Saturday, September 17, 2011

NFL 2011 - Betting Lines - Picks To Win, Versus the Spread and the Over/Under: Week 2

I'm not much of a gambler, but I know many of you are!  So, this year I will be helping out my friends who like to make wagers versus the spread.  Here, I will try provide some insight on how the matchups within the game can work to your advantage when making a wager.  Making good picks is all about good information.  Week 1 of the NFL season chalked up many surprises, so being accurate with picks was difficult.  Some risky picks panned out, several "sure thing" picks did not.  hey, that's why it's the NFL and as Chris Berman would say, "That's why they play the games!"  Here is how I fared:

*WEEK 1 - RESULTS* (and overall record)

Winner: 10-6
Winner w/ Spread: 8-8
Over/Under: 7-8-1

Trifecta: 3

Perfect Team Score Predictions: 3 (Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit)
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 1 (Atlanta @ St. Louis)



Winner: 12-4
Winner w/ Spread: 6-8-2
Over/Under: 9-6-1

Trifecta: 2

Perfect Team Score Predictions: 3  (Arizona, Tampa Bay, Minnesota)
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 1  (Tampa Bay @ Minnesota)

NOTE: The team with a negative number in parenthesis "(-3)" next to their name is the favorite to win the matchup and the number represents how many points the favorite has to score more than the underdog to count as a winning bet.  The over/under for the game is represented by a number in parenthesis with the letters o and u "(o/u 46)".  The number represents the amount of points you are wagering whether or not the two team's combined score will be in excess of or short of.  Official betting lines courtesy of

So, without further adieu, the picks and analysis for wagers versus the spread for the NFL: Week 2...

Chicago @ New Orleans(-6.5)  (o/u 47.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Chicago with the points; New Orleans to win ~ 20-16

Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Chicago 13  New Orleans 30 / Total Score 43 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: + 

Key Injuries: [CHI] RB Marion Barber(Doubtful), WR Roy Williams(Questionable); [NO] WR Marques Colston(Out), K Garrett Hartley(Out), CB Tracy Porter(Questionable)

Chicago enters this game a week after an upset of the Atlanta Falcons at home and the Saints come in a week removed from an Aaron Rodgers arial attack that resulted in a loss.  Both teams looked impressive in their game play, New Orleans just happened to run into a buzz-saw known as the defending World Champions of the NFL, the Green Bay Packers.

Marques Colston is a very important loss for the Saints and will effect their ability to score like the machine that they have been in the past, but they have very capable backup receivers in Meachem and Henderson to pick up the slack in addition to that three-headed running attack with Thomas, Sproles and Ingram.  Chicago still has little talent at the WR position allowing teams to tee-off on Jay Cutler at any time.  The Flacons gave the Bears a gift TD last week on several missed tackles leading to a 50 yard score by RB Matt Forte.  The Saints D is too sound to make such a poor effort and will contain the Bears offense most of the day.

If Colston was healthy for this, I would have the Saints to win with the points, but I think the subtraction of Colston reduces the number of points the Saints score and Brian Urlacher, fresh off of his mother's death on Monday will play inspired defense but it won't be enough.  Saints win in a close one.

Kansas City @ Detroit(-8)  (o/u 45)

Savant Spread Pick: Detroit and the points to win ~ 31-17

Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Kansas City 3  Detroit 48 / Total Score 51 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: + 


Key Injuries: [KC] Eric Berry(Out for Season); [DET] Nick Fairley(Out), Calvin Johnson(Questionable)

The Lions are coming off of a big win on the road versus Tampa Bay and the Chiefs are still trying to collect themselves after being embarrassed at home at the hands of the Buffalo Bills.  The loss of Eric Berry is going to be huge for the Chiefs in this game and for the season.  Berry, a third year player and former Pro-Bowl player, tore his ACL last week.  He was the only bright spot in what will now be a bad secondary for the Chiefs.  The Lions will take advantage of the loss of Eric Berry with All-World WR Calvin Johnson(despite a tweaked ankle) and look for a big game from WR2 Nate Burleson as Johnson may see a share of double coverage.

The Lions will be without first round selection, DT Nick Fairley again for this game, which may give Chiefs RB1 Jamaal Charles some running room between the tackles, but it won't be enough to sustain long drives against a pretty good Lions D playing on their home turf.  I like the Lions to win pretty handily in this one.


Jacksonville @ New York(A)(-9)  (o/u 39)

Savant Spread Pick: Jacksonville with the points; New York(A) to win ~ 20-13

Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Jacksonville 3  New York(A) 32 / Total Score 35 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: + 

Key Injuries:  [JAX] TE Marcedes Lewis(Doubtful); [NYJ] WR Santonio Holmes(Questionable)

Jacksonville comes into the game having beat Tennessee in a very close match at home last week and the Jets beat the Cowboys on two "gift" turnovers by Tony Romo.  Despite beating the Cowboys at home last week, the Jets were outplayed in all facets of the game and did not overly impress.  They are lucky to run into the woeful Jaguars this week as they seem to be out of sync on offense a bit.  The Jags may be a good place for the Jets to start getting their rhythm on offense.

Both of these team's top pass catchers have injuries, but it appears the Jags TE Marcedes Lewis is unlikely to play leaving inexperienced QB1 Luke McCown without the safety valve he desperately needs, especially against an extremely talented Jets secondary.  RB1 Maurice Jones-Drew will get his share of the workload and will get his numbers, but it won't be enough.  The Jags D did a great job bottling up RB1 Chris Johnson of the Titans last week and will probably be effective against the Jets run game but Sanchez can make enough plays in the passing game to put this team over the top. 

Oakland @ Buffalo(-3)  (o/u 42)

Savant Spread Pick: Buffalo and the points to win ~ 27-20

Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Oakland 35  Buffalo 38 / Total Score 73 /
Winner: +  Spread: push  O/U: + 

Key Injuries: [OAK] WR Jacoby Ford(Out), WR Louis Murphy(Out), WR Darius Heyward-Bay(Questionable), TE Kevin Boss(Questionable), Richard Seymour(Questionable); [BUF] Terrance McGee

Oakland comes into this game having beat bitter division rival Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football and the Bills are fresh off of their rout of the Chiefs on the road.  The Bills offense is the real deal led by rising star QB1 Ryan Fitzpatrick.  The dual-threat RB system they have running with RB1 Fred Jackson and RB2 C.J. Spiller will give the Raiders issues.  Oakland did not look very impressive against a Denver team that very well could end up with the #1 draft pick in 2012.  The Raiders have won their last 8 games against AFC West competition which is very good; however, they are 2-8 in their last ten games versus non-division opponents. 

On top of the fact that Oakland has struggled against non-division opponents, they have a host of key injuries including two out of their three starting WR's to miss this game.  With no one of consequence for QB Jason Campbell to throw to, the Bills can tee-off on RB Darren McFadden.  Buffalo shouldn't have any problems winning this game.

 Arizona @ Washington(-3.5)  (o/u 44)

Savant Spread Pick: Arizona and the points to win ~ 21-17

Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Arizona 21  Washington 22 / Total Score 43 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: + 

Key Injuries: [ARI] None; [WAS] None

Arizona is coming off a near defeat to the hands of Carolina and Cam Newton's 400+ yard passing game and Washington comes in to this week off of an emotional upset over the rival Giants.
  Neither team has any significant injuries and it is evident that the Cardinals have higher level talent than do the Redskins.  This should be the game that new QB1 Kvin Kolb and WR Larry Fitzgerald break out as one of the better QB/WR tandems in the country.

Washington needed a freak pass tip and interception from a rookie DE at the line of scrimmage that was returned for a touchdown to put themselves over the top against a Giants team that is looking worse by the day.  I wouldn't put much stock in the Redskins for last week's win.  It was an emotional game on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and may have helped in the win in D.C.  No such motivating factor exists in this game versus the Cardinals.


Tennessee vs. Baltimore(-6)  (o/u 38)

Savant Spread Pick: Baltimore and the points to win ~ 26-13

Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Tennessee 26  Baltimore 13 / Total Score 39 /
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: + 

Key Injuries: [TEN] None; [BAL] S Chris Hope(Out)

Tennessee comes into this game a week removed from a very close battle with the Jags in Jacksonville that resulted in a loss and the Ravens are hot off of the biggest beating of the Steelers they've produced in their franchise history.  The Ravens looked like a team that is on a mission last week and to everyone's surprise, the beat-down they put on the Steelers came through the air and not on the ground, which is unusual for the run-heavy Ravens.  QB Joe Flacco is hitting on all cylinders with a rejuvenated WR1 Anquan Boldin
and new deep threat WR2 Lee Evans.

Tennessee struggled to get anything consistent going against a Jags team that is not very good on either side of the ball.  Their only TD came in a big play by Kenny Britt, but a team can't rely solely on big plays to be a consistent winner.  The way the Ravens stymied a very strong Steelers rush offense will have a big challenge in stopping one of the elite RB1's Chris Johnson.  QB Matt Hasselbeck is a serviceable QB, but he doesn't have the skills or weapons to be wildly effective.  Count on the Ravens to force a couple of turnovers in this one.  Though Johnson may get some numbers, the Ravens should win this game easily. 

Seattle @ Pittsburgh(-14)  (o/u 40)

Savant Spread Pick: Pittsburgh and the points to win ~ 32-10

Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Seattle 0  Pittsburgh 24 / Total Score 24 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: -  

Key Injuries: [SEA] WR Sidney Rice(Out), T Robert Gallery(Questionable); [PIT] None

Seattle comes into this game off of what was a close game until the 49ers blew them out with Ted Ginn's two kick returns for TD's in less than a minute at the end of the game.  The Steelers come into the week off of one of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history.  This is the slam-dunk game of the week.  The only question will be whether or not the Steelers will manage to cover the gaudy 14 point spread set by Vegas bookies.  With WR Sidney Rice still out this week and the potential that the Seahawks' best offensive lineman, T Robert Gallery could also miss this game, the Seahawks can only hope to make it close, but it seems improbable that they can even keep it close, nonetheless win.

Carolina vs. Green Bay(-10)  (o/u 45.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Green Bay and the points to win ~ 31-3

Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Carolina 23  Pittsburgh 30 / Total Score 53 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: -  

Key Injuries: [CAR] LB Jon Beason(Out for Season), T Jeff Otah(Out); [GB] LB Frank Zombo(Out)

The Packers come into this game having dominated a very good New Orleans team on the road and the Panthers are coming off the surprise QB debut of Cam Newton in a heartbreaking loss to the Cardinals in Arizona.  This game figures to be the biggest blowout of the week.  A rookie QB in his second start versus a Dom Capers lead defense is a recipe for disaster.  Add the high potency offense of the Green Bay Packers against a sub-par Carolina defense that will be minus it's best player, LB Jon Beason who was lost for the season last week.  Carolina has absolutely no chance in this game.  Consider the 10 point spread a gift from the football betting lines because the Packers will exceed that difference and more.

Tampa Bay @ Minnesota(-3)  (o/u 41.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Tampa Bay to win ~ 24-20

Over/Under Pick:Over

Result: Tampa Bay 24  Minnesota 20 / Total Score 44 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: +

*Perfect Prediction!* - *Trifecta*

Key Injuries: [TB] None; [MIN] None

Tampa Bay comes into the week coming off of a loss to another NFC North foe, Detroit, at home while Minnesota comes into this game off of a loss to the Chargers on the road.  The Tampa Bay defense may be a middle of the road kind of D, but the ineffectiveness of QB Donovan McNabb for the Vikings was alarming in week 1.  The Vikes still have a beast of a RB1 in Adrian Peterson, but the Bucs are good against the run and AP can't win this game on his own.

Tampa Bay has some nice offensive weapons that can take advantage of a Vikings defense that is traditionally very good but is down this year.  If it's not RB1 LeGarrett Blount amking the big runs, it will be QB1 Josh Freeman and their talented WR's and TE that will make the plays.  The Bucs will make just enough plays to win this one.

Cleveland @ Indianapolis(-2.5)  (o/u 39.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Cleveland to win ~ 17-13

Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Cleveland 27  Indianapolis 19 / Total Score 46 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: -  

Key Injuries: [IND]QB Peyton Manning(Out), LB Gary Brackett(Out), LB Ernie Sims(Out); [CLE] None

Last week, the Browns suffered a loss at the hands of RB1 Cedric Benson and the Bengals and the Colts were crushed by division rival, Houston.  Both teams look pretty bad this year; something no one expected out of the Colts.  Without Peyton Manning, the colts are completely lost on offense as replacement QB(and former retiree), Kerry Collins, is having a hard time adjusting and gelling with this team he is very unfamiliar with.  The Colts being without one of their key LB's, Gary Brackett, adds to the struggles the Colts will have against a very good running game by the Browns starring RB1 Peyton Hillis.

Browns QB1 Colt McCoy has been effective as a passer pairing up with his favorite target, TE Benjamin Watson.  As beat up as the Colts are at important positions and the Cleveland defense not having to honor the passing game much with Collins at the helm for Indy, the Browns should have enough to get by the Colts by at least a field goal, if not more.

 San Francisco vs. Dallas(-3)  (o/u 42.5)

Savant Spread Pick: San Francisco to win ~ 21-20

Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: San Francisco 24  Dallas 27 / Total Score 51 /
Winner: -  Spread: push  O/U: -  

Key Injuries: [SF] WR Michael Crabtree(Questionable); [DAL] CB Terrance Newman(Out), Dez Bryant(Questionable) 

San Francisco comes into this game off of a big win at home in rookie head coach Jim Harbaugh's NFL debut while the Cowboys find themselves in a familiar situation coming off of a loss in a game they clearly should have won.  San Francisco couldn't get their running game going with RB1 beast Frank Gore and the pass offense was inconsistent and had trouble getting the ball down-field.  The Special teams play was outstanding though, setting up a kick return and punt return for a TD for the speedy returner, WR4/KR/PR Ted Ginn Jr.

Dallas outplayed the vaunted New York Jets last week and left the game a loser because of two extremely costly turnovers by QB1 Tony Romo at highly inopportune times.  The Cowboys most dynamic offensive weapon, WR2 Dez Bryant,  is unlikely to play in the game or at minimum will be much less effective than normal.  The Cowboys running game may be in trouble with the elevated play of new DT Ray McDonald and company who held Seattle's RB1 Marshawn Lynch to a marginal effort.  In the end, San Francisco makes one more play than Dallas and score the upset.

Miami vs. Houston(-3)  (o/u 42)

Savant Spread Pick: Miami to win ~ 19-14

Over/Under Pick: Under


Result: Miami 13  Houston 23 / Total Score 36 /
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: +  

Key Injuries: [MIA] None; [HOU] RB Derrick Ward

Last week Miami was scorched for 517 passing yards by the QB1 Tom Brady in a loss to the Patriots at home and Houston was busy last week laying a beat-down on the Peyton-less Colts. Though the Texans routed the Colts, it was more a story of Indy's offense being completely inept behind QB Kerry Collins.  The houston D will have a tougher time against an improved QB1 Chad Henne who threw for a "quiet" 417 yards against the Pats in the loss.

The Miami secondary is much better than what they showed on Monday Night Football against the powerhouse offense that is the New England Patriots.  They should return to the form that made them one of the top defenses in the NFL in 2010.  WR1 Andre Johnson will make plenty of big plays in this game, but it won't be enough to stave off RB1 Reggie Bush and WR1 Brandon Marshall who both should have good games against an average Texans D.

San Diego @ New England(-6.5)  (o/u 53.5)

Savant Spread Pick: San Diego with the points; New England to win ~ 31-27

Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: San Diego 21  New England 35 / Total Score 56 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: +  

Key Injuries: [SD] DE Luis Castillo; [NE] C Dan Koppen

The Chargers come into this week with a victory over the Vikings at home in week 1 and the Patriots come into this game after a record setting night on offense against the Dolphins on Monday Night Football.  The Patriots stat filled night on offense against the Dolphins was a reminder of why they have been so good for the last ten years, however, it was a distraction from their porous secondary.  The Pats have to get better on defense if they want to keep winning games this year.  It's a bad day when QB Chad Henne lights up your defense for 417 yards.

The Chargers were fortunate to escape with a home victory against an inferior Vikings team that was marginal in all facets of the game.  The Patriots will be a much greater test of how playoff ready this Charger team will be.  I expect QB Philip Rivers and WR's Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd to have huge games.  This will be a barn-burner and the combined score could reach the 60's.  I like the Pats at home, where they haven't lost in a long time, to win a high scoring game against the high flying Chargers but I don't expect them to cover the 6.5 point spread.

Cincinnati @ Denver(-3.5)  (o/u 40)

Savant Spread Pick: Cincinnati to win ~ 24-14

Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Cincinnati 22  Denver 24 / Total Score 46 /
Winner: -  Spread: +  O/U: -  

Key Injuries: [CIN] None; [DEN] Demaryius Thomas(Out), Champ Bailey(Questionable), Elvis Dumervil(Questionable), Knowshon Moreno(Questionable), Brandon Lloyd(Questionable)

The Bengals handled the Browns for a week 1 victory and the Broncos took an ugly loss to the Raiders in a game that was not nearly as close as the score indicates.  The Broncos are just plain bad and that is already enough to make this a coin-toss between them and the below average Bengals, but then consider that several of the Broncos best players will either miss the game or be less than 100% with injuries and it makes Cleveland an easy pick to win.  Why Denver is a favorite in this game is beyond me.  It's as good as a free win if you are betting the spread.

Philadelphia @ Atlanta(-2.5)  (o/u 49.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Atlanta and the points to win ~ 24-21

Over/Under Pick: Under


Result: Philadelphia 31  Atlanta 35 / Total Score 66 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: -  

Key Injuries: [PHI] None; [ATL] DT Jonathon Babineaux

Coming into this game the Eagles are coming off of a road win against the Rams and the Falcons try to rebound after a surprising loss to the Bears in Chicago in week 1.  The Eagles looked like they were clicking on all cylinders last week vs. St. Louis, however, they're run defense looked highly suspect.  Even after perennial Pro-Bowl RB1 Steven Jackson went out of the game after just two carries for 58 yards, RB2 Carnell Williams continued to light them up.

The Falcons ran into a really hot defense in the Bears last week, but should get back on track offensively.  If they are going to win this game, it will have to be mostly on the ground as the Eagles have an oustanding secondary, but are very weak against the run.  Look for RB1 Michael Turner to have a big day for Atlanta and give them enough points to outlast the Eagles in QB1 Michael Vick's return to Atlanta as a starting QB.

St. Louis @ New York(N)(-6)  (o/u 44)

Savant Spread Pick: St. Louis with the points; New York to win ~ 24-23

Over/Under Pick: Over


Result: St, Louis 16  New York(N) 28 / Total Score 44 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: push  

Key Injuries: [STL] Steven Jackson(Out), Danny Amendola(Out); [NYG] CB Prince Amukamara(Questionable), DT Justin Tuck(Questionable), WR Hakeem Nicks(Questionable), DE Osi Umenyiora

Last week, the Rams lost a blowout to the Eagles at home and the Giants had a disappointing day against the Redskins in D.C. that ended in a loss.  Both teams are desperate for a win to avoid getting behind in their respective division races.  No one is sure what to make of the Giants loss to the Redskins.  Are the Giants that bad or are the Redskins better than what was thought?  I am going to guess it was a little of both.  Don't forget to mention that the Giants are decimated with injuries and at least a couple of the players listed as questionable will not play in Sunday's matchup against the Rams.

The Rams, who have serious expectations to contend for an NFC West title, have a good team but missing two of their major offensive weapons, particularly their biggest offensive weapon, RB1 Steven Jackson, they will struggle to put up points at times, but they have a very capable RB2 in former Tampa Bay star RB2 Carnell Williams to fill in for the absent Jackson.  In the end, the Rams just don't have enough weapons and a good enough defense to get it done versus the Giants.

I hope this guide proved to be helpful!  Look out for my picks each and every week of the NFL season!

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