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NFL Fool's Gold

   by ASA - 09/12/2008

Every week I will give you a report on the NFL from the previous week from a bettor’s perspective. Many times teams score “meaninglessâ€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 and 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 didn’t and vise versa. The “bad beatsâ€쳌 or “lucky winsâ€쳌 of the business which we’ve all encountered many times. It also recaps some misleading finals where simply looking at the final score does not tell the entire story.

Week one didn’t offer many games that were decided late but here are a few that could have gone either way in regards to the point spread or the total. Here we go…

New England 17 – Kansas City 10 (*closing line was NE -16 with a total of 44): The Pats were favored by 16 points in this one so the fact that KC was going to cover the spread late in the game was a given. However, for any of you that had the cohunes to play the Chiefs on the money line, you had a shot at a huge payout. Down 17-10, KC moved the ball down to the New England 5-yard line with 53 seconds remaining. They had four shots at pay dirt and pushing the game into overtime. Three incomplete passes and a Larry Johnson jilt for no yardage and the dream for money line players began and ended in the shadow of the Pats goal line.

NY Jets 20 – Miami 14 (*closing line was NY Jets -3 with a total of 36): Those of you that had the “underâ€쳌 36 or the Jets were sweating it out late in this AFC East battle. New York was up 20-14 and trying to run clock with under two minutes remaining when they ran out of downs and had to punt. The Fins took over on their own 39 yard line with 1:43 remaining. QB Chad Pennington took his new team right down the field and Miami had the ball 1st and 10 on the Jets 18 yard line with 23 ticks left on the clock. Pennington threw an interception with 10 seconds left sealing a Favre win and cover. It also kept the game under the total by two points.

Pittsburgh 38 – Houston 17 (*closing line was Pitt -6.5 with a total of 43) – This game was actually closer than the final score indicated. While the Steelers obviously deserved to win this game, the Texans aided them in this one. Houston coughed up three turnovers and the Black & Gold scored 10 points off those miscues. The Steelers had just 75 more total yards and one more first down.

Arizona 23 – San Francisco 13 (*closing line was Arizona -3 with a total of 42): The “underâ€쳌 players here went from, “this one is in the bagâ€쳌 to “I can’t believe this is happeningâ€쳌 late in this game. The posted total on this game was 42 and it sat at just 33 with just over two minutes left in the game. A full nine point cushion that late in the game and most people start counting their money. The Cards drove down to the San Fran 12-yard line with just two minutes remaining. Arizona was held on downs and kicked a field goal to make the game 23-13. Still a 6-point margin if you had the “underâ€쳌 so the only fear was this. Would the Arizona defense play soft and allow SF to score a “meaninglessâ€쳌 TD late? That’s what I was thinking. Well, those fears were replaced with a different scenario rather quickly. On the first play on their final drive, the Niners fumbled at their own 15-yard line and gave the ball back to the Cardinals with a whole 1:57 left. Luckily for “underâ€쳌 players, San Francisco only had one time out left which prompted Arizona QB Kurt Warner to take a knee rather than hand off and maybe score a late TD pushing the game over.

Green Bay 24 – Minnesota 19 (*closing line was GB -2 with a total of 37.5): Those of you that had the “underâ€쳌 38 points in this one probably deserved a better fate. The score was just 10-3 at half time and still sat well under at 10-6 with less than seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. That’s when the Packers’ Will Blackmon put a huge dent in the hopes of the “underâ€쳌 players with a 76-yard punt return for a TD. Usually if a team scores on a kick or punt return and you have the “underâ€쳌, you’re in bad shape. However, this one was still planted firmly under the total at 24-12 until Viking RB Adrian Peterson plunged into the end zone with just 2:43 left in the game. Those that had GB (-2) were also a bit squirmy as Minnesota moved toward mid field with just over a minute to go in their attempt to pull off the comeback win. QB Tavaris Jackson threw an interception in Packer territory to end the threat.

Denver 41 (-3) – Oakland 14 (*closing line was Denver -3 with a total of 41): This one went over the posted total of 41, however those of you that had the “underâ€쳌 were looking solid entering the fourth quarter. The two teams combined for just 27 points through the first three quarters before exploding for 28 in the fourth. The Broncos scored TD’s on both of their fourth quarter drives while Oakland hit the end zone two of the three times they had the ball. The two teams combined for 185 yards in the fourth quarter meaning their offensive efficiency was through the roof at 6.6 yards per point in the final stanza. That was after the team’s combined for an offensive efficiency of just 21.2 yards per point in the first three quarters.

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