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Monday, August 28

   by Larry Ness - 08/28/2006

It's often been said that one need only pick the SU winner in the NFL to also cash the ATS winner. That's sure been true this preseason. Last night Sage Rosenfels led the Texans on an 11-play 76-yard TD drive, scoring with 2:53 remaining. That score didn't give the Texans the win (they lost 17-14) but it did give them the cover, as the Broncos had been bet up to as high as a six-point choice.

My free play for Monday is on the Pit Pirates over the Chi Cubs at 7:05 ET. My 2-0 Sunday sweep in MLB (LEGEND win on the White Sox makes LEGENDs 5-1 in MLB this season!) completed a 9-2 week. I'm opening the week in MLB with just one play, another of my exclusive Las Vegas Insiders, which have gone 8-1 (88.9% winners) since Aug 5!

However, that result has been the "exception to the rule" throughout this year's preseason games. In fact, the Broncos were the lone team to win but not cover in the 15 games played so far in Week 3 and Week 2 saw all 16 SU winners also win ATS. Going back to the 17 games played in Week 1 plus the HOF game, only the Rams (beat the Colts 19-17 as five-point favorites), the Panthers (beat the Bills 14-13 as three-point favorites) and the Falcons (beat the Pats 26-23 as three-point favorites) won but failed to cover.

Doing the math, you'll find that of the 48 SU winners this preseason 44 have also covered the pointspread. There have been three ATS losers and that one push. Week 3 action concludes tonight with the Bengals hosting the Packers at 8:00 ET on ESPN. Carson Palmer will see his first action since his knee injury in last year's playoff loss to the Steelers. The Bengals opened as 3 1/2-point favorites but have been bet up to 5 1/2 plus the total opened 37 and is around 41.

This year's preseason games began with a decided edge to the under, as 15 of the first 19 games went under the posted total. It's been a much more even split since then, as 16 of the last 29 games have gone over. This will likely be the highest closing total of the preseason to-date, as the previous high was Saturday's Colts/Saints game, which closed at 40 (Colts won 27-14).

Speaking of the Colts, their 27-14 win ended the team's eight-game preseason losing streak, one in which they had been just 2-6 ATS. The Chiefs also entered this past weekend with an eight-game losing streak (were also 0-8 ATS!) and the Chiefs also won. Their 16-12 victory over the Rams also broke their ATS slide, as the Chiefs closed as a three-point favorite in the game. The winning ATS margin came when the Rams' backup kicker missed a PAT after a third-quarter St Louis TD.

The NY Giants beat the Jets on Friday night by the score of 13-7 and the Cowboys won 17-7 on Saturday, beating the 49ers. Those two teams are now both 3-0 SU and ATS this year, plus going back to last year, own SU and ATS winning streaks of six straight, the longest active streaks in the NFL. I'll wrap up Week 3 in tomorrow's notes, after knowing the results of tonight's Packers/Bengals contest. Don't forget, the CFB season opens Thursday!

MLB notes

The Mets entered the weekend with MLB's longest active winning streak (seven straight) and the Rockies with the majors' longest active losing streak (six in a row). Both streaks ended Friday night, as the Mets lost at home to the Phillies (4-3) and the Rockies beat the Padres (13-5). The Marlins open the new week with MLB's longest winning streak, having won seven straight games. At the other end of the spectrum, the D'Rays' four-game slide is MLB's longest active losing streak.

The Marlins host the Brewers tonight at 7:05 ET,as part of MLB's light eight-game card. The D'Rays are off on Monday and will try to break their losing streak Tuesday night in Chicago against the White Sox. The Marlins have made quite a turnaround this year, as they opened the season by losing 13 of their first 15 home games. However, the team has bounced back to go 32-17 at home since and is just three games behind the Reds in the NL wild card race.

The lone TV game for Monday is the Red Sox at the A's at 10:05 ET on ESPN2. The Red Sox were swept in a five-game series at Fenway two weekends ago and this past weekend, got swept in a three-game series at Seattle. Since sitting at 68-48 at the completion of play on Aug 13, Boston has lost 11 of 14 and is now 6 1/2 games back of the Yankees in the AL East plus 5 1/2 games back in the wild card race.

The A's are 18-6 in August and take a six-game home winning streak into the contest. Boston rookie Jon Lester was expected to start but he's being replaced by another rookie, Kason Gabbard. Lester has not been pitching well, so the change may not be all that bad. However, Oakland starter Estaban Loaiza has caught fire. He's 3-0 in five August starts (team is 4-1) with a 1.77 ERA. Over his last three starts, he's allowed 12 hits and just two ERs in 29.2 innings, for an ERA of 0.61!

The Tigers still own MLB's best record at 82-49 but they avoided a series sweep at Cleveland on Sunday (won 7-1) and ended a four-game losing streak. By posting their 82nd victory of the year, the team clinched its first winning season since 1993. Only Milwaukee and Pittsburgh entered 2006 with longer streaks of consecutive non-winning seasons than Detroit; the Brewers and Pirates last posted winning records in 1992.

Detroit's streak of 12 consecutive seasons at-or-below .500 (1994-2005) was the longest in franchise history and the longest for any American League club since the Mariners had a 14-year below-water streak beginning with their inaugural season (1977-1990).

Kenny Rogers has been HUGE for Detroit recently. He's started five of the Tigers' last 25 games, posting a 3-1 record with a 1.64 ERA over that span (since Aug. 2) while Detroit's other starters have a combined 4-11 mark with a 5.55 ERA.

Raise your hand if you saw this coming. The Giants' 8-0 victory over the Reds capped a two-week stretch during which San Francisco posted the best record in the major leagues (11-3 since Aug. 14). The Giants were 3-15 over the previous three weeks (July 24 to Aug. 13), the worst mark in the majors over that span.

Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET.

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