The best bets in the NFL
December 16, 2004
It’s hard to believe that the season has already reached Week 15 in the National Football League. Before it’s too late, it’s time to look at which teams have been the best moneymakers for handicappers so far this year. All the following records are according to point spreads, and could vary slightly with other sources.
The best team against the spread is surprising San Diego with 10 covers, one failure and two pushes (10-1-2). Next best is New England at 9-3-1. Baltimore, Buffalo and Philadelphia are 9-4.
The teams to bet against have been Cleveland, Oakland, St. Louis and Tennessee, all with 4-9 spread records.
The clubs that have most enjoyed the comforts of home spreadwise are Philadelphia (5-1), San Diego (5-1-1) and Tampa Bay (4-1-1). New Orleans is the worst at home so far at 1-6. Next worst are Miami, Oakland, Seattle and Tennessee, all at 1-5.
The strongest road warrior is San Diego at 5-0-1. Carolina and New England are 5-1. Cleveland has been a perfect failure all six times when visiting, while Tampa Bay (1-6) and St. Louis (2-5) are the closest behind.
Some squads are on major rolls right now, led again by San Diego with nine covers and one push in its last 10 games. Carolina has won and covered five consecutive, and Buffalo four. Cincinnati is also hot at 5-0-1.
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Cleveland and the New York Giants are currently experiencing serious quarterback problems, and each has lost and failed to cover six games in a row. The next coldest streaks are owned by Arizona and St. Louis with four successive failures.
Wagering on Over/Under totals can make handicappers just as much money as betting on sides. The first thing one notices is that the stronger trends are with the Unders.
The best teams to bet totals on have been Atlanta, Jacksonville and Washington, with 10 out of 13 games going Under. Philadelphia and Denver are 9-4 Under, while Chicago is 8-3 with two pushes.
The trends for the Overs are not nearly as consistent, as Dallas, Green Bay, New Orleans, St. Louis, Seattle, Buffalo, Kansas City, Oakland and San Diego all have played 8 of 13 games Over to top the list.
Certain teams tend to go Over or Under depending on whether they are home or on the road.
At home, the clubs that go habitually Over are Baltimore, Buffalo and San Diego with six out of seven. Next are Seattle (5-1 Over) and Indianapolis (4-1-1).
The strongest home Under plays have been Atlanta and Jacksonville (6-1 Under), followed by Cincinnati and Tampa Bay (5-1 Under) then Chicago (4-1-1).
On the road Denver and Washington have been perfect, with all six games going Under. Baltimore has gone 5-1.
The most regular Over teams when visiting are Cincinnati (6-1 Overs) and Dallas (5-1).
The hottest current streaks are also more likely to involve squads going Under the total. Pittsburgh leads with six Unders in a row, followed by Atlanta with five. Jacksonville, Minnesota and the New York Jets have played four successive Unders.
Six out of the last seven and four consecutive Buffalo games have seen the Bills win, cover and go Over the total.
Will these trends continue? Maybe yes and maybe no, but I wouldn’t bet against them this week.
Four more college football bowl games are scheduled between now and next Friday’s article. Here are the picks:
Champs Sports Bowl – Georgia Tech possesses a much tougher defense than Syracuse, and comes form the stronger Atlantic Coast Conference. Syracuse gave lowly Temple one of its two wins. Take Georgia Tech -5.
GMAC – It seems odd that Bowling Green’s colors are white and orange, not white and green. What isn’t odd are the Falcons’ fourth-ranked offense, and the underrated Mid-American Conference’s current 8-1 record in bowls. The pick is Bowling Green -4 1/2 against Memphis.
Fort Worth – Cincinnati quarterback Gino Guidigli was injured and didn’t play in the Bearcats’ 7-70 embarrassment at Louisville. Scoring 52 at Southern Mississippi shows Cincy’s potential, but going against Mid-American teams like Marshall is risky. The bet here is Over 56.
Las Vegas – Wyoming hasn’t been invited to a bowl since 1993, yet finishing a lousy 3-4 in the Mountain West Conference still got the Cowboys a bid. Still, there’s no reason to lay 13 points with UCLA. The selection is Under 58.
Joe Ellison is the Nevada Appeal Betting Columnist. Contact him at email@example.com.