Courtesy of SportsInsights.com
11/19/2004 2:27PM EST
Behind The Lines Vol. 12
It’s not fair, it’s just not fair. Last Sunday, twelve out of the thirteen games had been played and most places taking action were sitting on a nice chunk of change. The college action on Saturday was terrific, so this was a chance to have a monster weekend, thus continuing the momentum that had built up in the early part of November.
The only game left on the board was Buffalo and New England. The game opened New England -8 but by kickoff the number had moved down to -7.5 and even -7 in some places. This move took place even though the action was coming in on New England at a rate of almost 80%.
Two series into the game it was apparent that once again a Bill Bellichick-coached team would have its way with a Drew Bledsoe-quarterbacked team. It’s been that way since Bledsoe came into the league and the bettors knew it. So Sunday’s profit disappeared quicker than the cojones of all the ABC affiliates who refused to air, ‘Saving Private Ryan’ on Veterans Day.
Throw in the Eagles’ blowout on Monday night and it all adds up to a lost weekend for the books. With a just a few weeks left in the NCAA football schedule that’s not a good thing. By the way, the furor over the Nicollette Sheridan-Terrell Owens promo has to be one of the most predictable, yet ridiculous stories, of all time. You can see ten times the sexual content every day on one of the afternoon soaps, the Maury-Jerry type talk shows, or the evening news.
Looking back on the biggest moving games of the week, the two that standout were Indianapolis and the Giants. Both moves were driven by the action the sportsbooks were taking. The Colts opened at -9.5, but by game time the number had shrunk to -8. The Colts action went from a high of 83% of Straight bets down to 64%. It didn’t matter as the Colts put on yet another fireworks display and routed the Texans, 49-14.
The Giants opened -2 and initially were getting 73% of the Straights. By game time those numbers dropped to a Pk. and 57%, respectively. In this case the public had it right, as Arizona won the game outright 17-14.
It is getting more difficult to forecast these games though, I’ll say that. And that’s just the way Paul Tagliabue and the NFL want it. Taking a look at the standings, there are 11 teams in the NFC and 10 teams in the AFC that have a shot at the playoffs. And right behind the six teams that are sporting 4-5 records are another six teams sporting 3-6 records. Hello, parity. Well let’s take a look at Sports Insights and see if we can make sense of a couple of these games.
Atlanta @ NY Giants – Sun 4:15 (FOX)
The Eli Manning Era officially gets underway this Sunday in the Meadowlands. Poor Kurt Warner, first he started out looking like the comeback player of the year, and then he resorted to being that immobile punching bag again. The parallels between Warner and Drew Bledsoe are downright scary and my 5 yr. old niece could probably beat both of them in a footrace.
The early opener on this game was Atlanta -1 and now it’s up to -3 +100 in a few spots. The public is driving it skyward, but I don’t think this will settle at -3. Manning has a full week of practice as the starter and the Giants are a home ‘dog that desperately needs this game. When to bet this game depends on what you value more, the half point or the money you have to back the number up with.
Green Bay @ Houston – Sun. 8:30 (ESPN)
New England @ Kansas City – Mon. 9:00 (ABC)
This week will probably end up a lot like last week: regardless of what happens during the day on Sunday, the bet percentages show the two primetime games will determine whether or not it’s a winning weekend for the books.
The Pack has climbed back into first place and the Texans are still alive in the AFC. New England is running away with the AFC East right now. Both KC and Houston are home ‘dogs grabbing 3 points in a primetime game. And right now the public doesn’t care.
Green Bay is getting 85% of the Straight bets and New England has 93% of the Straights in their game. If the books don’t win one of these, it’s going to be U-G-L-Y.
Teaser Of The Week
This is going to sound like madness after how bad they looked at home last week, but I’m taking Dallas again. Right now the number is +8, so we can take them up to +15 against a Baltimore team that doesn’t exactly light up the scoreboard.
The second selection is the Bengals at home against Pittsburgh. Cincinnati’s been playing great and the Steelers can’t be this good, can they? Depending on where you wager the Bengals are anywhere from a 4 to a 5.5 point underdog. We like them apples, even if it is only up to +11. Enjoy the games this weekend … T.B.