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NFL: Buy or Sell

   by ASA - 11/16/2008

BUY – Kansas City Chiefs

Believe it or not, I’m “buyingâ€쳌 this 1-8 team that is on the up tick. Despite the fact that they are going nowhere this year, head coach Herm Edwards has this team playing hard and believing they can win. KC has actually gone right down to the wire in each of their last three games vs. formidable opponents. They had the Jets beaten in New York until Favre threw a TD pass with 1:05 left in the game to escape with a 28-24 win. They had a 6-3 Tampa Bay team on the ropes at half leading 24-13 before Jeff Garcia completed a 24-yard TD pass with just 19 seconds left to send the game into OT. Tampa went onto win 30-27. Last Sunday they led San Diego most of the way before losing 20-19 on a missed two point conversion with just a few second left in the game. Those are three close losses but EASY covers. They have covered their last three by a combined 29 points. While all of these close losses may demoralize most teams, it appears to have rejuvenated a KC team that was used to getting thumped early in the year.

What’s the common ingredient in their last three games? Strong QB play. I think the Chiefs have found a hidden gem in QB Tyler Thigpen. Since Thigpen took over the starting role three weeks ago, the Chiefs have easily covered each game and as I stated, they have had a chance to win each game out right. Thigpen has looked like a grizzled veteran in his starts this year completing 66 of his 102 passes (65%) for 710 yards. What’s even more impressive are his six touchdowns and NO interceptions. It’s no coincidence that this Kansas City team was averaging only 12.5 PPG before Thigpen took over and 23 PPG since.

Their defense as a whole has been disappointing and especially their rush defense. However, they have showed signs of life the last two weeks holding Tampa to just 92 yards on the ground and San Diego to only 81. That is a positive sign. Now they will be home dogs to both New Orleans and Buffalo the next two weeks. The Chiefs have historically been one of the best home dog plays in the NFL racking up a great 41-17-2 spread record in that role dating back to 1980. After that it’s off to “offenselessâ€쳌 Oakland and “defenselessâ€쳌 Denver. I see the spread run continuing for KC so I’ll throw up the “buyâ€쳌 sign in their front yard over the next three of four weeks.

SELL – Arizona Cardinals

The 6-3 Cards are obviously the best team in the ultra weak NFC West, however I will “sellâ€쳌 them over the next few weeks. Arizona has won four of their last five games to vault to the top of the division, however I have not seen anything that “wowsâ€쳌 me out of this team. Their two most recent wins were against teams, the Rams and Niners, that have a combined record of 4-14. They struggled big time with San Francisco at home on Monday night and needed a coaching/clock management blunder to hold on and win 29-24. Of their six wins, just three have come against teams that have winning records in Buffalo, Dallas and Miami. When we say winning records we actually mean barely winning record as those three each currently sit at just 5-4. Also, all three wins were at home. They have faced just three “upper echelonâ€쳌 teams (NY Jets, Carolina & Washington) and lost to each.

Zona’ lacks a running game at just 88 YPG and they have been out rushed in five of their last seven games. The only teams they were able to out tally on the ground their last seven games were St. Louis and Buffalo. Most of the offense hinges directly on the aged arm of Kurt Warner and that arm has to be ready to fall off with the number of passes he’s attempted this season. Warner has put the ball in the air an average of almost 38 times per game this season. And while he has been very solid this year, he has had a tendency in his career to turn the ball over in bunches which can be very dangerous. He’s feasted on poor defenses the last few weeks, however that is about to change.

Two of the Birds next three games will be very tough. I’d even contend that their game this Sunday @ Seattle will be a game that they will struggle. While the Seahawks certainly are among the league’s worst teams, there is a strong possibility that they get QB Matt Hasselbeck back under center for their game against Arizona this weekend. Not only that, Seattle has actually played fairly competitive football in two of their last three games. They beat up on San Francisco 34-13 three weeks ago and then nearly pulled off the upset at Miami last Sunday before falling 21-19. The Cardinals are in a tough spot off their first win on Monday Night since they moved to Arizona 20 years ago. A trip to Seattle is a definitely letdown spot. Not only that, Zona’ has not enjoyed their trips to the windy, rainy city of Seattle winning just once there since 1993 (1-6 straight up). After that it’s a home game vs. the NY Giants then off to the east coast to face Philadelphia. There you have two very tough NFC East teams both with top 10 defenses. Not only that, they are both in the top 6 in the NFL in pass defense which could spell big problems for Arizona.

The Redbirds have historically been one of the worst road teams in the NFL. Dating back to the 1999 season, this team is just 16-60 straight up their last 76 trips away from Arizona. With two road games on the horizon sandwiched around a home game with possibly the best team in the NFL, the NY Giants, this Cardinal team is about to take a point spread tumble. I’ll “sellâ€쳌 the Birds over the next few weeks

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