Archive for August, 2008

NFL: Raiders at Seahawks

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Former division rivals meet in the final practice game of this summer for both teams when the Oakland Raiders head north for a visit with the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night.

OddsMaker
is listing Seattle as three-point home chalk for Friday’s game, with a total of 36. The Seahawks are also listed at -155 on the Oddsmaker moneyline, with Oakland getting +135.

The Raiders are 1-2 this preseason, beating San Francisco 18-6 before losing to Arizona 24-0 and, last Saturday, to Tennessee 17-16. Meanwhile, Seattle is 2-1 this exhibition season, winning at Minnesota 34-17 and vs. Chicago 29-26, before falling at San Diego on Monday night 18-17.

Oakland has already lost a couple of key players this exhibition season, as WR Drew Carter and FB Oren O’Neal went down with knee injuries last week. Coach Lane Kiffin is expected to rest many of his starters Friday night.

Raiders starting QB JaMarcus Russell has gone 26/50/228 passing this preseason with a TD and an INT, but it’s uncertain how much he’ll play Friday night. Former Oakland starter Andrew Walter is 17/23/167 this summer, while third-stringer Marques Tuiasosopo has thrown just three passes in his one exhibition appearance.

On the other side of this QB matchup, Seattle starter Matt Hasselbeck hasn’t played a down in the Seahawks’ last two preseason games (he’s nursing a sore back), and he’s likely out for Friday night’s game. So Seattle’s QB duties will be handled by Charlie Frye (41/67/450 yards, 2 TD/3 INT this summer) and Seneca Wallace (15/20/163, 3/0) Friday night.

These two teams have met in their exhibition season finale each of the last two years, with Seattle winning both games by scores of 19-14 and 30-7. The Seahawks also beat the Raiders in November of the 2006 regular season 16-0.

In almost two preseasons under coach Lane Kiffin, the Raiders are 3-4 straight up and 3-3 against the spread, with the totals going 2-4. In their last four exhibition seasons under coach Mike Holmgren, the Seahawks are 9-6 SU and 10-5 ATS, with the totals going 10-5.

OddsMaker is also listing Oakland at +600 to win the AFC West this season, +4,000 to win the AFC championship, and +8,000 to win Super Bowl 43 in Tampa in February. The Raiders have been pegged with a season wins over/under of 6 (over -145, under +115).

Seattle is listed at -140 at OddsMaker to win the NFC West again this year, +800 to win the NFC, and +2,500 to win the Super Bowl. The Seahawks have been tagged with a season wins O/U of 8.5 (over -195, under +155).

NFL: Patriots at Giants

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

The New England Patriots and the New York Giants end their 2008 exhibition slates with a re-match of their Super Bowl bout of six months ago when they meet Thursday night at 7:00pm ET in New Jersey.

OddsMaker is listing the Giants as 2-point home chalk for Thursday’s game, with a total of 36.

New England has lost all three of its preseason games this summer, scoring a total of 42 points. And QB Tom Brady hasn’t played a down, nursing a bone bruise in his foot. Brady will likely sit out Thursday’s game as well, and just concentrate on getting ready for Week 1 of the regular season.

New York is 1-2 this preseason, losing at Detroit 13-10 and to the Jets 10-7, and beating Cleveland 37-34.

The Giants lost DE Osi Umenyiora for the season last week to a knee injury, and they were unable to convince Michael Strahan to come back from retirement. As a result, the G-Men moved Mathias Kiwanuka, who was drafted as a DE but has been playing OLB, back to his original position.

The last time these two teams met, as you might have heard, was when New York, as a 13-point underdog, kept New England from going perfect for the 2007 season, beating the Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl 42 last February. These teams also met in a memorable Week 17 battle last season, when New England, as 13-point chalk, had to rally from a 12-point third-quarter deficit before winning 38-35.

And these teams played during last year’s exhibition season, with the Pats coming out with a 27-20 win. So Thursday night’s game will be the fourth time these two teams have met within the last calendar year. The Patriots and the Giants, however, will not play against each other this regular season.

On the OddsMaker NFL futures boards, New England is listed at -1,000 to win the AFC East again, +200 to win the AFC again, and +350 to win Super Bowl 43 in Tampa in February. The Patriots have also been tagged with a season wins over/under of 12.5 (over -130, under +100).

Meanwhile, the Giants are listed at +300 to win the NFC East, +600 to win a second straight NFC championship, and +1,500 to repeat as Super Bowl champs. New York has also been pegged with a season wins O/U of 8.5 (over -175, under +145).

NFL: Bengals at Colts

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

A couple of banged-up teams meet with little more than a few roster spots at stake when the Bengals and Colts hook up for their annual preseason bout Thursday night (at 7:00PM ET) at the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

OddsMaker is listing the Colts as 3.5-point home favorites for Thursday’s game, with a total of 34.5 points.

Indianapolis has already played four preseason games this summer, losing in the Hall of Fame Game to Washington 30-16, falling at Carolina 23-20 in OT, and winning at Atlanta 16-9 before opening their new stadium with an ugly 20-7 loss to Buffalo on Sunday night.

Indy QB Peyton Manning, still nursing a bum knee, hasn’t played a down yet this preseason, and while he may be activated sometime this week it’s unlikely he’ll see any on-field action Thursday night.

As well, Colts backup QB Jim Sorgi missed Sunday’s game with the Bills with a sore knee of his own, and he’s doubtful for Thursday’s game. That means Quinn Gray and Jared Lorenzen will likely handle the Indy QB duties Thursday, quite possibly with the third-string job on the line.

The Colts will probably also be without both center Jeff Saturday and returner TJ Rushing Thursday night, after both went out with knee injuries on Sunday. But in a bit of good news for Indianapolis, both S Bob Sanders and DE Dwight Freeney saw their first on-field action of this preseason Sunday, although it’s uncertain how much they’ll play vs. Cincinnati.

Cincy has played three games so far this exhibition season, winning at Green Bay 20-17, losing to Detroit 27-10 and, last Saturday, losing 13-0 to New Orleans.

The Bengals’ injury list looks like a roll-call of their best players. QB Carson Palmer got his nose broken Saturday, and he’s probably out for Thursday. WRs TJ Houshmandzadeh and Chad Johnson are dealing with a sore hammy and shoulder, respectively, and are just trying to get ready for Week 1 of the regular season. And while RB Rudi Johnson may see his first action of this preseason Thursday night, he won’t play much.

These two teams last met in the exhibition season finale last year, with Cincy taking a 14-6 decision at Paul Brown Stadium. The last time these teams met in the regular season was in December of 2006, when the Colts knocked off the Bengals 34-16 in Indianapolis. These two regional rivals will also play in Week 14 of this upcoming regular season.

In their last three-plus preseasons under coach Tony Dungy, Indy is 3-14 straight up and 5-11-1 against the spread. In five seasons under coach Marvin Lewis, Cincy is 11-12 SU and 12-10-1 ATS.

OddsMaker is also listing Cincinnati at +400 to win the AFC North this year, +2,500 to win the AFC, and +5,000 to win the Super Bowl in Tampa in February. The Bengals have also been tagged with a season wins over/under of 7 (over -150, under +120). Indianapolis is posted at –160 to win the AFC South this year, +400 to win the AFC, and +700 to win the Super Bowl. The Colts have been pegged with a season O/U of 11 (-115 both ways).

NFL: Steelers at Vikings

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

The Pittsburgh Steelers and second-year head coach Mike Tomlin visit the Twin Cities to take on Tomlin’s former employer, the Minnesota Vikings, in the third exhibition game of this summer for both teams Saturday night at the Metrodome. CBS will provide live television coverage of this game beginning at 8 pm Eastern Saturday.

OddsMaker is listing the Steelers as three-point road chalk for Saturday’s game, with a total of 37.

Both of these teams have split their first two games this exhibition season. Pittsburgh, 10-6 and a wild-card loser last year, won at Philadelphia 16-10 back on Aug. 8, then lost at Buffalo last Thursday 24-21. Meanwhile, Minnesota, 8-8 last year and a game out of the playoffs, lost at home to Seattle 34-17 back on Aug. 8, then won at Baltimore last Saturday 23-15.

OddsMaker is listing Pittsburgh as a +100 favorite to win the AFC North this season, +800 to win the AFC, and +1,500 to win Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa in February. The Steelers have also been tagged with a season wins over/under of nine (over +100, under -130). OddsMaker is also listing Minnesota as a +100 favorite to win the NFC North this season, +500 to win the NFC, and +1,500 to win the Super Bowl. The Vikes have also been pegged with a season O/U of nine (over -140, under +110).

NFL: Giants at Jets

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

The New York Jets and their new QB take on the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants in the annual preseason Battle of New York – which takes place in New Jersey – on Saturday night. Local television coverage begins at 7.00PM Eastern.

In his debut for the Jets last week vs. the Redskins, Brett Favre went 5/6 passing for 48 yards and a TD. One would think Favre will get more work Saturday night, in an attempt to familiarize him with a new offense.

OddsMaker is listing the Jets as 3–point favorites for Saturday’s game, with a total of 38.

Each of these teams has split their first two exhibition games this summer. The Giants lost at Detroit 13-10 two weeks ago, then hung on to beat Cleveland 37-34 Monday night. Meanwhile, the Jets rallied to beat the Browns 24-20 two weeks ago, then lost at home to Washington last Saturday 13-10.

The Giants are listed at +300 at OddsMaker to win the NFC East this season, +600 to repeat as NFC champions, and +1,500 to win a second consecutive Super Bowl. OddsMaker lists the Jets at +800 to win the AFC East this season, +2,500 to win the conference title and +5,000 to win Super Bowl XLIII down in Tampa in February.

NFL: Eagles at Patriots

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

The defending AFC champion New England Patriots continue their warmup sessions as they host the Philadelphia Eagles in the third exhibition game of this season for both teams on Friday night in Foxboro.

Television coverage of this game is limited to local stations, beginning at 7:30 pm Eastern.

OddsMaker.com is listing New England as three-point home favorites for Friday’s game, with a total of 37 ½.

Philadelphia started this exhibition season with a 16-10 loss at Pittsburgh two weeks ago, then rallied to beat Carolina 24-13 last Thursday.

QB Donovan McNabb is 21/37 passing so far this preseason for 195 yards and a TD, while back-ups A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb have combined to go 32/62 for 287 yards with one TD and one INT.

New England lost at home to Baltimore two weeks ago 16-15, then fell at Tampa Sunday 27-10. The Pats managed just 56 rushing yards vs. the Buccaneers and 174 total yards, and allowed Tampa Bay to run for 170 yards.

Patriots QB Tom Brady hasn’t taken a snap yet this season, and didn’t even make the trip to Tampa for Sunday’s game, instead resting an injured right foot. And there’s a good chance Brady won’t play at all this preseason.

In his absence, New England’s backup QB contingent of Matt Cassel, Kevin O’Connell and Matt Gutierrez have gone 29/58 passing for 221 yards, no touchdowns and three INTs.

These two teams last met in a very entertaining Week 12 game last season, when New England held on for a 31-28 win over Philly. Neither team could even muster 60 rushing yards, while both teams threw for more than 300 yards. And the Eagles had a chance to knock off the undefeated Patriots, until Feeley – subbing for the injured McNabb – threw an ill-advised INT in the end zone as Philly was driving to either tie the game or take the lead with under four minutes to play.

Over the last three preseasons under coach Bill Belichick, and two games so far this exhibition season, the Pats have gone 6-8 straight up and 6-7-1 against the spread, with the totals going 7-7.

Over their last 3 ½ preseasons under coach Andy Reid, Philly is 5-8 SU and 6-7 ATS, with the totals going 7-5.

OddsMaker.com is listing Philadelphia at +300 to win the NFC East this season, +800 to win the NFC, and +2,000 to win the Super Bowl in Tampa in February.

Meanwhile, OddsMaker.com is listing New England at -1,000 to win the AFC East again this season, +200 to repeat as AFC champions, and +350 to win the Super Bowl.

NFL: Browns at Giants

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants take on one of the AFC’s rising powers in the Cleveland Browns in the second exhibition game of the 2008 season for both teams on Monday night in New Jersey.

ESPN will provide the live television coverage of this Monday Night Football game, beginning at 8 pm Eastern.

OddsMaker.com is listing the Giants as three-point home favorites, with a total of 35 ½.

Cleveland is trying to follow up a surprising 2007 season that saw them just miss the playoffs at 10-6 in their third year under coach Romeo Crennel. QB Derek Anderson emerged as a quality NFL QB, throwing for 3,800 yards and 29 touchdowns, as the Browns ranked eighth in total offense and tenth in rushing. But Cleveland ranked 30th in total defense and 27th vs. the run. Thus the Browns ranked 20th in the league in total yardage last year at -9 YPG.

Cleveland opened this preseason with a 24-20 loss to the New York Jets last Thursday as 4 1/2-point home favorites. The Browns outrushed the Jets 107-59, racked up 27 first downs compared to 11 for the Jets, and led 20-10 early in the fourth quarter. But the Browns defense gave up a 71-yard TD pass to New York’s third-string QB, and two minutes later the Jets scored on a 62-yard punt return to take the lead.

The late flurry of scoring pushed the game over its total of 35.

Anderson played sparingly, but hit four of five pass attempts for 20 yards and a touchdown. After that, Brady Quinn completed 13-of-17 for 133 yards and an INT, while Ken Dorsey finished up by going 8-of-26 for 139 yards and two INTs.

The Giants opened their title defense with a 13-10 loss at Detroit last Thursday as three-point road underdogs. Eli Manning threw six passes, then watched David Carr and Anthony Wright go a combined 19-of-26 for 220 yards and a TD. But the G-Men lost the time-of-possession battle by a 34-to-26 margin, as Detroit ran the ball 35 times although for only 84 yards, helping the game stay under its total of 32.

New York ranked 16th in total offense last year, and fourth in rushing at 134 YPG. The Giants also ranked seventh in total defense and eighth vs. the run. Add it up, and NY ranked 11th in the league in total yardage last year at +26 YPG.

These two teams last met in the preseason of 2005, when the Browns beat the Giants 17-14 in Cleveland.

In their three preseasons under coach Crennel, the Browns are 8-4 straight up and 9-3 against the spread, with the totals going 4-8.

In their four exhibition seasons under coach Tom Coughlin, the Giants are 9-7 both SU and ATS, with the totals going 7-9.

OddsMaker.com
is also listing Cleveland at +150 on its NFL futures betting board to win the AFC North this season, +1,200 to win the AFC, and +2,500 to win Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa in February.

OddsMaker.com also lists the Giants at +300 to win the NFC East this season, +600 to win their second straight conference crown, and +1,500 to repeat as Super Bowl champions.

NFL: Patriots at Buccaneers

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

The favorites to win it all in the NFL this season continue their preseason warm-ups when the New England Patriots visit Florida to take on the defending NFC South champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the second exhibition game of this season for both teams on Sunday night.

The NFL Network will provide the live television coverage of this game, beginning at 8 pm Eastern.

OddsMaker.com
is listing Tampa as a two-point home favorite for Sunday’s game, with a total of 33 ½.

New England, which ended up one game short of perfection last season after losing in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants, began this exhibition season with a 16-15 loss to Baltimore last Thursday. QB Tom Brady, among others, watched from the sidelines as backup QBs Matt Cassel, Kevin O’Connell and Matt Gutierrez combined to complete 17-of-33 passes, but for just 103 net passing yards and three INTs.

O’Connell piloted the Pats on their only TD drive, which pulled them to within a point with six minutes to go, but his pass for the 2-point conversion got batted down and the Ravens held on from there.

New England lost against the spread as 3 1/2-point home favorites vs. Baltimore, and the game stayed under its total of 33.

Tampa began its season with a 17-6 win over Miami last Saturday, outgaining the Dolphins 295-198. Starting QB Jeff Garcia, dealing with a calf injury, watched on as backups Luke McCown, Chris Simms and Brian Griese combined to complete 27-of-39 passes for 189 yards and one TD.

The Bucs won outright as 1 1/2-point road underdogs, and the game stayed well under its total of 31.

These two teams last met in the preseason of last year when Tampa beat the Pats 13-10, and the last regular-season meeting was back in 2005, when New England blanked the Bucs 28-0.

The Patriots led the league in total offense last season at 411 YPG, and ranked 13th in rushing at 116 YPG. On the other side of the ball, New England ranked fourth in total defense at 288 YPG, and 10th vs. the run at 98 YPG.

Tampa ranked 18th in total offense last year at 327 YPG, 11th in rushing at 117 YPG, second in total defense at 278 YPG and 17th vs. the run at 108 YPG.

Over the last three exhibition seasons, the Pats are 6–6 straight up and 6–5-1 vs. the spread, with the totals going 6-6.

Over their last three preseasons, the Bucs are 6–6 SU and 6–4-2 ATS with the totals going 7-5.

OddsMaker.com
is listing New England as -1,000 favorites to their win their sixth straight AFC East title this season, +200 to win their second straight AFC crown, and +350 to win Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa in February.

OddsMaker.com also lists Tampa Bay at +175 to repeat as champs of the NFC South, +1,500 to win the NFC, and +4,000 to win the Super Bowl.

NFL: Raiders at Titans

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

The Tennessee Titans, coming off a wild-card year a season ago, look to build on that with their young QB, while the Oakland Raiders are breaking in an even younger quarterback as the two teams meet for an NFL exhibition game Friday night in Nashville.

FOX will provide the live television coverage, beginning at 8 pm Eastern.

OddsMaker.com is listing Tennessee as 4 1/2-point home favorites for Friday’s game, with a total of 34.

Each team is playing its second exhibition game of this season. The Titans thumped the St. Louis Rams 34-13 Saturday night, racking up nearly 500 yards of offense, 340 on the ground, and covering the spread as three-point home favorites. The game also went over its total of 34.

Meanwhile, the Raiders beat San Francisco 18-6 as pick’ems at home Friday night. That game stayed below its total of 34.

Oakland struggled through a 4-12 campaign last year, its first under coach Lane Kiffin. And this season will be their first with last year’s #1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell as the starting QB. Russell, who missed all of last year’s preseason while haggling with the Raiders over his contract, went just 2-for-5 passing Friday night vs. the Niners. Former starter Andrew Walter then stepped in and went 10-for-12 for 82 yards and tossed a two-point conversion pass.

Oakland also outrushed San Fran 248 to 70, with help from a 72-yard run by rookie Louis Rankin and a 31-yarder by QB Marques Tuiasosopo. But the Raiders only threw for 99 yards.

Tennessee held St. Louis to 76 rushing yards Saturday night, and held a 35-25 time-of-possession advantage. QB Vince Young saw limited action, throwing six passes and making a 35-yard run. Veteran Kerry Collins went 7-of-16 for 105 yards.

These two teams met in Week 8 of last year, with the Titans coming out with a 13-9 win as seven-point home chalk. The Raiders led deep into the third quarter, but Tennessee scored the game’s last 10 points. The Titans outrushed Oakland that day 192-92, but Young could only manage to go 6-of-14 passing for 42 yards. The game also stayed well under its total of 39.

Oakland ranked 25th in the league in total offense last year at 295 YPG, but sixth in rushing at 130 YPG. The Raiders also ranked 22nd in total defense at 342 YPG and 31st vs. the run at 146 YPG.

Tennessee ranked 21st in total offense last year at 312 YPG and fifth in rushing at 132 YPG. The Titans also ranked fifth in both total defense at 292 YPG and vs. the run at 92 YPG.

In their first preseason under coach Kiffin last year, the Raiders went 2-2 both straight up and vs. the point spread. And the totals went 2-2, too.

Over their last three preseasons under coach Jeff Fisher, the Titans are 5-7 both straight up and against the spread, while the totals have gone 7-4-1.

OddsMakers.com
also lists Oakland at +600 to win the AFC West this season, +4,000 to win the AFC, and +8,000 to win Super Bowl XLIII down in Tampa in February.

Meanwhile, Tennessee is listed at +600 at OddsMaker.com to win the AFC South this year, +2,000 to win the conference title and +4,000 to win the Super Bowl.

Monday Night Football: Bengals at Packers

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

The Green Bay Packers begin the post-Brett Favre era when they host the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2008 exhibition season opener for both teams Monday night at Lambeau Field.

ESPN will provide the live television coverage of this game, beginning at 8 pm Eastern.

OddsMaker.com is listing Green Bay as three-point home favorites for this game, with a total of 36.

Green Bay made a surprising run to the NFC championship game last year, but fell at home to the eventual champion New York Giants in overtime. Then they went through a tumultuous offseason, with Favre retiring, then trying to unretire, and causing severe headaches throughout Cheeseland in the process.

The Favre situation will apparently be settled by the time this game kicks off, and it’s likely Favre will be a member of another NFL team by that time. Thus the team now belongs to QB Aaron Rodgers, but he’ll have to deal with a Packer Nation and Lambeau crowd that still holds #4 near and dear in their hearts.

On the other side of this matchup, Cincinnati continued to fail to live up to the promise it showed a couple of seasons ago, going 7-9 last year.

The Bengals ranked 10th in the league in total offense last year at 348 YGP, but only 24th in rushing at 97 YPG, as RB Rudi Johnson, who’s rushed for better than 1,300 yards three times in his career, struggled with a hamstring injury.

Cincinnati also ranked just 27th in total defense at 349 YPG, 21st vs. the run at 118 YPG, and 17th in total yardage at -1 per game, as they went 7-9 against the spread last year.

Green Bay ranked second in the NFL in total offense last year at 371 YPG, and just 21st in rushing at 100 YPG. But the Packer ground game picked up after Ryan Grant was installed as the main ground gainer. Grant just signed a new four-year deal with GB, but at best will see limited action Monday night.

The Packers also ranked 11th in total defense last year at 313 YPG, 14th vs. the rush at 103 YPG, and fifth in total yardage at +57 per game, all of which helped Green Bay go a very profitable 12-3-1 against the spread.

These two teams last met during the preseason of 2006, when the Bengals won a 48-17 game in Cincy.

For Cincinnati, Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Harvard grad who saw some action as a rookie for the Rams in 2005, follows Carson Palmer on the quarterback depth chart. And Palmer’s brother Jordan, a second-year NFLer who did some nice things in college at UTEP, is listed third on the QB chart.

As you might have heard, Rodgers, the former Cal Bear who’s manned a clipboard for most of his first three seasons in the NFL, now heads the Green Bay QB depth chart followed by rookies Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn.

In five exhibition seasons under coach Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati is 10-10 straight up and 11-8-1 ATS, with the totals going 10-10.

In two exhibition seasons under coach Mike McCarthy, Green Bay is 3-5 SU and 3-4 ATS, with the totals going 5-2.

OddsMaker.com is also listing Cincinnati at +450 to win the AFC North this season, +2,200 to win the AFC, and +5,000 to win the Super Bowl in Tampa in February.

Green Bay is listed at +200 to win the NFC North this season, +1,000 to win the NFC, and +2,500 to win the Super Bowl.