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Line Movements in the NFL

   by ASA - 11/20/2007

Offense is the name of the game this weekend as three of the league’s top four offenses will have the biggest impact on line movements this holiday weekend. Offensive teams often equal public teams and the troika of New England, Cleveland and Indianapolis are no different.

Indianapolis at Atlanta
Open – Indianapolis (-12)

Other positions are important but there is none more important on the football field than quarterback. The difference in quarterback quality in this matchup will only lead to a bigger spread favoring the Colts.

Future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning leads Indy’s fourth-ranked scoring offense. Should-be backups Byron Leftwich and Joey Harrington have waged a battle of ineptitude for the starting gig in Atlanta. The difference between Manning and Leftwich/Harrington is immeasurable.

The first position nearly every person looks at when handicapping a football game is quarterback. A dramatic difference in quarterback play, as well as rushing ability, is often a solid indicator of which team will win. Bettors know this and will place their bets accordingly. In the eyes of the public the Colts are still the high scoring offense that won the Super Bowl a season ago. That perception will have the squares lining up to bet on Indy this week and drive the line higher than the current number. If you like the Colts to win big on Thanksgiving, place your bet now to get the best value. If you think Leftwich/Harrington can somehow make this game, wait until right before gametime to lay your bet.

Houston at Cleveland
Open – Cleveland (-3.5)

As John Madden might say, “The team that scores the most points should win this football game.â€쳌 Truer words have never been spoken as that has definitely been the case with the 2007 Cleveland Browns. The resurgent Browns are third in the NFL with 28.8 points per game, gaining the respect of offense-loving bettors everywhere. The public loves offense and usually goes with the most potent offense. That will be no different in this game.

Cleveland seems to be a sort of team of destiny this year, highlighted by its game-tying ricochet field goal last week. The public has caught on to both the high-octane Browns offense and the fortune that has come that team’s way. The Texans, meanwhile, are still looked upon as an expansion team, which comes with an unfavorable stigma, and betting trends have proven that.

Offense, offense, offense. The more offense a team has, the more bets it will have sent its way. This game will verify that philosophy. If you think Houston can stay with the Browns, wait until closer to kickoff to lay your bet to get better value. If you believe Cleveland will continue to light up the scoreboard, place your bet now as this line will only climb as the week progresses.

Philadelphia at New England
Open – 50.5 total

Is there any total the Patriots can’t surpass? By themselves? New England is averaging 41.1 points per game this season and only seems to be getting better. The Patriots have scored 48 or more points in four of their last five games, highlighted by a season-high 56 points last week. That score eclipsed the 47-point total by itself.

Right now there appears to be no ceiling on how much New England can score. No matter how high the total is set, it seems that the Patriots need little, if any, help from their opponent. The public is becoming privy to this fact and the betting trends have verified that.

The Eagles might not provide much help with Donovan McNabb questionable. All that means is that New England is likely to get that many more possessions. Bill Belichick has shown no compassion for the opposition this season, running up the score without a conscience. If you think the Patriots offense will come back down to Earth, delay your bet as this total will only go up. If you think the New England machine will keep on chugging along, place your wager now to get the best value.

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