Pro Football weekly

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

About that Colts-Bills line...

Posted Dec. 30, 2009 @ 11:32 a.m.
The Colts-Bills game is one of three widely off the board at Nevada sportsbooks as of Wednesday morning, and if that surprises you, put yourself into an oddsmaker's shoes for a moment. How do you set a line for this game? Consider all of these moving parts:  — The Colts are going to rest starters. QB Peyton Manning figures to start, but he'll give way quickly to Curtis Painter. How long other starters, or ...

Bills favored by six vs. Colts

Posted Dec. 30, 2009 @ 1:03 p.m.
We now have lines for all 16 Week 17 games. The Stations casinos in Nevada have installed the Bills as six-point home favorites vs. the Colts, the Panthers as 4½-point home favorites vs. the Saints and the Steelers as three-point road favorites vs. the Dolphins, according to a scan of the lines at The Saints figure to be resting some starters Sunday after clinching the No. 1 seed in the NFC, while ...

Snow, wind could be a factor in several games Sunday

Posted Jan. 03, 2010 @ 12:06 a.m.
Like snow? Sunday's Colts-Bills game will be right up your alley. The forecast for Orchard Park, N.Y. calls for a 'near 100 percent' chance of snow and northwest winds of 20-30 mph. Three-to-six inches of snow could fall Sunday. Not surprisingly, the Over-Under is hovering in the 31½-to-33 range at last check. The Colts are very likely to rest a lot of starters, and the Bills, who are eight-point favorites, don't ...

Wild-card round line roundup: Bengals, Cardinals slight favorites

Posted Jan. 05, 2010 @ 11:38 a.m.
Here are the prevailing lines for the wild-card round. Home teams are in CAPS:  CINCINNATI -2½ vs. N.Y. Jets (34½) DALLAS -4 vs. Philadelphia (45) NEW ENGLAND -3½ vs. Baltimore (43) ARIZONA -2½ vs. Green Bay (47½)  

The money keeps coming in on the Pack

Posted Jan. 06, 2010 @ 11:43 a.m.
If you like the Cardinals to rebound Sunday in their rematch vs. Green Bay, the line is moving in your favor. The Cards, who were favored by as many as three points earlier in the week, are now generally favored by 1-to-1½ points at the sportsbooks whose line movements are tracked by It will be interesting to see if more people start to back the Cardinals now that the pointspread has fallen. You ...

Eagles-Cowboys line, total not moving much

Posted Jan. 06, 2010 @ 6:07 p.m.
Talk about a solid line and total. At the vast majority of sportsbooks, the Cowboys are favored by four points in their wild-card round battle with the Eagles, and the Over-Under is 45. Per, the line is a half-point lower at the Las Vegas Hilton and The M Resort in Henderson, Nev., and the Over-Under is 44½ at The Venetian in Las Vegas and the Cal Neva in Crystal Bay, Nev., but Dallas ...

A day when 'Bear weather' suited the Niners just fine

Posted Jan. 08, 2010 @ 7:02 p.m.
Twenty-one years ago today, the Bears played the 49ers in the NFC championship game, and things did not go well for Mike Ditka's team. The Niners rolled, 28-3, in frigid conditions in Chicago. I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and I rooted for the Bears as a child. I remember watching this game and feeling very, very disappointed, for the Niners were so superior to Chicago, and there was nothing the home team ...

An oddsmaker's thoughts on the lines for the wild-card games

Posted Jan. 09, 2010 @ 1:59 p.m.
Late Friday afternoon, I caught up with John Avello, director of race and sports operations at Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, to get his take on the lines for the four wild-card games. Here were his thoughts on how bettors might treat the four games. Jets-Bengals Current line in Las Vegas*: Bengals by 2½ or 3 Avello's take: "The first game seems like a number game," he said, noting that at three, the Jets ...

Bye teams: really, really bad bets in recent years

Posted Jan. 11, 2010 @ 12:36 p.m.
Q: What do Brett Favre's last Packers team and the Steelers' Super Bowl-winning club of a season ago have in common? A: They are the only two teams coming off a bye to cover in the divisional round in the last three years. Since the 2006 season, the top two seeds in both conferences are 2-10 (.167) against the spread in the divisional round. Amazingly, seven teams coming off the bye have lost straight-up ...

Divisional-round line update

Posted Jan. 12, 2010 @ 4:13 p.m.
Here's a rundown on how the prevailing Las Vegas lines and totals for the four divisional-round games have moved since PFW went to press Sunday night. Home teams are in CAPS. Lines and totals are the prevailing ones at sportsbooks whose line and total movements are tracked by NEW ORLEANS -7 vs. Arizona (57) → line, total remain same. INDIANAPOLIS -6½ vs. Baltimore (44) → line remains the same; total was 44½ in PFW ...

Early Super Bowl XLIV lines

Posted Jan. 19, 2010 @ 4:31 p.m.
Lucky's Race and Sports Book in Nevada has released pointspreads for all four potential Super Bowl XLIV matchups, and the lines are as follows: Colts -3 vs. Saints Colts -4 vs. Vikings Saints -6 vs. Jets Vikings -4½ vs. Jets Lucky's will accept wagers up to $1,000 and will refund wagers on matchups that do not occur. The second point is particularly important, for not every future wager works that way.

The money comes in on the Colts

Posted Jan. 24, 2010 @ 11:15 a.m.
A look at how the NFL's conference-title game lines have moved since they were set last Sunday: AFC Championship Current line: INDIANAPOLIS -8½ vs. N.Y. Jets (40) Line as of Thursday morning: INDIANAPOLIS -7½ vs. N.Y. Jets (39) Opening line: INDIANAPOLIS -7½ vs. N.Y. Jets (40) Summary: The Colts are the betting public's choice, it appears. The question is, does this line go higher? NFC Championship Current line: NEW ORLEANS ...

Super Bowl XLIV opening line: Colts favored, Over-Under gigantic

Posted Jan. 25, 2010 @ 1:35 a.m.
Talk about your gargantuan Over-Unders. The prevailing total for Super Bowl XLIV between the Colts and Saints is 56; were the game to kick off with that total — a possibility if rain and/or wind isn't in the forecast on the evening of the big game — it would apparently set a record of sorts. Per records kept by, no closing Over-Under has exceeded 55 in the previous 43 Super Bowls. The highest ...

Colts favored in Super Bowl XLV, too

Posted Jan. 25, 2010 @ 7:54 p.m.
The Colts, the favorites to win Super Bowl XLIV, are also the favorites to capture Super Bowl XLV, according to one Nevada casino group. MGM Mirage has installed the Colts as 5-1 favorites to win Super Bowl XLV. Yes, one can get already get down a wager on who will win next year's Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Here's how all 32 teams stack up on the board. I've commented on the ...

NFC favored in Pro Bowl

Posted Jan. 26, 2010 @ 12:52 p.m.
The NFC has been installed as 2½-point favorites in the Pro Bowl, according to Las Vegas Sports Consultants, Inc., which advises a wide range of Nevada sportsbooks. LVSC has also set an Over-Under of 60. has installed the NFC as two-point favorites with an Over-Under of 56½. Most of the buzz about the Pro Bowl to date has been about who isn't playing, and many injury- and Super Bowl-related replacements have ...