Friday, October 21, 2011

NFL 2011 - Betting Lines - Picks To Win, Versus the Spread and the Over/Under: Week 7

The top stories for week 7 are the new backup turned starting QB's that will take the field for four teams and a couple of last minute trades that happened hours before the NFL's trade deadline that passed this past Tuesday at 4:00PM. QB's John Beck, Christian Ponder, Tim Tebow and apparently even Carson Palmer will be making starts this NFL weekend.  These new QB starts will make week 7 highly unpredictable, but we'll do our best to tread the facts and match-ups that may make the difference.  But before we do that, let's take a look at how I did last week and my overall season results...

Winner: 10-3   :-D
Winner w/ Spread: 6-6-1   :-/
Over/Under: 4-9   :-(
Trifecta: 3
Strikeouts: 2
Perfect Team Score Predictions: 1 (Atlanta, Oakland)
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 0


*2011 Overall Record*
Winner: 61-29 (.678)
Winner w/ Spread: 42-44-4 (.488)
Over/Under: 41-47-2 (.466)
Trifecta: 15
Strikeouts: 8
Perfect Team Score Predictions: 6   [Week 1]: Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit  [Week 2]: Arizona, Tampa Bay, Minnesota  [Week 4]: San Diego  [Week 5]: Jacksonville, Denver  [Week 6]: Atlanta, Oakland
Perfect Game Score Predictions: 2   [Week 1]:Atlanta @ St. Louis  [Week 2]: 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

Here are the picks and analysis for NFL game wagers: Week 7...

Tampa Bay vs. Chicago (-1)  (o/u 43.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Chicago and the points to win ~ 24-17
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Tampa Bay 18  Chicago 24 / Total Score 42 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U:+

*Perfect Team Score*
This is the annual NFL game that happens in the mid-season that is scheduled to be played in London, England.  The NFL has been doing this for a few years now and the only thing to determine from these games is that nothing is remotely predictable.  Each game that has been played there has had an unusual outcome by some rare or unusual circumstance.  Playing several time-zones eastward has to have an effect on the players in the game.  I believe a serious case of jet-lag will have a much greater effect on the offenses than the defenses and will keep the game relatively low-scoring, enough to keep it below the points line.

In an attempt to make sense of what will happen, I can say that though RB2 Earnest Graham is an ample backup to RB1 LeGarrette Blount, but doesn't have the same explosiveness that Blount has that will be needed to have an effective rushing attack against a very good Bears front eight.  I expect QB Josh Freeman will have a solid effort throwing for 250+, but it will be the red-zone that will be a bear for the Bucs.  The Bears O-line had it's first great showing in a long time and protected QB Jay Cutler better than they have in a long time.  It seems the line is gelling and in effect, Cutler is making less mistakes and throwing less interceptions(No picks in back-to-back games for only 4th time in career).  You always have WR/PR/KR Devin Hester ready to break a homerun play at any moment and it may make the difference in this game.

Washington @ Carolina(-2.5)  (o/u 43)

Savant Spread Pick: Carolina and the points to win ~ 27-19
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Washington 20  Carolina 33 / Total Score 53 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: +


After a four interception performance against Philadelphia last week, it's out with QB Rex Grossman and QB John Beck has been officially been given the keys to the offense.  Beck is 0-4 in his career as a starter, though bare in mind that was for the 1-15 Miami Dolphins of a few years ago.  He has since been a career backup and now is his chance to take ownership of an NFL starting job.

Though the Redskins rely more on their running game behind RB Tim Hightower and RB Ryan Torain at the helm, too much ineffectiveness at the QB position with John Beck will cause the offense to hick-up on occasion. The upstart Panthers under the leadership of rookie QB Cam Newton has been one of the surprises of the NFL this year.  Their record doesn't not reflect it, but they have been highly competitive against powerhouse teams losing in close games to Green Bay and New Orleans.

Because of the high level that Cam Newton has the Panthers playing, I think one of their big offensive days goes for a win for once this year, especially with that Panthers home crowd backing them.  I expect that the Redskins running game, combined with the Panther offense putting up points week-to-week, they should push over the points line.

New York(A) vs. San Diego(-2)  (o/u 43.5)

Savant Spread Pick: San Diego and the points to win ~ 24-17
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: New York(A) 27  San Diego 21 / Total Score 48 /
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: -


The Jet's Rex Ryan found himself in some hot water in the media this week when during a media conference call he was asked what would have happened if he had gotten the job as the head coach in San Diego when he was considered for the job before Norv Turner eventually supplanted Marty Schottenheimer.  Rex said he thought they would have won rings if he had gotten the job, which in some effect was a diss to Turner for not having won a ring with the team and was a slight at his own players since they haven't won a ring with him in New York.

Small things like this can be extra motivating factors to get a team better prepared to play against their opponents playing the "disrespect card".  Regardless, the Jets look awful even in a dominating win over the Miami Dolphins in one of the least memorable Monday Night Football games I've ever seen.  The Jets rank second to last in rushing, which is head-scratching considering that their offense is built to succeed running the ball.  Their defense is holding up their end of the deal and continue to shut down WR's of every level and I expect they'll keep San Diego WR1 Vincent Jackson and WR2 Malcolm Floyd in check covered by CB1 Darrell Revis and CB2 Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

The Jets average run defense will be suspect in trying to contain RB's Mike Tolbert and Ryan Mathews, both of whom I expect to combine for 150 total yards and a couple of scores.  Remember, before the Dolphins fell apart against the Jets last week, they dominated them 180 yards to 10 in the first quarter.  When the Jets look bad, they can look really bad. I just don't see this year turning out remotely as successful as the previous two years for the Jets and I think the Chargers are on an upswing from last year.  With as atrocious as the Jets offense can be and as good as their pass defense is, I don't see a way this game makes it over the point line.

Seattle @ Cleveland(-3)  (o/u 41.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Cleveland and the points to win ~ 23-17
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Seattle 3  Cleveland 6 / Total Score 9 /
Winner: +  Spread: push  O/U: +

There isn't much to say about this game and if I were to tell you I had a strong feeling on how this one will play out, it'd be a lie.  Seattle is a confusing team because we all know the old adage that west coast teams don't do well in east coast games at 1:00PM and they proved that theory right by going to Pittsburgh and getting spanked 24-3, but just a couple of weeks later, they went back to the east coast for another 1:00PM game and they beat the Giants in New York; a game that they were heavy underdogs in.  The combination of QB Tavaris Jackson and WR Sidney Rice in a reunion of their Minnesota playing days, just hasn't worked out at all.  RB Marshawn Lynch has picked up the pace for the Seahawks in the last two weeks finding the end-zone in both games, but their is no passing game to speak of thus far in 2011.

Cleveland has been a mystery because they have been without their star player, RB1 Peyton Hillis for most of the season thus far.  The Madden cover boy has lived up to the "Madden Curse" hype by missing games in strange ways, including strep throat keeping him out a couple of weeks.  The loss of Hillis has left the running game in tatters and a very inexperienced QB Colt McCoy is having to throw the ball 50 and 60 times as a sophomore QB half way through his second season.  That's been a recipe for losing.  One bright spot for the team is the emergence of WR Greg Little who has proven himself as a reliable possession receiver.

It's only the fact that Seattle has shown that it is capable of being one of the bottom five teams in the NFL and that they are having to travel to Cleveland for a 1:00PM game that gives the edge to Cleveland for me, but don't expect anything about this game to be pretty.  May be a defensive TD or two in this one, but with these bad offenses, I see the Browns making just a couple more big plays in the end. Inept offense means they'll stay under the points line.

Houston @ Tennessee(-3)  (o/u 44.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Houston to win ~ 26-20
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Houston 41  Tennessee 7 / Total Score 48 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: +


Houston is a team that has been battling injuries to key players all season.  Their RB1 Arian Foster who lead the NFL in rushing years and TD's last year, missed the first couple of games with a bad hamstring and no sooner than he could get healthy and contribute to the offense, their other major offensive weapon, WR1 Andre Johnson, went down with a hamstring and he is set to miss his third straight game this week.  Despite the injury problems that Houston has sustained, they have managed to put together a competitive game in every game but last week versus the Ravens.

Tennessee has been flying below expectations this year, especially in their rushing attack.No one would have ever guessed that the Titans would be dead last in rushing at this point in the season when they have had a healthy RB1 Chris Johnson for every game.  Johnson, amazingly only has one 100 yard effort in six games this season; a far cry from when he set the NFL record for yards from scrimmage back in 2009.  New QB1 Matt Hasselbeck has done a great job filling in this year for the departed QB1 Vince Young.

Despite Tennessee playing efficiently in the passing game so far, with their rushing attack leaving them asking more questions than providing answers and the Texans, who have the depth to make due without one of the game's most dynamic receivers, should spell out a Houston win.  Look for a potential contribution on offense from newly acquired Derrick Mason whom they signed to help fortify their WR team in Andre Johnson's absence.  The Titans and Texans will make just enough plays in the passing and rushing game to edge the over on the points line.

Denver @ Miami(-1)  (o/u 42)

Savant Spread Pick: Denver to win ~ 20-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Denver 18  Miami 15 / Total Score 33 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: +


We have finally reached the point of the season we all knew was inevitable for the Denver Broncos; it's Tebow time.  QB2 Tim Tebow is now QB1 Tim Tebow with a move that looks like it will be permanent.  The social pressure to put in the sophomore QB finally made the Broncos succumb to replacing QB Kyle Orton with the young backup.  Though he really did little to actually earn the starting job from Orton, he does have a dynamic that is unusual for a QB in his power running ability.  He's a great QB for the red-zone with his threat to run, but between the 20's will be an issue as he is only a 50% career passer through 3.5 games dating back to last year.  

What can be said about Miami that hasn't already been said?  They are awful.  They are in a dead heat with the Colts for the chance to get the #1 pick in the 2012 draft(and thus getting dream prospect QB Andrew Luck).  RB1 Reggie Bush has been the failed experiment that I knew he would be when I first heard he was being dealt the the Dolphins.  They have one of the most talented WR's in the game in WR1 Brandon Marshall, but there is little he can do when they don't have a real starting QB to get him the ball.  The Dolphins are still moving forward with QB Matt Moore and it looks like it will continue to stay ugly for them.

If Denver is going to win any games this year, it will be this one and with Tebow and the 2008 University of Florida Gator college football team being celebrated at the game, it will be a de-facto home game with thousands of Tebow supporters in the stands.  The energy and excitement of Tebow in what will feel like a home will be enough to give them the edge in this one, but I wouldn't look for this to be the beginning of a winning streak for the Broncos, but they get by the Dolphins on Sunday.  Both of these teams are stuggling a lot on offense and believe it or not, the Dolphins are just a year removed from having a top 5 defense and they can play some D from time to time.  I don't see them even getting a whiff of the over on the points line.  Go under.

Atlanta @ Detroit(-3.5)  (o/u 47.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Atlanta with the points; Detroit to win ~ 31-28
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Atlanta 23  Detroit 16 / Total Score 39 /
Winner: -  Spread: +  O/U: -

It appears Atlanta has gotten back on track to be being the NFC powerhouse everyone expected them to be coming into 2011 off of last year's breakout.  Atlanta has mostly failed to live up to expectations but a 31-17 beating of the Panthers, who have surprised people with how well they have played, may have given them the confidence they were lacking.  Detroit comes in off of their first loss of the year to the 49ers but looked very good in defeat.  They lost RB1 Jahvid Best to a concussion for this game, but I expect RB2 Maurice Morris to fill in well in his absence.

Detroit has quickly become the hardest team to play at home with that rabid crowd causing about 6 false start penalties a game for the opponent each game they play in Detroit.  It's an under-rated stat because a false start penalty can really get an offense off schedule and cause punts instead of first downs.  Aside from that, the Lions matchup as well as the Falcons at each position and have the mostly unstoppable WR1 Calvin Johnson.  I fully expect the Falcons and RB1 Michael Turner to run the ball effectively as Frank Gore did for the 49ers last week against the Lions, but Ryan and the passing offense will not be enough to compensate for the quickstrike offense of the Detroit Lions.  Johnson will get back to scoring TD's.  Look for him to have at least two in this game.  There are just too many offensive weapons on the field for this game to end up under the points line.

Kansas City @ Oakland(-6)  (o/u 42)

Savant Spread Pick: Kansas City with the points; Oakland to win ~ 26-20
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Kansas City 28  Oakland 0 / Total Score 28 /
Winner: -  Spread: +  O/U: -

This is another one of those games this week that will be difficult to determine the outcome in because there is a major decision at QB that will not be made until game-day.  Newly acquired QB Carson Palmer was set to start all week, but it appears that may have just been a diversion to confuse the Chiefs and make them prepare for the QB that isn't actually starting.  It was odd that they were even considering starting Carson Palmer considering he just walked in the door a few days ago, but it seemed reasonable when your only other option at QB is the horrible QB2 Kyle Boller since QB1 Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone.

Kansas City is still mostly in shambles, but the rise of unknown RB Jackie battle has them clicking a bit on offense.  As bad as they have been, we tend to forget that they still have QB1 Matt Cassel, WR1 Dwayne Bowe and RB slasher Dexter McCluster.  This team can do some things on offense.
In the end though, the Raiders and the leading rushing attack in the NFL lead by RB's Darren McFadden and Michael Bush will prove to be too much for the Chiefs.  I would pick the Raiders and the points if Palmer was starting at QB, but I'm certain that Boller will have at least one turnover that will turn into points which could very well be the difference in the spread.  This is a game that looks like it should finish in the under, but I'm taking the over.  Call it more of a hunch than anything.  You have to go against conventional thought when you make picks sometimes.  This is one of those times.

Arizona vs. Pittsburgh(-4)  (o/u 43)

Savant Spread Pick: Arizona to win ~ 21-20
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Arizona 20  Pittsburgh 33 / Total Score 53 /
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: -


This pick looks a bit crazy to start, but I have good reason for this upset.  Pittsburgh looked very discouraging against the lowly Jags last week in a game they won but not nearly in the fashion you would expect them to.  Though the defense held the Jags to 13 points, it doesn't say much considering they were facing a rookie QB and a team with no real WR1.  Arizona is coming off of a bye week so they will be fully rested and have had an extra week to prepare for this game which gives them an added advantage.

People tend to forget that head coach Ken Wisenhunt was a Steelers offensive coordinator for three years including a Super Bowl season in 2005.  He knows that personnel as well as anyone including QB Ben Roethlisberger whom he coached.  Add all of that on top of the fact that this game is a bit personal for some of the Cardinal players who were on the Super Bowl team that lost to Pittsburgh a couple of years ago and will want revenge.  Put all of that on top of the fact that the game is in Arizona, the Cardinals still have elite WR Larry Fitzgerald who can break out a homerun play at any time and the Steelers defense being suspect with LB James Harrison out and S Troy Polamalu dinged with a concussion last week, it all makes for a recipe for the Cardinals to squeak one out by just a point or two.

This game has lots of big play potential with two major deep threats in Fitz and WR1 Mike Wallace for the Steelers.  Even RB1 Beanie Wells is making a mark and is actually leading the NFL in yards per carry.  There will be plenty of offense but with the ineptitude that both offenses have shown from time to time will keep them under the points line.

St. Louis @ Dallas(-13)  (o/u 43.5)

Savant Spread Pick: St. Louis with the points; Dallas to win ~ 24-13
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: St. Louis 7  Dallas 34 / Total Score 41 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: +

This is only the second largest spread of the week(IND @ NO) but I don't trust the Cowboys with a spread this large no matter who in the NFL they are playing.  Dallas is a team that tends to be overconfident, especially against teams that are far inferior in talent.  They have another tendency to play down to their competition even when they win.  Don't forget about the fact that RB1 for Dallas, Felix Jones, is out for a few weeks with an injury and the starter for the game will be RB2 Tashard Choice with help from RB3 Demarco Murray.  Neither of these running backs pose much of a threat to any NFL defense and frankly neither does Jones even when he is healthy.

We also can't forget that the Cowboys still have Tony Romo who is just as likely to throw it straight into the hands of an opposing player as he is to put it in stride to WR1 Miles Austin.  The Cowboys will win pretty easily as the Rams will likely start backup QB A.J. Feeley as QB1 Sam Bradford heals a bad ankle he sustained last week.  I'll just never trust Dallas with a spread that large until they can prove to me they can be a consistent team.  With Feeley at the helm for St. Louis and Dallas' potential inability to run the football at all, the game will be less offensive and the score should stay under the points line.

Minnesota @ Green Bay(-9)  (o/u 46.5)

Savant Spread Pick: Green Bay and the points to win ~ 35-13
Over/Under Pick: Over

Result: Minnesota 27  Green Bay 33 / Total Score 60 /
Winner: +  Spread: -  O/U: +

There is very little to say about this game.  Green Bay is an absolute terror on both sides of the ball and the Vikings will be throwing rookie QB Christian Ponder into the fire for his first start replacing the ineffective Donavon McNabb.  It's a tough break for Ponder to make his first start against the defending Super Bowl Champs and I think Ponder will be a nice QB in the NFL but not on this day.  The Pack will eat his lunch and they have too many offensive weapons for Minnesota to keep after on defense.  Green Bay wins running away and they may peak the points line with their own score so take the over with confidence.

Indianapolis @ New Orleans(-14)  (o/u 48)

Savant Spread Pick: New Orleans and the points to win ~ 31-14
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Indianapolis 7  New Orleans 62 / Total Score 69 /
Winner: +  Spread: +  O/U: -

There's little to know about this game to come to this relative conclusion.  We all know just how explosive the Saints can be, especially at home and we all know that Peyton Manning is still out and QB Curtis Painter is trying to learn how to be an NFL QB on the job still.  RB1 Joseph Addai is a surprise to possibly start this week coming off an injury, but it won't be nearly enough.  QB Drew Brees and his myriad of weapons, paired with an under-rated defense, will take of to an early lead and will coast through the second half to a win.  It's because of the thought that the Saints will take their foot off of the gas later in the game when they are up by a bunch and the ineffectiveness of the Colts that will keep the score under the points line.  This is not what the NFL had in mind when they scheduled this game.

Jacksonville vs. Baltimore(-8)  (o/u 48)

Savant Spread Pick: Baltimore and the points to win ~ 28-10
Over/Under Pick: Under

Result: Jacksonville 12  Baltimore 7 / Total Score 19 /
Winner: -  Spread: -  O/U: +

If the Sunday night nationally televised game was not enough of a yawner, I present the Monday night matchup.  This game should be nothing short of a slaughtering.  Baltimore has an incredible defense; one of the best in the NFL.  Additionally, they have the one of the best RB1's in the NFL in Ray Rice.  Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert will be a deer in the headlights against the toughest defense he has yet to face in his very short career.  We all know what kind of elite RB Maurice Jones-Drew is, but no running back can carry the kind of load that has been asked of him.  He is constantly running into 8, even 9 man fronts because no defense has to respect the pass with a rookie QB and no threat at WR.  MJD will get his yards, but will be the only bright spot in what will be an otherwise bad day for the Jags.  The Jags will be so bad, in fact, that will keep the total score under the points line.

Those are the picks for Week 7.  Good luck!

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