cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/04/2012 10:57 AM

AFC West Preview

August 3, 2012

The expectations in were huge for San Diego to win the AFC West in 2011, but somehow the Chargers failed to make the playoffs. Also, the expectations for the Broncos were to finish close to the bottom of the division. However, Tim Tebow led Denver to an AFC West title and a Wild Card victory over Pittsburgh. Tebow is off to New York, but the onus is still on the Mile High City with the arrival of a future Hall-of-Famer under center.

The effect of not having Peyton Manning in the Indianapolis offense last season was obviously evident as the Colts managed just two victories. Now with the former MVP in Denver, the Broncos are favored to repeat following an 8-8 campaign last season. John Fox's club was listed in the 'chalk' role five times in 2011, while failing to cover each time when laying points. A majority of the pointspread success came as a road underdog, as the Broncos cashed six of eight times, but don't look for that many opportunities this season with Manning at the helm.

San Diego finished shy of the postseason for the second straight year, but Norv Turner's team sure didn't help out backers. The Lightning Bolts cashed just six times, while going through a six-game stretch of not covering from October through November. San Diego managed to finish the season at 4-1 ATS the final five weeks, as Philip Rivers led the Bolts to at least 34 points in each victory. The schedule is at its easiest the first four weeks (at Oakland, Tennessee, Atlanta, and at Kansas City), but the Chargers have to visit the Saints, Broncos, Steelers, and Jets after September.

For fans that may have missed it, the Raiders put together consecutive 8-8 seasons, while bringing in Carson Palmer from Cincinnati. Oakland shot out of the gate to a 7-4 start, but stumbled in the end by winning just one of its final five contests. The Silver and Black impressed as a road underdog by compiling a 6-2 ATS mark, while putting together an incredible 15-4 ATS record off a non-cover since October 2009.

The biggest news the Chiefs made last season was ending Green Bay's run at an undefeated regular season by upsetting the Packers as 12-point home underdogs. Besides that triumph, there wasn't much to get excited about in Kansas City as Todd Haley was fired with three games remaining. At one point, the Chiefs actually owned a decent 4-3 record after seven games, but a four-game losing streak in which they scored 25 points doomed any playoff hopes. The Chiefs cashed in all four opportunities as a home underdog, while posting an 0-4 ATS mark when laying points at Arrowhead Stadium.

Several VegasInsider.com handicappers weighed in on the AFC West race, which will circulate around Manning's Broncos. Micah Roberts isn't going to bite on Denver's 8 ½ win total, "If Manning isn't 100% healthy, the drop off to the No. 2 may be the steepest fall in the league with Caleb Hanie. Denver still has one of the worst secondaries in the league despite an aging Champ Bailey still getting the job done. I feel betting Denver OVER is a major risk because of Manning's neck, but again at the same time, you can't handicap injuries."

Bruce Marshall says to keep an eye on the Chargers, for better or worse, "The biggest storyline in the AFC West outside of Denver will be in San Diego. We'll never know if more dynamic leadership over the past five seasons would have reaped more than the Chargers have delivered since 2007, but it is a fair question to ask."

"Only once in the 'Norv years' have the Chargers really hit their stride, and that was in 2009 when they wasted their best chance at the Super Bowl with a flat playoff effort vs. the beatable Jets and their rookie QB. Now, Rivers seems to be regressing (as his 20 interceptions last year would indicate), top downfield target Vincent Jackson has left via free agency, and the defense is full of holes that need to be plugged after conceding an NFL-worst 49% conversions on third downs last season," Marshall explains.

The AFC West draws the AFC North and NFC South this season, which may yield a 10-win club to claim this division, unlike the 2011 campaign when each squad won between seven and eight games.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/04/2012 10:59 AM

Bullish on the Bears

August 3, 2012


My favorite NFL win total for 2012 is the ‘over’ for the Chicago Bears, who are currently sporting a 9 ½-win tally at Sportsbook.ag. The price is plus-105 at the offshore website (risk $100 to win $105).

I’ve seen other books with the total at nine, but those spots are forcing gamblers to pay around a minus-140 price. Regardless of the number, I like it ‘over’ as I have the Bears finishing the regular season with an 11-5 record.

Lovie Smith’s squad was most likely on its way to the postseason last year. Chicago was rolling to a blowout win over San Diego to improve its record to 7-3 when Jay Cutler threw an interception and suffered a broken thumb trying to make a tackle.

Without Cutler, the Bears lost five in a row to fall out of playoff contention. And that fact makes me even more bullish on the team from the Windy City.

Cutler has taken a lot of criticism through the years and it has been well deserved in many instances. Lots of pundits see a quarterback with talent galore but one that is too inconsistent and too often makes bad decisions.

With that said, there’s no denying that Cutler gives you a chance every time out. The Vanderbilt product probably has the NFL’s strongest arm and when he gets into a good rhythm, he’s as good as there is.

Another factor that has me thinking Cutler is poised for a career year is the supporting cast around him. It is undoubtedly the best he’s had in his seventh year in the league.

Cutler and Brandon Marshall already have good chemistry from their days in Denver, and both, at the ages of 29 and 28, respectively, are entering their prime. And both are starving to silence their detractors.

As for second-round pick Alshon Jeffery from out of South Carolina, he was an absolute steal with the 45th pick. Jeffery’s college numbers don’t jump off the page because of erratic QB play but make no mistake, he’s going to be very good for a long time.

Jeffery has T.O.-like size and the ability to outmuscle smaller defensive backs. He can take hits over the middle and go up in traffic to make catches, especially down in the red zone.

With Marshall and Jeffery now on board, Devin Hester becomes the No. 3 receiver and that’s a good thing on a number of fronts. For starters, that’s as much speed as you could ever ask for from a No. 3 WR. Also, fewer plays should leave Hester, the best return guy of all-time (with apologies to Deion), with fresher legs for special teams.

The running game should be solid thanks to a pair of quality backs in Matt Forte and Michael Bush, who was signed away from the Raiders. Forte is an extremely happy camper after finally getting paid.

What if Cutler gets hurt like last year? Even that shouldn’t be a problem with an experienced veteran like Jason Campbell behind him.

As for the defense, there hasn’t been much turnover since this club was one game away from the Super Bowl two seasons ago. There are playmakers like Julius Peppers, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman to name just a few.

The special-teams units are going to be stellar. Robbie Gould hit all six of his field goals from beyond 50 yards last season and he didn’t miss once from inside of 40 yards. (And, again, there’s that Hester Dude.)

Looking at the schedule, the Week 2 game at Green Bay on a short week figures to be the only spot in which the Bears will be substantial underdogs. A Monday Night Football game at San Francisco will be another ‘dog situation, but it’s certainly not a guaranteed loss.

As for games as healthy favorites, I see quite a few. Let’s start with these four at home – vs. Indy, vs. St. Louis, vs. Minnesota and vs. Seattle. And let’s also add a pair of road games that I’m confident will be victories, at Jacksonville on Oct. 7 and at Minnesota on Dec. 9.

That’s eight games that I believe Chicago will handle for a 6-2 record.

The other four home games are against Detroit, Carolina, Houston and Green Bay. I think the Bears go 3-1 over that stretch but for the conversation’s sake, let’s go with 2-2 to leave them with an 8-4 record.

We’re now left with four games to get two wins (and just one win to push if your number is nine instead of 9 ½). Those contests are all on the road at Dallas (MNF), at Tennessee, at Arizona and at Detroit.

I think all four of those games are winnable and a split is a worst-case scenario.

And for all the reasons stated above, I’m extremely confident in backing the Bears to go ‘over’ their season win tally.

My second-favorite NFL win total is ‘under’ 6 for the Rams, who are looking at a 4-12 campaign in my opinion. I’ll justify my reasoning for that play in a column in the next few days…

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/05/2012 02:09 PM

NFL Season Preview: Baltimore Ravens

To get you prepared for the upcoming NFL season, we continue our run of all 32 team previews, rolling out one per day from August 1 to September 1. For complete coverage, download your copy of the 2012 StatFox Edge Football Preview. Up next is the Baltimore Ravens, whose odds are set at 6/5 to win the AFC North division.


BALTIMORE RAVENS

2011 Statistics:
SU Record: 13-5
ATS Record: 9-8-1
Over/Under: 10-8
Points Scored: 23.6 PPG (12th in NFL)
Points Allowed: 16.6 PPG (3rd in NFL)
2012 Odds:
(For the latest Odds, connect to Sportsbook.com)
Odds to Win AFC North: 6/5
Odds to Win AFC Championship: 7/1
Odds to Win Super Bowl XLVII: 14/1
Regular Season Wins Over/Under: 10

2012 Preview:
Offense:
The Ravens have slowly and successfully transitioned to a zone-blocking scheme over the past couple of seasons. They’ve steadily mixed in more and more zone stretch plays for Ray Rice and have had plenty of success doing it, especially now that their line heavily utilizes cut blocking. They still use a lot of two-back sets with Rice running behind Vonta Leach. Rice will take a very heavy load again; even with Ricky Williams on the roster last season, Rice played more than 75 percent of their offensive snaps, so expect rookie Bernard Pierce to be used sparingly. Baltimore keeps it very conservative in the red zone, running it more than half the time inside the 20, and nearly 60 percent of the time in goal-to-go situations last year. Rice takes pretty much all the red zone reps.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron had always wanted to stretch the field but never had the receiver to do it until Torrey Smith emerged last season. Cameron has said he’ll use more two tight end sets, as they did toward the end of last season. Dennis Pitta outperformed Ed Dickson in the second half of the year and is the one receiver Joe Flacco consistently looked for over the middle. Rice will also continue to have a huge role in the passing game, not only as a safety valve, but also on screens and in the slot to create mismatches. Anquan Boldin was a popular target in the end zone last year.

Defense:
The off-season Achilles’ injury to reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year Terrell Suggs could be enough to keep this from being an elite defense. Baltimore does have experience in veterans Ed Reed and Ray Lewis—neither of whom shows any significant signs of slowing down—and Haloti Ngata is one of the best interior linemen in the league. Cornerback Lardarius Webb capped his first year as a starter with three interceptions in the playoffs, and Bernard Pollard had 89 total tackles (62 solo) in 15 games (including playoffs) as a full-time player.

Key Offseason Moves:
ADDITIONS
QB Curtis Painter (from Colts)
WR Jacoby Jones (from Texans)
G Bobbie Williams (from Bengals)
DT Ryan McBean (from Broncos)
DT Ma’ake Kemoeatu (did not play in 2011)
LB Darryl Blackstock (from Raiders)
LB Ricky Brown (from Raiders)
CB Corey Graham (from Bears)
S Sean Considine (from Cardinals)

SUBTRACTIONS
RB Ricky Williams (retired)
WR Lee Evans (Jaguars)
G Ben Grubbs (Saints)
DE Cory Redding (Colts)
NT Brandon McKinney (Colts)
LB Jarret Johnson (Chargers)
CB Chris Carr (Vikings)
CB Domonique Foxworth (released)
S Tom Zbikowski (Colts)
S Haruki Nakamura (Panthers)

2012 Schedule:
2012 Schedule Strength: 20.69 (7th toughest in NFL)
Week 1 - Cincinnati
Week 2 - at Philadelphia
Week 3 - New England
Week 4 - Cleveland
Week 5 - at Kansas City
Week 6 - Dallas
Week 7 - at Houston
Week 8 - BYE WEEK
Week 9 - at Cleveland
Week 10 - Oakland
Week 11 - at Pittsburgh
Week 12 - at San Diego
Week 13 - Pittsburgh
Week 14 - at Washington
Week 15 - Denver
Week 16 - New York Giants
Week 17 - at Cincinnati

StatFox Take: The Ravens suffered some key losses in the offseason, especially the injury to Terrell Suggs. However, Baltimore remains one of the best teams in the NFL with its suffocating defense and explosive rushing attack led by Ray Rice. The schedule is difficult, but the Ravens play most of the elite non-divisional opponents at home (Patriots, Broncos, Cowboys and Giants), with the only extremely difficult road contests in Houston, Philadelphia and the annual trip to Pittsburgh. A third straight 12-win season is still very likely, and is certainly worth an even-money bet.
Prediction: OVER 10 wins (Even)




Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/06/2012 06:39 PM

Texans Expected To Dominate AFC South Division

The Houston Texans are expected to win the AFC South running away in 2012.

Never mind the midterm elections in 2010; the recent changing of the guard in the AFC South more resembles an overthrow of a banana republic in Central America.

That’s because the days of the Indianapolis Colts’ domination of the division ended abruptly last fall when Peyton Manning was sidelined for the entire 2011 campaign with neck problems. How important was Manning to Indy’s fortunes? Consider that the Colts didn’t win a game without him until December, and for a while looked a good bet to match the Detroit Lions’ ignominious 0-16 mark from 2008.

Now, the new dictator, or should we say dominator, of the South looks to be the Houston Texans, who last season took advantage of that wide-open lane created by Manning’s absence to charge through and win the franchise’s first-ever division title and playoff berth. Entering the 2012 campaign, the Texans are the most prohibitive division favorite in the NFL. Not even teams such as the Patriots, Packers or 49ers come close to the 2/11 prices being quoted on Gary Kubiak’s Texans to defend their division crown.

Thus, the questions entering this fall in the AFC are: 1) if the Texans should really be such a heavy favorite, and; 2) if anyone else looks up to the challenge, even remotely so, or providing opposition in the division.

Our initial reactions are yes and probably no. Considering that rebuilding Indianapolis and Jacksonville both have new coaches and are regarded among the longest shots on the board in the entire NFL, only Tennessee, itself in a period of adjustment under second-year head coach Mike Munchak, appears capable of giving the Texans an argument.

For illustrative purposes, note the long prices being offered on the non-Houston entries to win the division; Titans at 5/1, Jaguars 20/1, Colts 28/1. Conference win prices also illustrate the apparent gap between Houston and the rest in the South; whereas the Texans are being quoted at 4/1 (behind only new England) to win the AFC, Tennessee is at 28/1, Indy at 60/1 and Jacksonville at 100/1. Super Bowl win prices follow the same pattern (Texans 10/1, Titans 60/1, Colts 150/1, Jags 200/1).

So, is it really a one-horse race in the South? A quick overview of each division entry, accompanied by season-win prices, follows.

Houston (season-win total 10)
Remember, the Texans had already sewn up the South in early December last season, but also recall that Houston ended up doing so with its third-string QB (rookie T.J. Yates) while also missing key contributors such as WR Andre Johnson and DE Mario Williams, each for more than half of the regular season, due to injuries.

Along the way, Kubiak rewarded the faith put in him by owner Bob McNair, who had been close to pulling the plug a couple of times in preceding years. But by adding sage assistant Wade Phillips to the coaching staff as defensive coordinator, Kubiak filled the one important gap he needed to address on his staff, and the rest was history a year ago.

The thought process of most AFC South insiders is that the stop unit, which improved from 30th-ranked to 2nd-ranked, can only get better in its second season of utilizing Phillips’ aggressive 3-4 schemes. Even with Williams (who missed 11 games last season) departing to Buffalo in free agency, Phillips thinks he has filled that gaps nicely with the addition of rookies Whitney Mercilus (Illinois) and Jared Crick (Nebraska).

Mercilus, who led the nation in sacks a year ago, could be used as a hybrid by Phillips, with the ex-Illini force expected to at least be on the field in all passing-down situations, either as a weak-side DE in nickel packages or as an attack force from the edge as an OLB. As for Crick, he can play in three-man fronts or move inside and become part of the rotation in passing situations.

If anything, Phillips might have more flexibility with these new additions to the platoon, which also features several returning playmakers such as OLB Connor Barwin, who had 11½ sacks of his own in 2011 and can play a stand-up role on the edge when Phillips decides to rush five and drop ILB Brian Cushing into pass coverage.

If the defense figures to be fine, so does the offense, especially if QB Matt Schaub can be kept upright. Before his season-ending foot injury last fall, Schaub led the Texans to a 7-3 record and 27.3 ppg. Now the Texans know they can win with Schaub or backup Yates, who showed plenty of moxie when leading the team to four wins, including the wild card-round pasting of the Bengals. The WR corps will be scary again, especially if Andre Johnson is beyond the hamstring woes that sidelined him for nine games last fall.

There are a few questions to be answered along the OL, especially on the right side which saw a couple of key contributors (RT Eric Winston and RG Mike Brisiel) depart in free agency. But expect Houston to be able to move the ball on the ground again behind RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate after gaining 153 ypg and leading the league in time of possession a year ago.

Kubiak’s team was also a pointspread force last season, covering 13 of 18 decisions vs. the line.

If all goes to plan, exceeding 10 wins looks to be very much within the Texans’ reach.

Tennessee (season-win total 7)
The Titans would have to consider their 9-7 mark a year ago quite a success in Munchak’s first year on the job. With a new coaching staff, not getting new QB Matt Hasselbeck into camp until the summer lockout ended, and a long holdout by RB Chris Johnson, the Titans could have easily disappeared last season but instead found some traction and stayed on the margin of the playoff chase into December.

The offseason, however, has been distracting, first with more off-field problems for key WR Kenny Britt (who could be facing league-imposed sanctions), and the shocking news of the apparent suicide of WR O.J. Murdock at the end of July.

Most AFC South sources, however, believe that Munchak will have a hard time replicating last year’s W-L record. Britt’s potential absence could throw a monkey wrench into the passing game that was expecting him to return from a mostly-lost 2011 and team with Nate Washington as a pair of productive wideouts. The interior of the offensive line, though bolstered by the offseason addition of ex-Vikings G Steve Hutchinson, remains a big question mark. Chris Johnson’s production has also dipped alarmingly since his 2,006-yard rushing title in '09. The defense still lacks playmakers and is going to be younger on the corners after vet Cortland Finnegan’s departure to the Rams (and ex-Titans head coach Jeff Fisher) in the offseason.

Moreover, there are the issues at QB, where Hasselbeck and second-year Jake Locker will battle for the starting role throughout preseason. Though not among the league passing leaders in 2011, Hasselbeck nonetheless enjoyed his most-productive season since 2007, but he’s now 36 and has taken considerable punishment. Locker, who flashed upside in brief looks as a rookie, is poised to take over soon, but some wonder if he’ll be ready to take over full-time in 2012, especially if forced into the lineup should Hasselbeck go down.

Despite the somewhat-surprising 9-7 mark last season, Munchak’s first Titans team was only 6-9-1 vs. the line, and just 2-6 as a favorite. Tennessee was also 'under' 10-6 a year ago.

Surpassing seven wins looks doable if all of the pieces fall into place. Collaring Houston, however, appears unlikely unless the Texans implode.

Indianapolis (season-win total 5)
It really was like a military coup d'état after last season at Lucas Oil Stadium, when the Peyton Manning-less Colts plummeted to 2-14. The old regime, consisting of longtime team prexy Bill Polian (and son Chris, a front-office aide) and head coach Jim Caldwell, that was apparently partial to bringing back Manning, was relieved of duties by owner Jim Irsay, who alone made the decision to plot a new course beginning this fall with the number one pick in the draft, Stanford QB Andrew Luck, leading the way.

The new Colts brain trust now consists of GM Ryan Grigson, most recently the Eagles’ director of player personnel, and head coach Chuck Pagano, recently the defensive coordinator for the Ravens.

Pagano wasted no time installing the hybrid 3-4 defensive system he utilized in Baltimore, and along with Grigson recruited three ex-Ravens (DE Cory Redding, NY Brandon McKinney and SS Tom Zbikowski) to aid in the transition.

But transition it will be for the Indy stop unit, which hasn’t aligned in 3-4 looks since the early 1990s. The Colts have also been focusing more on smaller and quicker defensive types for the past several seasons, running counter to the big, physical linemen and linebackers that Pagano would prefer in his version of the 3-4. The adjustment phase for the platoon could last into 2013.

Of course, the headlines in the offseason involved allowing Manning to leave in free agency and effectively replacing him with Luck, of whom many sources believe arrives as precooked into the NFL as any rookie QB since...Peyton Manning. New offensive coordinator Bruce Arians was a longtime Steelers assistant who once upon a time tutored another rookie QB, Ben Roethlisberger, who led Pittsburgh to the playoffs that 2004 season.

Still, it will take time for wideouts Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie to learn a new way of running pass routes, and game-breaking WR Pierre Garcon left in free agency to the Redskins. Tight ends Dallas Clark and Jacob Tamme also left town in free agency.

Pagano will be looking to reverse a recent negative pointspread trend that began late in the 2010 season; the Colts are just 8-15 vs. the spread their last 23 games on the board.

We are enamored of the possibilities with Luck, however, and suggest the Colts might not be as bad as some believe this fall.

Jacksonville (season-win total 5)
After head coach Jack Del Rio hung on past his sell-by date, he was finally jettisoned before last season was complete, signaling another rebuild in Jacksonville that is complete with a new owner, colorful Shad Kahn, whose mustachioed visage makes for popular placards at EverBank Field.

Some AFC observers, however, believe Kahn might have shanked his first drive as Jags owner into the rough by hiring retread Mike Mularkey as the new head coach. Though a respected offensive assistant, Mularkey’s one head-coaching adventure in Buffalo ended in failure a few years ago. Perhaps Kahn thinks Mularkey has learned from his mistakes.

After contemplating switching away from 2nd-year QB Blaine Gabbert and either moving up in the draft to take a shot at RG III, or perhaps taking a new signal-caller with their own high draft pick, Mularkey decided to stick the course with Gabbert and instead provide him with some better receiving targets in his second year as the starter. Free-agent additions thus focused on wideouts (ex-Bills and Ravens Lee Evans, and ex-Cowboy Laurent Robinson), and the first draftee was Oklahoma State’s deep-threat WR Justin Blackmon, taken with the fifth overall pick.

On the surface, this would appear to upgrade the aerial component, but where Gabbert rests on the learning curve is open to debate. Mularkey’s offensive background, however, suggests that he might be able to coax improvements with the ex-Mizzou star as soon as this season, which can’t be any worse than a year ago when the Jags ranked last in NFL passing (as well as last in total offense).

Still, the offense figures to revolve around RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who was close to a one-man gang last year when leading NFL rushers. All of that without much of a passing game diversion and mostly-spotty work along the offensive line.

The defense, however, ranked sixth overall in the league a year ago, and respected defensive coordinator Mel Tucker (who took over as interim head coach after Del Rio’s ouster) is back to coordinate similar 4-3 looks this season. The addition of free-agent CB Aaron Ross (Giants) figures to be a plus for the secondary, but most AFC South observers are keeping a close eye on the recoveries of DE Tyson Alualu from offseason knee surgery and DT Terrance Knighton from a an off-field incident (nightclub brawl).

Not surprisingly, the Jags were an 'under' team last season (11-5) as the offense labored.

Despite all of the distractions and the rookie QB last season, the Jags still won five games. But exceeding that total in 2012 might be a tall order unless Gabbert progresses significantly this fall.

Top Newcomers In The Division
Andrew Luck, QB, Colts: He’s replacing a legend in Indianapolis, but is only part of a complete rebuild by an entire organization.

Whitney Mercilus, DE/OLB, Texans: Effectively replaces the departed Mario Williams in the Houston defense. Will be expected to replicate Williams’ playmaking bent (though we note that Williams missed more than half of last season).

Kamerion Wimbley, LB, Titans: Tennessee needs defensive playmakers to step up and Wimbley was the highest-profile offseason addition on that side of the ball.

Justin Blackmon, WR, Jaguars: The Jags desperately need an upgrade in their receiving corps and Blackmon will be expected to provide as much.





TEAM

DIVISION

AFC

SUPER BOWL



Houston Texans


2/11


4/1


10/1



Indianapolis Colts


28/1


60/1


150/1



Jacksonville Jaguars


20/1


100/1


200/1



Tennessee Titans


5/1


28/1


60/1

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/06/2012 06:41 PM

AFC West Outlook

August 5, 2012

Deuces are wild in the AFC West these days.

For the second-straight year, the good news in the AFC West last season was that only one team suffered a losing record. And for the second year in a row year the bad news was that only one team in the division earned a spot in the playoffs.

Surprisingly, for the second-straight year, it wasn't San Diego.

The wild, wild West also finds two new coaches roaming the sidelines for - you guessed it - the second-straight year. Dennis Allen, defensive coordinator with Denver last season, takes the reins at Oakland while Romeo Crennel shed the interim label at Kansas City when he was elevated to full-time head coach this season.

Meanwhile, incumbents John Fox at Denver and Norv Turner at San Diego bring near-break even career records in to the season. That fits like a glove within a division that saw all four teams go 3-3 in head-to-head play last season.

Known as a good dog (49-37-1 ATS), and a bad favorite (32-43-3 ATS), Fox's NFL career numbers are balanced at 86-82 SU and 83-81-4 ATS.

Turner enters with a 111-117-1 SU and 118-117-4 ATS career log, including 39-54-3 ATS in division battles. Worse, when laying 10 or more points in division duels Turner is 1-9 ATS.

In closing, this note of caution: Before revving up with home teams in this division, you would be best advised to throttle down as AFC West hosts have gone 23-50-5 ATS since 2000 versus division opponents with losing records, including 0-7 ATS last season, and a mind-boggling 2-17-1 ATS in an anticipated low-scoring contest when the Over/Under total in the game was 40 or fewer points.

No matter how you spin it, it appears as if the numbers outlined above make this the mild, mild West… if you get my drift.

Note: Designated 'Play On' and 'Play Against' Best Bets follow each team's preview.

DENVER
Team Theme: PEYTON'S NEW PLACE
The Broncos are betting four-time MVP Peyton Manning can win the race to the Super Bowl. Ironically, last year's team lost in the divisional round of the playoffs with a quarterback (Tim Tebow) who won seven of his first eight games after coming off the bench to replace an erratic starter (Kyle Orton). They opted, instead, to bank heavily on the belief that, three-neck surgeries aside, Peyton is the man and Denver is the place for Manning to re-establish his career. A young receiving corps and a young offensive line (three of five starters were still in college three years ago) will need to quickly come of age. Here's hoping Manning is sound and they don't need to look to the bench with Caleb Hanie, who is winless in his NFL career. NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year LB Von Miller and Pro Bowl DE Elvis Dumerville give new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio a strong nucleus. Del Rio, the Broncos' 7th DC the last seven years, worked with head coach John Fox at Carolina in 2002. The bottom line is with Manning the Broncos win another race to the playoffs… by a neck.

PLAY AGAINST: at Cincinnati (11/4)

Stat You Will Like: The Broncos will face .500 or greater foes (last year) in each of their first eight games of the season, and only one team with a losing record in their final eight games.

IN THE STATS: The Broncos were 6-12 'ITS' last season.

KANSAS CITY
Team Theme: WHERE FOR ART THOU, ROMEO
When former Browns coach Romeo Crennel was hired as a defensive coordinator by Kansas City, little did he realize he'd be taking on another title in addition to DC for the Chiefs - that of head coach, again. The 2009 overhaul of the organization backfired when GM Scott Pioli and head coach Todd Haley were canned last year. Crennel brings in a new offensive coordinator for the 4th time in four years in Brian Dabol, formerly with the Dolphins and Browns. Meanwhile, Crennel will continue to run the defense. Injuries took a big toll on the Chiefs in 2011, knocking out four starters including QB Matt Cassel, along with RB Jamaal Charles, TE Tony Mokeaki and S Eric Berry. Only a strong second-half performance by the defense (held three of final six foes to season-low yards) kept the Chiefs competitive. The additions of former Pro Bowl RB Peyton Hillis and TE Kevin Boss should bolster the offense. For it all Romeo is no longer in hiding. He the big boss man, again.

PLAY ON: at Pittsburgh (11/12)

Stat You Will Like: Crennel is 0-6 SU and ATS in games after allowing 10 or less points in his NFL career.

IN THE STATS: The Chiefs won the stats in all three games under Crennel last season.

OAKLAND
Team Theme: NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN
For the first time since Al Davis passed, there is a new Donald Trump running the show in Oakland and his name is Reggie McKenzie. The former Michigan Wolverines, Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks lineman - and current College Football Hall of Fame member - McKenzie's first move was hiring Dennis Allen as the Raiders new head coach. Allen, the defensive coordinator with Denver last year, inherits a deep but undisciplined front line, one that surrendered a whopping 5.1 Yards Per Rush last season for new DC Jason Tarver, a co-defensive coordinator at Stanford and former assistant with the 49ers. Look for improvement from the rush defense to become priority-one. Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp returns for a second stint with Oakland (Knapp was OC under Lane Kiffin in 2007-08). Knapp has plenty of weapons in QB Carson Palmer, RB Darren McFadden and WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. The pieces are in place for McKenzie to build this team the right way… from the ground up. If Allen can re-instill a modicum of discipline and tighten the screws on a leaky rush defense, this team could be a sleeper in the AFC West.

PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite vs. Kansas City (12/16)

Stat You Will Like: The Raiders set an NFL record for penalties and penalty yards in 2011.

IN THE STATS: The Raiders were 1-7 'ITS' away from home last season.

SAN DIEGO
Team Theme: THE HOTTIE OR THE NOTTIE
After missing the playoffs the last two seasons, one might think Norv Turner would own a different zip code these days. It's easy to pin the blame on the embattled Turner who, despite a 52-34 ledger in his days in sunny San Diego, is surely the most vilified coach roaming the sidelines in the NFL these days. Noted for his slow starts and fast finishes, Turner actually got out the gate in atypical fashion last season when the Bolts opened the season with wins in four of their first five games. Not knowing how to react, they proceeded to lose their next six games before making another patented late surge to close out the up-and-down campaign - while improving to 23-3 SU in the month of December. It was enough for owner Alex Spanos to extend the services of the Norvous one for at least another season, but one can only assume the seat he sits on these days is hotter than Hades. New coordinators on both sides of the ball, along with a Grade 'A' draft which included three defensive stalwarts, holds promise for the new season ahead.

PLAY ON: vs. Denver (10/15)

Stat You Will Like: The Chargers are 4-11 SU and 5-10 ATS in Eastern-time zone cities with Turner.

IN THE STATS: The Chargers are 13-3 'ITS' at home the last two seasons.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/06/2012 06:43 PM

NFL Season Preview: Cincinnati Bengals


To get you prepared for the upcoming NFL season, we continue our run of all 32 team previews, rolling out one per day from August 1 to September 1. For complete coverage, download your copy of the 2012 StatFox Edge Football Preview. Up next is the Cincinnati Bengals, whose odds are set at 4/1 to win the AFC North division.


CINCINNATI BENGALS

2011 Statistics:
SU Record: 9-8
ATS Record: 8-7-2
Over/Under: 12-4-1
Points Scored: 21.5 PPG (18th in NFL)
Points Allowed: 20.2 PPG (9th in NFL)
2012 Odds:
(For the latest Odds, connect to Sportsbook.com)
Odds to Win AFC North: 4/1
Odds to Win AFC Championship: 23/1
Odds to Win Super Bowl XLVII: 50/1
Regular Season Wins Over/Under: 8

2012 Preview:
Offense:
The Bengals returned to a run-first offense in 2011, and that should continue with BenJarvus Green-Ellis stepping in for Cedric Benson. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden mixed in some more zone blocking principles and stretch plays last year, something that didn’t fit with Benson at all. The Bengals have been looking to get Bernard Scott more involved, and this year they should be able to do it. Expect a 60/40 early-down split for Green-Ellis and Scott, with Brian Leonard keeping his third down role because of his ability as a pass protector. Green-Ellis figures to be the focal point of their red zone offense, just like Benson was a year ago.

Gruden’s offense is West Coast in terminology, but they pressure secondaries deep. A lot of their best plays were jump balls to A.J. Green. Either rookies Mohamed Sanu or Marvin Jones, or Jordan Shipley could slide in opposite Green on the outside, and Gruden will have to tweak the offense since none of them are deep threats. They use a lot of three-WR sets, so there should be ample playing time for two of those secondary targets. TE Jermaine Gresham is the No. 2 target for Dalton, and this offense creates room for him over the middle. The backs are more for pass protection than receiving skills. Gruden gets a little more pass-happy in the red zone, but not absurdly so. When they do throw, Green is overwhelmingly the most popular target.

Defense:
The Bengals defense showed an ability to get to the quarterback in 2011, with 14 players contributing at least one sack to a total that placed fifth in the NFL. Rookie CB Dre’ Kirkpatrick will help out the defense with his coverage skills, but this unit doesn’t make enough big plays to provide the offense with a lot of short fields. The one guy in the secondary who is capable of making a big play is Reggie Nelson, a rangy centerfielder at free safety with solid ball skills.

Key Offseason Moves:
ADDITIONS
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (from Patriots)
OL Travelle Wharton (from Panthers)
DE Jamaal Anderson (from Colts)
CB Terence Newman (from Cowboys)
CB Jason Allen (from Texans)

SUBTRACTIONS
WR Andre Caldwell (Broncos)
WR Jerome Simpson (Vikings)
TE Bo Scaife (Patriots)
C Mike McGlynn (Colts)
G Bobbie Williams (Ravens)
G Nate Livings (Cowboys)
DE Jonathan Fanene (Patriots)
DE Frostee Rucker (Browns)
LB Keith Rivers (Giants)
LB Brandon Johnson (Steelers)
S Chris Crocker (released)

2012 Schedule:
2012 Schedule Strength: 20.56 (12th toughest in NFL)
Week 1 - at Baltimore
Week 2 - Cleveland
Week 3 - at Washington
Week 4 - at Jacksonville
Week 5 - Miami
Week 6 - at Cleveland
Week 7 - Pittsburgh
Week 8 - BYE WEEK
Week 9 - Denver
Week 10 - New York Giants
Week 11 - at Kansas City
Week 12 - Oakland
Week 13 - at San Diego
Week 14 - Dallas
Week 15 - at Philadelphia
Week 16 - at Pittsburgh
Week 17 - Baltimore

StatFox Take: The Bengals can’t afford to start the season slowly, because they have a pretty easy five-game stretch from Week 2 to Week 6, and they are capable of winning all five of those contests. However, despite playing at home in six of the final 10 games, Cincinnati figures to be tabbed as the underdog in all but one of these 10 contests (Week 12 vs. Oakland) with the Steelers, Broncos, Giants, Cowboys and Ravens all coming to Cincy. Being a ‘dog doesn’t bode well for this Bengals team that is 5-18 straight up in its past 23 games as an underdog.
Prediction: UNDER 8 wins (-140)


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/07/2012 03:37 PM

NFL Season Preview: Cleveland Browns

To get you prepared for the upcoming NFL season, we continue our run of all 32 team previews, rolling out one per day from August 1 to September 1. For complete coverage, download your copy of the 2012 StatFox Edge Football Preview. Up next is the Cleveland Browns, whose odds are set at 25/1 to win the AFC North division.


CLEVELAND BROWNS

2011 Statistics:
SU Record: 4-12
ATS Record: 7-8-1
Over/Under: 4-11-1
Points Scored: 13.6 PPG (30th in NFL)
Points Allowed: 19.2 PPG (5th in NFL)
2012 Odds:
(For the latest Odds, connect to Sportsbook.com)
Odds to Win AFC North: 25/1
Odds to Win AFC Championship: 50/1
Odds to Win Super Bowl XLVII: 100/1
Regular Season Wins Over/Under: 5

2012 Preview:
Offense:
In a perfect world, head coach Pat Shurmur would make this offense much more pass-heavy, but rookie Trent Richardson is his best offensive player by a wide margin. They’ll continue to pound the ball between the tackles on early downs, and Richardson can stay on the field for three downs. There’s not a lot of creativity with this running scheme, some man blocking and inside zone runs. If Montario Hardesty is able to keep his roster spot this season, he will likely spell Richardson on early downs when necessary. Veteran Brandon Jackson will probably split third down reps with Richardson. The red zone reps will be Richardson’s, as everything Cleveland does in the red zone is based on the run.

Like Shurmur, new offensive coordinator Brad Childress comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, so there will be no big changes. With Brandon Weeden starting, this will continue to be a classic West Coast attack, so Greg Little will continue to see the majority of passes. TE Benjamin Watson is the default No. 2 over the middle of the field, while Mohamed Massaquoi’s lack of separation skills relegate him to being an infrequent target. They also find uses for No. 2 TE Evan Moore, who can stretch the middle of the field. They’ll run some screens for Richardson. In the red zone, they rarely look outside the hash marks when they throw, instead trying to isolate Moore one-on-one or looking for Josh Cribbs to win a battle over the middle.

Defense:
Cleveland actually allowed the fifth-fewest points in the league and finished 10th in total defense last year, but the Browns don’t make enough big plays necessary to compensate for what’s been a weak offense. Manning the middle after Cleveland’s switch to a 4-3 defense was D’Qwell Jackson, whose 116 solo tackles were the most anyone in the NFL has had since 2007. The best player on this unit is DE Jabaal Sheard, who dominated as a rookie, playing every down and piling up six sacks in his final seven games. He may see more double teams now, but he’ll continue to be a force who’s always on the field. Many figured Ahtyba Rubin’s gaudy tackle totals would drop last year when Cleveland switched to a 3-4 defense, but he remained a run-stuffing monster and also started flashing some pass-rushing ability in 2011. Free-agent signee Frostee Rucker is not a great pass rusher, but when he gets his hands on a ball carrier, he tends to finish the job. T.J. Ward’s disappointing 2011 was cut short by a serious foot sprain, but he’s still one of the more promising young downhill safeties in the NFL. Shutdown cornerback Joe Haden battled a knee injury for parts of last season and should also be better in 2012.

Key Offseason Moves:
ADDITIONS
DE Juqua Parker (from Eagles)
DE Frostee Rucker (from Bengals)

SUBTRACTIONS
RB Peyton Hillis (Chiefs)
C Steve Vallos (Eagles)
T Tony Pashos (released)
G Artis Hicks (Dolphins)
G Eric Steinbach (Dolphins)
DE Jayme Mitchell (released)
S Mike Adams (Broncos)

2012 Schedule:
2012 Schedule Strength: 20.38 (14th toughest in NFL)
Week 1 - Philadelphia
Week 2 - at Cincinnati
Week 3 - Buffalo
Week 4 - at Baltimore
Week 5 - at New York Giants
Week 6 - Cincinnati
Week 7 - at Indianapolis
Week 8 - San Diego
Week 9 - Baltimore
Week 10 - BYE WEEK
Week 11 - at Dallas
Week 12 - Pittsburgh
Week 13 - at Oakland
Week 14 - Kansas City
Week 15 - Washington
Week 16 - at Denver
Week 17 - at Pittsburgh

StatFox Take: Cleveland’s offense surpassed 17 points just twice in 2011, scoring 27 at Indianapolis and 20 at Cincinnati. With a rookie quarterback and no free-agent upgrades on offense, don’t expect the Browns to start piling up the points this year. This schedule looks like they will be favored no more than three times all season (hosting Bills, Chiefs and Redskins), which will make it quite difficult for the Browns to surpass five victories for the first time since their 10-6 campaign in 2007. Since that time, this club is 18-46 (.281) over four seasons.
Prediction: UNDER 5 wins (-115)


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/09/2012 12:53 PM

What bettors need to know: Thursday's NFL preseason action

NFL betting got underway this past weekend with the Hall of Fame Game. Now, football bettors get their first night of preseason profits with six games on the go Thursday.

Here’s a quick look at each of those matchups and their odds and trends:

Washington Redskins at Buffalo Bills (+2.5, 35)

The Redskins debut rookie QB Robert Griffin III, who will get between 12 and 20 snaps in Week 1. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan is notorious for putting weight into these tune-up tilts and owns a career 42-32-2 ATS mark in the preseason, including a 5-2 ATS record in his first two preseasons with the Skins.

Buffalo head coach Chan Gailey says his starters will only get a few series Thursday, turning things over to backup QB Vince Young. Starter Ryan Fitzpatrick said the offense will be focused on improving the rushing game, which could eat up clock and favor the under 35 points.

New Orleans Saints at New England Patriots (-3, 38)

These teams held a joint practice this week, so expect both sides to have notes. Bill Belichick sat Tom Brady in Week 1 of the preseason last year and will limit his star QB Thursday. Not only does Belichick want a better look at backups Ryan Mallet and Brian Hoyer, but he’s working with scraps on the offensive line.

The Saints won the Hall of Fame Game and will likely give Drew Brees and the starters a longer leash in Week 1. Receiver Devery Henderson and RB Mark Ingram sat out the practice with the Pats but are expected to see more action Thursday.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles (pick, 34)

Eagles head coach Andy Reid is expected to be on sidelines for Thursday's game following the funeral for his son this week. Philadelphia has dedicated this season to Garrett Reid and will likely come out strong for their coach Thursday.

Pittsburgh has been one of the better preseason bets under Mike Tomlin, posting a 16-5 SU and 13-8 ATS record in the exhibition schedule. The Steelers will give starts to two rookie offensive linemen Thursday, throwing David DeCastro and Mike Adams into the fire. Tomlin will play his starting units no more than two series.

Baltimore Ravens at Atlanta Falcons (-1.5, 34)

The Ravens are one of the best under bets in Week 1 of the preseason, posting a 3-12 over/under count in the exhibition opener since 1995. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh will use his starters, namely QB Joe Flacco, sparingly and will not risk putting injured players into action.

The Falcons could give their starters a full quarter’s worth of work and more Thursday. Head coach Mike Smith hadn’t decided on a snap count or anything but told the media his starters could play into the second quarter versus the Ravens.

Green Bay Packers at San Diego Chargers (-1, 37.5)

The Packers will only let QB Aaron Rodgers roll out one series or less before turning the offense over to the backups. A big part of that decision is the uncertainty surrounding Herb Taylor at left tackle. Backups Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman could be in for a long night if Taylor fails on the line.

The Chargers are one of the better over plays during Week 1 of the preseason, boasting an 11-5 over/under count in Week 1 since 1995. The Bolts won’t have backup QB Charlie Whitehurst for Thursday, leaving the bulk of the passing duties behind Philip Rivers to Kevin O'Connell and undrafted rookie Jarrett Lee.

Denver Broncos at Chicago Bears (-3, 34.5)

Denver happens to be one of the best Week 1 preseason plays in the NFL, with a stellar 11-4-1 ATS mark in their exhibition openers since 1995. Peyton Manning makes his debut in Broncos blue and orange, but will only get 10-12 plays Thursday.

The Bears have depth at QB and RB with Jason Campbell an upgrade under center and Michael Bush a threat behind Matt Forte. Chicago will not have veteran LB Brian Urlacher, who is dealing with personal issues.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/09/2012 12:54 PM

Best and worst NFL preseason Week 1 bets

The NFL preseason can make about as much sense as an episode of Lost. Things that should be never are. And players you’ve never heard of can quickly become your all-time faves.

Preseason trends are just as volatile. The tune-up rosters are different, not only year-to-year, but week-to-week as players are cut and added. However, there are some trends and records that jump out during Week 1 of the preseason and can’t be ignored.

Here’s a look at the best and worst teams against the spread in Week 1 of the NFL preseason.

Records from Week 1 of the preseason since 1995.

Best preseason Week 1 bets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6 SU, 11-5 ATS)

The Bucs are straight cash in their preseason opener, including covering in Week 1 of the preseason the past two summers. Tampa Bay opens the 2012 preseason slate at Miami as a 2.5-point underdog Friday.

Denver Broncos (9-7 SU, 11-4-1 ATS)

The Broncos are a much different beast than 2011, especially with Peyton Manning under center. Thursday’s game against the Bears (-3) is his first action since playing in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 30, 2011. Head coach John Fox says his starters will play the majority of the first quarter.

Tennessee Titans (10-6 SU, 10-6 ATS)

The Titans have a nice QB battle on their hands heading into Week 1 of the preseason with second-year arm Jake Locker fighting veteran Matt Hasselbeck for the starting job. That motivation should provide good value in Tennessee, which is 3-point underdog visiting Hasselbeck’s former team, the Seattle Seahawks, Saturday.

Worst preseason Week 1 bets

Dallas Cowboys (4-12 SU, 3-13 ATS)

It’s tough to find value in the Cowboys during the regular season, but damn near impossible during the exhibition slate. Dallas has been ravaged by injuries this offseason with 17 different players missing practice. America’s Team is a 1.5-point underdog visiting the Raiders Monday.

Detroit Lions (9-7 SU, 4-9-3 ATS)

For anyone who has loyally bet the NFL preseason, this one should catch you off guard. Detroit has provided preseason profits over the past four years, going a combined 12-3-1 ATS in the preseason since 2008. But getting the motor started in Week 1 is an issue. The Lions face the Browns as 3-point home faves Friday.

Philadelphia Eagles (5-10 SU, 4-10-1 ATS)

Eagles head coach Andy Reid never cared about the team’s preseason success in the past and understandably won’t be too concerned about it in 2012 after the death of his son last week. Reid returned to camp following the funeral and is expected to be on the sidelines when Philadelphia hosts the Steelers as a pick’em Thursday. "It will be therapy for Andy,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie told reporters.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:25761 Followers:33
08/09/2012 12:55 PM

Best NFL preseason Week 1 over/under bets

Finding your bearings when it comes to preseason offenses and defenses is like trying to chart a pleasure cruise through the Bermuda Triangle.

The mystery surrounding a coach's game plan in the exhibition slate can leave over/under bettors wagering on blind faith. However, these totals trends may act as a compass in Week 1 of the NFL preseason.

Here’s a look at the best over and best under bets during Week 1 of the NFL preseason.

Records from Week 1 of the preseason since 1995.

Best preseason Week 1 over bets

New York Jets (7-9 SU, 12-4 over/under)

The J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets have been gold on the O-V-E-R during Week 1 of the preseason the past 16 years. New York has plenty of potential firepower under center with Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. The total for Friday’s game at Cincinnati is 34 points.

San Diego Chargers (7-9 SU, 11-5 over/under)

The Bolts have been an awesome over bet in Week 1 of the preseason, topping the total in four of the last five exhibition openers. San Diego collides with Green Bay’s powerful offense Friday with the total set at 37.5 points.

Chicago Bears (6-10 SU, 10-6 over/under)

There’s a change in scenery in the Windy City this summer. Chicago, which has long prided itself on defense, has loaded up on offense this offseason. Da Bears played under the number in Week 1 last season, but went over in six straight preseason openers before that. The total is listed at 34.5 for Thursday’s home date with Denver.

Best Week 1 preseason under bets

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6 SU, 3-13 over/under)

Betting Tampa Bay to cover and play under has been a winning method in Week 1 of the preseason. Not only are the Bucs among the best teams against the spread (11-5 ATS), but they’re also the top under bet during Week 1 of the preseason. Books have a total of 33.5 points set for Tampa’s tune-up opener at Miami Friday.

Washington Redskins (8-8 SU, 4-12 over/under)

Can Heisman winner Robert Griffin III spark a Washington offense that has helped play below the total in 12 of its last 16 Week 1 preseason tilts? The Redskins have gone 1-5 over/under in their last six Week 1 preseason games. That lone over came in 2010 against the Bills, whom they face with an over/under of 35 points Thursday.

Baltimore Ravens (10-5 SU, 3-12 over/under)

The Ravens smash-mouth defense has kept under backers winning in Week 1 of the preseason, staying below the number in each of the past four exhibition openers. Baltimore is missing a key cog in that stop unit with Terrell Suggs out with an Achilles injury and the Ravens game in Atlanta has an over/under of 34 points Thursday.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: