Friday, September 10, 2010

10 for the Weekend, Part Two

Ah, Week One of the NFL Season. That first Sunday is akin to Christmas morning. Conventional wisdom says it's the toughest week of all to bet, since your knowledge of each team is limited. Unconventional wisdom says it's the best week to take advantage of relatively tame point spreads. (as usual, home teams in CAPS)

Cincinnati (+4.5) over NEW ENGLAND
Tom Brady's car accident and contract notwithstanding, the Pats just don’t have the defense at the moment. T.O. and Ochocinco should have a day against the very inexperienced New England secondary, and last time we saw the Pats, they were getting the bowling-pin treatment from Ray Rice and the Ravens ground game in the playoffs. I still think the Patriots are overall the better team, but Cincinnati has enough defense (and possibly the best coordinator in the league in Mike Zimmer) to keep New England in the low 20s.

Indianapolis (-2.5) over HOUSTON
Ride the Colts until they buck ya. Houston is in its third year of being “the next up and coming team,” but I’m going to wait for them to actually beat Peyton Manning once before I ever bet on them to do so. If it were 3.5 I’d probably be scared away because this game has a good chance to be close, but the Colts giving less than a field goal is an inviting bet.

Oakland (+6.5) over TENNESSEE
Maybe this is the year the Raiders shed the doormat image. You can argue that no team underwent a bigger quarterback upgrade than Oakland did this year (because they went from “awful” in JaMarcus Russell to “average” with Jason Campbell), plus their defense has quietly been built into a respectable unit. You don’t expect Vince Young to accomplish hardly anything through the air in the game, and a team that has to win by running many times ends up playing close games. I’d still be a little surprised if the Raiders won, but a 20-16ish game smells right.

Green Bay (-3) over PHILADELPHIA
This is a case of the Week 1 tame lines. If this game were to be played in Week 7, the Pack would be a 7-7.5 point favorite in Philly. Give the 3 all day and all night. The Green Bay offense has the ability to put up some pinball numbers and the Eagles did not upgrade their defense in its problematic areas (the sans-blitz pass rush and the straight-ahead run game). Throw in Kevin Kolb playing with some real expectations for the first time and you could easily see the crowd booing and chanting for Michael Vick if Kolb is 1 for 7 in the second quarter.

Baltimore (+2) over NY JETS (Monday Night)
Don’t believe the hype just yet with Gang Green. Believe the hype with Baltimore. The Jets insist they can win all their games 16-13, but the Ravens should be able to get to 20 points in this game, which is a taller order for the Jets. I don’t know if they trust Mark Sanchez enough yet to try to win the game by taking advantage of Ed Reed’s absence, and simply running Shonn Greene between the tackles won’t be enough.

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