The NFL Lines – Week 5

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on October 5, 2011

Week 4 saw Houston and Detroit announce themselves as legitimate playoff contenders, Philadelphia’s ‘Dream Team’ moniker cast into serious doubt, Dallas shoot themselves in the foot once again, San Francisco emerge as a clear front runner in the NFC West and Baltimore and the Jets prove that contrary to the old cliché, sometimes your best offense is a good defence. What does week 5 hold in store? Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham are back to ponder this very issue.

CB – Okay, so we’ve dropped to 1-3 on our collective punting season. Let’s just hope that it’s a Philadelphia-style 1-3 (recoverable) rather than a Jacksonville-style 1-3 (blowing it all up and playing a rookie QB to rebuild) or even worse, a Seattle-style 1-3 (handing Tarvaris Jackson the car keys, then acting surprised when said car finishes on its roof). Maybe using a Herm Edwards quote in last week’s column jinxed us. I promise not to do it again.


Summary of Week 4 results

NT – 5 selections, 8.5 units bet, return of 6.69 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -21%

CB – 2 selections, 3 units bet, return of 2.87 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -5%

Total – 7 selections, 11.5 units bet, return of 9.55 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -17%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 22 selections, 32 units bet, return of 24.04 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -25%

CB – 12 selections, 14 units bet, return of 15.15 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 8%

Total – 34 selections, 46 units bet, return of 39.19 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -15%


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(Please note – all times are American ‘Eastern Time’ – add 15 hours to get to AEDST)


Philadelphia at Buffalo, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Buffalo +2.5 to +3

NT – The Eagles still haven’t come together this year and are riding a three game losing streak while the Bills opened with three straight wins followed by an upset loss on the road to the Bengals. On talent, this is a play for the Eagles but you don’t want to lay the Bills as a home dog at present. No bet.

CB – This is an absolute must-win for the Eagles, who somehow squandered a 23-3 lead against San Francisco at home last week. The Bills switched it up last week, playing a solid first half of the game before letting the Bengals score twice in the final quarter to overhaul them. The Eagles are better than the Bengals, so even with home field advantage for my Bills I’ll sit this one out.


New Orleans at Carolina, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Carolina +6

NT – The Saints were flat as anything against the Jags but still managed 500 yards and a 13-point win and an easy cover. The Panthers have shown some ability with the ball this year but have struggled defensively. The Panthers have covered five of six against the Saints but this game looks almost a replica of the Jags match: poor team, rookie quarterback, on the road. Bet 2.5 units on the minus.

CB – Both sides have played low(ish) scoring matches against Jacksonville. Take those matches out and the Saints are averaging almost 35 points per game scored and around 29 conceded, whilst the Panthers are averaging around 24 points per game scored and around 31 conceded. The Panthers have been frisky this season and I’m tempted to take the plus, but in a likely shootout the 6 points start isn’t as big as you’d think. No play.


Oakland at Houston, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Houston -5.5 to -6

NT – This is one of the more interesting match-ups of week five with the 3-1 Texans coming off a convincing win over the Steelers and the Raiders showing plenty through their first four weeks. The most interesting aspect of this will be the running back battle between Arian Foster and Darren McFadden, two of the most devastating runners in the game. The run defence of the Raiders allowed 6.34 yards per carry last week following weeks of 4.23, 9.29 and 3.00. The Texans have allowed 5.36, 4.55, 5.46 and 4.00. The Raiders are most likely to bust against the run, particularly with such a strong Texans pass threat, even sans Andre Johnson. Bet 1.5 units on the Texans -5.5.

CB – I can’t fight it any more – the Texans have definitely improved on the usual smoke and mirrors they’ve thrown up for season after season. They defeated Pittsburgh 17-10 last week but the score line was not a true reflection of the Texans’ dominance of the Steelers, especially in terms of the offensive and defensive lines. Throw in their strong effort at New Orleans the week prior and they look like a legitimate playoff hope. Legitimately good sides take care of business at home against weaker opponents. In light of that, I will have 1 unit on Houston -5.5.


Kansas City at Indianapolis, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Indianapolis -1.5 to -3

NT – I thought Indianapolis showed a lot of gumption against the Bucs on Monday night but they still have Curtis Painter as a quarterback and I will never lay Painter points. No dice.

CB – Games between two lowly sides scare me. I never pick them correctly. No play for me here.


Cincinnati at Jacksonville, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Jacksonville -1.5 to -2.5

NT – What a horrible game between two teams with rookie quarterbacks who are no hope of threatening for a championship this year. Blaine Gabbert was exposed by Gregg Williams’ defence, a far more confusing scene than what he will face this week at home against the vanilla Bengals. A slight lean Jags but no bet as the Bengals have covered three of four this year.

CB – See the “Kansas City at Indianapolis” summation above.


Arizona at Minnesota, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Minnesota -1.5 to -3

NT – I am officially cutting myself off from my Vikings addiction here. They really should win this but they should have won the last three weeks. Not even close to a bet.

CB – Wow, how many consecutive games can I copy/ paste the same summation for? Three matches in a row is officially a streak. Let’s see what the next game is…


Seattle at NY Giants, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Giants -9.5 to -10

NT – The Giants have gone to 3-1 but I remain unconvinced they can see out an entire game. We are unlikely to find out how good they are this week though with the Seahawks unlikely to put up a fight on the road on the East Coast. No play.

CB – An NFC West team led by Tarvaris Jackson travels cross country to take on an NFC East team with three straight wins to its name? Sure, I’d be delighted to take a single-digit minus!  Across 2010 and 2011, the Seahawks have played 11 road games and lost 9 of those matches by double digit margins. That’s a trend I’d like a piece of, and thus will wager 1.5 units on the Giants -9.5.


Tennessee at Pittsburgh, 2.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Pittsburgh TBA

NT – There is no line on this with Ben Roethlisberger in doubt. I wouldn’t want to be involved in this one anyway. The Steelers are looking very shaky at the moment.

CB – Both teams have been okay, though not spectacular, so far in 2011. On past reputations you’d expect this line to favour the Steelers significantly, but on 2011 form alone the typical home field advantage of around 3 points would seem a reasonable assessment of Pittsburgh’s edge in this game if Roethlisberger were to play. With him in some doubt I’m suggesting no bet, irrespective of if/ when a line is established.


Tampa Bay at San Francisco, 5.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Francisco -2.5 to -3

NT – It pains me to say this but the Bucs look a nice little play here with the three points. The Niners have been good this year, building a 3-1 record, but Tampa Bay are the comeback kings and Josh Freeman is the best offensive player on the field. Play Tampa Bay with the field goal for 1 unit.

CB – The Niners have been one of the surprises of 2011 so far to my eye, pushing the Cowboys in week 2 before rallying from 20 points down against the Eagles, albeit that they benefited from numerous pivotal Philadelphia errors. Nonetheless, they’ve done enough to sway me from taking Josh Freeman and his Bucs at the plus here, even though he wins football games. No bet.


San Diego at Denver, 5.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Denver +3.5 to +4

NT – The Chargers lack the killer instinct at present but they have a 3-1 record and they should have few problems with a Broncos team that really aren’t doing a lot. Denver have covered only 1 of 10 against their divisional rivals. Bet the Chargers spotting 3.5 for 1.5 units.

CB – I don’t care that their record says 3-1. The Chargers have started another season slowly and have only reached this mark through a cheap early draw (hosting all of Minnesota, Kansas City and Miami already). Until they show a bit more ruthlessness against poor sides such as Denver, I can’t back them. No bet.


NY Jets at New England, 5.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  New England -9 to -9.5

NT – Four of the last five between these two have gone to the home team (the home team covering on each occasion they won) but the start here seems way too big. The Pats have shown vulnerability this year and though Mark Sanchez is horrible, the Jets can keep this tight. Play 1 unit on the Jets with the big plus.

CB – Mark Sanchez was bulldozed last week by the Ravens’ defence but should have a much easier time against the substantially weaker Patriots’ defence. Whilst the Patriots have won 17 of their last 19 at home, 9 points is far too many to lay against a team that beat them twice last season, including a win at Gillette Stadium in the playoffs. I will have 1.5 units on the Jets +9.5.


Green Bay at Atlanta, 9.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Atlanta +5.5

NT – How good is Aaron Rodgers? His numbers so far this season have been astonishing but seeing him in action has been something special. The line seems about right here but if you were playing a team you would want it to be the Packers.

CB – The case for taking at Atlanta at the plus: (1) including playoffs, since the start of the 2008 season Atlanta are 20-6 (77 per cent win rate) at home; (2) Green Bay’s attacking prowess has masked a poor start to the season on defence, conceding 23 or more points in 3 out of 4 games. The case for taking Green Bay at the minus: (1) the Packers mauled Atlanta in the Georgia Dome during the 2010 playoffs and have averaged 37 points per game in 2011; (2) the Falcons have conceded 28 or more points 3 times in 2011 already, including the allowance of a Tarvaris Jackson led comeback last week in Seattle. I’m torn, and thus will sit out.



Chicago at Detroit, 9.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Detroit -5 to -6

NT – What a salivating match-up for Monday night. I am convinced with the Lions now…they are the real deal. But the Bears are still underrated. No bet at the current lines, but this gets to 7 and you want to be on the Bears.

CB – Detroit remain incredibly difficult to get a good handle on. Do you look at their 4-0 record, or do you look at the fact that both Minnesota and Dallas broke out to leads of 20 or more points against them? I need to see more of them before confidently betting in Lions matches, though I have a slight lean to the Bears at the plus here and could get involved if +7 were on offer.


Open date: Baltimore, Dallas, Miami, St Louis, Washington, Cleveland


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Recommended bet summary

NT – 2.5 units on New Orleans -6 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1.5 units on Houston -5.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on Tampa Bay +3 at $1.84 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on New York Jets +9.5 at $1.87 (Sportingbet) and 1.5 units on San Diego -3.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet).

CB – 1 unit on Houston -5.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 1.5 unit on NY Giants -9.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet) and 1.5 unit on NY Jets +9.5 at $1.87 (Sportingbet).


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



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