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NFL Fool's Gold
by ASA - 09/23/2008
Every week I will give you a report on the NFL from the previous week from a bettorâ€™s perspective. Many times teams score â€œmeaninglessâ€쳌 touchdowns or field goals late in the game which to the untrained eye, might seem irrelevant. We know better. To those of us that wager on these games, we know all to well that many times those late scores are the difference between cashing in and dancing in your living room OR losing late and sitting on your couch with a blank stare on your face.
My report will focus on some teams that should have covered that didnâ€™t and vise versa. The â€œbad beatsâ€쳌 or â€œlucky winsâ€쳌 of the business which weâ€™ve all encountered many times. It also recaps some misleading finals where simply looking at the final score does not tell the entire story.
Here we go with this weekâ€™s reportâ€¦
Tampa Bay 27 â€“ Chicago 24 (OT) (*closing line was Bears -3 with a total of 35.5): Bears backers (including us) were counting their money in this one. Chicago led 24-14 with less than 3:30 remaining in the game and Tampa had the ball. The Bucs stalled at the Chicago 17-yard line with 3:16 left and had to kick a FG. Chicago still had a 24-17 edge and the cover look inevitable. Daâ€™ Bears then took the ball with 3:11 left and they were unable to get a first down but still worked the clock down to the two minute warning before they had to punt. TB took over at their own 21-yard line with just 1:49 left in the game and with the Chicago defense limiting them to only 262 total yards to that point, it looked like the grizzlies would cover. Tampa worked their way down the field and scored on a short TD pass with just 7 seconds remaining. The Bucs then took the cash in OT leaving us wondering what could have been.
Buffalo 24 â€“ Oakland 23 (*closing line was Bills -9.5 with a total of 36.5): The Raiders blew this one late but the fact is they were dominated at Buffalo. Oakland actually led this one by nine points with just over four minutes remaining in the game. Buffalo score a TD to cut the lead to two points with 4:09 remaining. The Bills then held Oakland to a three and out. Buffalo drove the ball from their own 34 to the Oakland 20 with just three seconds left and kicked the winning field goal. Oaktown had just 10 first downs and 247 yards in this match up. The Bills pushed nearly 400 total yards and had 25 first downs.
Houston 12 â€“ Tennessee 31 (*closing line was Titans -5 with a total of 39): This one came down to the final minute in determining the side AND total. With the score sitting firmly at Tennessee 24 â€“ Houston 12 and under two minutes to go, Houston made one final drive to try and â€œpushâ€쳌 the side. They drove it down to the Titan 11-yard line with just over one minute to play. On fourth and 10 from the 11, Texas QB Matt Schaub was picked off by Courtland Finnegan at the 1-yard line. That ended any hopes of Houston scoring a TD and getting a push on the game. However, â€œoverâ€쳌 players perked up while those who had the â€œunderâ€쳌 had blank stares as Finnegan returned the interception 99-yards for a TD. That pushed the game â€œoverâ€쳌 with a final of 31-12. The game was much closer than that as the first downs and time of possession were essentially equal. The Titans had 343 total yards while Houston had 317.
Cincinnati 23 â€“ NY Giants 26 (*closing line was Giants -13.5 with a total of 42): This side was never in doubt here as the Bengals never trailed by more than 3 points and led for much of the game. However, if you played the total, it was in flux until late in the game. â€œOverâ€쳌 players were a bit worried as this one entered the fourth quarter with just 26 total points. For the â€œoverâ€쳌 to cash, these two needed to find a way to score at least 17 points in the final frame. That was after scoring just 3 points in the third quarter. The two offenses kicked it up a notch on offense as each team scored points on every possession they had in the fourth quarter. That was after scoring on six of 14 possessions leading up to that point. The 20 points in the fourth pushed it over before going into overtime.
Jacksonville 23 â€“ Indianapolis 21 (*closing line was Colts -5.5 with a total of 42): This was one of those games that if you had the â€œunderâ€쳌 youâ€™re still asking yourself what the heck happened. With just over 2:30 left in the game the score was just 17-14 in favor of the Jags. A nice 12-point cushion for â€œunderâ€쳌 players. Not so fast. These two went onto score THREE more times in the final 2:36 of the game (two field goals and a TD) to push this one â€œoverâ€쳌 by just 2-points. The final play was a deciding 51-yard field goal by Jacksonville to make the final score 23-21.
Cleveland 10 â€“ Baltimore 28 (*closing line was Ravens -2 with a total of 38.5): In direct contrast to the game above, this one had â€œoverâ€쳌 players standing at the window waiting to collect only to be told the game stayed under the total. The total on this game sat at 38.5 at kickoff. These two teams already had 38 combined points with almost 6:00 minutes remaining in the THIRD quarter. With a full 21 minutes of actual clock time remaining, just one more score of any kind would obviously push it over. A FG, TD, give me a safety, anything! Nope. These two failed to score at all from that point on keeping the game under by a half point. The only real threat came with 2:00 minutes left in the game. The Ravens moved the ball down to the Cleveland 5-yard line. They went for it on fourth and 3 rather than kick the gimme field goal. They were stopped and that was it.