The NFL Lines – Week 6

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on October 12, 2011

If I had suggested to you at any point in 2010 that in 2011 the Detroit Lions would be 5-0 and the Indianapolis Colts 0-5, would you have (a) laughed; (b) pointed and laughed; (c) rung you friendly bookmaker to get set at odds of around 80 kajillion to one; or (d) made a phone call and asked the white panel van-driving folk to come and pick me up immediately? If you chose option (c), get in the queue to collect ownership of multiple tropical islands, because here we are. As we reach week 6, form and reputations from previous years are yesterday’s news, with the true 2011 form guide quickly taking shape. Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham bring you their thoughts on some important matches.

CB – With 5 weeks of the season now in the books, I think we have enough information in the vast majority of cases to sort the contenders from the pretenders. In particular, there are some teams for whom their win-loss record to date is an inaccurate reflection of their performances to date, as a result of either an easier or tougher than average suite of opponents early in 2011. I will look to highlight such cases as we roll through the matchups.


Summary of Week 5 results

NT – 5 selections, 7.5 units bet, return of 4.75 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -37%

CB – 3 selections, 4 units bet, return of 2.81 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -30%

Total – 8 selections, 11.5 units bet, return of 7.56 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -34%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 27 selections, 39.5 units bet, return of 28.79 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -27%

CB – 15 selections, 18 units bet, return of 17.96 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -0.2%

Total – 42 selections, 57.5 units bet, return of 46.74 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -19%


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


Carolina at Atlanta, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Atlanta -4

NT – Carolina have been an outstanding betting team this year, making the number in their last four. The Falcons, meanwhile, have covered just the once this year and are 1-4 ATS in their last five as favourite. The Panthers don’t have a great recent record against the Falcons but they are still a play. Bet 1 unit on Carolina +4.

CB – The Falcons have beaten Philly and Seattle (combined record of 3-7), lost to Chicago and Tampa Bay (combined record of 5-5) and lost to the 5-0 Packers. Their 2-3 record is fair. The Falcons have lost to Green Bay and New Orleans (combined record of 9-1) and won 1 of 3 against Arizona, Jacksonville and Chicago (combined record of 4-11). Given the nature of their losses, a 1-4 record is a touch harsh on them. With the Georgia Dome historically providing a strong home field advantage I priced this game in Atlanta’s favour by 4 points, which is exactly what the market is offering, so no bet.


Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Cincinnati -7

NT – There is no way I could lay seven points with the Bengals but the Colts aren’t betting propositions. They are 0-3 ATS with a start smaller than 10 points. No play.

CB – The Colts have lost all five so far this season, including losses to the 2-2 Browns and 2-3 Chiefs. Meanwhile, considering that the Bengals have played San Francisco and Buffalo (combined record of 8-2) already in 2011, their 3-2 record is legit. I can’t believe I’m typing this, but they look quite a competent side this year. Andy Dalton (aka ‘The Red Rifle’) looks solid for a rookie and Cedric Benson has done a tremendous job thus far of not getting arrested again. At any rate, I have a slight lean to the minus here but not enough for a bet.

Side note: The last time “San Francisco and Buffalo (combined record of 8-2)” was anywhere near correct, the internet didn’t exist, I was in my early high school years and Don Lane was hosting a 90-minute Tuesday night NFL show on the ABC which I religiously taped on the trusty old VHS. Who knew that Jim Kelly v Steve Young would evolve into Ryan Fitzpatrick v Alex Smith?


San Francisco at Detroit, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Detroit -4.5

NT – These two teams have been the two turnaround teams of 2011. The good start was expected from the Lions but few saw the Niners coming. Both should be undefeated but the Niners threw it away against the Cowboys. You would want to be on the plus here but the fearsome Lions front four against Alex Smith is too much of a worry.

CB – The battle of the 2011 sleepers is on in earnest! Don’t discard San Francisco’s chances here – they’re only an overtime loss to Dallas shy of being unbeaten themselves, and they took the previously 3-1 Buccaneers to the slaughterhouse last Sunday. Even more surprising is the evidence that Alex Smith seems to have overcome his long-time ineptitude at QB. Nonetheless, the Lions are 5-0 and have taken down Tampa Bay and Dallas on the road. They deserve favouritism in this match. I will stay out of this one.


St Louis at Green Bay, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Green Bay -15 to -15.5

NT – The Packers are 12-5-1 ATS in their last 18 at home while the Rams are 0-4 against the line this year and have not covered their last three road games. The only worry here is a letdown for the Packers. Bet 1 unit on the Pack spotting the big start.

CB – The good news for St Louis fans is that the Rams will start winning a few when they hit the easier part of their season draw from week 9 onwards. The bad news is that they’re highly likely to reach the ‘at Arizona’ game with a 0-7 record. The deservingly large spread for this game doesn’t entice me though.


Buffalo at NY Giants, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Giants -3

NT – The Bills look a very nice play in this enticing early matchup. Buffalo are flying this season, building a 4-1 record on a great offense. Fred Jackson is rolling over everybody and Ryan Fitzpatrick will be rubbing his hands with glee at the prospect of taking on this insipid Giants secondary that has allowed Arizona and Seattle to put up 63 points over the last fortnight. Bet 2 units on the Bills with 3 points start.

CB – I’m warming to the idea that the 2011 Bills are legit. 4-1 on the season to date, they’re 2-1 against Oakland, New England and the better-than-you-think Bengals (combined record of 10-5). Meanwhile the 3-2 Giants have beaten St Louis, Philadelphia and Arizona (combined record of 2-12) and lost to Washington and Seattle (combined record of 5-5). Throw in some injury concerns for the Giants and Buffalo can win this game – I will have 1 unit on the Bills +3.


Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Pittsburgh -12.5

NT – The Steelers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 home games and have made the number all five times the line has been larger than 8.5. The Jags are 2-10 ATS in their last 12 against a winning team. The Steelers should put the Jags to the sword here. Bet 2 units on Pittsburgh.

CB – This line seems a little big until you start to think about how many points Jacksonville might post against the Pittsburgh defence. Since their narrow week 1 victory, the Jags have scored only 43 points in total. Since their comprehensive week 1 defeat, the Steelers have conceded only 54 points in total. Pittsburgh looked rejuvenated against Tennessee last week, and somehow I can’t see Blaine Gabbert lighting up Heinz Field. I do have a slight lean to the plus (bookies will no doubt struggle to attract money for it and have probably bumped the line up by a point or two accordingly), but can’t take bad sides on the road. No play.


Philadelphia at Washington, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Washington -1

NT – This Philly team has been bad but not bad enough for me to want to start laying points on Rex Grossman.

CB – Surely the Eagles’ season goes on the line here? The losses to San Francisco and Buffalo (combined record of 8-2) seem more respectable in hindsight, but the remainder of their record is unflattering. The Redskins have been flattered as well, with 2 of their 3 wins thus far coming against Arizona and St Louis (combined record of 1-8). Nonetheless, their 2011 form is better than the so called ‘Dream Team’ and thus I will be on the Redskins -1 at home for 1 unit.


Houston at Baltimore, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Baltimore -7.5 to -9

NT – No bet here. I love the Ravens and they look a nice matchup with Mario Williams out and Andre Johnson doubtful but I think the line is right on the money here.

CB – I spent a lot of time afterwards staring at statistics, drive charts, play-by-play sequences and the like, yet still struggle to comprehend how Houston lost to Oakland (the memory of the late Al Davis notwithstanding). The only two battles Oakland won all day were turnovers and best field goal exponent, yet somehow the Texans couldn’t close them out. With Mario Williams out injured, they can’t afford mistakes on the road against the 3-1 Ravens, who have already delivered poundings to both the Jets and Steelers in 2011. This line feels about right to me – no play.


Cleveland at Oakland, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Oakland -5.5

NT – The Raiders’ win in Houston was huge last week while the Browns, not surprisingly, have underachieved again. There may be a little letdown though after Al Davis’ death. No play.

CB – The Browns have beaten Indianapolis and Miami (combined record of 0-9) and lost to Cincinnati and Tennessee (combined record of 6-4). Translation: even with a soft draw, a record better than 6-10 appears a stretch this season. Compare this to Oakland, who have split their last 4 games against Buffalo, NY Jets, New England and Houston (combined record of 13-7). Translation: on current form they’re in the race for both the AFC West title and an AFC wild card. Any team whose first 7 drives (against Houston) resulted in 21 plays for 9 yards and a turnover, yet somehow conjure up 2 field goals in that period and go on to win the game has got some crazy karma/ momentum on their side. I’d like to be with them this weekend at the -5.5 for 1 unit.


Dallas at New England, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  New England -7

NT – The Cowboys are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games as an underdog and have covered and pushed in their two road games this year. The Pats are vulnerable to a pass happy offense and that is the Cowboys all over. The Cows with the 7 start is a bet. Play it for 1 unit.

CB – The 4 sides Dallas have played thus far in 2011 have a combined record of 14-5 (or 12-3 when not playing Dallas), so their 2-2 start to the season is pretty respectable. Nonetheless, challenges don’t get much tougher than this one. Sure, they’ve lost home playoff games in consecutive years to the Ravens and Jets, but the fact remains – New England have won their last 19 regular season games at home. Their only loss on the season to date was by 3 points on the road to the 4-1 Bills (brief pause while I fire off a few sweeping fist pumps…. and we’re back) and they’ve taken down the Chargers, Raiders and Jets already in 2011 (combined record of 9-6, or 9-3 when not playing New England). I have a slight lean to the minus here, but not enough to entice a bet.


New Orleans at Tampa Bay, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tampa Bay +4 to +4.5

NT – The road team has covered six of the last seven between these two but the Saints are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 against divisional opponents. I like the number on the Saints but can't have a bet.

CB – The Saints may have had close shaves against Houston and Carolina, but they remain unbeaten against sides not named “Green Bay”. Meanwhile, the Bucs have 3 wins against Minnesota, Atlanta and Indianapolis (combined record of 3-12) and 2 convincing losses against Detroit and San Francisco (combined record of 9-1). They look for all intents and purposes like a middle-of-the-road team, headed for something in the 7 to 9 win range in 2011. Even on the road, the Saints should take care of middle-of-the-road teams. Away favourites laying more than a field goal always worry me though, so I’ll sit this one out.


Minnesota at Chicago, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Chicago -3

NT – The Bears are eating up punters cash this year. If they are serious, they should win this by plenty but I'll be staying out.

CB – Minnesota finally cracked it for a win at home against Arizona. Congratulations. I remain completely unsold on the McNabb era after their loss in Kansas the week prior. The Bears are hard done by at 2-3 on the season, with their 3 losses coming to New Orleans, Green Bay and Detroit (combined record of 14-1) and wins against the defending NFC South champs (Atlanta) and the frisky Panthers. I love the Bears here – 2 units on them giving away 3 points.



Miami at NY Jets, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  NY Jets -7 to -8

NT – The Jets are not nearly as good as most people think. Sure, the Dolphins stink and have just lost Chad Henne for the season but Matt Moore and 7 points is a bet here. The favourite has covered only one of nine between these two and the Dolphins have won three straight in New York. The Fins could cause the boilover here.

CB – Miami are 0-4 on the season and with Chad Henne hurt, Matt Moore (who got overlooked for the incomparable Jimmy Clausen at Carolina last season) now under centre and Reggie Bush failing to produce much excitement in the post-Kardashian phase of his life, surely they have to start thinking about bottoming out this season in the hope of securing (boom QB) Andrew Luck in the 2012 draft? The Jets may have lost 3 straight, but they were to teams with a combined record of 10-4, so let’s not dismiss their 2011 prospects too abruptly. Moreover, they absolutely need to make a statement in this game to stay in the playoff picture. I think they will, and thus 1.5 units on the Jets -7 seems like a play here.


Open date: Arizona, Denver, Kansas City, San Diego, Seattle, Tennessee


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Recommended bet summary

NT – 2 units on Buffalo +3 at $2.05 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Green Bay -15 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Carolina +4 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 2 units on Pittsburgh -12.5 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Dallas +7 at $1.93 (Luxbet) and 2 units on Miami +8 at $1.77 (Sportingbet).

CB – 1 unit on Buffalo +3 at $2.05 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Washington -1 at $1.91 (Centrebet), 1 unit on Oakland -5.5 at $1.92 (Sportsbet), 2 units on Chicago -3 at $2.02 (Luxbet) and 1.5 units on NY Jets -7 at $1.92 (IASBet).


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



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