Monday Night Offers Two Match-Ups for You to Consider

Vick

 

Vick
Vick must take better care of the ball than he did in 2012 for the Kelly offense to be successful.

The opening Sunday of the first week of the National Football League’s 2013 season is in the books and while I wasn’t perfect by any means in my four picks I was respectable. As has been the case in recent years, the NFL is offering a double-header of pro football action on the first Monday night of the season.

Both games should be entertaining but I think you’ll find the opener a little more competitive. Either way, let’s look both games.

Philadelphia (+3.5) at Washington – Perhaps this stat out of the gate right away might throw some caution your way but maybe not. The Eagles are 2-9 in their last 11 games against the spread. The Redskins are 2-4 ATS in their last six games at home against Philly. There’s a lot to consider in this game however that really doesn’t have a bearing on those past numbers.

Robert Griffin III will be taking the field for the first time this season following offseason ACL surgery. He was cleared to play in the preseason but Head Coach Mike Shanahan decided against playing him. That begs the question; how rusty will he be as he sees real action for the first time since the playoffs last season?

From the Eagles’ perspective, they have undergone a serious change too. New Head Coach Chip Kelly comes in ready to unveil his high-speed no-huddle offense that we just know has to be coming. Very little if any was seen during the preseason but I have to believe its coming tonight. Is Michael Vick the guy to run this offense? I believe he is but he must take better care of the ball than he did last season and that doesn’t matter regardless of what offense you’re running.

To me, this game falls on the shoulders of Alfred Morris and the Washington defense. Look for Shanahan to give Morris lots of carries while the improved Redskins’ pass rush must fluster Vick and create turnovers. I will take Washington and give the points.

Schaub
The Texans will go only as far as Schaub can take them.

Houston (-4.5) at San Diego – Something will need to give in the nightcap of the MNF doubleheader. Houston is 1-4 ATS in their five road games while the Chargers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games at home.

Expectations are not high in Southern California despite new Head Coach Mike McCoy taking over for Norv Turner. The offensive line is one of the weaker in the NFL and QB Philip Rivers has already lost his big-play threat in Danario Alexander who is out for the year with a knee injury. Running back Ryan Mathews has shown promise but has been stifled by injury.

The Texans enter the opener with hopes of reaching the Super Bowl after falling in the divisional playoffs last year. You sure could argue everything is in place for such a run. The defense one of the top units in the league and there are plenty of weapons offensively. So where’s the doubt in this team? It’s at quarterback where Matt Schaub’s play will dictate just how far this team goes.

Schuab has big-play guys at both tight end and wide receiver but he must come up big when the team needs him and that isn’t something he has been able to do in recent years. If Arian Foster is able to go, he also provides major help to Schaub in the running and pass catching departments.

I think you’ll see a close game in the first half in San Diego but I like the Texans to pull away in the second half and cover.

Philadelphia Visits Dallas on Sunday Night Football

Dallas and Philadelphia meets for the second time in four weeks, each in search of a much-needed win.

Just six days after failing miserably under the lights, Philadelphia (3-8, 1-4 road) returns to primetime to take on Dallas (5-6, 2-3 home) on Sunday Night Football.

The Eagles’ well-reported nosedive took another turn for the worse as the Carolina Panthers sauntered home with a 30-22 victory, leaving Philadelphia staring blankly at a seven-game losing streak.

The Cowboys meanwhile have had their own struggles – not least last week’s division loss to Washington – but remain within touching distance of the Wild Card chasing pack.

Division Foes Square Off

Dallas will be looking to defeat Philadelphia for the second time this season, keeping its postseason hopes alive in the process.

The Eagles should be fighting for respect and their figurative lives, but whether the team shows up remains to be seen. Plenty believe that head coach Andy Reid and quarterback Michael Vick will both be goners by the end of the seas, while Bovada has Philadelphia as 5/1 to lose its remaining five games of the season, conjuring up a 12-game losing streak.

Whilst this will not be the big time division rivalry we’ve come to expect over the years, there is plenty at stake as the two sides take the field in Cowboys Stadium this Sunday night.

Home Sweet Home?

When Jerry Jones built the modern spectacle that is Cowboys Stadium, he expected its residents to win. For one season, he got his wish. The Cowboys posted a 6-2 home record in 2009, the $1.3 billion stadium’s inaugural season. The team even went on to defeat Philadelphia 34-13 in the playoffs that season.

Since the 2009 season, the Cowboys have been anything but dominant at home. 2010’s 2-6 home record was a woeful low point, and part of a 9-12 record at the stadium that has seen the Cowboys almost succumb to irrelevancy.

The Cowboys are 16-14 at Cowboys Stadium all time, and host a Philadelphia Eagles side that has so far posted a 2-2 record at the venue.

Looking for an Edge

Dallas leads the all-time head-to-head 60-47 but it has been Philadelphia that has gotten the better of recent matchups. Since Andy Reid took over coaching duties in 1999, the Eagles have posted a 17-11 record against the Cowboys, including an 8-6 record in Dallas.

Dallas has not won a home game against the Eagles since Jan. 9, 2010, the side’s sole playoff victory since 1997. That win actually came six days after the Cowboys defeated the Eagles at Cowboys Stadium in Week 17 of the regular season.

The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-28 in Week 10, a game that saw Texas side come back from a 17-10 deficit late in the first half. Prior to the victory, Dallas had lost three of five against the Eagles.

Whilst the Eagles have fared well against the Cowboys in recent years, bookmakers like Dallas at home, in this game at least. The Cowboys opened as nine-point favorites, a figure that has risen to 10½ ahead of kickoff.

The Eagles have been horrific when it comes to covering the spread. The team’s 1-9-1 ATS record is the worst in the league. Dallas hasn’t fared much better (4-7-0 ATS), but compared to the Eagles, the Cowboys look like a safe bet.

The over/under is set at 43. Both teams have seen the total go over in five games and under in six games this season. The game earlier this season saw a massive 66 points put up on the board, which would suggest taking the over was sensible, but in reality that was the first time the two teams had combined for more than 43 points in four games. The last ten games between the sides have split evenly in going over and under the 43-point marker.

Carolina Visits Philadelphia for Monday Night Football

Both Michael Vick and Andy Reid could be on borrowed time in Philadelphia, where the Eagles play Carolina on Monday Night Football.

Prepare for a bumpy ride as the lowly Philadelphia Eagles host the even-lowlier Carolina Panthers on this week’s edition of Monday Night Football.

No doubt when the NFL’s top brass and network execs got together to schedule this season’s fixtures, nobody expected Philadelphia and Carolina to be quite as bad as they have been. And if they did, they probably worked for NBC, who last night broadcast the much more alluring Packers-Giants matchup.

For fans of Monday Night Football, it’s the second week in three that the ‘hallowed’ game has featured bottom-dwellers. The big difference between this game and Week 10’s Steelers-Chiefs game is that this one features two bottom-dwellers.

Alas, it’s only fair that all teams get their shot under the bright lights.

Battle at the Wrong End

After being heralded as a Super Bowl contender ahead of the season, Philadelphia (3-7, 2-3 home) began scored some scrappy victories, taking three from four to start this campaign. Ever since, the Eagles have struggled and are losers of six straight games, a record in the Andy Reid era.

Carolina (2-8, 1-3 road) also entered the season with high expectations, but losses in six of the first seven meant this season became an uphill battle before it even began.

This weekend’s battle will see Philadelphia take to the field without running back LeSean McCoy, who suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to Washington. Quarterback Michael Vick will also miss a second straight game after suffering a concussion against Dallas is Week 7.

Rookie Nick Foles will spell Vick again this week. Foles, after fans clambered for him, was a less than stellar 21/46 in his full debut last week against Washington, throwing for 204 yards and two interceptions. Foles’ solitary touchdown pass this season came against Dallas.

Looking for an Edge

The Eagles lead the all-time head-to-head series 5-2, and have won four of the last five, including three straight. Carolina has just one win in Philadelphia, a 14-3 victory in January 2004 that sent the Panthers to Super Bowl XXXVIII. Needless to say, neither team is headed for the Big Game this season.

Carolina opened as 2½-point favorites, thanks in no small part to Philadelphia’s six-game losing skid. Bettors are likely to avoid putting cash on the Eagles even at such a small margin; Philadelphia has compiled a 1-8-1 ATS record, the worst in the entire league. Carolina hasn’t fared much better, but 4-6-0 ATS is better. Philadelphia has lost its last four games by an average of 17 points.

The over/under is 41. The total has split evenly in Carolina games this season, going over five times and under five times. Only three Eagles games have gone over. Bettors should be wary of taking the over as these two sides both struggle to put points on the board, a category in which Carolina ranks 27th and Philadelphia ranks 31st (only Kansas City has been more futile offensively).

The safest bet therefore appears to be Carolina, but that’s hardly a safe bet.

And Now For a Bit of Fun…

If the thought of this ‘barnburner’ depresses you, here are a quick couple of props, direct from Bovada, to make you smile:

Carolina is 6/1 to be awarded the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. The Panthers merely need to fall below Kansas City and Jacksonville and that dream can become a reality.

He’ll be happy pontificating on the game for ESPN from the broadcast booth, but Jon Gruden is actually 3/1 to be the head coach of one of these two sides at the start of next season. He’d probably do better to wait out the Dallas vacancy.

Monday Night Football (and Basketball) Tips

Michael Vick and Andy Reid are both in the firing line as Philadelphia visits New Orleans on Monday Night Football.

For the first time this season sports fan will have the choice of football or basketball on a Monday night when they get home and switch on their television sets tonight.

Of course, die hard football fans won’t want to miss a minute of Monday Night Football while fans of the round ball have an eight game slate to choose from, meaning there’s betting a plenty for everybody tonight.

 

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles @ New Orleans Saints

(8:30 PM ET)

When a Monday Night Football game features teams with a combined 5-9 record you might first ask what the schedule makers were thinking before deserting football in favor of something altogether different.

This week’s match-up between Philadelphia (3-4, 1-2 road) and New Orleans (2-5, 1-2 home) however is must-see TV, despite those hideous records.

Three early wins for the Eagles have been followed by four losses, and questions as to whether Andy Reid should still be in a job. The Saints meanwhile stunk the joint out to start the season, before coupling together a pair of wins. Last week’s primetime loss to Denver suggested that the Saints hadn’t yet turned the corner.

Both teams need a win tonight. Desperately need a win. New Orleans to have any hope of remaining in the postseason picture – those fingertips are slipping away quicker and quicker – and Philadelphia to avoid any more questions about Reid and Michael Vick’s suitability.

Odds: The Saints opened as 1½-point favorites and have seen that stock rise to three-points. The over/under is 52.

Take: New Orleans – Despite a setback last week, the Saints have had more to be pleased with over recent weeks than the Eagles, who look intently focused on having a disastrous season. The Saints are at home which could play a huge factor here, while Philadelphia has only won one of the last three meetings. Take the Saints to cover the short spread, with the total going over.

 

NBA: New York Knicks @ Philadelphia 76ers

(7 PM ET)

New York (2-0, 0-0 road) travels to Philadelphia (1-1, 1-0 home) for the second part of a home-and-home series with the Sixers. The Knicks took Sunday night’s game 100-84.

Both teams will be looking to assert themselves in the Atlantic Division, which looks as though it could be one of the toughest divisions in basketball this season. Only Toronto appears to be a flop.

Odds: New York’s victory over the Sixers last night hasn’t transferred to tonight’s odds. The Knicks are underdogs (+4) on the road. The over/under is 189½.

Take: Philadelphia – Away from the emotions of the Big Apple, it’ll be interesting how the Knicks fare. The chances are they’ll be a letdown of sorts. The Sixers will take advantage and narrowly cover the spread in a close game. Take the under on the total.

 

NBA: Indiana Pacers @ San Antonio Spurs

(8:30 PM ET)

Indiana (2-1, 1-1 road) travels to San Antonio (3-0, 2-0 home) with the tough task of beating the undefeated Spurs. The Pacers have yet to find true form and will hope a big game against Tim Duncan and the Spurs will be the catalyst to take charge of the Central Division.

San Antonio will look to improve to 4-0, putting the Lakers and Thunder further behind in the rearview mirror, something few experts predicted preseason.

Odds: Indiana enters the AT&T Center as underdogs (+6½) against the undefeated Spurs. The over/under is 194½.

Take: San Antonio – The Spurs have never started a season 4-0, an  unbelievable trend considering the team has won 50-plus games 13 years running. It’s time for history to be made. Take the Spurs to cover the spread and the under to go under.

 

NBA: Golden State Warriors @ Sacramento Kings

(10 PM ET)

Let’s be honest, a match-up between Golden State (2-1, 2-0 road) and Sacramento (0-3, 0-0 home) rarely makes your radar, unless you live in Northern California of course. But this game has a number of advantages going for it.

Firstly, if the Saints-Eagles game is a blowout, you can switch channels and catch the game, indulging in some in-game betting if you so desire. Secondly, there will be precisely zero defense played in this one which should at least be interesting. Thirdly, the Warriors might not suck this season, and an early encounter with perennial doormat Sacramento should give us some idea of what to expect from Mark Jackson’s side this year.

Odds: The Kings are favorites (-3) in the home opener at renamed Sleep Train Arena. The over/under is 202½.

Take: Golden State – The Kings (along with the Wizards) look set to be this season’s long losing streak side. It’ll probably be 10 games in before the team gets a ‘W’. Take the over as these two sides should light-up the scoreboard.

 

Remaining NBA Fixtures (Favorites highlighted)

Minnesota @ Brooklyn | Phoenix @ Miami | Utah @ Memphis | Portland @ Dallas | Cleveland @ LA Clippers

Plenty To Get Excited About In NFL Week 2

 

As it has done for the better part of a century, opening weekend in the NFL came and went. Dallas, Washington, San Francisco and Tampa Bay upset the opposition and bookmakers alike. Cleveland and St. Louis kept it tight to beat the spread despite losing, while the Patriots and Jets obliterated the pointspread. There was certainly money to be had.

Week 2 kicked off on Thursday with Green Bay beating Chicago and the spread. Now, it’s time for a full slate of action and this particular Sunday schedule features a host of intriguing matchups.

Those looking for favorites worth backing both outright and against the spread should take a close look at Cincinnati’s (-7) trip to Cleveland, Houston (-7.5) at Jacksonville, and Arizona at New England (-14). It’s hard to imagine any of these three going the way of the dogs.

The rest of the schedule is pretty tight so expect parlay bets to take a big sting this week.

Here’re just some of the matchups on tap this Sunday.

 

Baltimore Orioles @ Philadelphia Eagles

Michael Vick had a rough day against Cleveland last weekend and can expect more of the same from Baltimore this week.

Possibly the most difficult matchup to call outright this week, Baltimore (1-0, 0-0 home) heads to Philadelphia (1-0, 0-0 home) for what you would expect to be a tough-as-nails bout. Baltimore though lit-up the scoreboard last weekend in a 44-13 trouncing of Cincinnati, electing to utilize the arm (yes, the arm!) of Joe Flacco. Historically, Philadelphia has known how to pile-up the points as well, so this could turn into a shootout. But then again, it could equally become a battle between Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy on the ground.

Playing at home, Philadelphia is narrowly favored (-3), but that homefield advantage could soon take a hit if Michael Vick repeats his four-interception performance against Cleveland. You think that Philadelphia crowd would patiently wait things out?

Take Baltimore to beat the spread and win outright in this one. Philadelphia is a notoriously slow season starter and last week’s rustiness just isn’t appealing against a Ravens side already shortening its Super Bowl XLVII odds.

 

New York Jets @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh (0-1, 0-0 home) hosts the Jets (1-0, 0-0 road) in a matchup that should give an indication of which way both teams are headed.

The Steelers were preseason favorites to take the AFC North but a depleted offensive line and injuries – especially those to Rashard Mendenhall and James Harrison – took the air out of the team in Denver last weekend. Or was that just the Mile High City?

The Jets looked impressive offensively last weekend, with Mark Sanchez quieting a few more doubters after a three touchdown performance. This was not the same team that struggled scoring in the preseason. Or was it just that the Jets beat a Buffalo Bills team that has been dreadful both on the road and in the division of late?

The Steelers are six-point favorites ahead of kickoff. The Jets will probably keep this one tight, but take Pittsburgh to win by a touchdown or more.

 

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

After a surprise loss to Washington, expect Drew Brees and the Saints to take their frustration out on the Panthers this weekend.

Drew Brees and the Saints (0-1, 0-0 road) were picked off by the surprising Washington Redskins last week and will be looking for a bounce back win against the Panthers (0-1, 0-0 home). Carolina was outlasted by division rivals Tampa Bay.

How much New Orleans’ loss was down to the fallout of ‘BountyGate’ and how much was down to RGIII and Co. remains to be seen. The Panthers will hope it’s the former if they’re to pull off a victory this weekend. But having put up 32 points, it might be the latter, which spells bad news for Cam Newton’s side.

Take New Orleans in this one to beat the -3 spread and to win outright. Carolina may be improving, but Brees will be champing at the bit heading into Charlotte, N.C.

 

Detroit Lions @ San Francisco 49ers

Sunday Night Football pits Detroit (1-0, 0-0 road) against San Francisco (1-0, 0-0 home). The Niners had the result of the weekend last week, defeating the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Lions meanwhile struggled past a resilient St. Louis team, and looked far less impressive than preseason odds suggested.

San Francisco enters the game as seven-point favorites and -300 to win outright. Take both! Yes, the 49ers looked good last week and the Lions looked average, but the real reason to take the Bay Area team is history.

The 49ers have won 13 of the last 14 games against Detroit, dating back to 1988. It gets better (or worse, depending on your viewpoint): Detroit hasn’t won in San Francisco since 1975! Sure, streaks like this are made to be broken, but this Niners’ defense just looks too strong for a patchy Lions offense.

After all of that, if you’re still looking for a few wagers to keep you busy, try these Week 2 specials out:

(1) Will Jim Harbaugh (SF) and Jim Schwartz (DET) shake hands or hug at the end of Sunday night’s game? Yes (-400); No (+250).

(2) Will the team of (botching) replacement referees still be on the field in Week 6? Yes (-140); No (EVEN).

 

NFL Week 2 Schedule

Thursday: Chicago 10-23 Green Bay

Sunday: (1 PM ET) Kansas City @ Buffalo | New Orleans @ Carolina | Cleveland @ Cincinnati | Minnesota @ Indianapolis | Houston @ Jacksonville | Oakland @ Miami | Arizona @ New England | Tampa Bay @ NY Giants | Baltimore @ Philadelphia; (4:05 PM ET) Dallas @ Seattle | Washington @ St. Louis; (4:25 PM ET) NY Jets @ Pittsburgh | Tennessee @ San Diego; (8:20 PM ET) Detroit @ San Francisco

Monday: (8:30 PM ET) Denver @ Atlanta