Archive for November, 2008

NFL Betting: Titans at Jaguars

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The Tennessee Titans are the last undefeated team in the NFL this season and if you want to call what they’re doing “winning ugly,” so be it. At a lofty 9-0 Tennessee owns a four-game lead in the AFC South, and more importantly, a three-game lead in the race for the best record in the conference. Which, of course, is how one earns home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Titans have a few more tests to pass, though, before winning anything and one of those comes this Sunday when they visit Jacksonville for what should be a tough divisional clash with a desperate Jaguars team.

OddsMaker is listing Tennessee as three-point road chalk for Sunday’s game (4:15PM ET, CBS), with a total of 39.5.

The Titans opened this season with a 17-10 win over the Jags in Nashville, a game in which they were three-point home underdogs. And Tennessee still hasn’t lost yet this season, although things have gotten tight lately. Two weeks ago the Titans needed overtime to beat Green Bay. And last Sunday, Tennessee held off a late drive by the Bears to win 21-14 in Chicago.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville has struggled mightily to live up to preseason expectations, and sits at 4-5 and in big danger of missing the playoffs. The Jags are, however, coming off a 38-14 victory last week, albeit over the winless Lions.

The Titans won that season opener over the Jaguars by holding a supposedly potent Jacksonville running game to 33 yards, and running for 137 yards themselves. To be fair, the Jags were hamstrung by an injury-depleted offensive line, and that wound still hasn’t healed. Tennessee bulled its way to a 17-7 lead late in the game, and changed quarterbacks in the process, sitting an injured Vince Young and inserting veteran Kerry Collins. And it’s been that way ever since.

The Titans won last week despite rushing for just 20 yards. But Collins went 30/41 passing for nearly 300 yards and a couple of TDs, and didn’t throw an interception.

Jacksonville has five losses this season – by seven points, four, five, six and two points. In fact, despite the losing record, the Jags have outscored opponents on the season by 12 points.

These division rivals have split their season series the last two seasons. And even though three of the last five meetings in this series have gone over the totals, those five games have only averaged 35 points.

This season, the totals are 4-5 in Titans games, which are averaging 37 points, and 4-4-1 in Jags games, which are averaging 43 points. Overall, NFL totals have gone 73-66 so far this season, as the games have averaged 44 points.

Through the first 10 weeks of this regular season, NFL home underdogs are 16-27 straight up, and 18-25 vs. the spread. And divisional home dogs are 4-10 SU, and 5-9 ATS.

OddsMaker is also listing Tennessee as +180 favorites on its updated AFC championship betting board, and +600 to win Super Bowl XLIII down in Tampa in February. Jacksonville is getting +2200 to win the AFC at OddsMaker, and +5000 to win the Super Bowl.

College Football: Weekend Preview

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

This weekend’s college football action features a couple of Top-10 teams looking for revenge a year after suffering big upsets. The Ohio State Buckeyes were on their way to going undefeated last year, at least until Juice Williams and Illinois came to Columbus and ran past OSU 28-21 as two-touchdown underdogs. This Saturday, OddsMaker is listing the 8-2 Buckeyes as 10-point favorites over the 5-5 Illini in Champaign (12:00PM ET).

Out in the Pac-10, Southern Cal heads to The Farm Saturday to take on Stanford, a year after falling as 40-point chalk to the Cardinal in the Coliseum in one of the biggest shockers in college football history. This year, with the 8-1 Trojans chasing down a BCS championship game berth, and Stanford at 5-5 overall and 4-3 in the conference, OddsMaker has USC listed as 23-point chalk over Jim Harbaugh’s troops (7:00PM ET).

In true form, it wasn’t really much of an upset last year when Navy went into South Bend and beat Notre Dame for the first time since Roger Staubach was dodging defenders back in the early 1960s. The Irish were going through a 3-9 campaign, while the Middies were on their way to a fifth straight bowl berth.

This year, ND is 5-4, but they’ve lost three of their last four games, and got shut out at Boston College last week. Meanwhile, Navy is 6-3 in their first season since head coach Paul Johnson took his option attack to Georgia Tech. Last year, the Irish were 3-point favorites over the Middies. This Saturday (12pm Eastern), OddsMaker is listing Notre Dame as 3.5-point chalk over Navy.

In a Big 10 border battle, the Wisconsin Badgers, having their worst season in years, host Minnesota’s Golden Gophers in the annual contest for Paul Bunyan’s ax (3:30PM ET). Wisconsin had high hopes earlier this season, but lost its first four conference games, three of which they basically gave away at the end. Minnesota, meanwhile, started 7-1, but has lost its last two games, both at home. The Badgers also own a four-game winning streak in this rivalry.

OddsMaker is listing Wisconsin as 13.5-point chalk for Saturday’s game against the Gophers at Camp Randall.

Amongst national championship contenders this weekend; 10-0 Alabama is favored by 20 points – and going up – for its game in Tuscaloosa Saturday vs. 3-6 Mississippi State (7:45PM ET); 9-1 Texas is giving 4-6 Kansas State 13.5 points for their game Saturday in Manhattan (12:30PM ET); and 8-1 Florida is giving the ol’ coach and his 7-3 South Carolina Gamecocks 21 points for their game in Columbia (3:30PM ET).

Texas Tech and Oklahoma both have this weekend off, going into their Big 12 showdown in Norman next weekend. OddsMaker is listing the 9-1 Sooners at +400 on its updated BCS championship betting board, while the 10-0 Red Raiders can be picked up at +500.

Finally, out in the Mountain West, 9-1 BYU is a 4-point favorite on the road for their game at 8-2 Air Force on Saturday (3:30PM ET).

NFL Betting: Packers at Vikings

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

An old Black-and-Blue Division rivalry plays out its latest chapter when the Green Bay Packers make their annual trek across the state and into the Land of 10,000 Lakes to take on the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome (1:00PM ET, FOX).

OddsMaker is listing Minnesota as 2.5-point home chalk for Sunday’s game, with a total of 45.5. The Vikes are also listed at -135 on the OddsMaker moneyline, with the Pack getting +115 as the road underdogs.

Green Bay opened this season, and the Aaron Rodgers era, with consecutive wins including an opening-weekend victory over Minnesota. But the Pack then lost three in a row. GB then bounced back to win back-to-back games, but lost a tough one in overtime last Sunday at Tennessee 19-16.

Minnesota, meanwhile, started this season 0-2 and then switched starting QBs, replacing Tarvaris Jackson with veteran journeyman Gus Frerotte. The Vikings have gone 4-2 since, including a 28-21 win last week at home over Houston.

So going into this weekend’s action, Green Bay and Minnesota are tied for second place in the NFC North at 4-4, a game behind the division-leading Chicago Bears.

As mentioned above, these two teams opened the season against each other when Green Bay held on for a 24-19 win on a Monday night at Lambeau Field. In fact, the Packers have won five straight games in the series with the Vikings, after sweeping the season series the last two years.

And after years of futility, Green Bay has discovered success recently at the Metrodome, winning four of the last five games played there.

The key to Sunday’s game will predictably lie with the respective running games, which would seem to bode well for Minnesota. The Vikings are, on average, outrushing opponents this season by a 135-70 yards-per-game margin. On the other side of this matchup, the Packers are getting outgrounded by a 146-101 per-game average.

Over the course of this season and last year, Minnesota is 8-4 straight up and 6-6 against the spread at home. During that same span, the Packers are 8-4 SU and 9-3 ATS on the road.

On the injury front, Vikings DE Jared Allen – who led the league in sacks last season playing for Kansas City – is dealing with a bad shoulder, and as of Wednesday morning his status for Sunday’s game is uncertain.

The over/unders have gone 5-2-1 so far this season in Packers games, which are averaging 48.5 total points. Meanwhile, the totals are 5-3 in Vikings games this season, which are averaging 46 points.

OddsMaker is also listing both the Packers and the Vikings (as well as the Bears) at +150 on its updated NFC North championship betting board. Also, all three of those teams are getting +1000 on the OddsMaker NFC championship board, and all are listed at +2500 to win Super Bowl XLIII in February.

NFL Betting: Titans at Bears

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

The Tennessee Titans remained the only undefeated team in the NFL with an overtime win over Green Bay last week. This week, Jeff Fisher’s 8-0 squad will try to keep its record clean with another bout vs. an NFC North team when they hit Chicago to take on the 5-3 Bears on Sunday afternoon (1:00PM ET, CBS).

OddsMaker is listing the Titans as three-point road favorites for Sunday’s game, with a total of 38.5. Tennessee is also listed at -155 on the OddsMaker moneyline, with Chicago getting +135 as an underdog at home.

The Titans had their hands full last Sunday with a Packer team that moved the ball pretty well against a stout Tennessee defense. But in crunch time in OT, it was the Titans who took the kickoff and moved neatly down the field and into field-goal range, where Rob Bironas, one of the best in the business, drilled the game-winner.

That three-point victory, however, was not enough to keep the Titans perfect on the season against the spread. They’re now 7-1 vs. the numbers this year, after failing to cover the 3.5 vs. Green Bay.

So through the first half of this season, Tennessee already leads the AFC South by four games over the second-place Indianapolis Colts.

The Bears, meanwhile, took over first place by themselves in the NFC North with a come-from-behind win over Detroit last Sunday. Chicago grabbed a 10-0 lead over the winless Lions, but allowed Detroit to take a 23-13 lead into halftime. And they lost starting QB Kyle Orton to an ankle injury in the second quarter. Former starter Rex Grossman came in as his replacement, the Bears defense managed to keep Detroit scoreless in the second half, and two touchdowns later Chicago had escaped with a 27-23 win.

However, they too couldn’t cover a spread as home favorites, whiffing as 13-point chalk.

With Orton expected to miss the next few weeks, Grossman is again the starter at QB for Chicago.

The Titans have caught some flak for beating up on a “weak” set of teams so far this season. But they own wins over Jacksonville, Minnesota, Baltimore, the Colts and the Packers, playoff contenders every one.

The Bears have also beaten the Colts and Vikings this season, as well as the Eagles.

Tennessee only ranks 21st in the league this season in total offense, but the running game ranks fourth at 149 YPG. And while veteran QB Kerry Collins, who took over for Vince Young in Week 2, doesn’t necessarily dazzle, he’s fairly efficient and is making the key throws that keep drives going.

The Titans defense ranks seventh overall, 10th vs. the run at 92 YPG and leads the league in points allowed at just 13 a game.

Chicago, meanwhile, ranks 15th in total offense and 11th in rushing at 115 YPG. And the Bears defense ranks 18th overall and sixth vs. the run at 82 YPG.

These two teams last met in November of 2004 when the Bears, quarterbacked by Craig Krenzel, beat Billy Volek and the Titans 19-17 on a safety in overtime.

The totals are 4-4 in both Titans and Bears games this season. But while Tennessee games have averaged 38 total points, Chicago games have averaged 49.5 points.

So far this season NFL home underdogs are 16-24 straight up and 18-22 against the spread.

OddsMaker is also listing Tennessee at -5000 to win the AFC South this season, +200 to win the AFC championship, and +600 to win Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa in February.

Chicago is listed at +150 on the updated OddsMaker NFC North betting board, +1000 to win the NFC, and +2500 to win the Super Bowl.