NFL Betting Lines

Week 15 Starts/Sits: Romo on the rebound
2014-12-13

STARTS

QB Tony Romo, Dal at Phi While the aggregate Yahoo rankings have Romo slotted as the No. 10 fantasy QB for this week, I'm much more bullish than that, awarding him top 5 placement among signal callers. It's true that Romo had his worst fantasy effort of the season against Philly (199/0/2) in Week 13. But that was a rare slip up in what has been an excellent fantasy run for Romo over the past month, throwing for at least three touchdowns in three of the past four games (all road games). The Eagles allow the second-most fantasy points to the QB position, so the odds favor Romo rebounding in a big way in his second go-round with his division rivals, especially considering he's had 10 days to prepare.

RB Latavius Murray, Oak at KC Murray is currently being started in less than a quarter of Yahoo leagues, which is crazy when you consider he rushed for more than 100 yards and scored two touchdowns (on just four carries) against the Chiefs a few weeks back. Murray suffered a concussion in that game, or he probably would have posted a fantasy line for the ages. And last week, he answered questions about his health with 23 carries in an upset victory over San Francisco. Facing a Chiefs defense allowing more than 5.0 yards per carry to the RB position, Murray has a can't-miss opportunity ahead. Catch this train if you still can.

RB Steven Jackson, Atl vs. Pit While it hasn't always been pretty, Jackson has been one of the most productive backs in fantasy since Week 8, ranking No. 16 at the RB position in fantasy points scored in that span. In five of those six contests, he's reached a double-digit fantasy tally. And with his standard 16-18 touch workload, he should be able to eclipse the 10-point mark once again against a Pittsburgh defense that has allowed 11 running backs to score in the double digits.

WR DeAndre Hopkins, Hou at Ind Trying to clear concussion protocol, Andre Johnson is shaping up to be a game--time decision. As he hasn't practiced all week, I'm guessing that he won't play on Sunday. And that would make teammate Hopkins the clear and present go-to guy for QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Johnson finished with 99 yards and a TD in the last meeting with Indy. And while the Colts have been one of the better units at limiting WR production, I think Hopkins (if Johnson is out) can also push 100 yards and a TD on the strength of a high volume of targets in a game where the Colts are likely to push the pace and force Houston to throw.

[Week 15 rankings: Quarterback Running Back Receiver Tight End Kicker DST]

WR Donte Moncrief, Ind vs. Hou Reggie Wayne is dealing with a torn triceps and Hakeem Nicks is dealing with the cold hard reality of a rapidly diminishing skill set, which makes it no surprise that Moncrief played a season-high 50 snaps last week. Wayne and Nicks have combined for just nine catches and 62 yards over the past three games (with Nicks contributing one catch and 16 yards). If ever it was time for Moncrief to step up, it's now. Houston has allowed the second-most fantasy PPG to the WR position and has historically been eaten alive by Colts wideout T.Y. Hilton, who caught all nine of his targets for 223 yards and a TD when these teams squared off in Week 6. Assuming Hilton draws extra attention this time around, don't be surprised if Moncrief delivers 100-plus yards and a TD for what would be the third time in his past seven games.

TE - Larry Donnell, NYG vs Was Donnell has a rematch this week against the team that helped put him on the fantasy map, as he rolled the 'Skins for a hat trick of touchdowns in Week 4. And Washington has shown little in the way of improvement at defending the tight end, as the team has allowed has allowed the top-scoring tight end in each of the past two weeks (Coby Fleener and Jared Cook).

SITS

QB Mark Sanchez, Phi vs. Sea I'm doubling down on Sanchez as a "Sit" nominee after he filled this space (for good reason) last week against Seattle. The Cowboys don't offer nearly the resistance against the pass that Seattle does, but they did a good job of shutting Sanchez down through the air in the Week 9 matchup (217 yards, 1 TD pass, 0 INT). Sanchez was able to salvage a respectable fantasy line thanks to a TD run, something that you can't really bank on a repeat. Sanchez's yards per pass attempt is in a freefall as the opposition sees more and more game film of him directing this Eagles attack. I have a feeling he's going to deliver a mediocre fantasy line that will have the team hoping that Nick Foles can return in time to face Washington in Week 16.


RB Gio Bernard, Cin @ Cle Since his return from a hip injury, Bernard ranks outside the top 35 among running backs in fantasy PPG (5.2 average in three contests). This week, rookie backfield mate Jeremy Hill is getting the start and an expected elevated role, presumably coming at the expense of Gio's workload. Given his recent lack of production and the matchup (on the road against a Cleveland defense the fifth-fewest fantasy PPG to the RB position since Week 8), Bernard is not a player that should be counted upon in such an important week for fantasy owners.

RB Rashad Jennings, NYG vs Was Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said that Jennings should be ready to take on a larger role after handling just two carries last week while dealing with an ankle injury. Considering that rookie Andre Williams stepped up with 27 touches for 148 yards and a TD, it's hard to believe that he'd return to a strict backup role behind Jennings this week. There's a good chance that Jennings and Williams split the workload in half this week, and the matchup is likely going to require healthy volume to deliver fruitful fantasy returns as Washington is among the best in the league at defending the run (fourth-fewest fantasy points allowed to the RB position).


WR Mike Wallace, Mia at NE When Miami faced New England in Week 1, Wallace posted his best fantasy line of the season (7/81/1). Unfortunately, he hasn't reached that catch total or yardage number in any of the 12 games since then. And he definitely benefited from the Pats' decision to not have cornerback Darrelle Revis shadow him, something that could happen this time around. Even if it doesn't, I wouldn't bank on the No. 50 fantasy WR (fantasy PPG) since Week 8 coming close to a repeat of his Week 1 performance against a secondary that has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy PPG to the WR position.
WR Golden Tate, Det vs. Min I have slotted Tate outside of WR2 range this week as he faces a Minnesota defense that doesn't get enough credit for its pass defense this season. When Tate faced the Vikings in Week 6, he managed just seven catches for 44 yards. And while he might not be as much of a focus for the Vikings this time around considering that Calvin Johnson will be active, Tate can't be counted upon to find the end zone (he's scoreless in the five games since Megatron returned from injury). In PPR leagues, Tate still has some upside, but in standard 12-team leagues, I'd look for a better option.

TE - Jason Witten, Dal at Phi Witten has only one double-digit fantasy performance this season, and he is just two weeks removed from his worst fantasy effort of the year, a 1-catch, eight-yard clunker against an Eagles defense that he faces again this Sunday. Last week, he could manage just two catches for 26 yards against a Chicago defense allowing the most fantasy PPG to the TE position. Given the terrible recent history against Philly, and the fact that the Eagles have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends, you can't start Witten with any level of confidence this week. I like Romo this week, but he's going to need Witten to stay in-line to block for him against an attacking Philly pass rush.




NFL counts for 7 of week's most-watched TV shows
2013-09-11

It's football, and the week's NFL Lines TV ratings from the Nielsen company illustrate how important the game is to broadcast television. Peyton Manning's seven-touchdown attack on Thursday brought 25.1 million viewers to the season-opening Baltimore-Denver game, while 25.4 million people watched Sunday's game between the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys.
Viewership was similar for the opening games last year: Sunday night's game was down slightly from 2012 while the Thursday kickoff was up this year.
Seven of the 10 most-watched programs last week were either the two football games, highlights packages from opening week games or pregame shows, Nielsen said.
It's not just the NFL, either. Two college football games Notre Dame vs. Michigan and South Carolina vs. Georgia landed among Nielsen's top 20 shows last week.
The summer's most popular show, CBS' "Under the Dome," dropped to No. 7 for the week.
Thanks to the games, NBC's average of 10 million viewers in prime time led all other networks and was the largest broadcast average since last April. CBS averaged 5.7 million viewers, Fox had 4.9 million, ABC had 4.2 million, Univision had 3.1 million, ION Television had 1.3 million, Telemundo had 1 million and the CW had 910,000.
ESPN was the week's most popular cable network, averaging 2.7 million viewers in prime time. The Disney Channel had 2.59 million, USA had 2.57 million, History had 1.8 million and TNT was at 1.7 million.
Brian Williams' welcome back to the NBC "Nightly News" wasn't necessarily hearty: ABC's "World News" had the closest showing to its rival in viewers since September 2012. NBC's show averaged 7.8 million, ABC had 7.6 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.1 million.
For the week of Sept. 2-8, the top shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL football: New York Giants at Dallas, NBC, 25.4 million; NFL football: Baltimore at Denver, NBC, 25.13 million; "Sunday Night NFL Pre-Kick," NBC, 19.32 million; "NFL Pre-Kick" (Thursday), NBC, 18.03 million; "The OT," Fox, 17.64 million; "Football Night in America," NBC, 14.09 million; "Under the Dome," CBS, 11.15 million; "Duck Dynasty," A&E, 10.46 million; "NFL Opening Kick-Off Show" (Thursday), NBC, 10.13 million; "America's Got Talent" (Wednesday), NBC, 10.03 million.
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ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox is a unit of News Corp. A&E is owned by the A&E Television Networks. NBC and Telemundo are owned by Comcast Corp. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks.


'Path to the Draft' recap: Mike Mayock on Darrelle Revis trade
2013-04-25

Mayock on Revis trade

NFL.com draft analyst Mike Mayock was asked about the Darrelle Revis trade and whether it was a fair deal for both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New York Jets. Mayock thinks that pairing Revis with Dashon Goldson and Eric Wright in the Buccaneers' secondary makes them a much-improved unit. Mayock, however, doesn't know that there is fair compensation for a cornerback like Revis -- the best in the business.

NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly disagrees. As he put it, what other option did the Jets have? The Jets took what they could get, so fair or not, it doesn't matter. NFL Network analyst Ted Sundquist added the Jets could have let Revis walk at the end of the season, but why not get what you can for the guy?

As far as what the Jets do with their acquired picks from the Bucs, Mayock says they should find some help for quarterback Mark Sanchez. West Virginia slot receiver Tavon Austin and Notre Dame tight end Tyler Eifert are worth considering. NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah also likes the idea of selecting Austin, but would like to see them add a pass rusher like BYU's Ziggy Ansah or LSU's Barkevious Mingo. Surely, Jets coach Rex Ryan agrees. Sundquist bragged that he's been high on Austin long before he began to climb up the mock draft boards. Typical hipster.
http://www.nfl.com


Thursday Night Football Preview, Bears vs. Dolphins
2010-11-18

Sportsbook.com Bears vs. Dolphins Lines: Miami -1, Total: 40

The 6-3 Bears head to Miami tonight as one-point underdogs to take on the 5-4 Dolphins. Due to injuries to Chad Pennington (shoulder) and Chad Henne (knee), Tyler Thigpen will start under center for the Fins.

Thigpen might not get the protection he requires because two key offensive linemen might not play. LT Jake Long is questionable with a torn labrum in his shoulder and C Joe Berger’s status is uncertain due to a knee injury. This could allow the Bears to actually tally some sacks for a change. Only Tampa Bay and Cincinnati have fewer than Chicago’s 13 sacks this year.

But despite the non-existent pass rush, the Bears defense has been formidable this year. They lead the league in turnovers forced (24) and rank second in both scoring defense (16.2 PPG) and rushing defense (82 YPG). On the offensive side of the ball, Chicago has not been efficient, ranking 23rd in rushing (95 YPG) and 21st in passing offense (202 YPG). QB Jay Cutler has six touchdowns and seven interceptions in his past five games, while RB Matt Forte has a dismal 170 combined rushing yards and a 3.2 YPC average in his past four games.

Thigpen played very well after Miami’s top two quarterbacks left last week’s 29-17 win over Tennessee. He went 4-for-6 for 64 yards and a touchdown to cap off an 85-yard drive that sealed the win for the Dolphins. For his four-year career, Thigpen has played 19 games and completed 54.3% of his passes for 2,811 yards, 20 TD and 16 INT. Most of his experience came in 2008 with Kansas City when Thigpen played 14 games and threw for 2,608 yards, 18 TD and 12 INT. Thigpen will look to get Brandon Marshall more involved in the passing game. Marshall has been bothered recently with a hamstring injury, but he only has one touchdown in nine games this season. Over the past four weeks, Marshall has a paltry 18 receptions for 185 yards (10.3 average).

These teams have only played twice since 2000, with Miami winning both games easily, 27-9 in 2002 and 31-13 in 2006. Additionally, this NFL betting trend indicates that point spread bettors might find better value on the home team.

Play Against - Any team (CHICAGO) - opportunistic team (2.5+ TO/game forced) against a team with <=1.25 TO/game forced, after a game where they forced 3 or more turnovers.

(25-5 over the last 10 seasons.) (83.3%, +19.5 units. Rating = 3*).

Given the aforementioned stats and betting trends, it is a bit surprising that 60 percent of the Bears vs. Dolphins point spread money is on Chicago.

For those looking to make a play on the ‘total’, take the following football betting trend into consideration before placing your wager:

MIAMI is 10-1 OVER (+8.9 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons. The average score was MIAMI 25.4, OPPONENT 26.9 - (Rating = 3*).

To check out all of the Bears vs. Dolphins betting odds and to take a look at the NFL Week 11 point spreads, head over to Sportsbook.com now.


NFL: AFC-NFC Pro Bowl (6:20 PM ET, ESPN)
2010-01-29

The site of the 2010 Pro Bowl has changed, as it will be played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, as opposed to Hawaii. The timing of the game has also changed, with it being played as a lead-up to the Super Bowl, rather than a follow-up. How does it figure to affect the contest, or the wagering on it? Let’s see if we can dissect it. In any case, the NFC is the 2.5-point favorite at last check, and 84% of bettors at Sportsbook.com apparently feel that is too low. The total is set at 57.

This will be the 40th version of the Pro Bowl, and interestingly, the NFL chose to mark the occasion with some experimentation. The changing of the date was done to promote the Super Bowl week, as opposed to the Pro Bowl being an afterthought it has been in the past.

The problem with the change in most people’s minds is that no members of the Colts or Saints, the league’s two best teams who will meet in Super Bowl XLIV, will be available to play. That fact cost the game 14 players, and the problem was only exacerbated later with regrets by 21 other players who were named to the Pro Bowl but declined due to injuries.

The site change is noteworthy for no other reason than this will be the first time in 31 years that the game will be somewhere other than Honolulu, HI. Not since the 1978 season has the game been played somewhere other than the 50th state, though the game is slated to return to Hawaii for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. It remains to be seen what type of panic might ensue if the elements come into play on Sunday and the field gets torn up for next week’s all-important game.

In terms of who will be manning the sidelines, San Diego head coach Norv Turner and Dallas head man Wade Phillips will guide the AFC and NFC squads. Phillips will be coaching in his first Pro Bowl, while Turner will be presiding over his second. Turner coached the AFC to a 42-30 loss following the 2007 season, when his Chargers lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship. The two coaches met in the regular season, when San Diego pulled off a 20-17 upset of Dallas on December 13th.

The NFC leads the all-time Pro Bowl series by a 20-19 margin, including wins in the last two games.

The NFC was a 30-21 winner in last year's contest, with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald earning MVP honors after catching five passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the triumph, parlaying his Super Bowl performance of seven catches for 127 yards and two TD’s.

Digging into the game a little bit, with the Saints' Drew Brees and Vikings' Brett Favre unavailable to play, the NFC offense will be guided by quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, Donovan McNabb (3553 passing yards, 22 TD, 10 INT) of the Eagles, and Tony Romo (4483 passing yards, 26 TD, 9 INT) of the Cowboys. Even with the two NFC title game combatants backing out, this is still a star-studded trio. Rodgers, who threw for 4,434 yards and 30 touchdowns against just seven interceptions while leading Green Bay to a playoff berth, will be making his first appearance in the game. The receiving corps will include the Eagles' DeSean Jackson (63 receptions, 9 TD) and Cowboys' Miles Austin (81 receptions, 11 TD), both of whom are expected to start, with the 49ers' Vernon Davis (78 receptions, 13 TD) getting the start at the tight end spot. The Vikings' Adrian Peterson (1383 rushing yards, 18 TD) is expected to open in the backfield one week after his fumble-laden performance in the NFC Championship. The offensive line will be led by Minnesota guard Steve Hutchinson, who makes his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl appearance.

The game will feature a “no-blitz” rule as always, meaning pressure on the passer will have to come from the down linemen. In this case, for the AFC, with would-be starting ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis of the Colts both unavailable due to their Super Bowl commitment, Mario Williams (38 tackles, 9 sacks) of the Texans and Kyle Vanden Bosch (44 tackles, 3 sacks) of the Titans will get the first crack at Rodgers and the NFC quarterbacks. Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (41 tackles, 17 sacks), who led the NFL in sacks in 2009, will also be involved. On the back end, a star-studded secondary paced by perhaps the league's top three cornerbacks - the Jets' Darrelle Revis (49 tackles, 6 INT), Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha (29 tackles, 1 INT) and Broncos' Champ Bailey (61 tackles, 3 INT) - along with starting strong safety Brian Dawkins (95 tackles, 2 INT) of Denver, will focus on slowing the NFC receivers.

Like the NFC, the AFC team will not be without its top QB’s, in this case, three of them. With Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady all unavailable on Sunday, the AFC will go with NFL passing yards leader Matt Schaub (4770 passing yards, 29 TD, 15 INT) of the Texans, with the Titans' Vince Young (1879 passing yards, 10 TD, 7 INT) and Jaguars' David Garrard (3597 passing yards, 15 TD, 10 INT) both backing him. Young will be appearing in his second Pro Bowl game, after making it as a rookie in 2006. Houston's Andre Johnson (101 receptions, 9 TD) and Denver's Brandon Marshall (101 rushing yards, 10 TD) will open at wideout for the AFC, with the Chargers' Antonio Gates (79 receptions, 8 TD) starting at tight end. Among the notable reserve pass-catchers is the Bengals' Chad Ochocinco (72 receptions, 9 TD), who makes his sixth Pro Bowl appearance. A standout AFC backfield will include NFL Offensive Player of the Year Chris Johnson (2006 rushing yards, 50 receptions, 16 TD) of the Titans, along with the diminutive Maurice-Jones Drew (1391 rushing yards, 53 receptions, 16 TD) of the Jaguars and Ray Rice (1339 rushing yards, 78 receptions, 8 TD) of the Ravens. Jets guard Alan Faneca and Titans center Kevin Mawae, who now have 17 Pro Bowl appearances between them, anchor the line.

The NFC will look to pressure the AFC quarterbacks with Vikings end Jared Allen (43 tackles, 14.5 sacks), Panthers end Julius Peppers (36 tackles, 10.5 sacks) and Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (47 tackles, 11 sacks). Their defensive backfield features Asante Samuel (43 tackles, 9 INT) of the Eagles and Terence Newman (61 tackles 3 INT) of the Cowboys, in addition to safety Nick Collins (47 tackles, 6 INT) of the Packers. The linebackers are headed by 49ers middle man Patrick Willis (113 tackles, 3 INT), among others.

Prediction: On paper, you certainly have to like the QB rotation of the NFC much better than that of the AFC, with Rodgers, Romo, and McNabb all capable of lighting up the scoreboard. That said, the AFC defensive backfield is one of hall-of-fame credentials and certainly won’t make things easy. With the total set at 57 for this contest, we’ll go with a rare predcition of an UNDER in the game, with the NFC pulling it out 24-20.