I know we talked about this last week, but it bears repeating since one of our favorite and most profitable trends here at Goal-Line Stand will once again come into play Thursday night in the Pacific Northwest, as the Philadelphia Eagles travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks.
Over the previous 15 seasons, teams that have had to travel 1,500 or more miles to play a midseason Thursday game coming off a Sunday contest have gone 0-12 straight up and against the spread. This situation has already occurred twice in 2011, as the Broncos defeated the Jets in Week 11 and the Ravens took down the 49ers in Week 12 on Thanksgiving.
Guess what? Philadelphia played New England on Sunday and now has to travel over 2,700 miles to take on the Seahawks Thursday night.
This game opened at PHI -2.5 and has moved in the Eagles’ direction to PHI -3, with 72% of the action coming in on Vince Young and the Birds.
I can tell you with confidence that I have no intention of joining that 72%.
DALLAS COWBOYS (7-4, 2-3 road) at ARIZONA CARDINALS (4-7, 2-2 home)
Time: 4:15 ET
Opening line: Dallas -6.5
Current line: Dallas -4.5
Current betting trends: 90% of the public is currently backing the Cowboys.
Dallas: 4-6-1 against the spread in 11 games played this season.
Arizona: 6-5 against the spread in 11 games played this season.
Interesting trends: The Cowboys are 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a losing record and 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games as a favorite.
Analysis: This game stinks like a trap, so take caution before dumping last week’s paycheck on the suddenly surging Dallas Cowboys.
Despite the fact that they’ve won four straight games, the ‘Boys have failed to cover the number in four of their last five outings. On the flip side, the Cardinals have very quietly covered the spread in four of their last five games and could be in line for an offensive boost, should quarterback Kevin Kolb return to the starting lineup this Sunday.
Also, take note that while 90% of the action is coming in on Dallas, the line has moved two points away from the Cowboys. That means the big money is all over Arizona.
“Dallas has quickly become the favorite to win the NFC East amid the Giants’ recent struggles,” Caesars Entertainment Senior Race & Sports Analyst Todd Fuhrman told me on Thursday. “However, wiseguys aren’t buying into their dominance just yet, as they bet the Cardinals on the open amid speculation that Kevin Kolb may make the start. Much like they faded Dallas with Miami on Thanksgiving, there’s been value going against the Cowboys as chalk this year.”
NEW YORK JETS (6-5, 1-4 road) at WASHINGTON REDSKINS (4-7, 2-3 home)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Opening line: O/U 37.5
Current line: O/U 38.5
Current betting trends: 90% of the public is currently backing the OVER.
NY Jets: The OVER is 7-4 in 11 games played this season.
Washington: The UNDER is 7-4 in 11 games played this season.
Interesting trends: The OVER is 5-1 in the Jets’ last six games as a road favorite and 18-7-1 in the Jets’ last 26 road games.
Analysis: The ‘Skins showcase a relatively low-scoring offense, but the team is averaging 23.5 points per game over quarterback Rex Grossman’s last two starts, both of which cashed for over bettors. Meanwhile, the over has gone 21-8 in the Jets’ last 29 games overall. When it comes to NFL totals, we’ll turn to our man Warren Sharp of SharpFootballAnalysis.com for the scoop:
“Mark Sanchez threw four touchdown passes last week against the Bills and while he earned the dubious distinction of being the first Jets quarterback since Namath to throw for four TDs on less than 50% completions, the fact is, since 2010 in games after Sanchez throws for three or more TDs, the Jets OVERS are 4-0 if totaled 40 or less and go over by an average of 12 points per game. The coaches dial up more for him in the passing game as he just had a successful outing.
“His counterpart is Rex Grossman, who has become extremely aggressive the last two weeks in the passing game. After a very solid outing vs. the Giants to open the season, Rex averaged just 6.1 YPA (yards per attempt) before being benched in the Philly game. Rex got the call to come back and start after backup John Beck proved ineffective and the last two weeks he averaged 8 yards per attempt and delivered back-to-back overs.
“This is the Jets’ lowest total of the season. Dating back to the end of 2009, the Jets have played in 11 road games totaled 41 or lower. In those 11 games, OVERS are 10-1. The only UNDER was vs. Tim Tebow on Thursday night two weeks ago. Keep in mind that that game featured ‘Tebow ball,’ and that results in a very low-scoring, fast moving game.”
DETROIT LIONS (7-4, 4-1 road) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (8-3, 5-0 home)
Time: 8:20pm ET
Opening line: New Orleans -8.5
Current line: New Orleans -9
Current betting trends: 75% of the public is currently backing the Saints.
Detroit: 6-4-1 against the spread in 11 games played this season.
New Orleans: 7-4 against the spread in 11 games played this season.
Interesting trends: The Lions are 1-4 ATS in their last five games against NFC opponents, while the Saints are 5-0 ATS in their last five home games.
Analysis: This is a big line, but we all know how difficult it is to win in New Orleans. The Saints are 5-0 ATS in their last five games as a home favorite and 7-1 ATS in their last eight home games against a team with a winning record. The Lions got off to a red-hot start in 2011, but keep in mind that they have failed to cover the number in four of their last five games and will be without stud defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who is suspended for the next two weeks due to the infamous “Thanksgiving Day Stomping” incident.
So New Orleans looks like a lock to cover, right? In the words of the great Lee Corso, “Not so fast my friends.”
“For openers the Lions enter with four extra days of prep time off their Thanksgiving Day loss to the Packers while the Saints check in off Monday night’s rout of the Giants,” veteran handicapper Marc Lawrence of Playbook.com and Covers.com told me Thursday. “My main concern is that the New Orleans defense has surrendered season-high yardage totals in each of their last two games (New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons).
“New Orleans is also 4-8 straight up and against the spread in games after playing on Mondays (0-4 ATS last four). On the flip side, Detroit has held two of their last three foes to season-low yardage totals and is 6-1 straight up and 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven contests on the road. Despite the loss of Ndamukong Suh, look for the Lions to come up with a big effort Sunday.”