The NFL Lines – Week 6

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on October 10, 2012

The Falcons and Texans kept going, while Drew Brees grabbed a piece of QB history as the Saints recorded their first win of the year. Meanwhile, the Packers blew a 21-3 lead against a rookie QB and are now on the precipice of a 2-4 start to the season. Can they fight back? Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham assess this question and many others during their week six preview.


I’d complain at length about the officiating in the Saints-Chargers game but (a) those grievances have already been aired in many forums by far more learned people on the subject than me; (b) if you decide to trust a Norv Turner-led team with your cash, you do so in the knowledge that they have a tendency to screw up at the most inopportune of times; and (c) it is so hard to overcome a 14-point swing and still cover the spread.

This time around, the Chargers had an intercept TD (which would have given them a 31-14 lead in the third quarter) taken off the board by a personal foul, then couldn’t stop Drew Brees and the Saints driving for a TD of their own. If you’ve taken the +4.0 on the road, going from a 31-14 lead to a 24-21 lead with plenty of time left on the clock usually spells doom.

On a more positive note, I think we’re closer to nailing the teams for the three key historical precedents that have played out in the NFL for many a year:

Team coming from 6-10 or worse last year to make the playoffs: Vikings, Rams and potentially the Dolphins (their schedule from now through to week 12 is quite favourable)

Team coming from outside playoffs last year to grab a first round bye: Bears, Vikings again

Team dropping from a first round bye last year to miss the playoffs: Packers (currently two wins off the NFC North lead, as well as being two wins off the final wild card spot if the playoffs started today).


Results from Week 5 tips

NT – 5 selections, 7 units bet, return of 7.67 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +10%

CB – 4 selections, 4 units bet, return of 3.96 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -1%

Total – 9 selections, 11 units bet, return of 11.63 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +6%

Overall Results

NT – 26 selections, 34 units bet, return of 36.02 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = +6%

CB – 18 selections, 16.5 units bet, return of 13.88 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -16%

Total – 44 selections, 50.5 units bet, return of 49.90 units, Profit on Turnover (PoT) = -1%


NT Recommended Bets


Kansas City are a very bad team. They have not improved on defence, as many thought, and Matt Cassell is really struggling at quarterback. The Bucs have struggled to move the ball but their defence has been strong. Off a bye, they should be ready for the Chiefs, who have made no impact all year. The Bucs should be laying near six in this.


Last week when I tipped the Dolphins to roll the Bengals, which they did, I received this comment: "They're at home and they're a better team than the Dolphins on neutral field, they should be 6 point favourites. I agree the Dolphins are a little underrated but to think they're better than the Bengals IN Cincinnati, who made the playoffs last year in the stacked AFC North? Put down the crack pipe." I can only imagine the fury I will have directed my way when I pick the Bengals to lose to the Browns this week – which I fancy they will. Despite their respective records, there is very little difference in these teams. The Bengals have a horrid defence and this Browns team seems ready for a win. The points at home seem a nice bet.


Baltimore are a tough team to figure at the moment. They have built a 4-1 record but four games have been decided by less than a score, including against Cleveland and Kansas City. They clearly have a quality defence and the offense has looked very good at times but the Ravens have a bad habit of playing down to their opposition. The Dallas offense is a total mess – and will get eaten alive by the Ravens. If Flacco and co are on, this will be a real mess. If not, the Ravens will eke out a close win.


Seattle continue to slip under the radar because of their relatively vanilla-looking roster and their defence-built team but they are the real deal, very much a playoff team. Their defence faces its biggest test this week against New England's high-powered offense but they are well up to the task – they did limit the Packers to just 12 and have not allowed a team to break 20 all year. With a better special teams and a running back in Marshawn Lynch that can hurt the Pats, the points at home look mighty tasty.


This line does not make much sense to me. The bookies seem to have it in for the Chargers, as do the officials who completely screwed the Chargers out of a certain win against the Saints. Norv Turner is still a terrible coach (second-worst all-time in games decided by less than a touchdown) but the Chargers are just a better team than Denver, full stop.


CB Recommended Bets


The Falcons are 5-0 with an average winning margin of 11 points, and have won 21 of their last 26 regular season games at home. The Raiders are 1-3, and their two road losses to date have come by 22 and 31 points to teams with a record below .500. Matt Ryan has 13 TDs to three picks and a QB rating of 106.1 (second in the league). The Raiders’ pass defence has zero picks, while conceding nine TDs (in four games) and a QB rating of 113.4. This would be a great week to have Ryan or his key receivers (Roddy White, Julio Jones or TE Tony Gonzalez).


We’ve been here before with the Ravens and losses/ ugly wins against bad sides, so I’m willing to overlook last week. Since the start of the 2010 season, the Ravens have won 18 of their last 19 regular season games (plus a playoff game against Houston last year) at home. Over the same period, the Cowboys are 8-10 on the road. The Ravens smash the Cowboys in yards gained per carry (4.9 to 3.4), have an edge in yards conceded per carry (3.5 to 3.8) and have by far the better pass defence (74.6 QB rating conceded, to 95.4 for Dallas). By any reasonable metric, the Ravens are the superior team and with home field advantage, should be laying six or seven points here.


The Packers might be in some strife this season. They’re 2-3 overall and 0-2 on the road, with both losses coming against rookie QBs. Meanwhile, the Texans have won every game this season by at least six points, including three wins by 20 or more, while their two home wins have come by a combined margin of 68-24. They will no doubt focus their energies on utilising a strong pass defence (conceding a QB rating of 65.3, second best in the league) to contain Aaron Rodgers – if they can do that effectively, they’ll win and win well.


These two sides are of pretty comparable ability. Peyton Manning circa 2012 is not significantly better than Phillip Rivers (who has more arm strength but worse stats thus far). The Chargers barely shade the Broncos in terms of yards per carry rushing (4.0 YPC to 3.8) and yards conceded per carry by their run defence (3.7 to 3.8). Both passing defences are just below mid-table with respect to QB rating conceded. Here’s the kicker though – home teams are 47-30 (61 per cent) head-to-head this season, while 16 of the 77 games this season (21 per cent) have been decided by either two or three points. How are the Chargers not laying the standard three-point home field advantage here?


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


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