Archive for January, 2010

Colts hit market as Super Bowl faves

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

After four months of a regular season narrowed the field to 12, and three weeks of playoff action reduced it to the final two, the NFL championship game, better known as the Super Bowl, is just over a week away.

The Indianapolis Colts, champions of the American Football Conference, will play the New Orleans Saints, champions of the National Football Conference, at Sun Life (formerly Land Shark, Dolphins, Pro Player, and Joe Robbie) Stadium in suburban Miami next Sunday for the right to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

But first, for the first time ever, the NFL will lead into Super Bowl week with the playing of the Pro Bowl, this Sunday also at Sun Life Stadium (7:20 pm Eastern, ESPN).

As of Wednesday night Oddsmaker.com is listing the NFC as a 1.5-point favorite over the AFC for Sunday’s Pro Bowl, with the OVER/UNDER pegged at 57.

But the lone remaining football game of this season that matters will be played next Sunday, Feb. 7. As of Wednesday evening Oddsmaker.com is chalking Indianapolis at -5.5 over New Orleans for next Sunday, with a total of 56.5.

Oddsmaker is also offering the Saints at +180 to win the game outright, with Indy giving -220 on the moneyline.

Three years ago the Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI in Miami for the franchise’s first league championship since the Baltimore Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in an error-filled Super Bowl V, also in Miami at the Orange Bowl.

On the other side of this matchup, New Orleans has never played in a Super Bowl in its 43 seasons of existence.

Just before this season started the Colts were getting +800 at Oddsmaker.com to win the AFC championship and +1,500 to win the Super Bowl. And Indy cashed in on the first of those propositions last Sunday when they beat the New York Jets 30-17 to claim their conference title.

The Saints went off as a +1,200 choice this season at Oddsmaker.com to win the NFC championship, and at +1,500 to win the Super Bowl. And they provided their backers with winning wagers on the first count when they outlasted the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday in overtime 31-28 to win their first-ever conference crown.

Trendwise, the AFC has won five of the last six Super Bowls. But the favorites are just 5-3 straight-up and 2-6 against the pointspreads over the last eight Super Bowls.

Bettors will also want to check out the Super Bowl 44 propositions board at Oddsmaker.com, which will offer a variety of wagering opportunities on both the game itself and some of the happenings surrounding it.

College Basketball Weekend Preview

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

With No. 1 teams dropping like flies lately, this season’s chase for the NCAA basketball championship seems as wide open as any in recent memory. And as teams pick up the pace in their respective conference races, it looks like we’re in for another splendid Saturday of college hoops this weekend.

The action begins, among other places, in the Big East Conference when Louisville and West Virginia meet in Morgantown (noon Eastern, ESPN). The Mountaineers are 5-2 in Big East play, but they’re only 7-11 vs. the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads this season. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are 4-3 in the conference and recently lost three straight games, and have covered just five of 15 pointspreads this season.

A couple of Top 10 teams step out of conference play as Duke and Georgetown meet at the Verizon Center in D.C. (1 pm E, CBS). The Blue Devils are 16-3, and all three of their defeats have come on the road. The Dukies are also, despite being a popular public pick, 12-6 ATS this season. The Hoyas, meanwhile, are 15-4, but three of those losses have come in their last seven games. And G-Town blew a big early lead Monday night and lost at Syracuse by 17 points.

The Big 12 features three interesting matchups Saturday. First, a pair of NCAA tournament hopefuls meet in Columbia when Missouri hosts Oklahoma State (2 E, ESPN). Then Baylor, trying to hunt down another Big Dance invitation, visits former No. 1 Texas (4 E). And finally, former and possible future No. 1 Kansas visits Kansas State, which beat the Longhorns when they were ranked No. 1 last week. (7 E, ESPN).

In the Big 10 Northwestern, trying to earn its first-ever NCAA tournament bid, goes looking for a trophy victory when it visits Michigan State (7 E). The Wildcats lost a tough one at Minnesota on Tuesday night, but they easily covered the spread as 12-point road dogs, and are 11-5 vs. the numbers this season. The Spartans are undefeated in the Big 10 at 8-0, and they’ve stayed perfect recently by squeaking out one-point road wins their last two games.

The Colonial Athletic conference features a first-place showdown when Old Dominion and Northeastern go at it up in Boston (4 E). Both teams went into mid-week at 8-1 in the conference, tied for first place along with George Mason.

Down in the SEC, Vanderbilt visits recently-deflowered Kentucky in a tussle for the top spot in the East Division (4 E, ESPN).

And the top two teams in the Ivy League so far this season hook up when Cornell hosts Harvard (7 E).

Kansas tops the betting on the Oddsmaker.com NCAA championship board at +200, followed by, among others, Kentucky at +300, Texas at +600, Michigan State at +800, Duke at +1,500, West Virginia at +1,800, Georgetown at +2,000, Louisville at +5,000, Kansas State at +6,000, Baylor and Missouri at +10,000, Vanderbilt at +12,500, and George Mason, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, and Old Dominion at +25,000.

NBA Week Preview

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

The field has passed the halfway mark in the 82-game marathon that is the NBA regular season, and several upstarts are putting on good performances. Here’s a quick look at some of this week’s Association action, featuring some of those longshots.

On Wednesday a couple of Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls meet north of the border when the Toronto Raptors host the Miami Heat (7 pm Eastern). Toronto beat the defending league champion Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday 106-105 to crawl back above .500 at 23-22, and they’ve won 12 of their last 17 games. The Raptors also own the six seed in the East.

The Heat started 6-1 this season, but have played three games under .500 since then. And they took one to the gut Monday night when LeBron James picked Dwyane Wade’s pocket and made a couple of free throws in the last 10 seconds to give the Cleveland Cavaliers a 92-91 victory.

Miami owns the five seed in the East at the moment, but they’ve got three teams, including Toronto, right on their rear end.

The Heat and Raptors have split two games already this season, and both those games went OVER their Oddsmaker.com totals.

Toronto opened this season as a +600 choice at Oddsmaker.com to win the Atlantic Division. As of Tuesday, in trailing the first-place Boston Celtics by 7.5 games in the Atlantic, Oddsmaker is offering the Raptors at +10,000 to win their division.

Also Wednesday the Northwest Division-leading Denver Nuggets, recent winners of seven games in a row, visit the Houston Rockets, who sit a half-game outside the Western Conference playoff cutline (8:30 E); the Southeast-leading Atlanta Hawks, winners of eight of their last 10, visit the San Antonio Spurs, losers of five of their last six (8:30 E); and the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers, who are tied, essentially, for the four spot in the West, hook up at the Rose Garden (10 E, NBATV).

Atlanta is a league-best 29-14 vs. the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads this season, while Utah is 26-16 vs. the numbers.

Thursday’s TNT-TV doubleheader gives up a couple of good conference matchups. In one, those Boston Celtics, which now trail Cleveland by four games in the battle for the best record in the East, visit the Orlando Magic, who themselves have lost eight of their last 12 games (8 E). And in the other, the Dallas Mavericks, leaders of the Southwest Division, visit the Phoenix Suns, who are in danger of slipping outside of the Western Conference playoff cutline (10:30 E).

The Celtics are just 17-25 vs. the pointspreads this season.

Friday’s 12-game Association slate is headlined by a battle of division leaders when Boston visits Atlanta (7:30 E). Also Friday the Oklahoma City Thunder, who sit a half-game outside the eight spot in the West, host Denver (8 E); and the Memphis Grizzlies, who have overcome a 1-8 start this season to now own the eight spot in the West, visit the Spurs (8:30 E).

OKC opened this season getting +2,500 at Oddsmaker.com to win the Northwest Division. As of Tuesday morning, as they trail first-place Denver by six games in the division, the Thunder are now listed at +400 to win the Northwest.

OK City is also 27-17 ATS this season.

And Memphis, which began the season getting +800 to win the Southwest Division at Oddsmaker.com, trails first-place Dallas by 4.5 games, and yet is now getting +5,000 to win its division title.

NFL Conference Championships

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

The NFL is down to its version of the Final Four, as we hit Conference Championship Sunday. First, the Indianapolis Colts and New York Jets meet at the Oil Can in the AFC Championship Game (3 pm Eastern, CBS). Then, down at the Superdome, the New Orleans Saints and Minnesota Vikings hook up to determine the NFC champion (6:40 pm E, Fox).

Back on Monday morning Oddsmaker.com was listing Indianapolis as 7.5-point favorites over New York, with a total of 40.5. As of Thursday morning Oddsmaker is still listing the Colts at -7.5, but the total has been dropped to 39.5.

Also, those who like the Jets to win outright can get them at +290 on the Oddsmaker.com moneyline.

Oddsmaker opened New Orleans at -4.5 over Minnesota, with a total of 53. And while the total has held steady into Thursday, the Vikings have been bet down to +3.5.

Minnesota is also being offered at +160 on the Oddsmaker.com moneyline.

The Colts and Jets just met four weeks ago in that now-infamous “Rest ‘Em” game, when Indianapolis, which was 14-0 at the time and had already clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, pulled many of its starters with a lead in the third quarter, allowing New York to come from behind for a 29-15 victory. With a win, the Colts may still be shooting for perfection. And without that win, the Jets probably wouldn’t be where they are today.

The Jets led the league in total defense this season, allowing just 252 YPG. And they held the offensive-minded San Diego Chargers to just two touchdowns in last week’s 17-14 AFC divisional-round victory.

New York rookie QB Mark Sanchez had his ups and downs during the regular season, and threw 20 interceptions. But in the first two playoff games of his NFL career – both wins – the former USC Trojan is 24-for-38 passing, with two TDs and one INT.

Of course, this Sunday he’s going against that guy named Manning, who just won his fourth league MVP award.

The Jets also led the league in rushing this season, and have run for 171 and 169 yards in their two playoff wins. And they’ll go against an Indy defense that ranked 24th vs. the run this season. However, the Colts held Baltimore’s potent running game to just 87 yards in last week’s 20-3 divisional-round victory over the Ravens.

New Orleans started 13-0 this season, then lost its last three games. But the Saints played with renewed enthusiasm last week in crushing the Arizona Cardinals 45-14 in an NFC divisional-round bout.

Minnesota also stumbled a bit down the stretch, going 2-3 to end their regular season after a 10-1 start. But the Vikes also looked rejuvenated in beating down the Dallas Cowboys in the other NFC divisional-rounder last week 34-3.

New Orleans led the league in total offense this season, averaging 404 YPG. And while they put up 418 yards of offense last week vs. Arizona, they probably could have gone for much more. But they’ll run into a bit stiffer test this weekend vs. the Vikings’ sixth-ranked defense.

The Vikes and Saints last met in Week 5 of last season, when Minnesota overcame two Reggie Bush punt return touchdowns to win 30-27 on a Monday night at the Superdome.

As of Thursday morning the Colts top Oddsmaker.com’s updated Super Bowl 44 betting board at +110, followed by the Saints at +200, the Vikings at +400, and the Jets at +800.

College Basketball Weekend Preview

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

It’s the time of the year when college hoops junkies look forward to Saturdays with such delight, as conference slates kick into high gear and games stretch from the morning hours until after midnight. Here’s a quick look at this Saturday’s happenings around college basketball.

The action begins, among other places, in the Big 10 when the sixth-ranked Michigan State Spartans visit Tubby Smith’s Minnesota Golden Gophers (noon Eastern, CBS). Coach Izzo’s boys, going into Wednesday night’s play, lead the Big 10 at 5-0, and they’re 4-1 vs. the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads in conference play. Minnesota, meanwhile, has lost two straight, and could use a win over a team like the Spartans to enhance its NCAA tournament resume.

Over in the Big East the fourth-ranked Villanova Wildcats hit NYC to take on the Red Storm of St. John’s (noon E, ESPN) at MSG. ‘Nova isn’t just a one-loss team; they’re 12-4 vs. the numbers this season. And they’re 11-5 on the Oddsmaker.com college basketball totals. On the other side, St. John’s is 12-5 overall, 2-3 in the Big East, 9-5 vs. the pointspreads, and 2-9 on the totals as they try to get back to the Big Dance for the first time in seven seasons.

A good non-conference border battle takes place in Morgantown when the 11th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers host the 21st-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes (2 pm E, CBS). Coach Huggins’ troops started 11-0 this season, but have lost three of their last five. OSU, meanwhile, is 4-1 both SU and ATS since getting forward Evan Turner back.

And another interesting interconference encounter will go down up in Hartford when the Connecticut Huskies, without ailing Coach Calhoun, host the top-ranked Texas Longhorns (4 pm E, CBS). UConn was expected to go through a bit of a rebuilding effort this season, and they’ve lost three straight games to drop out of the rankings. And the Huskies will have their hands full Saturday with Texas, which suffered its first loss of this season Monday night at Kansas State.

Also Saturday, the last undefeated team in the nation, the Kentucky Wildcats, look to reach 19-0 when they host the Arkansas Razorbacks (4 E) at Rupp Arena. Over in the Atlantic 10 the first-place Xavier Musketeers, who are 10-6 ATS this season, host the 14-2 Rhode Island Rams (6 E) at the Cintas Center. And down in the ACC the seventh-ranked Duke Blue Devils play host to the 17th-ranked Clemson Tigers at Cameron Indoor Insane Asylum (9 E, ESPN).

Basketball bettors might also want to check out the updated NCAA championship betting board at Oddsmaker.com. As of Wednesday morning Kansas tops the wagering at +200, followed by, among others, Texas at +300, Kentucky at +600, Michigan State and Villanova at +1,200, Duke at +1,500, Ohio State at +2,000, West Virginia at +2,500, Connecticut at +6,000, Clemson at +7,500, Minnesota at +12,500, Arkansas and Rhode Island at +20,000, and St. John’s and Xavier at +25,000.

NBA Week Preview

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

The NBA’s regular season hits the halfway point this week. And although familiar faces top divisional races, there are several pleasant surprises sprinkled in among the top eight teams in each conference. Here’s a quick look at some of this week’s more interesting action.

One of those surprises leads off Wednesday’s slate when Larry Brown’s Charlotte Bobcats, 20-19 through Monday’s play, host the 20-19 Miami Heat (7 pm Eastern). After a 3-9 start, Brown and the B-Cats have clawed their way above .500, winning five games in a row and eight of their last nine. Charlotte also finds itself two games on the safe side of the Eastern Conference playoff cutline, and is 24-15 against the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads this season, better than all but one other team.

Miami, meanwhile, after a 6-1 start, is now struggling to keep its head above water, losing seven of its last 11 games.

Charlotte beat the Heat a couple of weeks ago 107-97, shooting the lights out in the process.

Also Wednesday night the 22-18 Memphis Grizzlies, who are 23-16 ATS and 25-15 on the totals this season, play at the 21-19 New Orleans Hornets (8 E). And out West the 23-18 Utah Jazz, who are 23-16 vs. the numbers and 23-17 on the totals, visit the 25-15 San Antonio Spurs (9 E, ESPN).

Thursday’s TV doubleheader is led off by a possible NBA Finals preview when the defending league champion Los Angeles Lakers, the best team in the league again this season at 32-9, visit their old friend Shaq and his latest outfit, the 31-11 Cleveland Cavaliers, the top seed in the East at the moment (8 E, TNT). And later the other Los Angeles team, the 18-22 Clippers, visit the Northwest Division-leading and 26-14 Denver Nuggets (10:30 pm E, TNT).

Friday’s slate features a slew of good matchups.

In the East, Charlotte visits the 26-14 Atlanta Hawks, who have slipped past the Orlando Magic to take the lead in the Southeast Division (7:30 E). Atlanta is also a league-best 26-14 ATS this season.

The 25-17 Portland Trail Blazers, who only trail San Antonio by a game in the battle for the four seed in the West, visit the 27-12 but still KG-less Boston Celtics, who have lost seven of their last 11 and now lag 2.5 games behind Cleveland in the race for the top seed in the East (7:30 E).

Kobe and the Lakers hit The Apple to take on the 17-24 New York Knicks, who are two games out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot (8 E, ESPN).

A battle of upstarts takes place in Memphis when the Grizzlies host the 23-18 Oklahoma City Thunder (8 E). OKC, a team that won 23 games all of last season, is tied for the seven seed in the West, while the Grizz lurks just a half-game back of the Thunder.

Oklahoma City has also been a betting darling so far this season, going 25-16 vs. the numbers.

Down in Texas the Spurs host the 23-18 Houston Rockets, who are tied with the Thunder and Jazz for the 7-8-9 spots in the West (8:30 E).

And the 18-21 Chicago Bulls, owners of the eight spot in the East, visit the 24-18 Phoenix Suns, losers of four straight games but owners nonetheless of the six seed in the West (10:30 E, ESPN).

NFL Sunday Preview

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

After the Saints, Cardinals, Colts, and Ravens decide two of the spots in next week’s conference championship games this Saturday, four other teams will battle for the final two spots on Sunday.

First, in a matchup that brings back memories of 30-plus years ago involving guys named Staubach, Pearson, Tarkenton, and a Hail Mary, the Dallas Cowboys head north to take on the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC divisional-round bout at the Metrodome (1 E, Fox). Then out West, in a matchup of two of the original eight AFL franchises, the San Diego Chargers host the New York Jets for an AFC divisional-rounder at Qualcomm Stadium (4:40 E, CBS).

As of Thursday morning Oddsmaker.com is listing Minnesota at -2.5 over Dallas, with a total of 46. The Vikings are also being offered at -135 on the Oddsmaker.com NFL betting moneyline, with the Cowboys getting +115 to win the game outright.

Oddsmaker is also listing San Diego at -7.5 over New York, with a total of 42.5. And the Chargers are giving -330 on the moneyline, with the Jets getting +270 to win straight up.

Dallas is on a roll; after beating Philadelphia last week in an NFC Wild Card game 34-14, the NFC East champion Cowboys have won four straight games by a combined score of 99-31. And maybe just as importantly, they’ve gotten a couple of monkeys off their backs, such as the one that said Dallas can’t win past November, or the one that said Wade Phillips and Tony Romo can’t win a playoff game. Right now, with their defense and running game, the Pokes are a dangerous bunch.

Minnesota, meanwhile, will try to regain the momentum it had earlier this season, when the Vikes won 10 of their first 11 games. But the Purple People struggled a bit down the stretch, losing three of their last five games. They did, however, win the NFC North, and as the two seed in the NFC had last week off.

These two teams haven’t met in a game that mattered in a couple of seasons. They did meet in the final exhibition week last fall also at the Metrodome in a game won by the Cowboys 35-31 that featured four returns for scores, and no Brett Favre or Tony Romo.

Over in the AFC the Jets took advantage of a good game from rookie QB Mark Sanchez and 171 yards from their running game to beat Cincinnati last week 24-14 in a Wild Card bout. So New York has now won six of its last seven games.

San Diego rides an 11-game winning streak into the playoffs. And as the two seed in the AFC the Chargers had last week off.

The Jets and Bolts last met early last season, when San Diego spotted New York a quick 7-0 lead, then rolled to a 48-29 victory on a Monday night at The Q.

At Oddsmaker.com’s NFL futures betting market, the Chargers are listed at +140 to win the AFC championship, with the Jets at +1,000. On the other side of the bracket, the Vikings are getting +250 to win the NFC championship, the Cowboys +300.

And on Oddsmaker’s updated Super Bowl 44 betting board, San Diego is being offered at +300, Dallas and Minnesota are both at +600, and New York can be picked up at +2,000.

NFL Saturday Preview

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

The NFL is down to the last eight entrants on its Super Bowl 44 bracket. Divisional-round play this weekend will narrow the field down to the final four. Here’s a quick look at Saturday’s pair of games.

The weekend’s action begins Saturday in the NFC with what could be another scoring frenzy when the Arizona Cardinals, coming off that crazy win over Green Bay last week, fly with the top-seeded New Orleans Saints at the Superdome (4:30 pm Eastern, Fox). And in the Saturday nightcap over in the AFC the Baltimore Ravens, fresh off their upset of New England last week, will try to spring another surprise when they run up against the Indianapolis Colts at the Oil Can (8:15 E, CBS).

As of Wednesday morning Oddsmaker.com is listing New Orleans at -7 over Arizona, with a total of 57. The Saints are also being offered at -300 on Oddsmaker’s NFL betting moneyline, with the Cardinals getting +250 to win the game outright.

Indianapolis is listed at -6.5 over Baltimore at Oddsmaker, with a total of 44.5. And the Colts are giving -260 on the moneyline, with the Ravens getting +220 to pull another upset.

Arizona’s offense looked unstoppable last Sunday in that 51-45 overtime Wild Card win over the Packers, while its defense made just enough plays, including the game-winner. And the prospects for another shootout with the Saints, who had last week off, appears likely.

New Orleans started this season 13-0, but with the top seed in the NFC in its pocket, lost its last three games. The Saints haven’t played a game that actually mattered since falling to Dallas four weeks ago.

Baltimore simply outplayed New England last weekend in Foxboro, rushing for 234 yards and forcing four Patriots turnovers.

The Colts, meanwhile, will be trying to pick up where they left off about a month ago, after their powers that be decided to rest starters the last two games of the regular season, instead of shooting for 16-0.

These two teams met in what was a pretty good game in Baltimore back in Week 11, when the Colts stopped a late Ravens drive with an interception to hold on for a 17-15 victory.

The Cardinals, who are aiming for their second straight NFC championship, are listed at +700 at Oddsmaker.com’s updated futures market to do so. Arizona is also getting +1,500 to win the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl title.

New Orleans is listed as a +125 favorite at Oddsmaker to win its first-ever NFC championship, and at +300 to claim its first-ever Super Bowl crown. Baltimore is getting +600 to win the AFC championship at Oddsmaker, and +1,400 to win its second Super Bowl title. And Indy is listed as a +110 favorite at Oddsmaker to win the AFC title, and as +250 faves to win Super Bowl 44 down in Miami in three weeks.

NBA Week Preview

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

The annual cage battle for playoff positioning in the NBA’s Western Conference is already in all-out scrum mode, and we haven’t even hit the halfway mark of the regular season. Here’s a quick look at some of the goings on in the West this week.

Wednesday night the Oklahoma City Thunder, who own the eight seed in the West at the moment, host the San Antonio Spurs (8 pm Eastern). The Thunder are rolling, winning eight of their last 10 games, and with three more victories will surpass their win total of last season. OKC is also 22-15 against the Oddsmaker.com pointspreads, the second-best ATS mark in the league.

San Antonio, 17-4 over its last 21 games, owns the five spot in the West, and trails fourth-seeded Phoenix by just a half-game.

Also Wednesday the defending league champion Los Angeles Lakers, who also own the best record in the league so far this season, visit the Southwest Division-leading Dallas Mavericks (8:30 E). And the Northwest-leading Denver Nuggets host the Southeast-leading Orlando Magic (9 E).

Thursday’s slate features a rematch of an epic Eastern Conference playoff series of last spring when the Boston Celtics, leaders of the Atlantic Division, host the Chicago Bulls (8 E, TNT), who own the eight seed in the East. And back out in the West the Utah Jazz, who trail the Thunder by a half-game in the fight for the final Western Conference playoff spot, host the Central-leading Cleveland Cavaliers (10:30 E, TNT), the top seed in the East.

Utah is 22-16 vs. the numbers this season, fourth-best in the league.

Friday night’s action is headlined by a couple of good interconference matchups. Phoenix, which leads the league in scoring, visits the Atlanta Hawks (8 E, ESPN), who own the four seed in the East and the best ATS record in the league, 25-12.

The Thunder visit the Mavericks (8:30 E), who own the two seed in the West. And the Magic play the second game of a four-game road trip through parts West when they visit the injury-plagued Portland Trail Blazers (10:30 E, ESPN), who nonetheless own the six seed in the West at the moment.

As of Tuesday morning the Lakers top the Oddsmaker.com Western Conference championship betting board at -200. They’re followed by, among others, Dallas at +400, San Antonio at +800, Denver and Phoenix at +1,000, Portland at +1,500, Utah at +2,500, and Oklahoma City at +5,000.

And on Oddsmaker.com’s updated NBA championship board the Lakers lead the way at +150, followed by, among others, the Magic at +250, the Celtics at +300, the Cavs at +500, the Mavs at +800, the Suns at +1,200, the Spurs at +1,500, the Nuggets at +2,000, the Blazers at +3,000, the Hawks at +5,000, the Jazz and Rockets at +7,500, the Thunder at +10,000, and the Bulls at +15,000.

NFL Wild Card Weekend Preview

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

The NFL’s Wild Card playoff weekend might as well be called Re-Match Weekend, as three of the four games that will be played are re-runs from last week.

The action begins Saturday when the 9-7 New York Jets visit the 10-6 Cincinnati Bengals (4:30 pm Eastern, NBC). These two teams just met Sunday night, when the Jets pounded a disinterested Cincy 37-0.

As of Thursday morning Oddsmaker.com is listing the Bengals at -2.5 over New York, with a total of 34.5. The Jets are also getting +115 as the underdog on the Oddsmaker.com moneyline.

Saturday night the 11-5 Philadelphia Eagles head back to Texas to take on the 11-5 Dallas Cowboys (8 E, NBC). These two teams just met Sunday afternoon also in Arlington, as Dallas blanked Philly 24-0, earning a sweep of the season series between these division rivals.

As of Thursday morning the Cowboys are chalked at -4 over the Eagles at Oddsmaker, with a total of 45. Philly is also getting +170 on the moneyline.

Sunday’s action begins when the 10-6 New England Patriots host the 9-7 Baltimore Ravens (1 E, CBS). These two teams met back in Week 4 of this season, when the Pats held off Baltimore 27-21.

Oddsmaker.com is listing New England at -3.5 over the Ravens, with a total of 43. Baltimore is also getting +155 on the moneyline.

And Wild Card weekend comes to a close out in Arizona when the 11-5 Green Bay Packers visit the 10-6 Cardinals (4:40 E, Fox). These two teams also just met Sunday, as the Pack, playing its starters, beat a Kurt Warner-less Arizona 33-7.

This is the only Wild Card game that’s seen movement on the Oddsmaker.com betting lines. Earlier this week the Cardinals were favored by 2.5 points, with a total of 48. But as of Thursday morning Green Bay has been bet down to +1.

Bettors should also check out the updated NFL futures betting market at Oddsmaker.com. Earlier this week the Indianapolis Colts were listed as +120 favorites to win the AFC championship, followed by the San Diego Chargers at +180, the Patriots at +600, the Ravens at +1,200, and the Bengals and Jets at +2,000. As of Thursday morning, San Diego has been bet down to +150, while the price on Indianapolis has risen to +140. New England is still at +600, but the Bengals have been bet down to +1,500. And New York is now getting +2,500.

The New Orleans Saints opened as the favorites on Oddsmaker’s NFC betting board at +150, with the Minnesota Vikings at +300, and as of Thursday morning they remain there. But Dallas has been bet down from +500 to +400, and the Packers from +1,000 to +900. The Eagles and Cardinals both opened at +1,000, and remain there.

And on the Oddsmaker.com Super Bowl 44 betting board, the Colts opened as the favorites at +300, followed by the Saints and Chargers at +400, Vikings at +800, Cowboys at +900, Patriots at +1,000, Eagles at +1,500, Packers and Cardinals at +2,000, Ravens at +3,000, and the Bengals and Jets at +5,000.

As of Thursday AM Indy still tops the Oddsmaker Super Bowl board at +300, but San Diego is now the second choice at +350. New Orleans is still getting +400, while Minnesota has been bet down to +700 and Dallas to +800. New England has been bet up to +1,200 Philly to +2,000 and Arizona to +2,500, but Green Bay is now getting +1,600. And Baltimore is now listed at +2,500, Cincy at +4,000 and the Jets at +4,500.