Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, November 1, 2014 at 1:59 PM
WE TACKLE CARDINALS-COWBOYS, CHARGERS-DOLPHINS & SUNDAY NIGHT’S RAVENS-STEELERS TILT PLUS SOME FINAL THOUGHTS ON BRONCOS-PATS
THE BEST/WORST NFL SPREAD SIDES
Here’s the NFL Week 9 lowdown, ladies and gents:
There are six teams taking their byes this weekend including a major chunk of the NFC North (see Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay) and there are only four Sunday games pitting teams with winning records against one another.
No doubt the marquee matchup - that’s the 6-1 Denver Broncos at the 6-2 New England Patriots - is getting most of the headlines and hope you caught our in-depth Jim Sez preview two days ago.
Still, lots more to be digested from Broncos-Patriots as QB Peyton Manning and Tom Brady get ready to square off against one another for the 16th time and here’s some numbers that we’ve crunched in terms of when Manning arrived in the Mile High City prior to the 2012 season.
Since Manning’s been a Bronco, his Denver team is 26-16-1 ATS (against the spread) overall for a snazzy .619 winning percentage and that includes an 11-8 spread mark away and a 10-3 ATS mark when in the role of road favorite ... wow!
On the flip side, Brady’s Pats are 23-21 ATS overall since the start of 2012 (a modest .523 winning rate) and note the Foxboro gang is 14-9 spreadwise at home and that includes a 1-0 pointspread record when in the home underdog role (see 43-17 triumph over 2 ½-point fav Cincinnati back in Week 5 play this year).
You’ll recall that last year the Patriots topped the Broncos 34-31 in overtime in regular-season action and the oddsmakers had that final line at pick ‘em.
May we suggest this might only be “Part I” of a two-part series between the two gunslingers this year as it was a year ago when the Broncos (- 5) hammered the Patriots 26-16 in the AFC Championship Game ... can’t wait!
In other NFL Week 9 action, it’s ...
ARIZONA (6-1) at DALLAS (6-2) - 1 p.m. ET, Fox
Will he or won’t he play ... that’s Dallas QB Tony Romo we’re talking about (of course!) but you’ve got to know that even if the Cowboys’ star slinger starts here we wouldn’t expect full mobility as the hit to his tender back in last Monday’s doubly-painful 20-17 loss to 9 ½-point dog Washington forced Romo to grimace in his return to the field for that failed late-game drive.
Romo’s backup - 31-year-old Brandon Weeden - actually did fine against the Redskins while putting 10 points on the board including a 25-yard scoring strike to TE Jason Witten that forced the overtime.
Meanwhile, Arizona has its quarterback in the saddle as Carson Palmer (8 TDs and 1 INT this year) has made it all the way back from his shoulder/nerve issues that sidelined him for three games earlier this season - let’s see if speedy WR John Brown who nabbed the 75-yard game-winning score from Palmer in last week’s 24-20 win against Philadelphia with 1:21 remaining will be a deep threat here.
Spread Notes - Dallas is 5-3 against the odds overall this season and note the Cowboys own a shabby 13-24 ATS home mark since the start of the 2010 season. Meanwhile, Arizona is 5-2 vig-wise overall this season and the Redbirds are 11-6-2 ATS away the past two-plus seasons.
SAN DIEGO (5-3) at MIAMI (4-3) - 1 p.m. ET, CBS
The arrow’s pointing in different directions these days for the Chargers and Dolphins: San Diego’s lost back-to-back games - to division foes Kansas City and Denver - while Miami’s fresh off back-to-back road wins at Chicago and Jacksonville and one thing you gotta say for the Fish is that its defense has saved the offense lately.
In last week’s 27-13 win/cover at 7-point underdog Jacksonville, the Dolphins came up with a pair of “pick 6’s” against rookie QB Blake Bortles while the Miami offense struggled with WR Mike Wallace coming up with just a pair of receptions.
Expect one major key here to be the San Diego pass rush that must get something from DE Dwight Freeney who’s been hampered by knee woes lately. The Chargers have allowed an average of 28.6 ppg over the last three outings.
If Freeney and Company can’t sack Miami QB Ryan Tannehill (sacked seven total times in his past two games) then the trip to sunny Florida won’t be so much fun for the Bolts.
Spread Notes - San Diego started out the season on a five-game spread winning streak but the Chargers now enter this bash in South Beach on a three-game pointspread losing skid and did you know the Bolts are a collective 13-7-1 ATS as underdogs since the start of the 2012 season? Miami is 4-3 vig-wise so far this year and the Dolphins are 10-5 ATS in non-AFC East games since the start of last year.
My handicappers and bloggers have everything all scoped out and you can get all the NCAA Football, NFL Week 9 and NBA daily winners when you check with us here at the blazing-hot Jim Hurley’s Network and then keep rollin’ in the green all weekend long! On Saturday/Sunday there are full slates of key gridiron games and so make sure you check in with us on game days either here online or at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 - get the month of November started off with a big bang!
On Sunday Night, it’s ...
BALTIMORE (5-3) at PITTSBURGH (5-3) - 8:30 p.m. ET, NBC
You all remember Act 1 back in Week 2:
The Baltimore Ravens slugged the Pittsburgh Steelers 26-6 just days after the now-infamous Ray Rice elevator video surfaced - for all the folks that believe John Harbaugh’s club would crumple under the adversity back then, well, they were dead wrong!
The Ravens kept the Steelers from scoring a single touchdown in that tilt and Pittsburgh was a wreck with three turnovers and nine penalties in that AFC North duel that didn’t come down to the usual field goal margin between these archrivals.
Now, fast forward here to Week 9 and Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger is coming off an epic 522-yard, six-TD performance in last Sunday’s 51-34 triumph over 5-point favorite Indianapolis and the $64,000 question here is did “Big Ben” use up his allotment of big plays there or might his suddenly-hot Steelers have more in reserve against a Baltimore defense that ranks 22nd in the league in pass defense while allowing 256 yards a game.
Interesting how the Las Vegas price tag has bounced around here as this game opened at pick ‘em, went to the Steelers minus 1.5 points and right now has the Ravens as the 1.5-point betting favorites ... hmm.
If Baltimore QB Joe Flacco - sacked only nine times through the first eight games - stays in the upright position here, than keeping the roadsters below 30 points will be tough.
Spread Notes - Baltimore is 5-3 versus the vig so far this season and the Ravens are 5-2-2 ATS in their last nine regular-season visits to Pittsburgh (and 0-2 spreadwise in post-season trips the past 10 years). On the flip side, the Steelers own a 4-4 spread log so far in 2014 and note Pittsburgh’s failed to cover all three of its pointspread verdicts within AFC North play.
NFL POINTSPREAD NOTES
Let’s zip through the league and get you the Best/Worst NFL Spread Sides so far in 2014 (all figures below are, of course, against the spread):
Arizona is 5-2
Indianapolis is 6-2
Jacksonville is 2-6
Kansas City is 5-1-1
New York Jets are 1-6-1
St. Louis is 2-5
Tampa Bay is 2-5
NOTE: Catch our College Football and NFL Week 9 wrap-ups plus the Monday Night Football previews - Indianapolis at the New York Giants - in the next edition of Jim Sez.