The NFL Lines – Week 9

Filed in NFL, NFL Tips by on November 2, 2011

The Niners and Bills continued their stunning sleeper-like starts to 2011, the Steelers announced themselves as a major playoffs factor once again with a win over the Patriots, while the Saints were stunned by the 0-6 Rams and the Ravens and Giants barely snuck out of jail themselves as heavy favourites against lowly sides. Week 8 was a big one in the NFL and week 9 offers some tantalising matchups, particularly from a wagering perspective. Hot off a rather profitable Cup Day on track at Flemington, Nick Tedeschi and Cliff Bingham now switch their attention to these games.

CB – First up, an apology for the Patriots -2.5 bet last week. Not because it lost – you can make a bet with positive expected return (the aim of any good bet) and lose it. Rather, the bet failed one of my key NFL criteria. Home field advanage is typically considered to be worth about 3 points, suggesting that if the Patriots were rated 2.5 point favourites on the road, they would have been rated around 5.5 point favourites on neutral ground and 8.5 point favourites at home. And that's the key – I would not have laid 8.5 points to the Steelers if the game had been at Foxboro, so what the hell was I doing laying 2.5 points in Pittsburgh? It's unclear. At any rate, it's fish and chip wrapping paper now, but another poignant lesson in assessing each potential bet from all angles before pulling the trigger. And with that, we roll on to week 9.


Summary of Week 8 results

NT – 4 selections, 5 units bet, return of 3.72 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -26%

CB – 4 selections, 4.5 units bet, return of 3.79 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -16%

Total – 8 selections, 9.5 units bet, return of 7.51 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -21%

Summary of Overall results

NT – 42 selections, 60 units bet, return of 43.31 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -28%

CB – 26 selections, 32.5 units bet, return of 34.49 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = 6%

Total – 68 selections, 92.5 units bet, return of 77.80 units, Profit on Turnover (POT) = -16%


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


NY Jets at Buffalo, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Buffalo -1 to -1.5

NT – Bookmakers seem convinced here that the Jets are a better team than the Bills but that is absolute folly based on what has played out this year. The Bills have been very good, building a 5-2 record, going 4-0. The Jets, meanwhile, are 0-3 on the road, not covering a single line. Bet Buffalo for 1.5 units. 

CB – Lots to like here about the way my beloved Bills are playing, but two things scare me off a bet here: the combination of (1) Rex Ryan having two weeks to put together his team's strategy for this game as the Jets were on the bye last week; and (2) the Jets really needing this win to stay in the AFC East race. They're the same two concerns I had about Dallas +3.5 against Philly last Sunday night. So… errr…. yeah. No bet.


Seattle at Dallas, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Dallas -11.5

NT – Both of these teams are too schizophrenic for me. The Cowboys should bounce back but they can't be relied on to rack up a score while the ordinary Seahawks can pull out a plucky display. No bet.

CB – I don't trust Dallas to win emphatically like they really need to do here, and I certainly don't trust Seattle to do anything good on the road. Pass.


Cleveland at Houston, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Houston -11 to -11.5

NT – The Browns really do look awful with the ball again this year and with a banged up run game they seem unlikely to have enough points for the Texans. But the big start here makes this a no play game.

CB – I could contemplate Houston at the minus if the line were single digits, but the 11 is a couple of points too rich for my blood, so to speak.


Atlanta at Indianapolis, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Indianapolis +7

NT – It really would be a shame if the Colts managed to snare Andrew Luck. They have Peyton Manning. They don't deserve to have a classy QB holding the clipboard. But I doubt the Colts care. They want to suck for Luck. Atlanta have hardly been convincing though either. These two are 5-10 ATS this year. No play.

CB – Yeesh – do you want a big road favourite, or a team tracking towards 0-16? It's moments like this that make me glad that it's not compulsory to bet in every match. I don't care if you think I'm a wuss. 


Miami at Kansas City, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Kansas City -4.5

NT – Miami covered for the first time all season against the Giants while the Chiefs have made the number five straight times. I don't think the Dolphins really want to win but I think the line may be a little large. Not big enough for a bet though.

CB – Let me get this straight – the Chiefs have won four straight and are now tied for first in the AFC West, yet only have to give 4.5 points to the Dolphins, who have to travel halfway across the country to try and protect their zero-win record and stay in the hunt for Andrew Luck in 2012? You guys are too generous sometimes – 1.5 units on the Chiefs at the minus will do rather nicely.


Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  New Orleans -8 to -9

NT – This is now a key divisional matchup after the Saints' shock loss to St Louis. The Saints sit atop the NFC South with a 5-3 record while the Bucs and Falcons are poised on 4-3. I'm not convinced with Tampa Bay. They have travelled only three times this year, falling in against the Vikings before being hammered by the Niners and losing to the Bears in London. The Saints have looked good at home and they will be worked hard this week. A big win could be on the cards. Play the minus for 1 unit.

CB – I have zero idea what to make of this line. Clearly it hasn't been brought down as a consequence of the Saints' loss last week (there's no way I can believe the line would have been 10+ had the Saints won last week). Have the bookies built in a 'bounce back factor' here? And if so, should they have built in such a factor for a team who lost to the Bucs less than a month ago? At first blush I was pretty tempted by the plus, but Tampa have been very Jekyll and Hyde in their performances this season – they've beaten Atlanta and New Orleans, but been well beaten by Chicago and completely pantsed by the Niners. This match is headache central to assess. No play.


San Francisco at Washington, 1.00 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Washington +3 to +3.5

NT – For the first time this year, the 6-1 Niners go into a road match favoured. Again, they have been horribly underestimated. The Redskins allowed Fred Jackson to run for 120 yards on 26 carries last week and with Fred Gore in similar form, the Niners should be able to jam the ball down the throat of the injury-ravaged Redskins who simply have few points in them. Bet San Francisco minus for 3 units.

CB – Okay, I'm not falling for omission of a key thought process twice – laying 3 points on the road roughly equates to laying 9 points at home, which as luck would have it, is close to what the Niners were favoured by against the Browns last week. Can you compare Cleveland and Washington? Given the current injury dramas for Washington that have badly hindered their attack, I think you can. Both have respectable defences but (currently at least) anaemic offensive units. The Niners covered last week and along very similar thought process lines, I can have 1 unit on them covering the -3 this week.


Denver at Oakland, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Oakland -8

NT – Well, the Tim Tebow bukkake seems to be officially over after a horrid showing that has many proclaiming him to be the worst quarterback in the league. It is tough to argue. Against a Raiders team that always lifts for the Broncos, winning 6 of 8 and covering 8 of 10, Tebow looks set for more pain. But the line looks about right. A lean Oakland, no bet though.

CB – Carson Palmer laying 8? No thanks. Tim Tebow at all? Again, no thanks. Moving on quickly….


Cincinnati at Tennessee, 4.05 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Tennessee -3

NT – The Bengals are actually a pretty nifty team this year. Andy Dalton is better than expected, the defence is playing at a high level having allowed 21-plus points only once and they can win on the road, going 3-1 away from the Queen City. Aside from a win over the Ravens, the Titans have been far from impressive. The 2 units on the Bengals with the 3 seems a good play.

CB – Cincinnati are doing some good things this season and importantly, winning the games they should win against lesser opponents. I get the feeling that they are a slightly better side than Tennessee but with the Titans desperately needing a win here to stay in the AFC South race, there's just enough doubt in my mind to sit this one out.


St Louis at Arizona, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  TBA

NT – Presumably bookmakers have just forgotten about this horrid match-up. We should take their lead.

CB – Kevin Kolb and Sam Bradford are both in doubt for a game that will undoubtedly suck, whether they play or not. It's a good thing the Niners are playing well this season, or I'd be arguing that the NFC West needs to secede from the NFL and either form their own (inferior) league or join the CFL. No play.


NY Giants at New England, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  New England -8.5 to -9

NT – There is this myth perpetuated that the Patriots always bounce back from a loss with a strong win. Not true. Over the last three seasons, the Pats are just 5-5 ATS coming off a loss. With the Giants 29-13 ATS in their last 42 road games (thanks Covers!) I have a lean Tom Coughlin's men but I can't play at the number. If it gets to 10 it will be a different tale.

CB – It's not often that you can get 9 points start when a pair of 5-2 sides clash, but here we are. The Giants have been a touch inconsistent this year, but they do have a tendency to play up or down to the level of their opponent. With the Patriots struggling to rack up a score against both Dallas and Pittsburgh recently, the 9 points seems a few too many. In light of that, I will have 1 unit on the Giants +9.


Green Bay at San Diego, 4.15 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  San Diego +5.5

NT – Oh my. San Diego have, in the words of Bill Simmons, "really crapped the bed" of late, throwing away a certain win against Kansas City after stinking it up against the Jets. The Packers keep on winning. They also keep on covering. A little part of me remains hopeful that the Chargers are actually a good team but I won't be paying to find out in their tester against the Packers. No dice.

CB – I don't want to take on the Packers and I don't want to back a clear road favourite who would be giving double digits if this game were played at their home field. There, that was easy.


Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8.20 pm

Bookmakers’ line:  Pittsburgh -3

NT – I love how these two play every year as it is always an event and always a colossal match-up. For the Ravens, this has become must-win after their debacle against the Jags and their Houdini effort against the Cards. The Steelers showed plenty against New England, particularly in shutting down the vaunted offense, but in a trenches battle the lean is with the Ravens. Take 1 unit.

CB – After the opening week matchup, who would have thought that the return match would see AFC bragging rights potentially go on the line? Pittsburgh showed plenty last week while the Ravens have struggled for a couple of weeks now. Nonetheless, given the number of matches between these sides that have resulted in a 3-point win in recent years, the line seems right to me. No play.



Chicago at Philadelphia, 8.30 pm

Bookmakers’ line: Philadelphia -8

NT – I am shocked that the Bears have been given so many points here, particularly considering the inconsistent form of Philadelphia and their well-renowned defence. Chicago rarely gets blown out and there is every chance Michael Vicks will take a beating. You have to be on Chicago here for 2 units.

CB – A classic overreaction line to my mind. The Bears have been solid all year, which is more than can be said for the Eagles. One emphatic victory does not a season make, and with Lovie Smith and Chicago coming off a bye and thus having a fortnight to prepare for this game, I'm pretty fond of the points – 1.5 units on the Bears +9 for me.


Open date: Carolina, Detroit, Jacksonville, Minnesota


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Recommended bet summary

NT – 1 unit on New Orleans -8 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1.5 units on Buffalo -1 at $1.87 (Sportingbet), 3 units on San Francisco -3 at $1.88 (Sportsbet), 2 units on Cincinnati +3 at $1.80 (Luxbet), 1 unit on Baltimore +3 at $2.05 (Sportsbet) and 2 units on Chicago +9 at $1.83 (Sportingbet).

CB – 1.5 units on Kansas City -4.5 at $1.92 (Luxbet), 1 unit on San Francisco -3 at $1.88 (Sportsbet), 1 unit on NY Giants +9 at $1.87 (Flemington Sportsbet) and 1.5 units on Chicago +9 at $1.83 (Sportingbet).


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



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