Courtesy of SportsInsights.com
9/24/2004 9:05PM EST
Behind The Lines Vol. 4
A major story in the NFL so far is the injuries. There’s a number of marquee starters on the sidelines for a good deal of time and we’re only entering the third weekend. Now it’s not nice to gloat over the misfortune of others but if there ever was a case of karma coming around to bite someone in the ass, look no further than Kellen Winslow Jr. The Cleveland Brown TE, who already has one of the biggest mouths in the league even though he hasn’t done a damn thing, broke his leg during an onside kick attempt in the closing minutes of the Cowboy game last week. Another beauty, Jeremy Shockey of the Giants, missed a big chunk of time last year, and this year he’s already complaining about his role in the offense. At this rate, expect Terrell Owens to get struck by lightning soon.
There are also a couple of starting quarterbacks who will be on the sidelines this week. Namely, Mark Brunell of the Redskins and Tommy Maddox of the Steelers. Rookie Ben Rothlisberger will get his first NFL start for Pittsburgh when they travel to Miami to face the Dolphins.
Let’s have a quick recap of Week 2. The morning started like it was going to be a record breaker for the books. They won just about every game except the Indy-Tennessee matchup but that was basically all straight money since every other game you could parlay it to turned out to be a loser. There were some Shockers. Chicago holding Green Bay to 10 points? Kurt Warner and the Giants manhandling the Redskins? Denver only able to muster 6 points after scoring 34 in the opener? It was one right after the other.
However the tide turned in the late action with everybody and their brother taking the Jets over San Diego. That was the oddsmakers gift to the public, and that combined with New England, Seattle and Dalls made for a nice recoup in the afternoon.
In this space last week we were looking at the USC-BYU game on Sat. night. A buy up to 28 points on the home dog would have at least gotten you a push but we didn’t realize just how bad the Cardinals were as they stunk it up to a Patriots team that didn’t even bring their B game. QB Tom Brady played as if he had slept with every one of his rumored girlfriends the night before the game and it still didn’t matter. Oh well, let’s take a look at this week’s featured matchups.
Philadelphia @ Detroit – Sun. 1:00 PM EST
The line opened at -3.5 and has been hammered ever since. Some places now stand at Philly -4.5, I see some 5’s and even a 5.5. And looking at the Sports Insights bet graph, it’s easy to see why. A monstrous 85% of the straight money is in on the Eagles and almost 80% of the ‘junk’ money. I’ve already seen 2 spaces that have Detroit as their upset special of the week. If you got down at 3.5 early in the week this is a prime spot for a middle. Wait for a 6, or buy the half point and you’re in terrific shape.
If you didn’t get the 3.5 there’s another option: run. I hate games like this. Everybody is looking for the Eagle letdown because they won on Monday night. And yes, Detroit is a tough home team. But the jury’s still out on them. They beat Chicago and Houston. I’d like to see a little bit more before I bet the farm on them.
Green Bay @ Indianapolis – Sun. 4:15 PM EST
Do you think Peyton Manning went to his Senior prom? If he did, was it with a girl or one of his assistant coaches. I mean, is there a more single-minded athlete out there today? I remember an article in Sports Illustrated way back when he was still at Tennessee and they had some comment along the lines of, “Manning is so focused he never bothered to learn something so routine as using a can opener.” Uh, excuse me? A f!@#$%g can opener? It was meant as a compliment in the sense that all he does as think about football, but all I remember thinking was that’s just a tad on the freaky side.
That all being said, the play here is Indy. This season they’re going to have offensive output that will rank up there with the ’99 Rams. Last week they put the smackdown on Tennessee, AT Tennessee with a 21 pt. 4th quarter explosion. Manning and Marvin Harrison will pass Joe Montana-Jerry Rice, Steve Young-Jerry Rice, and Jenna Jameson-Ginger Lynn as the most prolific scoring tandem we’ve ever seen. The game opened at 5.5 and has since gone up to 6. Don’t wait because it isn’t coming back down with 68% of the straight bets already on Indy.
Dallas @ Washington – Mon. 9:00 PM EST
Some of my favorite all-time football memories revolve around this rivalry. The Tom Landry credit card commercial where he closes with the, “Because you never know when you’re gonna be surrounded by Redskins,” line. Everson Walls and Michael Downs trying to break up the Fun Bunch celebration. Gary Hogeboom, the list goes on and on.
And now the Redskins return home after that inexplicable meltdown against the Giants. Patrick Ramsey will start in place of the injured Mark Brunell and he’ll have a full week of practice under his belt getting all the reps.
The game opened at Wash -2 and has since been bet down to -1 at most places. 58% of the public has come in on the underdog Cowboys on straight bets but the parlays are split 50-50. If Dallas can pull this off on the road, it’s not going to be by much. Tease them with Denver on Sunday for some easy money. Enjoy the games this week … T.B.