NFL's Week 8 betting and fantasy update
By QMI AGENCY
|New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez (R) celebrates his touchdown against the New York Giants with teammate Wes Welker. Hernandez is out this week against the Rams. (Reuters)
The New York Giants seem to have some serious momentum in bettors’ minds. After opening as road underdogs to Dallas and bettors quickly hammered them up to 21/2-point favourites. The latter might not be the greatest thing for the Giants as ’dogs tend to have their day in this division rivalry, covering the pointspread in six of the past seven meetings. Though the Cowboys seem to make you sweat every time you pick them, they are reasonable as a home underdog, going 24-10 vs. the spread in that situation since 1990 ... While there isn’t a lot to love about either the Titans or the Colts this year, Tennessee is a 31/2 point home favourite this week. Probable reason? The Colts have not won a road game since 2010 and their two away from their home dome this season have resulted in combined losses of more than 40 points ... The Titans, meanwhile, are favoured for the first time this season after back-to-back nailbiter wins over the Steelers and Bills ... Why are the Browns just 21/2-point ’dogs over San Diego this week? Home field accounts for part of it as does the Chargers ridiculous collapse against Denver last time out. But also a factor is that even though the Browns have won just once in their past 13 contests, they have covered in nine of them ... We know the Seattle Seahawks are a much better bet at home (and when the officials or opposing coaches are helping along the process of covering the spread.) But now they are 21/2-point road underdogs to a Detroit Lions team that hasn’t covered the previous six times they have been favoured ... The Falcons may be the lone remaining undefeated team but all that gets them is three-point road underdogs to the erratic Eagles. The biggest reason we can see is that over the past 10 seasons, Philly is an impressive 8-2 vs. the spread and 10-0 straight up after their bye week ... Tough to figure out the Jets week to week, but we do know this: They are 3-0 vs. the spread when favoured. The Jets are in that group again as the 21/2-point home choice over division rival Miami ... You would prefer if they were giving up less than a touchdown, but the Bears (the 71/2 pick over Carolina today) are solid as faves going 10-3-1 in their past 14.
RANDALL THE HANDLE’s
According to the Chinese Zodiac, 2012 is the year of the Dragon. According to the football zodiac, it is the year of the ‘dog’. Much has been made about the unusually high percentage of underdog covers this year as ‘doggies’ have taken the money in an incredibly high 62.8% of this year’s game.
Even more astounding is that in a sport where significant weight is given to home teams, we find out just how powerful the pointspread really is. Of the 105 games played thus far, the visiting team has been the underdog 68 times. Of those 68 contests, the visiting underdog has won the game straight up just 23 times (33.8%) while losing 45 times. Now let’s factor in the almighty pointspread. Those same 68 games has the underdog covering 42 times, compared to 23 non-covers and three pushes, a ticket cashing rate of 64.6%. A correction in these extraordinary numbers is forthcoming but as to where and when that might happen is anybody’s guess.
Monday night’s game between the Lions and Bears produced an interesting result. Chicago was a six-pt choice for most of the week but closed as the 6½-point fave by kickoff. The Lions stumbled and bumbled their way around as they typically do, trailing 13-0 for most of the game after squandering several scoring chances. Chicago backers desperately prayed for just one more score, any score, from their side knowing that the back door was invitingly wide open. The final two minutes were excruciating no matter which side you were on. In the end, Detroit did manage a touchdown with :30 seconds remaining, despite some obstacles along the way. With a final score of 13-7, no Bears backers won, some did push while Detroit supporters either won their bet or at very least, pushed. Textbook stuff for why you don’t play on a game if you miss the best number.
The NBA opens its 2012-13 season this week. Unlike the NFL where there is a laundry list of teams that can win the championship, the NBA has no more than four or five that can take their crown and 25 that absolutely cannot. The Miami Heat is co-favoured to repeat as champs at odds of 2-1. The Los Angeles Lakers are listed at the same 2-1. The Oklahoma Sooners, last year’s Western champs sit at 3½-1. Then comes a drop off to the Spurs at 12-1 and the Bulls (minus Derrick Rose for an indefinite time) at 18-1. After that, lottery money is paid on the rest of the field.
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Dan Bilicki’s FANTASY UPDATE
After playing the past two weeks with a balky ankle, Aaron Hernandez won’t be suiting up for the Pats when they face the Rams. He suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 2 and missed the next three games. New England has a bye next week, giving the tight end plenty of time to recover before facing the Bills.
n DeMarco Murray will be sidelined again with his foot injury, but that doesn’t mean that Felix Jones is great play for the Cowboys. Jones is nursing a knee injury and is listed as questionable. The next back on Dallas’ depth chart is Phillip Tanner, who hasn’t impressed in his limited playing time.
BE A SURVIVOR
While it’s never fun to bet against the thrilling Robert Griffin III, it should be safe to do so this week in your survivor pool. RG3 lost his top receiver last week with Fred Davis rupturing his Achilles. Plus, the Redskins’ pass defence should get lit up by Ben Roethlisberger and Co.
Since losing QB Kevin Kolb to a rib injury, the Arizona Cardinals have not looked like the same team that raced out to a 4-0 record. Visiting San Francisco will not cure what ails them. The Niners should have no problem stuffing their run and passing attacks.
If there’s one thing that Cam Newton doesn’t do – there are apparently many – it’s beat good teams. The Chicago Bears are better than a good team. Also, Newton is just 7-15 as a starter in the NFL, much in contrast to his 25-1 record in college.