The Degenerate: Week 9 Preview, Back to Work

I’m still a little giddy from that Cowboys massacre. Please allow me to sing a little diddy to Andy Reid…

Did you ever know that you’re my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
’cause you are the wind beneath my wings.

Andy's giving mustache rides to the rest of the NFC East.

Ok, I’m back. Wow. Nothing better than whooping up on the Cowboys. It makes everyone feel better. That game was huge. It got us closer to the Giants, it vaulted us from the “and other teams…” list onto the short list for the NFC title race and it wiped that shit-eating grin off of Rob Ryan’s face. And after the game Rob Ryan was forced to admit he got out-coached, ‘”It’s all comes down to coaching, and Andy Reid….kicked my ass”, Ryan said after the game.’ Classic.

That win also was a wake-up call for the rest of the NFL. And the guys in Vegas took notice (all odds via The books made some big adjustments to the season props after that game. And as it stands now the Eagles are the favorite to win the NFC East, the #2 choice to win the NFC at +600 and the #5 choice to win the Super Bowl at +1200.

After Week 8 the updated odds to win the NFC East are: Eagles +120, Giants +140, Cowboys +250, Redskins +1500. Wow, just four weeks ago the Redskins were leading the pack at +150 and the Eagles were bringing up the rear at +300. My, how times have changed.

Of course, if you follow this column, you know that we predicted this back after Week 5. And then again after Week 6. Hopefully you got in on the fun and grabbed the Eagles to win the division at those good odds. But at +120, I’d probably stay away, the value is gone. I mean, we are definitely looking good but we’re still two games back of the Giants, and they have a head to head win in hand. So +120 is nice, but the payout is too low to make a play right now.

The NFC East division race will tighten up over the next few weeks. The Eagles have the Bears and Cardinals at home (two winnable game), the Cowboys get another laugher this week against Seattle, then Buffalo, both at home (1-1, 2-0?). The Giants have the Patriots and the 49ers, both on the road (0-2?). So we could be be looking at a 1st place tie going into the Giants/Eagles Week 11 matchup in the Meadowlands. Holy smokes. I’m ready for some revenge on Eli and Victor Cruz (remember that guy?).

But first, we have a Monday Night matchup against the Chicago Bears to get past. We’ll have a preview of that game in this post, and also look at the line move of the week, but first let’s recap last weekend (do we really have to?)…

Week 8 Revisited:

1-2. Not good, but we're not giving up.

Last week was rough, we went 1-2. We had a winner on the Eagles/Cowboys UNDER, but losers on the Ravens (ugly) and the Chargers (heartbreaking). We had such a nice run for four weeks and then we got hit in the gut. But that happens every once in a while, you gotta take your lumps and move on. Let’s get some more winners this week.

We’re 10-6 on the season (see all the picks here), and 9-4 the past four weeks, so we’re making some money (but this is for amusement purposes only, as we’ve been saying all along). And the only way to get on a winning streak is to start winning (I might trademark that). Onto the Week 8 recap…

Eagles / Cowboys UNDER 51 – what more can I say about this one. You all watched it. The Birds blew them out. I expected a tight game, but the Cowboys defense forgot to show up. It did get hairy in the 4th when the Cowboys scored on a 70 yard TD pass to put the game at 41 points with just under 13 minutes left. Thankfully, no more points were scored. and we got out of there with a 34-7 final. Winner.

Ravens -13 over Cardinals – Some games you can just give up on early. This was one of them. Cardinals came into Baltimore and jumped out to a 24-3 lead in the 2nd quarter, and they were getting 13 points, so this one was dead before halftime. The Ravens did fight back to tie the game at 24 with 9 minutes left and I thought we had a slight chance to pull it out. But Flacco was Flacco and the Ravens couldn’t get into the end zone. The Ravens settled for a FG at the buzzer to get a 30-27 win, but no cover. Loss.

Chargers -3 over Chiefs – Here’s the game in two sentences… Chargers fought back from down 10, and were driving at the end of the game when Phillip Rivers fumbled the snap in the red zone before they had a chance to kick a chip shot FG to win (and get us a push). The Chiefs won 23-20 on a FG in OT. Done.

The rest of the details don’t matter and would probably make me even more mad if I typed them out. That was our toughest loss this season and one that gamblers don’t forget. Loss.

Week 9 Preview

Hometown Preview: Eagles vs. Chicago Bears
Opening Line: Eagles -7 / 47
Current Line: Eagles -8’ / 47
Game Trends (via Bears are 20-8 UNDER last 28 road games

Smile, Jay. It's gonna be ok

Coming off the huge Sunday night win, we get to follow up at home with a Monday Night contest against the Bears. People took notice of that Sunday night win and moved the line up from Eagles -7 to Eagles -8’. That’s a huge jump. Seven points is a key number and one that books don’t move off of easily. And to move all the way to 8’ is saying something.

I would expect some sharp money to come in on the Bears at +8’, but the public will probably lay the points and take the Eagles. The 8’ number makes this a solid teaser option. Taking the Eagles and dropping to -2’ looks like a nice choice, or pushing the Bears up to +14′ might also have some value.

This game will get the most action from gamblers this weekend for a few reasons: it’s Monday Night, it’s two high profile teams, and suddenly the Eagles are the hot team. And I’ll predict that will have the Eagles getting 65%+ of the action in this game. The Eagles have definitely become a ‘public’ team.

Quick look at the Bears: The Bears are 4-3 with wins vs. Atlanta, vs. Carolina, vs. Minnesota and vs. Tampa Bay (in London) and with losses @ New Orleans, vs. Green Bay and @Detroit. So basically they beat the bad teams at home, and lose to the good teams, so the 4-3 record is a little misleading.

The key to this game will be whether the Eagles can stop Matt Forte. He leads the Bears in rushing yards and receiving yards. He is their whole offense. If we stop him, we win the game. Jay Culter isn’t going to beat us with the pass, no way. And the Bears defense is good but it can’t match up with our skill players. Shady probably won’t get 185 yards rushing this week, but he should do fine. Chicago gets Detroit in Week 10, so there could be a look ahead there, since they lost to Detroit on Monday Night back in Week 5. The Eagles could have a little letdown after the huge division win over Dallas, but I expect them to be fired up for this game as well. The letdown may hit the following week vs. Arizona.

Both teams are 3-4  against the spread. Both opened the season with a cover, then dropped 4 straight against the spread, and have covered the last 2 games. The Bears are 0-3 ATS as an underdog this season.

Quick stat to digest until Monday: The Bears OL is 27th in pass protection, the Eagles DL is 3rd in pass rush. Translation: We are going to eat Jay Cutler for dinner.

I’m leaning towards the Eagles and UNDER in this one. We’ll break the game down and make a pick in Monday’s column.

Big Line Move of the Week:
Atlanta Falcons at Indianapolis Colts
Opening Line: Falcons -9 / 45
Current Line: Falcons -7 / 44.5
Game Trends (via Falcons are 7-1 ATS (in last 8 games) vs. teams with losing records

You hear this guy? He said "we almost got you." It was 62-7.

When I saw this line move at first I thought, why? Atlanta is a much better team. The are coming off a bye week. They just had a huge road win at Detroit. The Colts are 0-8, and going nowhere fast. They just lost 62-7 to the Saints. How can they expect to hang with the Falcons?

When you look at the numbers a little closer you see some interesting trends, like the Colts haven’t lost by more than eight points at home this season. They’re coming home after 3 straight road games. The Falcons are 1-3 ATS on the road this season. Maybe the wiseguys wanted to grab the 9. Home team getting over a TD seems like a decent spot.

But my analysis boils down to this: The Colts have a terrible defense (#32 out of 32), the Falcons have a good defense (#6). I could see the Falcons putting up 40 points. I mean, the Colts give up 144 yard rushing per game, Michael Turner could have a huge day.

It looks like the sharps grabbed the high number expecting the Colts to make a game of it. I don’t know if that’s going to happen. I would lean towards the Falcons laying 7 points or less and the OVER. This could be a high scoring game, with most of the points coming from Atlanta, something like 35-17.

Tweet of the Week

The Texans have a nice crew of running backs. Arian Foster, Derrick Ward and Ben Tate are probably the best 3-back combo in the league. And now we know why. You know the old saying, “The team that practices Bikiram Yoga together, stays together.”

Remember back in the late-70’s when fans gave Lynn Swann some flack for taking ballet lessons to improve his agility? Well, looking at the success of the Texans RB’s, maybe more teams should be sweating to the oldies together.

But really, Ben Tate is scared of yoga? C’mon Man!™ (trademark Mike Ditka)!/derrickward32

Coming up on Friday… the Week 9 picks.





Season Record: 10-6. You can see all my picks for the 2011 season documented here.

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