7 of 16 games today have point spread 8.5 or above. Three more have point spreads of 7 or more. Ten of 16 games require you to lay 7 or more if you fancy the favorite.
We lost last week on the 49ers. This week they get 3 while traveling to St. Louis. The o/u is 45. Sticking with our theory that the 49ers will surprise people this year, we like San Fran +3, but the better play here is under 45. Neither team’s offense is clicking. 49er’s +3 and under 45.
Seattle goes to Arizona. The last time these two teams met, in December of last year, the Cardinals shocked the Seahawks 27-21. The Cardinals are favoured by 2.5, but again, we like the under 45 here. That is against the trend, but we like the pick because of the good Seahawks Defense against pretty boy Matt Leinart who is clearly struggling learning the Ken Whizenhut Offense. When a QB is confused, teams tend to run the ball. Under 45 again.
San Diego travels to NE to play the Cheaters. The line is Cheaters minus 3.5. You have to take Bill Cheater and his Cheaters when they are home and giving up less than 7. The Cheaters put this week’s controversy behind them; they have removed all the bugs and wiretaps in the visiting team’s locker room, the visiting teams’ Gatorade is no longer spiked with sleeping pills, and as much as we hate to say it, the Cheaters are still one of the two best teams in the league (right up there with those never say die Brownies). The Chargers are the third or fourth best team ( second or third if you only count teams that don’t cheat) but Karma isn’t enough today as the evil genius and his cheaters pound, and we mean pound, the well meaning but hapless fair playing Chargers. NE Cheaters -3.5.
Saints go to Tampa Bay and the o/u is 42. The trend is that Over has prevailed the last 3 meetings between these two teams. What does Rumpole do with trends? He chews them up like prosecutors that won't waive minimum mandatories and spits them out. Take the under 42. Tampa runs the much discussed Tampa-2 D (which is, as most football historians know, the 70’s Steelers Cover 2 D, which Tony Dungy learned from Chuck Noll when he played and coached in Pittsburgh). We don’t like the Cover 2 D, but its obviously easy to be successful at it when half your starting defense is in the Hall of Fame. While the Bucs don't have that, they do play D very well. Saints are overrated.
Wanna get crazy? The Colts go to Tennessee where the home team Titans are 7 ½ point under dogs. Ask Tony Dungy which team, year in year out, gives him the most problems? The Cheaters? Nah. The Dolphins? Hahaha. It is Jeff Fisher and his resurgent Titans. With Vick in the dog pound, Vince Young takes over as the most exciting QB in the league. Fisher has built his Titans to run and pound the rock, as they did last week, churning up 280+ yards against one of the best run defenses in the league. Peyton Manning can point and yell and change the play a dozen times at the line of scrimmage, but every time Young takes a snap he is the only player on the field who can score at any time from any type of field position. Wanna take a flyer? Laugh at those 7 ½ points and TAKE THE TITANS AND THE MONEY LINE. Yup, play for the upset and bet 100 crackers to win 360 straight up. Wow! Can Rumpole really call the upset of the year? We shall see. Everything is against it. The Colts have had ten days to prepare. They are the defending champions. And yet, Jeff Fisher is the most underrated coach in the league (it was not that long ago his Titans lost a Super Bowl by two yards) and he has one of the two most explosive players in the league (give LT of the Chargers his props). That adds up to a team that will be in most games long into the fourth quarter. Don’t bet the mortgage here. Don’t even bet one of Markus’s fees, a Rumpole fee would be more than enough to have some fun with here.
52nd Street Irwin’s tip of the week: Lines are set to accomplish one thing and one thing only: to give the book an equal amount of players on either side of the game. If 10 people pick the dolphins for 100 this week and 10 people pick the Cowboys for a 100, then the book makes an automatic 100 as he gets 10% of the losing bet, and one team has to win. Some people think that some books may manipulate the line because they have inside information. For instance, if the Colts were playing the Browns at home this week, and the line was Browns -7 (Cleveland favored by a touchdown!!!!!?????) some people believe that the book, by forcing you to take the Colts, has some inside information that the entire Indy team has the flu. Irwin says, that is not necessarily the case, although the issue bears further inspection. When you see a line out of wack, what it means is that somebody (more likely a whole bunch of people) like one team a lot more. The Book is still just trying to get people to bet the other way just to keep the money they are taking on each team roughly even. Then the question is whether the money moving the line is from insider money, or just a bunch of rabid fans. If you are a natural contrarian like Rumpole, then you might just want to sniff out the inside money and go with them. In our example that would mean taking a deep breath and taking the Browns -7. Somebody has put so much down on them that the Books are forced to move the line to force people to take the Colts. The question is why?
Feet of Clay Kaiser: Jaguars
Miguel De La O: Jaguars
52nd Street Irwin: Steelers.
It's going to be awful lonely if the Jags drop a second straight at home.
THIS WEEK ON THE BLOG: More on the upcoming event by the 11th Circuit Historical Society.