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NFL Lines to Monitor

   by ASA - 10/11/2007

Two quarterback injuries and a struggling, disgruntled star will play large roles in line movements this week in the NFL.

Injuries to Miami quarterback Trent Green and Carolina signal-caller Jake Delhomme could have drastic affects on the public perception of each team. To a lesser extent, Matt Leinart’s injury in the desert could be viewed as a positive step for the Cardinals.

Meanwhile, Kansas City’s Larry Johnson has been held in check and hasn’t shied away from voicing his displeasure.

Cincinnati at Kansas City

Open – Cincinnati (-3)

It’s no secret that Cincinnati’s defense is among the worst in the league. Kansas City’s offense is even worse, though, and that’s not exactly classified information either. A big part of KC’s struggles has been a lack of the running game that carried the team for years.

Whether it’s due to Johnson’s extended preseason holdout or a lack of holes produced by the offensive line, the Chiefs just aren’t able to move the ball like they used to. Johnson is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry and is fresh off a nine-carry, 12-yard showing his last time out.

Johnson has made it known both to the coaching staff and the general public that he is not happy with the direction of the offence. A disgruntled superstar is never good and Johnson’s unhappiness is changing the public’s perception of his team. Bettors will see Cincinnati’s high-octane offense going up against a Kansas City’s stuck-in-neutral offense and the line movement will reflect that. So if you like Cincinnati in this game place your bet as early as possible. But if you like the Chiefs, wait for closer to game time as you should get increased value.

Miami at Cleveland

Open – Cleveland (-4.5)

The quarterback situation in Miami wasn’t all that stable to begin with but is now even more in shambles following Green’s second serious concussion in as many years. Green’s injury means Cleo Lemon (who?) will assume the role of starter, which doesn’t bode well for the winless Dolphins.

Meanwhile, the Browns are slowly gaining the respect of the public following consecutive strong performances. Cleveland downed Baltimore 27-13 two weeks ago and gave New England its toughest battle to date a week ago. The biggest surprise out of Cleveland is the potency of the Derek Anderson-led offense. The Browns are seventh in the NFL in scoring and eighth in total offense and bettors are starting to take notice.

Miami is currently 30th in the league in scoring defense and will be hard-pressed to score much with Green on the sidelines. This overall lack of production will lead to an increasing level of bets on the host Browns. So if you like the favored Browns bet now but if you’re sticking with the Dolphins, delay wagering until later in the week.

Carolina at Arizona

Open – Arizona (-3.5)

David Carr’s proven track record isn’t one to be proud of and his struggles as a former first overall draft pick have been well documented. His public perception is, therefore, not a positive one, which will lead to bettors going against Carolina and its newly-named starter following Delhomme’s season-ending diagnosis.

Leinart, Arizona’s season-opening starter, has taken a hit in the media recently following his comments regarding not wanting to platoon with former MVP Kurt Warner. Most Cardinal fans would actually prefer Warner over Leinart right now, which has led to the displeasure with Leinart. The door is open for Warner now that Leinart is lost for the season.

The difference in production has been glaringly in favor of Warner as he owns a 102.3 quarterback rating compared to Leinart’s 61.9 rating. Carr’s presence, combined with Leinart’s absence, will make the Cardinals a bigger favorite as the week progresses. If you think that’s deserved, take Arizona now. If not, wait till game time and place your bet on Carr and the Panthers.
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