The NFL Lines – Week 4

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on September 28, 2011

After three weeks only three teams reaming undefeated, a surprisingly small number. One is the defending Super Bowl champion, the Green Bay Packers. No surprises there. The other two are Detroit (fairly surprising) and Buffalo (outright shocking, especially after falling behind 21-0 to their long time nemesis New England last Sunday). At the other end of the spectrum are five teams on 0-3 and four 2010 playoff teams (Philadelphia, Chicago, Atlanta and Seattle) sitting at 1-2 and really needing a win this week to right the ship in 2011. Week 4 is a sneakily pivotal week in the season and as always, Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham have some thoughts on it.

CB – Okay, now we’re really off and running with a nice set of week 3 results. As former Kansas City head coach Herm Edwards used to say “We can build on this!” Mind you, he also once talked at a Chiefs press conference about not ‘having’ the internet or knowing how to use it, so perhaps he’s not the best person to be summoning right now. Let’s just move along to the picks for week 4.


Summary of Week 3 results

NT – 6 selections, 8 units bet, return of 9.91 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 24%

CB – 3 selections, 4 units bet, return of 5.71 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 43%

Total – 9 selections, 12 units bet, return of 15.62 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 30%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 17 selections, 23.5 units bet, return of 17.35 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -26%

CB – 10 selections, 11 units bet, return of 12.29 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 12%

Total – 27 selections, 34.5 units bet, return of 29.64 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -14%

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


Carolina at Chicago, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Chicago -6.5

NT – A slight lean on the Bears here as I think the Chicago defence causes plenty of problems for Cam Newton but the cracks are starting to show in the Bears offense. The line is right here. No play.

CB – Carolina are doing a nice job of improving thus far in 2011, but I think they meet a reality check here. Chicago have beaten up on Atlanta, lost at New Orleans (no shame there) and lost at home to Green Bay (ditto) in a game that was closer than the score indicated. At home in a must-win game against a lesser opponent I think they’ll make a statement, and thus will have 1.5 units on the Bears giving up 6.5.


Buffalo at Cincinnati 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cincinnati +3

NT – I am convinced that Buffalo are the real deal this year and could actually sneak into the playoffs. They have been great in the first three weeks while the Bengals have done little, rolling the Browns before going down to the below-par Broncos and Niners. Fred Jackson is going to cause Cincy all kinds of dramas. This line is a little small here. Bet 1 unit on Buffalo giving the start.

CB – As tempting as it is to back my own side for the first time in eons, there will come a point where spotting the opposition a 21-3 (Oakland) or 21-0 (New England) lead will prove too much to come back from. No bet for me.


Washington at St Louis, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  St Louis 0 to -1

NT – I think Washington are a better team and should be favoured here but I can’t get involved.

CB – The Rams are staring down the barrel of 0-4 here and on current form I can’t tip them, even at home against a so-so opponent. I really wish I’d spent more time studying the early weeks of the Rams’ 2011 schedule before tipping them to win the NFC West at $2.70. They may still win it (from week 9 onwards their draw takes on a distinctly cream puff appearance), but the smart play would have been to wait until they lost a number of tough games early on and taken the better odds subsequently offered. The lesson, as always – I’m an idiot. No bet here.


San Francisco at Philadelphia, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Philadelphia TBA

NT – There is no line on this game, which I have measured as the Eagles favoured by 12.5. A west coast team going east to play a good team does not bode well. You don’t want to play the Niners here.

CB – A massive game for the Eagles, who need a win to stay close in the NFC East title race. For the second week in a row, we’re in limbo awaiting news on the health of Michael Vick and his bruised right (non-throwing) hand. I feel like this line should be Eagles by 9 or 10 if Vick plays, but by less than 3 if he doesn’t.


Minnesota at Kansas City, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Kansas City -1

NT – The Chiefs are horrible this year and though the Vikings are 0-3 they have been in every contest. Adrian Peterson should have a big day out with the Chiefs run defence ordinary to say the least. The Vikings should finally get their first win. Bet them at pick ‘em for 1.5 units.

CB – What do you do here, with the star-crossed 0-3 Vikings travelling south to Arrowhead Stadium (one of the better home field advantages in the NFL) to take on the subpar 0-3 Chiefs? Although I’m leaning towards the tortured Vikings fans here, I can’t see a bet that wouldn’t make me angry in retrospect, so will steer clear of this one.


New Orleans at Jacksonville, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Jacksonville +6.5 to +8

NT – Very keen on New Orleans here. The Saints come into this off a shootout win where their offense was again as impressive as their defence was poor. I doubt rookie Blaine Gabbert can take full advantage of the Saints’ deficiencies though. I had this line twice as big so 2.5 units on New Orleans -6.5.

CB – This looks like an ideal road match-up for the Saints. They don’t have to travel an awfully long way from Louisiana to Florida and more importantly, their suspect pass defence is unlikely to be seriously challenged by rookie QB Blaine Gabbert and a Jags attack that has posted 29 points…. for the season in total. Nonetheless, giving up 7 or more points on the road (equivalent to giving up about 13 or 14 points at home) never sits well with me, so I will pass on this game.


Pittsburgh at Houston, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Houston -4

NT – The Steelers were most disappointing against the Colts but how they have come up 4 point outsiders against Houston is beyond me. Pittsburgh are a better team that the Texans. I marked this as the Texans getting 2 points. Bet 2.5 units on the Steelers with 4 points start.

CB – What have we learned about these two sides so far in 2011? Despite the predictions of many, Houston aren’t quite ‘all that’ (although may still have enough in the tank to win the AFC South), while Pittsburgh looked old and a little slow in taking an eternity to finish off the Colts last week. It feels like these are still two overrated sides but when they play each other, the overrating of each cancels out. No bet.


Detroit at Dallas, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Dallas 0 to -1.5

NT – The Cowboys were a long way from impressive in beating either the Niners or the Redskins the last two weeks but they have got the job done in both. Detroit fell a long way behind against Minnesota but rallied to win. I have a lean on the Cowboys but I haven’t quite got a hold of the Lions yet. No play.

CB – I feel like Detroit have been the more impressive of the two teams so far this season, nullifying much of the 3-point advantage or thereabouts that comes with having the home field. No bet for me.


Tennessee at Cleveland, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cleveland -1

NT – A game that creates no interest. The Titans without Kenny Britt are going to struggle to score while the Browns are dramatically overrated this year.

CB – Come on Browns! Win this match and you’ll be 3-1 heading into your bye week and my 2011 sleeper pick will still be alive! I have to say though, with two solid defensive units and attacking games that have yet to fire, this game reeks of possibility that a late field goal from either side clinches the match by a score of 16-13 or something along those lines. I will avoid this coin flip of a match.


Atlanta at Seattle, 5.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Seattle +4.5

NT – I don’t think either of these teams are any good. The Falcons are much better but confidence is down in Atlanta, who have struggled on the road. They are worthy road favourites but they can’t be bet.

CB – Ordinarily, home field advantage is worth around 3 points or around a 10 per cent increase in your chance of winning a game, but check out the stats for this perfect storm of exaggerated home field advantage. Including playoffs, since the start of the 2008 season Atlanta are 20-6 (77 per cent win rate) at home but only 13-14 (48 per cent) away. Over the same period, Seattle are 11-7 (61 per cent) at home and a woeful 3-16 (16 per cent) away. This tells me that home field advantage for this game is worth more like 5 points – sufficient for me to avoid taking Atlanta at the otherwise tempting minus against a putrid NFC West team.


NY Giants at Arizona, 5.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Arizona 0 to +1

NT – The Giants are a bet here. They were dominant against Philadelphia and the Cardinals have shown nothing this year. The pass rush should have few problems with the Cardinals’ line. The Giants play well early in the year. Bet 1 unit on the Giants at pick ‘em.

CB – The NFC West are a collective 4-8 on the season thus far, comprised of 2-2 against each other, 2-0 against quite lowly teams (Carolina and Cincinnati) and 0-6 against everyone else (so far this covers the NFC East, Pittsburgh and Baltimore). Call me crazy, but I think that trend continues here even with the Cardinals being at home. I will therefore have 1.5 units on the Giants at pick ‘em in this match.


Miami at San Diego, 5.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Diego -7 to -9

NT – Miami can’t buy a win at the moment but they have been in all three contests this year. The 2-1 Chargers couldn’t put away the Vikings or Chiefs at home though. I can’t lay a touchdown here.

CB – Last year the Chargers started 2-5 before a 7-4 run to finish just out of the playoffs. The year prior they started 3-3 before winning 10 straight games. In 2008 they started 4-8 before winning 4 straight games to somehow clinch the division. In 2007 they started 1-3 before winning 10 of 12 games. The enduring lesson with the Chargers – it takes more than 3 weeks for them to wake up each season. Nonetheless, I can’t take Chad Henne on the road without a double digit head start. No bet.


New England at Oakland, 5.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Oakland +4 to +4.5

NT – I haven’t got a grip on the Raiders this year by the looks of it after they handed a convincing defeat to the Jets. The Pats are also coming off a loss to Buffalo. I’m just not confident I have either team pegged right at the moment.

CB – So far this season New England have scored almost 35 points per game and conceded around 26, while Oakland have scored almost 31 points per game and conceded around 27. There’s a reason the total points line for this game is around 53 and that there’s a fantasy stampede for a few key players on the respective offenses this week. The Raiders appear frisky this season but the Patriots haven’t lose two in a row since 2009. Staying out of this one.


Denver at Green Bay, 5.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Green Bay -13

NT – The number is about right here. A slight lean on the Packers but no interest in playing this match.

CB – I hate big lines like this. You can take the +13 and be trailing by 10 with the ball in hand late in the game, only to see the QB (who cares not for the spread) do something risky to try and get his team back into the game and instead throw a ‘pick six’. Even worse, you can take the -13 and be leading by 17 late in the game before the underdog scores a meaningless touchdown for the backdoor cover. Life’s too short for annoyances such as those. Just don’t bet the big lines to begin with, including this one.


NY Jets at Baltimore, 9.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Baltimore -3.5

NT – I think the Ravens are a Super Bowl calibre team who dominate at home but the Jets defence will cause Joe Flacco some issues. The line is spot on here. No bet.

CB – Two tough defences (and my pre season picks for the AFC Championship match) going head-to-head should make for an excellent encounter. The Ravens were stung by their week 2 loss and promptly dismantled the Rams. Will the Jets respond in a similar vein to their week 3 loss at Oakland? The line seems pretty much on the money for mine, so will sit this one out.



Indianapolis at Tampa Bay, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tampa Bay -10

NT – The Bucs are a low-scoring team and they don’t put up big wins. The Colts are dreadful but showed some spine last week. No bet.

CB – The Bucs don’t habitually rack up scores and the Colts could be starting their third-string QB Curtis Painter here, implying that a low scoring game could be in the offing. As tempting as it is to step into the 10-point head start on that basis, it’s a little too early in the QB/ gambler relationship to be trusting Curtis Painter just yet. No play for me.

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Recommended bet summary

NT – 2.5 units on New Orleans -6.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Buffalo -3 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on Minnesota at $1.91 (Sportingbet), 2.5 units on Pittsburgh +4 at $1.91 (Centrebet) and 1 unit on New York Giants at $1.91 (Centrebet).

CB – 1.5 units on Chicago -6.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1.5 units on the NY Giants at $1.91 (Centrebet).


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



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