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Money on the Titans has moved this spread off one key number and on another, with Tennessee sitting around a touchdown favorite. Rood believes most of those bets are against the Broncos, rather than on the Titans.
“This is the first road test for Denver, which has struggled with its identity,” says Rood.
New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills – Open: Bills +9, Move: +7
According to Rood, this is the most bet game on the Week 3 board (along with Detroit-Minnesota), with almost all the early action on the 2-0 Bills. Rood expects the public to come back on New England before kickoff and says Buffalo’s offense is the reason people are buying up the Bills.
“If they were 2-0 but not putting up so many points, this spread wouldn't be as low,” he says. “But right now, the Bills offense is just clicking.”
Almost all the early action is on the Dolphins, who hit the road to face the Browns after taking on the Texans and Patriots at home in the first two weeks of the season.
“It might be good for (Miami) to get away from home, after losing two straight there,” says Rood.
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Open: Bucs +1 Move: -2.5
Sharp action on the Bucs pushed the home side to the favorite, however, a lot of parlay action is tied to the Falcons. Rood thinks people are still trying to figure out Atlanta, especially after its come-from-behind win over Philadelphia last Sunday.
“People don’t know what to think right now,” he says. “Is Atlanta going to click and be like last year? Maybe since they didn’t address their defensive needs in the offseason, that it will come back to bite them.”
Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts (+10.5, 39.5)
THE STORY: Peyton Manning's neck injury could turn out to be painful for more than the Indianapolis Colts. The executives at NBC Sports who were probably salivating at the prospect of Sunday night's matchup between Indianapolis and the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers could be spitting mad at the thought of the prime-time television ratings if the downtrodden Colts are unable to be competitive for a third straight week. Indy will be looking to avoid starting the season 0-3 for the first time since Manning’s rookie season, but its struggling offense will face a stiff challenge against a Pittsburgh defense that is coming off a shutout of Seattle last week.
TV: NBC, 8:20 p.m. ET
LINE MOVES: The Steelers opened at -11 and were bet down to -10.5. The total was posted at 38.5 and has been bet up as high as 39.5 points.
ABOUT THE STEELERS (1-1, 1-1 ATS): After absorbing a beating from Baltimore in its season opener, Pittsburgh found the perfect tonic to remedy its woes against the offensively challenged Seahawks. The result was a predictable 24-0 romp over the league’s lowest-scoring team. The Steelers registered five sacks and limited Seattle to 164 total yards and only eight first downs. Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman each ran for a touchdown and combined for 115 yards rushing as Pittsburgh held the ball for 38.5 minutes. QB Ben Roethlisberger bounced back from a rocky opener to complete 22 of 30 for 298 yards and one TD.
ABOUT THE COLTS (0-2, 0-2 ATS): Indianapolis has been as bad – if not worse – as feared in the absence of Manning, the league’s only four-time MVP. The Colts were steamrolled at Houston 34-7 in their season opener and weren’t much better in a 27-19 home loss to Cleveland last week. In Kerry Collins’ second start, Indy could not punch the ball into the end zone until the final 24 seconds. Collins, who came out of retirement to replace Manning, committed two costly four-quarter turnovers and completed only 50 percent of his passes (19 of 38, 191 yards) against a defense that doesn’t conjure up memories of the ’85 Bears.
1. Steelers WR Mike Wallace has back-to-back 100-yard games, extending his streak to five in the regular season dating to Dec. 19, 2010. He has eight receptions in each of the first two games.
2. The Colts have managed to put up only 26 points in their first two games. With Manning under center, they surpassed that total in one game 10 times in each of the last two seasons.
3. Pittsburgh has won seven of the last nine regular-season matchups with Indy, but the Colts have won the last two at home.
- Steelers are 6-13 ATS in their last 19 games as favorites of 10.5 or greater.
- Colts are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games as underdogs of 10.5 or greater.
- Over is 5-1 in Steelers last six games as road favorites.
- Under is 4-1 in Colts last five games as home underdogs.
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-8.5, 48.5)
Giants pass defense vs. Eagles pass offense
Why Antrel Rolle opened his mouth this week is anybody’s guess. He said he didn’t want to hear excuses after the Giants “put it to” the Eagles.
“A lot of times when people talk, they’re either insecure or scared,” Jeremy Maclin retorted.
Rolle should be frightened by the possibility of Philly throwing all over him and the decimated New York secondary. That unit allowed Rex Grossman to pass for 305 yards in Week 1, and Sam Bradford put up 331 yards Monday night.
Starting corner Aaron Ross was abused so badly by the Rams' third receiver, Danario Alexander, he was benched midway through the game. Tom Coughlin put in Michael Coe and he promptly gave up a touchdown to Alexander.
“It was an attempt to find a solution to one of the problems we were having,” said Coughlin.
Mike Vick has been cleared, but even with Mike Kafka the Eagles would have a big passing day. Heck, Jim Harbaugh could throw on this secondary right now.
Denver Broncos at Tennessee Titans (-6.5, 42)
Broncos rush defense vs. Chris Johnson/Javon Ringer
Chris Johnson can finally earn some of that $56-million contract he signed earlier this month, which should easily cover the cost of gold-plating all his teeth and possibly his fingernails.
The Broncos were awful against the run last year, allowing more than 150 yards per game. John Fox switched to a 4-3 defensive scheme but that hasn’t helped. Denver was gashed for 190 rushing yards in Week 1, including 150 from Darren McFadden.
The size of the front four is tiny compared to most defenses. And the ends haven’t showed good discipline containing the perimeter.
Johnson loves to bounce to the outside and turn the corner. And because Matt Hasselbeck has been throwing the ball efficiently, running lanes should open in the trenches.
San Francisco 49ers at Cincinnati Bengals (-3, 40.5)
Niners pass defense vs. Bengals pass offense
The 49ers have plenty of shortcomings but the gaping hole is the secondary. A brain fart by that group cost San Francisco the game in overtime last week.
Dallas torched the Niners secondary for 427 yards through the air. Shawntae Spencer and Dashon Goldson could return this week, which would help, but how healthy will they be?
Andy Dalton and the Bengals' young receiving corps are underrated. Dalton isn’t chucking many deep balls but he’s showed composure against the speed of the NFL and his short passes are on point.
A.J. Green broke out with 10 catches and 124 yards against Denver last week; he’s a superstar in the making. And you can bet Jerome Simpson will be playing this game like it’s his last, because it might be after police found six pounds of the sticky icky in his house.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (3.5, 46)
Packers pass rush vs. Bears offensive line
The blueprint to beat the Bears is the same as it was last season: Penetrate the offensive line and force Jay Cutler into mistakes.
In Week 1, the Falcons sacked Cutler four times. Last Sunday, a Saints front seven that looked questionable at Green Bay recorded six sacks, 15 knockdowns and 19 hits on Cutler.
You know Cutler doesn’t have time to throw when Matt Forte has been targeted more than any receiver through two games. And the O-line will be even more vulnerable this week because right tackle Gabe Carimi is out with a dislocated knee.
In three meetings against Chicago last year, the Packers posted 11 sacks and 20 quarterback hits. Cutler is 1-5 all-time against Green Bay with 10 interceptions and five touchdowns.
NFL: The Raiders are 4-1 ATS in their last five overall and the over is 5-1 in their last six overall.
NFL: The Packers are 5-1 ATS in their last six overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
MLB: The Royals are 9-2 in their last 11 overall.
MLB: The under is 13-3 in the Marlins’ last 16 overall and 7-1-3 in the Brewers’ last 11 overall.
WNBA: The under is 9-2 in Phoenix’s last 11 overall.
CFL: Calgary is 5-1-1 ATS in its last seven road games.
NFL: The Rams are 1-5 ATS in their last six overall dating back to last season.
NFL: The Chiefs are 0-4 in their last four overall and 1-8 ATS in their last nine against the AFC.
MLB: The Rockies are 0-9 in their last nine overall.
MLB: The Red Sox are 0-6 in their last six road games.
WNBA: Indiana is 1-5 ATS in its last six trips to Atlanta.
CFL: The under is 1-7 in Hamilton’s last eight overall.
38.5 – Rushing yards per game for Titans’ running back Chris Johnson through the first two weeks of the season. He is averaging just 2.3 yards per carry after 33 attempts. The good news for Johnson and Tennessee, though, is that they are going up against a Denver rushing defense that is currently ranked 28th in the NFL at 131.0 yards per game.
Injuries that shouldn’t be overlooked
The Patriots may be firing on all cylinders, but their defense is banged up heading into Week 3. Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth (back) and linebacker Jerod Mayo (thigh) are both questionable for Sunday’s visit to Buffalo. Safety Patrick Chung (thumb) is also questionable, but he was recently upgraded from doubtful despite a recent Boston Herald report that he would miss the game.
New England is looking to slow down a 2-0 Bills squad that put up 41 points against Kansas City before piling on 38 at the expense of Oakland. Buffalo is hoping to end a 15-game losing streak to the Patriots.
Biggest games on the slate
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Bucs (-1, 46)
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (4, 45.5)
“Every one has been different and every one is a bloodbath. It has been a knockdown, drag out heavyweight fight, so I don’t look at the body of work over numbers of games and I will never go there and do that. That would be making a mistake.” – Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid on his team’s head-to-head series with the New York Giants. Heading into Sunday’s showdown, in which Michael Vick is expected to play, Philly has won six in a row against the Giants dating back to 2008. It is the team’s longest streak against the Giants since a 12-game surge from 1975-81.
Tips and notes
Alfonso Soriano of the Cubs said on Friday he hopes the Cardinals make the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean his team is not trying to knock an NL Central rival out of contention. “We want to play well, and it was great these guys didn’t let Milwaukee make any hay against us at our place,” Chicago manager Mike Quade said of a recent series win against the Brewers. “It doesn’t matter where you’re at. We’d like to beat these guys (playoff contenders) given the fact they’re in the hunt.” The Cubs are 5-3 in their last seven against teams that are already in the playoffs or were in contention at the time after losing to St. Louis 2-1 on Saturday.
The Atlanta Dream lost their Eastern Conference Finals opener at Indiana on Thursday, but don’t be surprised if they send it back to Indiana for a decisive Game 3. Atlanta won all four games against the Fever during the regular season and covered the spread on three occasions. The Dream have won seven in a row at home and are 12-1 SU in their last 13 at Philips Arena.
Of the four players who are within two shots of the lead heading into the final round of the TOUR Championship, Aaron Baddeley and K.J. Choi have won titles this season. Baddeley, tied for first at 9-under, prevailed in February at the Northern Trust Open and his last top 10 came at the PLAYERS Championship in May. Speaking of the PLAYERS, that's where Choi collected his lone 2011 title. As for Hunter Mahan and Jason Day, contending but not winning is a familiar site this year. Mahan owns eight top 10s without winning while Day has nine--including two second-place finishes at huge events (the Masters and the U.S. Open).