Pro Football weekly

A look at NFL handicapping with the PFW editor lobbying to become Las Vegas bureau chief.

Friday rant: Niners turn to Dilfer. Sigh. (And avert ye eyes.)

Posted Nov. 16, 2007 @ midnight
So it turns out Niners QB Alex Smith and Mike Nolan can finally agree that Smith is too hurt to play this week vs. St. Louis. I like Nolan, and I think he can still succeed in San Francisco, but it's clear his third season with the club hasn't been up to anyone's expectations, and I have to wonder if a total collapse down the stretch will cost him his job. The ...

Sunday sightings: Three lines to watch

Posted Nov. 18, 2007 @ midnight
Three lines that caught my eye this morning:   1) St. Louis -3 (but at greater than -110 at some Vegas sportsbooks) at San Francisco. What, you mean the Niners' offense doesn't intrigue you? 2) Cleveland -2½ at Baltimore. TE Todd Heap, CB Samari Rolle are out for the Ravens. Fact: Browns are 3-0 SU and ATS as a road favorite since 1999. Yes, Cleveland rather fancies being a road bully. 3) New England ...

Week 12 Opening Bell: A short list of games in which the oddsmakers are begging you to take the points.

Posted Nov. 19, 2007 @ midnight
 1) N.Y. Jets (+14) at Dallas. Cowboys have played like Patriots Lite since facing the genuine article.   2) Atlanta (+12½) vs. Indianapolis. This line opened two points lower, but Atlanta has blown much of its credibility with fans and bettors after the Leftwich-Harrington QB shuffle and weak effort vs. Tampa on Sunday. But isn't taking the points the right thing to do, considering that the Colts of late have looked like they were ...

Update: The Patriots are likely to be favored by more than three TDs vs. the Eagles. Yes, you read that correctly.

Posted Nov. 19, 2007 @ midnight
Updated at 12:25 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2007  Before the Patriots-Bills game, New England was slated as a 17-point favorite vs. Philadelphia. Then New England clobbered 5-4 Buffalo by 46 points.   Now, the Patriots are 23½-point favorites against the Eagles, who could be without QB Donovan McNabb because of an ankle injury. The Las Vegas Hilton, the first Vegas hotel to release lines each week, installed New England as a ...

A few words on Thanksgiving totals while keeping an eye on that Pats line...

Posted Nov. 22, 2007 @ midnight
Packers-Lions: 47 Jets-Cowboys: 48 Colts-Falcons: 41. To me, the Packers-Lions total is on the high side; Green Bay's defense is solid, and I am not as crazy about Detroit's offense as others because of the Lions' shaky commitment to the run and the pass-protection issues. Also, Detroit's defense is improved. Jets-Cowboys seems about right, considering the Cowboys could score 30+ without much trouble. And the Indy-Atlanta O/U makes sense. The Under ...

Eagles-Patriots spread hits record level

Posted Nov. 25, 2007 @ midnight
The prevailing line for Sunday night's Eagles-Patriots game is 24½, and it's even hit 25 at a couple of Vegas sports books. Should the line close higher than 24, it will set a record for the highest recorded NFL spread. The Patriots' dominance, coupled with the absence of Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, has led to the line surging more than a touchdown higher than it was projected last Sunday night.

Favorites covering like crazy; will PHIL-NE line hit 26?

Posted Nov. 25, 2007 @ midnight
According to my count, eight favorites have covered in Week 12 as we kick off the late-afternnon games. The line for Eagles-Patriots continues to hover in the 24½-25-point range, and it's even hit 25½ over at BoDog, one of the most popular Internet sports books. With laying the points working well for bettors today, and with the Sunday-night game both a fave of those looking to get-out and ride the wave of a ...

Book it: Las Vegas rather liked the Eagles covering the 25-point spread

Posted Nov. 26, 2007 @ midnight
Just got off the phone with Jay Kornegay, the executive director of the race and sports book at the Las Vegas Hilton, and he confirmed my suspicion: Nevada's casinos didn't mind those rare, proud, few Eagles supporters cashing tickets last night, as the vast majority of bettors had backed New England. "It was a really good night for the sports books," he said. The Hilton line closed at Patriots minus-25, but even at ...

Week 13 Opening Bell: The Lions' big chance

Posted Nov. 27, 2007 @ midnight
The Vikings will likely get RB Adrian Peterson back this week and are 3½-point favorites against 6-5 Detroit. Minnesota is one of six NFC teams at 5-6 snapping at the heels of the Lions, who can put a big dent in the Vikings' playoff hopes with a second win over Minnesota. That would essentially put Detroit three games up on the Vikes with four games to play. A Lions win and a Bears loss ...

Week 14 Lines: Vikings, Browns favored by more than a FG on the road in December...

Posted Dec. 05, 2007 @ midnight
... who would have predicted that unless the Vikings were taking on the Ticats at Ivor Wynne and the Browns played the Roughriders at Regina for the vaunted Molson Cup? But here Minnesota is with a 6-6 record, the final wild-card spot in the NFC in its sights and only a taking-care-of-business trip at San Francisco away from having a winning record. The Niners? Who wants to bet on them? That's why you're out ...

Patriots favored by 24 vs. Jets...

Posted Dec. 10, 2007 @ midnight
The line opened at 26 on Sunday night. That's the highest NFL opening line in recent memory.  Everyone, it seemed, was on the Steelers on Sunday. Of course, the Pats disposed of them with ease after an early Pittsburgh challenge, and they looked like the team that rolled through Games One through 10. So the question is, who wants the Jets this week? It seems that the professional bettors are on the Jets, judging ...

Week 15 Opening Bell: The Dolphins' last chance for V-I-C-T-O-R-Y?

Posted Dec. 10, 2007 @ midnight
Pop quiz: When's the last time Kyle Boller won a road start? Anyone? Anyone? The year was 2004, and the opponent was the Jets, who were on the receiving end of what the Ravens had to hope was a sign of things to come: a comeback win led by Boller in a hostile setting. Well, we know how it's gone for Boller and the Ravens' offense since. Now the offense enters Week 15 ...

How high could that Dolphins-Patriots line go? And will weather be a factor in the First Annual Spygate Bowl?

Posted Dec. 11, 2007 @ midnight
There have been plenty of stories about the record spread for Patriots-Jets. This Newsday one is probably the best of the lot. It has a little pointspread history, too, and that's one of my favorite subjects. There could be another slew of features on next week's spread if the Patriots beat the Jets and the Ravens send the Dolphins to 0-14. The Las Vegas Hilton, which puts up the early line for the ...

Early line on Dolphins-Patriots: 22.5

Posted Dec. 12, 2007 @ midnight
That's the line the Las Vegas Hilton has set, according to Dave Tuley's always-solid View from Vegas blog.  

Recent history shows the Falcons may be up against it on Sunday...

Posted Dec. 13, 2007 @ midnight
Since 1990, teams led by interim head coaches making their season debut are 4-12-1 against the spread. For our purposes, the "interim" tag includes those coaches who had replaced field bosses who had been fired or had resigned or taken a leave of absence.*** Also, for purposes of this statistic, the "interim" tag also includes coaches who eventually earned the permanent job. The list of coaches came from combing the NFL Record and Fact Book ...

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