Pro Football weekly

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

Stat of the week: Colts aren't (regular-season) closers

Posted Dec. 18, 2007 @ midnight
In all five of Tony Dungy's seasons with the Colts, Indianapolis has failed to cover its last two regular-season games.   

Thursday trifecta: Another round of weather games?

Posted Dec. 20, 2007 @ midnight
1) The weather was a major factor in Week 15. There was an all-time snow game in Cleveland. The wind wrought havoc in Charlotte and in East Rutherford, N.J. Bad weather could again be a major storyline in Week 16, especially for the Giants-Bills tilt at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Sunday afternoon.   2) Bowl season kicks off tonight, with Utah playing Navy in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Bowl season has ...

Week 16 weather, injury update

Posted Dec. 22, 2007 @ midnight
 Here's the late injury report. And here's some weather situations to watch: ↔ Lake Effect Snow Watch, High Wind Watch, 100 percent chance of precipitation in Orchard Park, N.Y. tomorrow. T-storms, then rain, and strong winds throughout could mark Giants-Bills.   ↔ The rain will be over by kickoff of Browns-Bengals, but windy conditions will ensue. ↔ Big, big winds at Soldier Field. ↔ A little windy in Foxboro, but not so bad for December. ↔ Chance of ...

Week 17 Opening Bell: When starters are expected to rest, chaos reigns

Posted Dec. 24, 2007 @ midnight
Welcome to the final week of the regular season, where linemaking seems to be part art, part feel, part throwing something to the wall and seeing if it sticks. That's no offense at all to the folks at the LVSC or the hardworking oddsmakers throughout Las Vegas. It's just that 16 weeks of data on the 32 NFL teams can go flying out the window when it comes to finding the right number ...

Who's trying now?

Posted Dec. 29, 2007 @ midnight
Since the final week of the regular season is all about trying to figure out who's going to play hard, who's going to let the first-string wear baseball caps on the sidelines — and who's going to flat-out quit if the going gets tough — let's indulge in the highly speculative exercise of trying to figure out who fits into each category. A game-by-game look: Patriots at Giants: The Patriots are going for ...

Wild-card line discussion

Posted Jan. 04, 2008 @ midnight
Jacksonville is now a three-point road favorite vs. Pittsburgh, which isn't all that surprising, given that the "Steelers have no chance" angle is so popular this week. I doubt it will get to 3½; Pittsburgh is vulnerable, but I'd have to think that the extra half-point would attract much more Steelers money than Jags money. Minus-3 seems like it would draw action on both sides. If the line exceeds a field goal, that ...

Interesting Norv Turner statistic; opening lines for the divisional round

Posted Jan. 06, 2008 @ midnight
I'm well aware that the Chargers-Titans line finished as high as 11 today, but if San Diego backers got onboard earlier in the week, they nabbed a W with San Diego's 17-6 win vs. Tennessee. With the win (which, again, may be a push for some folks), Turner-coached teams ran their record to 3-0 ATS in playoff games.  OK, so maybe that's not all that exciting, but I found it interesting, given ...

Patriots, Colts getting lots of play early

Posted Jan. 07, 2008 @ midnight
If you think the Jaguars are capable of giving the Patriots a game, you are getting a nice price. New England is favored from 13-to-13½ points. The same goes for those Chargers backers out there. San Diego, which last failed to cover when it lost to Jacksonville on Nov. 18, is an 8½-to-9-point underdog. Stephen Nover has a good piece on the divisional-round lines.  

An incentive to bet the Cowboys? Wow.

Posted Jan. 10, 2008 @ midnight
If you were to walk into Caesars Palace right now to wager on the Cowboys, you could go up to the counter, bet your, say, $20, and lock in Dallas as a 7½-point favorite —at even-money. Yes, the Caesars properties have lowered the standard -110 vig (where one would bet $20 to win $18 and pocket change) to +100 (wagering $20 to win $20, or $40 total, unless you just have to bet an ...

Sunday morning update: Colts now favored by more than 10; Cowboys favored by a TD

Posted Jan. 13, 2008 @ midnight
Remember when one of the dominant topics of discussion of the preseason was how the AFC's big three teams (New England, Indianapolis, San Diego) towered over the other 29 teams? Ancient history, apparently, judging from the Chargers-Colts line.   I never thought the Indy-SD spread would hit 10, but it's even plowed past that, to 10½ and 11. I keep hearing the Chargers are a favorite of the betting public, but that isn't ...

Conference-Title Games Opening Bell: Chargers again huge underdogs

Posted Jan. 13, 2008 @ midnight
You have to think the sportsbooks had to be thrilled with the Chargers' 28-24 upset of Indianapolis. The line opened at Indianapolis minus-7½, and no shortage of Colts' backers drove the number to minus-11 by kickoff. Now the Chargers get their second shot at New England. The first matchup, days after the "Spygate" scandal, saw the Patriots play with emotion and with the incredible skill that has marked their '07 campaign. The Chargers looked stunned ...

Ice Bowl II?

Posted Jan. 15, 2008 @ midnight
Last week, there was an interesting story of the Lambeau Field beer vendor who's been on the job for 45 years. When he worked the Ice Bowl, he said, beer sales were less than expected because the beer, when poured, "froze then and there." A little more than 40 years later, we could see something similar to the Ice Bowl. One early forecast for Giants-Packers on Sunday night calls for frigid temperatures. However, Weather ...

Playing the role of money-burners, the New England Patriots...

Posted Jan. 16, 2008 @ midnight
Of the four teams left in the playoffs, three have been great to bettors since November. The other has Tom Brady at quarterback. Since November, the Patriots have covered only twice: a 56-10 win at Buffalo on Nov. 18 and a 34-13 romp vs. Pittsburgh on Dec. 9 (when so many folks were insisting the Pats were finally vulnerable). The Patriots haven't covered since. Why is this happening? For one, the oddsmakers have made ...

Historically, big favorites have cleaned up in the conference-title round -- but not so in the last 10 years

Posted Jan. 18, 2008 @ midnight
Since 1977, favorites of 7 points or more are 17-10 against the spread in conference-championship games. However, since 1997, only two favorites laying a TD or more have covered in this round: the '98 Broncos, who beat the Jets 23-10 as 8½ point favorites and the '02 Raiders, who beat the Titans 41-24 as nine-point faves. Five other such favorites have not covered, and three of this ilk have lost outright: the '98 Vikings (-10 ...

Super Bowl XLII: Patriots favored by 12; early money on Giants

Posted Jan. 21, 2008 @ midnight
When we went to press last night, the Patriots were anywhere from 12½-13½ point favorites against the Giants, but that number has dropped to 12, and 11½ is out there, too. Seemingly everybody knows the Patriots haven't covered since the second weekend in December. Included in this span: a 38-35 win as 13½-point favorites vs. the Giants in Week 17. I'll be here all week with more facts and figures on ...