cnotes Posts:32923 Followers:38
12/19/2011 06:13 PM

Week 15 Preview: Steelers at 49ers



Kickoff: Monday, 8:30 p.m. EDT
Line: San Francisco -3, Total: 37.5

A couple of 10-win clubs square off in a tremendous Monday Night Football matchup when the Steelers visit the 49ers.

Even with 11 days off since their last game, the Steelers are banged up. QB Ben Roethlisberger suffered a high ankle sprain last week, and while he limped through the second half, he didn’t look good playing through pain. A potential downgrade to Charlie Batch would be significant, but it appears Roethlisberger will start Monday. The Niners are coming off an upset loss in Arizona, and they are susceptible to the big pass play. Their top-ranked rush defense should neutralize the Pittsburgh running game, but they’ll likely struggle to move the ball against a top-notch Steelers defense. San Fran has been held to less than 250 yards of offense in two of its past three games, both which resulted in defeats. The Steelers have been tremendous a bet after an ATS defeat, going 10-2 ATS in such situations over the past two seasons. The pick here is PITTSBURGH to win and cover.

This FoxSheets trend shows how the Steelers usually rise to the occasion against quality opponents:

PITTSBURGH is 34-13 ATS (72.3%, +19.7 Units) when playing against a top-level team (Win Pct. > 75%) since 1992. The average score was PITTSBURGH 22.1, OPPONENT 18.8 - (Rating = 2*).

Although the Under has occurred in the past three Steelers games and three of the past four 49ers contests, this four-star FoxSheets trend expects the OVER to occur on Monday night:

Play Over - Home teams against the total (SAN FRANCISCO) - after covering the spread in 4 or 5 out of their last 6 games, top level team, winning 75% or more of their games, in the second half of the season. (38-10 over the last 5 seasons.) (79.2%, +27 units. Rating = 4*).

Pittsburgh has won four consecutive games, holding opponents to a mere 36 total points during the win streak. Roethlisberger was nothing short of incredible last week, completing 16-of-21 passes (76%) for 280 yards, 2 TD, and 1 INT despite his painful injury. That equates to 13.3 yards per attempt and a 129.6 passer rating, his fifth passer rating of 115+ this year. If Roethlisberger is unable to go, Batch has done a decent job filling in as his backup, going 4-2 as a starter with an 84.2 passer rating (11 TD, 7 INT) in seven seasons with the Steelers.

Pittsburgh’s ground game has increased its yardage in each of the past four games, going from 70 to 105 to 108 to 136 and to 147 last week. Rashard Mendenhall rushed for 76 yards last week, his second-highest total of the year. Although the 49ers sport the league’s top rushing defense (71 YPG), they could be without star LB Patrick Willis (hamstring), whose absence could pave the way for Mendenhall to have another quality performance.

San Francisco has been crushing teams at home this year, winning five straight at Candlestick Park by a combined 144 to 40 score. The Niners are 6-1 SU (6-0-1 ATS) at home on the year, and are out-rushing opponents by an average of 133 to 66 in these seven tilts. Offensively, San Fran continues to possess an erratic rushing attack, gaining 138, 77, 164, 74, 144 and 94 yards over the past six games. The 49ers could struggle again Monday against Pittsburgh’s sixth-best run defense (97 YPG).

But the Steelers also possess the league’s top passing defense, putting even more pressure on Niners QB Alex Smith to perform. Smith’s team has the fourth-fewest passing yards in the NFL, but he has been consistently solid all season, completing 62% of his passes for 2,565 yards (197 YPG), 15 TD and 5 INT. Smith will be able to breathe a bit easier with Steelers ruthless LB James Harrison suspended for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Browns QB Colt McCoy last Thursday.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32923 Followers:38
12/19/2011 06:16 PM

Books take wild weekend

December 19, 2011

Las Vegas sports book were rocking Sunday with a buzz surrounding the day that we haven't seen since Week 1. Part of it had to do with almost every media outlet hyping New England's visit to Denver, which helped spur the largest single game handle of the season for many books, and the other part was all the wonderful upsets that occurred through the day that kept everyone ohhhing and awing throughout the day.
Although the bettors experienced a rare collective loss on the day, the price of admission was almost worth it as the early games gave us five outright underdog winners, two of which we saw for the first time of the season. The Packers’ 19-14 loss at Kansas City as 14-point underdogs ended their hopes of an undefeated season and we also witnessed the winless Colts take down an opponent for the first time of the season.

While small money was laying whatever spread there was on the Packers, sharp money came in strong on the Chiefs on Sunday morning dropping the line as low as minus-11 by kickoff. The combination of veteran quarterback Kyle Orton making smart passes, a good running game, and strong defense kept the Packers off-balance all day like we hadn’t seen all season. Other than a few sharp players out there, who would have guessed the Chiefs would be the one to knock off this team of destiny.

Just last week Lucky’s sports books had taken down their odds asking if the Packers would go undefeated because it looked too inevitable with only three games remaining. Their final price on the proposition was YES, they would go undefeated -140 (Bet $140 to win $100).

Between the Packers loss and the Patriots impressive 41-23 win at Denver, the Las Vegas Hilton Super Book immediately dropped their Super Bowl line from NFC -4.5 to -3.5. The Packers remain 9/5 favorites (Bet $50 to win $90) to win the Super Bowl, but the Patriots were dropped down to 4/1.

The Patriots were also lowered to win the AFC as the 7/5 favorite due to being two steps closer to securing home field advantage while the Ravens and Texans, both of whom came into Week 15 at 10-3 and were contending for home field.

For Baltimore, not getting home field will be a huge disadvantage for them. Its loss to San Diego as 2 ½-point favorites was their fourth road loss of the season. Losing at San Diego in December where Philip Rivers is now 23-2 as a starter in understandable, but it adds to the bad losses at Jacksonville, Seattle and Tennessee.

Houston was popular bet Sunday with the public laying any number from the opener of -7 to -6 ½, but sharp money started floating in Friday on the Panthers and pushed the game down to -5 ½ by kickoff. It was a tough spot for rookie signal caller T.J. Yates to bounce back off a huge emotional win last week in Cincinnati. Moving forward, the Texans could be in trouble and more questions will surface why they didn't go after Orton when Matt Schaub went down.

The Patriots game went as planned by the public and sharps. Small money came in at a 3-to-2 ratio on the Patriots while large money pushed the Patriots from 5-point favorites to -7.5 at most books. Cantor Gaming sports books were way ahead of the curve on the game with their -9 ½ (+105) line.

For the first time all season we saw Tim Tebow and the Broncos set the early fast pace and take an early 17-6 lead behind 167 yards of rushing in the first-quarter. However, things quickly turned as three critical second quarter turnovers allowed the Patriots to run off 27 unanswered points.

Missing from the game was the Broncos pass rush that has pestered opposing quarterbacks all season. It was almost as if head coach John Fox was giving Tom Brady too much respect by keeping defenders back and not blitzing as much as we have seen throughout Denver games this season. The Broncos defense was also severely weakened by not having Brian Dawkins patrol the outfield. Dawkins replacement, rookie Rahim Moore, made Tony Lilly from the Broncos past look like a good tackler.

Despite the loss, most will agree that Tebow played very well and just got outgunned by one of the league’s all-time best.

The Broncos (8-6) aren’t clear in the AFC West just yet. We’ve seen the Chargers (7-7) catch them from way behind before and they’re coming on strong again, just one game behind. The Raiders (7-7) are also in the hunt despite losing three games in a row.

The winner of the AFC West will be the fourth seed in the playoffs with a home game likely against the Ravens or Steelers, which isn‘t going to be easy. With so much up in the air, odds to win the AFC have the Broncos 13/1, Chargers 10/1 and Raiders 75/1. Should the Chargers get in, their offense provides more possibilities for running the playoff table, especially if they come in with a five-game winning streak.

The NFC still has a nice battle going with Philadelphia still alive and well, as crazy as that sounds. It was just two weeks ago where the Eagles were 500/1 to win the NFC. After a few Giants and Cowboys losses, they are down to 15/1 while the Cowboys are 10/1.

For the Eagles to get in, it’s pretty simple. They need to beat the Cowboys and have the Jets beat the Giants this week. In Week 17, they’ll have to beat the Redskins and have the Giants beat the Cowboys. That would make all three teams 8-8 with the Eagles holding a 5-1 division record.

Crazier things have happened. It was just two months ago we witnessed the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series when the sports books adjusted them to 1,000/1 midway through September and five games out.

For the week, favorites went 7-7-1 against the spread making the season total 106-109-5.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32923 Followers:38
12/19/2011 06:20 PM

Monday, December 19

Game Score Status Pick Amount

Pittsburgh - 8:30 PM ET San Francisco -3 500

San Francisco - Over 38 500

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32923 Followers:38
12/19/2011 07:07 PM

Pittsburgh Steelers At San Francisco 49ers Monday Night Football

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a big injury problem with quarterback Big Ben when they visit the San Francisco 49ers on Monday Night Football.

ESPN will have the usual primetime coverage at 8:30 p.m. (ET) from Candlestick Park. This interconference clash of elite teams is a sigh of relief for network executives who were stuck with San Diego at Jacksonville and St. Louis at Seattle the last two weeks.

Ben Roethlisberger certainly lived up to his moniker last Thursday night versus Cleveland, spraining his ankle in the second quarter, but coming back to lead the team to victory with a noticeable limp. The 14-3 final didn’t cover the large 14-point road spread.

The latest information had Roethlisberger still in a walking boot on Tuesday and not attending practice. He’s been diagnosed with a Grade I sprain, which is the least severe and he’s listed as questionable with the 10 full days of rest between games. Charlie Batch is the backup.

Pittsburgh center Maurkice Pouncey is also questionable with an ankle sprain. Pass rusher James Harrison has been suspended after a helmet-to-helmet hit on the Browns’ Colt McCoy and is expected out as his expedited appeal will surely be denied. The other outside linebacker, LaMarr Woodley, is questionable after missing last game with a hamstring injury.

The pointspread and total are currently off the board at Don Best pending these developments, specifically Roethlisberger.

The Steelers (10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS) are tied with Baltimore for first place in the AFC North, but would lose the tiebreaker after a Ravens season sweep. That’s the difference between possible home field advantage throughout the AFC and a wild card.

Coach Mike Tomlin’s guys have done their best to put the pressure on, winning four straight (2-2 ATS) since losing at home to Baltimore (23-20) on November 6. The defense has been excellent the last three, allowing a measly 6.3 PPG, with the ‘under’ 3-0 in that span.

Pittsburgh is second in the NFL in scoring defense (15.2 PPG), ironically only trailing San Francisco (14 PPG).

The 49ers (10-3 SU, 10-2-1 ATS) have been one of the NFL’s surprise teams, already wrapping up the non-challenging NFC West. The clinching of the division may have come a bit too soon as the first game after was a 21-19 loss at Arizona last Sunday.

The 40 combined points scored just snuck ‘over’ the 39-point total. The ‘under’ was 6-1 in San Fran’s prior seven games.

Coach Jim Harbaugh lost in the desert despite possessing a 19-7 third-quarter lead and going against backup quarterback John Skelton. That’s a game the 49ers would have won earlier this year and they’re now 1-2 SU and ATS in the last three after starting 9-1 SU and 9-0-1 ATS.

The 49ers still have a ton to play for in fighting New Orleans for the No. 2 seed. The winner gets a bye and they certainly don’t want to have a playoff game in the Bayou where the Saints potent offense is akin to an NBA fast break.

The big question this week is the play of quarterback Alex Smith. He’s had a very good year under Harbaugh’s tutelage, but got sacked five times last week. He has a QB rating under 63 the last two road games, also losing at Baltimore 16-6 on Thanksgiving night and getting sacked nine times.

San Fran is a terrific 6-1 SU (6-0-1 ATS) at home and Smith’s rating is 102.1 there (81.1 away). Fans are praying that the ‘bad Smith’ doesn’t suddenly up at Candlestick on Monday night. The potential loss of Harrison and Woodley would help, although the 49ers could be without left tackle Joe Staley, questionable with a head injury.

Harbaugh desperately needs to run the ball Monday with Frank Gore to take the pressure off Smith. Conversely, Pittsburgh needs to feature Rashard Mendenhall with Roethlisberger less than 100 percent even if he plays.

Running won’t be easy as these are two of the top rushing defenses, although Pittsburgh could catch a break if Niners All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis (questionable with a hamstring injury) is out. He missed last game.

These are two of the premiere franchises as Pittsburgh owns six Super Bowl titles and San Francisco five. They last met in 2007 with Pittsburgh winning 37-16 at home. The ‘over’ is 4-1 in the last meetings.

Weather should be very nice in the Bay Area, clear and likely in the low 50s, high 40s.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32923 Followers:38
12/19/2011 07:10 PM

Armadillo's Write-Up

Monday, December 19

Steelers (10-3) @ 49ers (10-3)—If 49ers are going to make noise in playoffs, they better improve in red zone; in last three games, they’ve kicked FGs on all seven red zone drives. Not good. Both teams jockeying for home field edge in playoffs while missing key people, with Harrison (suspended) out here and Roethlisberger (ankle) a ?mark for Pitt, while Willis (hamstring) out for 49er squad that already won division title. Steelers played on Thursday last week, so they’ve had extra time to prepare/heal. Niners are +21 in turnovers this year, but lost in Arizona last week despite being +3, which doesn’t happen much in NFL. Pitt is just 7 of 29 on 3rd down the last three games. These teams play once every four years, so not often, but last seven series games were all won by 10+ points. Under is 4-1-1 in Steelers’ last six games, 6-1-1 in Niners’ last eight.

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