Pats Save Books; BCS Championship Lines; Super Bowl Projections; College Notecard

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Sports book industry report – Patriots help books salvage a push in Week 4

Pats’ 30-23 win proves clutch for Vegas

Tom Brady and Co. came through late for the sports books on Sunday night.

By: Micah Roberts
LAS VEGAS – The Las Vegas sports books found themselves in an unusual position on Sunday night. After 12 games had already been posted, their fate was resting on the outcome of the final game between the Falcons and Patriots. The late game being pivotal to the overall outcome is nothing new, but the unusual part is that they needed the Patriots to play the role of hero.

“I think the last time we needed the Patriots to save the day was in 1983 with Steve Grogan, ” joked Aliante sports book director Marc Nelson. “It’s been a long time.”

The Falcons had been bet up from a 1-point favorite up to -3 for their home game against the Patriots, and even though New England was 3-0 on the year, the public perception was that this wasn’t the same dominant squad we have all witnessed over the years. Meanwhile, the 1-2 Falcons were in desperation mode with an offense still somewhat respected. After the Pats improved to 4-0 after their 30-23 win and may finally have bettors’ attention moving forward.

The game also marked the first time this season the Patriots have gone OVER the total. Last year they went OVER the number in 11 of their 16 regular games and their high-scoring ways have been part of the allure the public has had with them. During the Tom Brady era, Patriots-to-OVER has been the most popular side-to-total combination with bettors. It happened for the first time this season, but not many had it.

The books were actually fortunate to be in the position they were in heading into the late game because somehow they dodged a bullet when their three worst possible decisions on the day went against them. The Colts 37-3 thrashing at Jacksonville easily covered the 8-point spread for the masses in the most lopsided one-way bet action of the day. Seattle’s 23-20 overtime win at Houston covered the short spread (-1.5) and Denver thumped the Eagles, 52-20, to cover (-11) and also send the game OVER the total (58.5), which was the most popular
side-total combination of the day.

However, it was the other nine games of the afternoon that fended off the mounting risk from the Colts-Seahawks-Broncos combination. Underdogs like the Bills (+3.5), Vikings (+3), Browns (+3.5), Cardinals (+2.5) and Chargers (+1) all won outright and eliminated any momentum bettors had linked in parlays to the most popular sides.

The Cowboys had covered all three of their games this season, but the public had been weary of backing America’s team until Sunday. Sharp money was on the Chargers, but the parlay
bettors that can do the most damage to a book were on the Cowboys. The Chargers 30-21 win now puts them in a select group of unbeatens against the point spread at 3-0-1. They’re joined
by Seattle (4-0) and Denver (3-0-1), with Miami (3-0) playing Monday night.

Overall, the favorites went 7-6 ATS, with all six underdogs that covered winning outright. Seven of the 13 games went OVER the total. The bettors didn’t lose too much and the books
didn’t win too much. Week 4 was pretty much a draw.

Now the biggest task at hand for the books is trying to figure out how high to make the number on Jacksonville games. This week they are +13 at St. Louis, and then next week they’re at
Denver. MGM Resorts vice-president of race and sports Jay Rood said that game is already on his mind and that he’s looking at Denver being -27.5 with a total at 57.

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bcs championship 2014Las Vegas sports book posts betting lines on nine potential BCS championship games

Alabama, to no one’s surprised, figures in many of them

By: The Linemakers

AJ McCarron and Alabama open as 8-point favorites in a potential BCS title game against Kevin Hogan and Stanford.

The South Point sports book, The Linemakers on Sporting News’ home base, is opening wagering on several potential BCS National Championship Games, with a limit bet of $2,000.

The title game is set for Monday, Jan. 6 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

Here’s what’s on the odds board at the South Point, compared to the power ratings differentials between the potential combatants (listed in parentheses), according to the most recent Don Best/Linemakers numbers.

Alabama -3.5 vs. Oregon (even)
Alabama -10 vs. Florida State (Bama – 4.5)
Alabama -8 vs. Stanford (Bama – 5.5)
Alabama -7.5 vs. Ohio State (Bama – 9)
Oregon -3 vs. Georgia (oregon – 6.5)
Georgia pick ‘em vs. Ohio State (UGA -2.5)
Stanford pick ‘em vs. Ohio State (stanford -3.5)
Texas A&M pick ‘em vs. Ohio State (even)
Oregon -3 vs. Ohio State (Oregon – 9)


super bowl 2014Super Bowl projections – Massey-Peabody forecasts NFL regular season and playoffs

Broncos, Seahawks create distance from pack

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By: The Linemakers |

Massey-Peabody, our new mathematical partners here at The Linemakers on Sporting News, have projected each NFL team’s probability of making the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl by simulating the rest of the regular season, plus the post season, 10,000 times.

The Broncos seem to have separated themselves in the AFC, as the Massey-Peabody model gives them a 42.5 percent chance of making the Super Bowl. The Patriots and Bengals are virtually neck-and-neck for second, with a 13.0 and 12.8 percent chance of winning the conference championship, respectively.

Over in the NFC, the Seahawks have looked dominant and have, according to M-P, a 32.8 percent chance to get to the Super Bowl. The Saints, revived by the return of head coach Sean Payton as well as the arrival of new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, have the second best chance to emerge from the NFC, at 14.9 percent

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Here’s what the NFL playoff field will look like, should the M-P forecast hold true:

AFC East champion: Patriots*
AFC North champion: Bengals
AFC South champion: Texans
AFC West champion: Broncos*
Wild card: Dolphins
Wild card: Ravens
*First-round bye

NFC East champion: Cowboys
NFC North champion: Bears
NFC South champion: Saints*
NFC West champion: Seahawks*
Wild card: Packers
Wild card: Panthers
*First-round bye

And here’s how the standings project, with each team’s chances of winning their division, making the playoffs, making the Super Bowl and winning the Super Bowl included.
Team W L Win Division Make Playoffs Make SB Win SB Team W L Win Division Make Playoffs Make SB Win SB
NE 10.5 5.5 63.2% 81.1% 13.0% 5.9% DAL 9.2 6.8 72.4% 75.5% 9.6% 3.9%
MIA 9.6 6.4 29.4% 61.0% 5.9% 2.2% PHI 6.4 9.6 12.1% 17.0% 0.9% 0.3%
NYJ 7.4 8.6 5.4% 17.9% 0.6% 0.3% NYG 6.2 9.8 9.4% 12.5% 1.1% 0.3%
BUF 6.4 9.6 2.1% 6.3% 0.4% 0.2% WAS 5.8 10.2 6.1% 8.4% 0.6% 0.1%

CIN 10.0 6.0 64.4% 75.4% 12.8% 6.6% CHI 10.1 5.9 45.1% 72.8% 10.4% 4.4%
BAL 8.7 7.3 29.6% 47.1% 6.3% 2.1% GB 9.6 6.4 40.8% 68.4% 13.8% 7.6%
PIT 6.2 9.8 3.8% 7.4% 0.8% 0.3% DET 8.1 7.9 13.0% 32.6% 2.6% 1.2%
CLE 5.9 10.1 2.3% 3.8% 0.1% 0.1% MIN 5.8 10.2 1.1% 3.9% 0.5% 0.4%

HOU 9.9 6.1 64.8% 75.7% 9.9% 4.6% NO 10.3 5.7 64.8% 82.4% 14.9% 7.3%
IND 8.4 7.6 22.6% 34.1% 2.6% 0.9% CAR 8.4 7.6 19.6% 41.4% 4.9% 2.6%
TEN 8.0 8.0 12.6% 27.7% 1.7% 0.8% ATL 8.1 7.9 14.4% 35.1% 4.4% 1.9%
JAC 3.2 12.8 0.1% 0.2% 0.0% 0.0% TB 5.7 10.3 1.3% 5.0% 0.4% 0.1%

DEN 13.0 3.0 92.9% 98.4% 42.5% 26.6% SEA 12.2 3.8 93.7% 97.4% 32.8% 16.6%
KC 8.7 7.3 3.0% 34.8% 1.4% 0.8% SF 7.9 8.1 4.3% 32.8% 2.6% 0.9%
SD 8.2 7.8 4.1% 27.4% 2.0% 1.0% ARI 6.8 9.2 0.9% 10.6% 0.3% 0.1%
OAK 5.3 10.7 0.1% 1.7% 0.1% 0.1% STL 6.0 10.0 1.2% 4.3% 0.3% 0.1%


west virginia fbCollege Football Roundup

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Weekly Betting Notes

— Home Teams went 28-20 straight up in Week 5

— Favorites went 36-12 SU in Week 5

— West Virginia (+19 ½) was the biggest underdog to win outright in Week 5, defeating No. 11 Oklahoma State 30-21 at home.

— Other notable underdog winners were East Carolina (+12 ½), Tulane (+12 ½), Texas State (+10 ½) and Idaho (+7 ½).

— Favorites and Underdogs went 23-23-4 against the spread

— The four pushes were:
Missouri (-22) 41 vs. Arkansas State 19
Georgia (-3) 44 vs. LSU 41
Ohio State (-7) 31 vs. Wisconsin 24
Oregon (-39) 55 vs. California 16

Top 25 Betting Notes

— There were four matchups in Week 5 that featured ranked teams squaring off. In those games, the higher ranked school won except the for the Georgia-LSU encounter. The No. 9 Bulldogs were favored by three points at home and defeated the No. 6 Tigers 44-41.

— The 12 other ranked schools in action went 11-1 SU and 6-4-1 ATS.

— No. 11 Oklahoma State was the only ranked school to lose to an unranked team in Week 5.

— Louisville, UCLA, Northwestern, Baylor and Texas Tech were the five ranked schools on Bye in Week 5.

Best Bets

— Houston improved to 4-0 ATS with its 59-28 win over Texas-San Antonio in Week 5

— After losing to Ohio State in Week 5, Wisconsin is 3-2 SU but 4-0-1 ATS

— Central Florida suffered its first loss of the season in Week 5, falling to South Carolina 28-25 at home. Despite the loss, the Knights covered as 6 ½ – point underdogs. UCF is 4-0 ATS

Fade Alerts

— Central Michigan fell to 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS in Week 5 after getting trounced at North Carolina State, 48-14

— Fresno State is the only unbeaten team (4-0) in the nation that has failed to cover the spread (0-4 ATS)

— Notre Dame fell to 3-2 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in Week 5


— LSU and Troy have seen the ‘over’ cash in all five of their games

— Florida State, Arizona State, Georgia and Northern Illinois are other notable schools that have seen the ‘over’ go 4-0 this season

Under like Thunder

— West Virginia, Toledo and Louisiana Tech have seen the ‘under’ go 5-0 in their first five games

Lane Kiffin fired at USC

Our college football expert Brian Edwards offered up this thoughts on head coach Lane Kiffin’s dismissal at USC and the possible replacements for the Trojans.

I thought Lane Kiffin was a desperation hire to begin with at USC. He had a solid second season and his recruiting was always good, especially considering the NCAA sanctions. But the guy simply doesn’t have the type of personality that energizes a fan base. He clearly lost the locker room last season when the Trojans went from preseason No. 1 to losing six games and finishing unranked. They got destroyed by a seven-loss Georgia Tech team at the Sun Bowl.

When USC lost at home to Washington State as a 16 ½ -point favorite in Week 2 this season, it was obvious that Kiffin was in big trouble. With an open date looming, AD Pat Haden had the opportunity to pull the trigger on Kiffin’s tenure if USC lost at Arizona State. When the Trojans lost by double digits and gave up more than 60 points, Haden’s decision was probably an easy one.

Will Kiffin ever get another head-coaching job? It’s a fair question. He’s had three great jobs already that he didn’t deserve. I don’t see him getting a big-time offer anytime soon, and he sure as hell doesn’t strike me as the type who would get his hands dirty and take a C-USA or Sun Belt gig. I see his future similar to that of Mike Shula’s since he got fired at Alabama. He’ll be a position coach in the NFL for a few years and maybe get an offensive-coordinator gig in 3-4 years like Shula, who is the new Panthers’ OC.

Where does USC go from here? You’ll probably here big names like Boise State’s Chris Petersen and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin, but I don’t think the Trojans have a shot with either guy. Petersen has given everybody the Heisman treatment and Sumlin’s next move will probably be for an NFL job.

Jack Del Rio makes some sense. He’s an alum who turned down the job when Kiffin was hired, but Del Rio doesn’t have an NFL head-coaching gig now like he did last time. He’s the defensive coordinator with the Broncos. But that could be an issue, too, because Denver is going to be playing into January, but we’ve seen that scenario before (Bill O’Brien with Patriots/Penn State).

Jeff Fisher, another USC alum, isn’t leaving the Rams unless their season heads way south. Steve Sarkisian has history with the program, serving as Pete Carroll’s OC, but his situation at Washington is looking pretty good right now. Haden has plenty of time to consider his options, another plus to handing out this pink slip so early.

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