therock Posts:120 Followers:3
On 10/27/2011 12:55 AM in NFL

Sharp Eye for the Square Guy: Inside the mind of a pro capper

The NFL likes to promote and showcase its star quarterbacks.

What doesn’t get marketed is how bad the backup quarterbacks really are. I’ve yet to see a commercial featuring Charlie Whitehurst or A.J. Feeley.

Pay a fortune to Peyton Manning and you get stuck with Curtis Painter. Don’t upgrade your quarterback spot and you’re relegated to the junk heap to pick up Matt Moore and J.P. Losman.

Draft a rookie quarterback in the first-round and rush him into the lineup like Blaine Gabbert and see your team average 12 points a game like the Jaguars.

Quarterbacks who didn’t begin the season as the projected starter are a combined 7-15 ATS.

Center of attention

Wagering against backup quarterbacks is smart betting. So is going against second-string centers.

Don’t underestimate the value of a starting center. The Jets’ three-game losing streak came when center Nick Mangold was out with an ankle injury. Atlanta center Todd McClure missed three games and the Falcons went 1-2 SU and against the spread without him.

Maybe it’s a coincidence, but the Seahawks, Buccaneers and Vikings all lost this past Sunday playing without their starting centers. Only the Vikings were getting more than a field goal and they were the lone team to cover.

Pass on bye

Byes used to be a good thing for teams in the NFL. But not this season, not in the year of the lockout. Teams coming off a bye are 3-9 SU and 4-7-1 ATS.

The time off has proven to be a negative. Sure, it gives players a chance to heal, but the lack of training camp and practice has put them behind schedule. Now, they lose their timing and routine with a mandatory four days off.

Teams who were idle last week were Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, Philadelphia, San Francisco and the New York Giants.

Waste of money

In the span of two years, Chris Johnson has gone from being the best running back to the worst starter in the league.

Maybe it’s because of his prolonged holdout. Maybe it’s because his offensive line isn’t very good at run blocking. But the bottom line is Johnson is averaging 2.9 yards per carry and has scored one touchdown.

That’s not a whole lot of production from a guy now making $13 million a year.

Damage control

Top-10 teams in the Associated Press college football poll went a combined 6-4 ATS this past week. That’s an impressive 60 percent, but still a huge drop-off from the past two weeks when they were an astounding 16-1 ATS.

They are 44-18 (71 percent) on the season.

Naturally, bookmakers have been hurt by this trend. Long-time Las Vegas oddsmaker Ken White recently was asked what the house could do about this. He said the key for them is making adjustments, but not going wild with major adjustments.

Cats and dogs

Kansas State catches Oklahoma at a bad time after the Sooners were stunned as 29-point favorites, losing to Texas Tech this past Saturday.

Still, it’s difficult to play against the Wildcats. Kansas State destroyed Kansas, 59-21, last week as a 12.5-point favorite. The Wildcats had been underdogs in their previous four games and won them all, beating Miami, Baylor, Missouri and Texas Tech.

Only four BCS teams had won four in a row straight up as underdogs during the past 31 years before Kansas State turned the trick.