 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on Chicago +3.5 at $1.91 (Luxbet) and 2 units on Seattle +3 at $2.05 (Luxbet).

CB – 2 units on New Orleans -4 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on NY Jets -3 at $1.86 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Tampa Bay -1 at $1.87 (Luxbet)


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



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