It’s been 4 days and I still don’t know what the hell Ronnie Brown was doing. That 49ers game was a debacle, hopefully week 5 will be better for the Birds. It can’t get any worse… can it?
Fear not, we get the Bills this week, so at least you know we’ll score some points.
Let’s look back at last weeks picks and then we’ll move onto the Eagles preview and the line move of the week. Also in this episode, Tommy Lasorda!
Week 4 Picks Revisited…
Last week the picks went 2-1. We had Saints -7, Eagles -9 and MNF Teaser Colts +16.5 / Under 46.5.
Saints -7: The Saints game played out just as I thought. I did expect more points to be scored, but the Saints jumped out to a nice lead and never really looked back. It got hairy late in the game and we were primed for a backdoor cover from Jacksonville, but the Saints were able to close them out and get away with a 23-10 win and cover. Winner.
Eagles -9: For the first 3 quarters the Eagles game was going along smoothly. We had a 20 point lead (laying 9) midway through the 3rd quarter. Then the bottom fell out. Not a cover, not even a straight up win. No need to rehash it. It was ugly all around. Loser.
MNF Teaser: Colts +16.5 / Under 46.5: It was nice to watch the Monday Night game and see it pretty much go exactly as I had written. The Bucs struggled to move the ball against the Colts defense and Curtis Painter surprised some people with 2 nice TD throws. The Colts fought and almost pulled the upset but came up just short. I said it would be Bucs 24-14, and I was pretty close. Final score: Bucs 24-17. Winner.
Hometown Preview: Eagles vs. Buffalo Bills
Opening Line: Eagles -3 / 48.5
Current Line: Eagles -3 / 50
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Over is 10-1 in the Eagles last 11 road games.
At first glance this line might come to some as a surprise. The Eagles are 1-3 and coming off 3 straight losses, so how are they a 3 point favorite in Buffalo? Aren’t the Bills 3-1 and aren’t they 3-0 at home. They just beat the Patriots, right? Yes, yes and yes.
Basically it comes down to this, the Eagles aren’t as bad as they’ve looked and the Bills aren’t as good as they’ve looked. Both teams have struggled on defense, both teams have played in some high scoring games. Not counting Week 1 at the Chiefs, the Bills have given up an average of 30 points a game (like the Eagles). Last week they blew a late lead and lost (like the Eagles).
I think this game will go the Eagles way. The total is interesting at 50 points. Only twice since the start of last season (the Mike Vick Era) has the Eagles Over/Under total been over 50 points. And they went OVER both times. The Bills have only had 1 game with a total over 50 points since Ryan Fitzpatrick was named starter last season, Week 3 vs. New England, and thay game flew over the 53.5 total with a final of 34-31. So maybe looking at the total is a better bet.
On Friday, I’ll make a pick and break the game down further.
Big Line Move of the Week: Buccaneers at 49ers
Opening Line: SF -1.5 / 40.5
Current Line: SF -3 / 42
Game Trends (via Covers.com): Tampa is 10-0-1 ATS in their last 11 road games
So this is what happens to the line when one team goes on the road as an underdog and wins and the other team hosts the Colts and barely escapes.
The 49ers went into the Linc last week, fell behind by 20 points but fought back in the 4th quarter and came away with a huge upset win as 9 point underdogs. On the other hand, the Bucs hosted the winless Colts on Monday Night Football as 10 point favorites and had to struggle to get out of the game with a 7 point win.
This line opened as 49ers -1.5 but after the Bucs laid an egg on MNF (but still won) the sharps jumped in and pushed that line up to -3.
The combination of the Bucs’ lackluster MNF effort and the cross-country travel on a short week are the reason the 49ers are a favorite. Plus, enough people watched the MNF game and saw a sloppy Tampa team almost get upset by the Colts. So I would expect the public to come in on the 49ers.
Because, on paper, the Bucs are the better team (although neither are that great). Josh Freeman is better than Alex Smith (not saying much). The Tampa offense gets 80 yards per game more than the 49ers, but the defenses are about even. The 49ers defense only gives up 76 rushing yards per game, so it will be up to Josh Freeman to get it done. I don’t think I will pick a side on this one but if I did I would lean on Tampa in this one, but probably take them on the money line at +120 for the best value (see my post last week about betting dogs on the moneyline).
I think it will be a low scoring game, lots of running and short passes from both teams. Maybe a look at UNDER 41.5, early money is on the OVER, so the total jumped a point from the opening number of 40.5.
Quick note on buying half points:
If you’ve read my posts the past few weeks you’ve seen me mention buying half points to move a line more into your favor. And really, the only time buying a half point is smart is when a spread is on one of the key numbers. In the NFL those key numbers are 3, 7 and 10, and to a lesser extent 4 and 6. If a line is 3 and you like the favorite, dropping it down to 2.5 is a smart move. The juice is higher (usually -120, rather than -110) but in the long run I think it is a good investment.
3 points is the top key number, 15% of NFL games end with a 3 point difference in the final score. If you’re betting the pointspread, then buying a half point in your favor is something to really consider.
Here’s a good video about key numbers from Pregame.com. The two guys in the video are from Philly (Upper Darby, to be exact), Philly Godfather and Vegas Runner. Pregame.com has a nice bunch of videos up on YouTube with good topics, not just weekly game breakdowns, but informative ones like this one…
Television: The Linemakers is a handicapping show that is on every Friday night at 11pm on HD Theater. I get it on Fios channel 631. I think it’s on Comcast channel 205. It’s a good show where they break down some games, talk about line moves, how the industry works, plus even some fantasy football stuff. All the guys on the show have been involved in the gaming industry for many years. It’s not a tout show, you won’t get Jim Feist selling you a lock of the year, it’s just a solid 3o minute show where you will learn something new each week. Check it out.
Here’s some articles to check out after you’ve finished reading every article on SpikeEskin.com
- Read to learn: FootballOutsiders.com: Scramble for the Ball: Back to Basics (link)
- Read for fun: NY Times Magazine: Taken By Pirates (link)
Tweet of the Week
This one is from Norristown native, Tommy Lasorda. You know him, former manager of the Dodgers, uncle of Mike Piazza, and the only person to publicly state “I Hate the Phillie Phanatic”. His play on words and ham-handed plug for his family’s restaurant makes this one a winner.
So, what I think he is saying is “my restaurant is not mediocre, it’s La-mediocre.”
Yo cuz, how about that rally squirrel?
Coming up on Friday: The Week 5 picks.
Questions, comments, links to share, etc… You can get in touch with me multiple ways:
- Follow me on Twitter: @Fantasource
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- Or just let me know your thoughts in the comments