Teddy_Covers's Blog

Posted Friday, August 31, 2012 12:58 PM

Kansas City Chiefs 2012 Betting Preview

Kansas City Chiefs:

KC went 7-9 last year, but enjoyed a winning 9-7 ATS record.  They were Under machines, cashing a dozen Under tickets in their 16 ballgames.  The Chiefs faced a much tougher than average schedule, outgained by 0.5 yards per play while finishing -2 in turnovers. 

2012 Issues:

Romeo Crennel had the ‘interim head coach’ tag lifted when he guided the Chiefs to a 2-1 late season mark after taking over for the fired Todd Haley, highlighted by a shocking upset as double digit underdogs over the previously undefeated Packers last December.  Crennel will serve as his own defensive coordinator.  He brought in the much maligned Brian Daboll to coordinate the offense, KC’s sixth offensive coordinator in the last six seasons – not much continuity on that side of the football.

Daboll has worked with Chiefs QB Matt Cassel before, serving as a Patriots assists in Cassel’s first two years in the league.  But his track record as the offensive coordinator in each of his last two stops – Cleveland and Miami – was downright awful, unable to create touchdowns on any sort of a consistent basis with either team.

This is a make-or-break year for Cassel.  He had a QB rating below 70 in his first year as the starter in 2009, then missed the back half of last year following h... [More]

Posted Thursday, August 30, 2012 01:26 PM

Denver Broncos 2012 Betting Preview

Denver Broncos:

Last year, in John Fox’s first season at the helm in Denver, the Broncos got hot down the stretch, in large part due to some Tim Tebow magic, and won the division with an 8-8 record (7-9 ATS, 9-7 to the Over).  They faced a schedule that was right around the league average in terms of toughness, yet were outgained by 0.4 yards per play while finishing -12 in turnovers.

2012 Issues:

Fox returns as the head coach, as does offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, but the Broncos have a new defensive coordinator; former Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.  Del Rio served at the same position under Fox in Carolina prior to his ascension in Jacksonville.

But nobody in Denver is talking about the coaching staff – they’re talking about Peyton Manning.  Manning is 36 years old, coming off a lost season and four neck surgeries.  He’ll be throwing to a largely unproven group of receivers - -no WR on the squad has more than 124 career catches.  And Denver doesn’t have much of a Plan B if Manning doesn’t work out – backup Caleb Hanie was nothing short of a disaster in Chicago last year and rookie third stringer Brock Osweiler has looked awful thusfar. 

That being said, nobody is writing off the four time MVP Manning.  The offensive line in front of him looks solid, with ever... [More]

Posted Wednesday, August 29, 2012 12:25 PM

Minnesota Vikings 2012 Betting Preview

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings were a mess in 2011, both on and off the field; the single worst season in franchise history.  By my numbers – based on my power rating of each of their opponents on the week the game was played – Minnesota faced the single toughest schedule in the NFL.  They did not fare well against that imposing slate, just 3-13 SU, 6-8-2 ATS.

The Vikings overall stats didn’t look too bad for a 3-13 team that faced the toughest schedule in the league with a rookie QB behind center for most of the campaign.  They were outgained by a relatively modest 0.4 yards per play and finished -3 in turnovers.  Minnesota was an Over team last year, cashing Overs at a 10-6 clip.

2012 Issues:

Let’s start with the coaching staff.  Head coach Leslie Frazier and offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave are already on the hot seat in only their second full season on the job – right there with Norv Turner in San Diego as the hottest seat in the NFL right now. 

On offense, the Vikings are hoping that star running back Adrian Peterson will be fully recovered from his ACL surgery to start on opening day.  First round draft choice Matt Kalil is expected to shore up the left tackle position on what looks like a decent offensive line.

But the biggest of... [More]

Posted Tuesday, August 28, 2012 12:09 PM

Green Bay Packers 2012 Betting Preview

Green Bay Packers

Last year, the defending Super Bowl champs were the best team in the NFL for the entire regular season, before getting bounced out of the playoffs following their bye, at home against the Giants.   Green Bay finished 15-1 SU and despite their ‘public’ nature, they were strong moneywinners: 11-5 ATS, including a 6-0 ATS mark in games were they were less than a TD favorite.

The Packers were an Over machine; 11-5 to the Over in 2011.  Against a very easy schedule, Green Bay outgained their opponents by 0.3 yards per play and finished with a whopping +24 turnover margin, second best in the league.

2012 Issues:

There’s no question that this offense is loaded, despite some minor concerns at the running back position.  Green Bay outscored the weakest offense in the league by a full three TD’s per game last year.  They solidified the offensive line in the offseason, signing free agent center Jeff Saturday, and extended several contracts to ensure stability up front for years to come.

The Packers defense, however, has plenty of question marks.  Green Bay’s top six draft picks were all on the defensive side of the ball.  The ability of those youngsters to step in and have an impact as rookies is paramount if Dom Capers leaky defense (ranked dead last in the NFL... [More]

Posted Monday, August 27, 2012 01:03 PM

Detroit Lions 2012 Betting Preview

Detroit Lions

Four years ago, the Lions were the laughingstock of the NFL; the first 0-16 team in league history.  Obviously, things could only improve once the Ford family took the keys out of bottom tier GM Matt Millen’s hands.  After more than a decade of futility, Detroit made the leap from a 2-14 bottom feeder in 2009 to an improving 6-10 team in 2010, to a 10-6 playoff team last year. 

Despite their leap up in the standings, the Lions were not money winners for their supporters in 2011, finishing with a modest 7-7-2 ATS mark.  Detroit showed guts and moxie, rallying back from double digit deficits on the road against the Raiders, Cowboys and Vikings.  But they did not play their best football down the stretch, just 5-6 SU after their 5-0 start, before getting blown out by the Saints in their playoff game (3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 games).

The Lions faced a harder than average schedule in 2011, but still outgained their opponents by 0.4 yards per play.  They finished +11 in turnovers. 

2012 Issues:

Detroit will enjoy great continuity, with head coach Jim Schwartz, offensive coordinator Scott Linehan and defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham all returning, as well as the vast majority of assistants.   QB Matthew Stafford joined Dan Marino, Tom Bra... [More]

Posted Sunday, August 26, 2012 12:31 PM

Chicago Bears 2012 Betting Preview

Chicago Bears

The Bears were two completely different teams in 2011.  The ‘good ’ Bears went 7-3 to open up the campaign.  The ‘bad’ Bears went 1-5 to close out the season after a bevy of injuries decimated their roster, most notably the season ender to starting QB Jay Cutler.

Chicago finished the season with an 8-8 SU and 8-8 ATS mark while going 9-7 to the Over.  They were outgained by 0.3 yards per play and finished with a +2 turnover margin against a much tougher than average slate of opponents.

2012 Issues:

Mike Martz failed miserably as the offensive coordinator in Detroit and in San Francisco prior to his arrival in Chicago.  No surprise that Martz’s offense failed with the Bears as well, leading to his resignation following the disastrous close to their campaign. 

New offensive coordinator Mike Tice is the former Vikings head coach, assistant head coach/offense in Jacksonville and the offensive line coach here in Chicago under Martz for the last two seasons.  His new offense is designed to maximize the Bears big play ability while getting the ball out of Jay Cutler’s hands quickly.

The Bears are loaded with top notch skill position talent, bringing in receiving weapons Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in the offseason.  Their big... [More]

Posted Saturday, August 25, 2012 01:49 PM

Tennessee Titans 2012 Betting Preview

Tennessee Titans:

The Titans were the only team in the NFL last year to finish with a winning record without making the playoffs; losing the tiebreaker with Cincinnati for the final playoff spot in the AFC.  Based on my numbers, they faced the single easiest schedule in the NFL in 2011. 

Despite the easy slate, Tennessee only outgained their foes by 0.1 yards per play and finished the season with a +1 turnover margin.  The Titans were slight money losers for their supporters, going 7-8-1 ATS and 10-5-1 to the Under.

2012 Issues:

The Titans enjoyed good continuity this past offseason, returning head coach Mike Munchak for his second year on the job, and both coordinators (Chris Palmer offense, Jerry Gray defense).   Tennessee’s preseason QB battle between the aging veteran Matt Hasselbeck and the second year first rounder Jake Locker has been settled in Locker’s favor.  He’s not likely to light up opposing defenses on a weekly basis.

The Titans biggest offensive issue is not at quarterback – it’s fixing a running game that ranked #31 in the NFL last year.  RB Chris Johnson had been in three consecutive pro bowls, rushing for more than 4500 yards in the process, but last year he suffered career lows in nearly everything – yards from scrimmage, yards per carry, touchdown... [More]

Posted Friday, August 24, 2012 12:58 PM

Jacksonville Jaguars 2012 Betting Preview

Jacksonville Jaguars:    

Somehow, the lowly Jags managed to win five games last year against an average schedule in terms of toughness.  They were outgained by a full yard per snap for the entire season, but finished with a +5 turnover margin.  Jacksonville was an injury plagued disaster by the end of the campaign, with 25 players on injured reserve.  The Jags went 7-8-1 ATS and 11-4-1 to the Under.

2012 Issues:

Like in Indy, there’s a new era in Jacksonville.  The Jags have a new owner, billionaire businessman Shad Khan.  New head coach Mike Mularkey held the same position in Buffalo, lasting only two years on the job before getting fired.  He’s been the offensive coordinator in Atlanta for the last few seasons. 

Mularkey retained Jacksonville defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, but brought in Bob Bratkowski – one of five current or former offensive coordinators on the staff – to coordinate the offense.  Bratkowski coordinated the Bengals offense for most of the past decade and was the QB coach in Atlanta last year.

The Jags biggest issue is at the QB position.  As a rookie, Blaine Gabbert was awful, finishing the season with a 65.4 QB rating.  Dolphins retread Chad Henne was signed in the offseason to give Gabbert some competition, but n... [More]

Posted Thursday, August 23, 2012 12:59 PM

Indianapolis Colts 2012 Betting Preview

Indianapolis Colts:

After an NFL high nine consecutive playoff appearances, the Colts crashed and burned last year following QB Peyton Manning’s season ending neck surgery.  They did face a tougher than average schedule, but a 2-14 SU, 6-10 ATS season can’t be blamed solely on a tough slate of opponents.

The Colts were outgained by 0.8 yards per play in 2011, fourth worst in the NFL.  They had a -12 turnover margin and went 9-7 to the Under for the campaign.

2012 Issues:

The 2012 schedule tells you all you need to know about Indy’s rebuilding project.  The Colts have been primetime mainstays for the last decade, with at least three or four Sunday or Monday Night national TV appearances every year.  This year, the Colts play 15 of their 16 games at 1 PM Eastern time.  The 16th game is a Thursday Night affair at lowly Jacksonville on the NFL network.  The Colts are most assuredly NOT a ‘showcase’ team for the league this year.

The Colts have a first time head coach, Chuck Pagano, the former Ravens defensive coordinator.  Their new offensive coordinator is Bruce Arians, who developed some very effective downfield throwing schemes in his tenure at Pittsburgh.  New defensive coordinator Greg Manusky was fired by the Chargers following his lone season on the job last ... [More]

Posted Wednesday, August 22, 2012 01:44 PM

Houston Texans 2012 Betting Preview

Houston Texans:

After  nearly a decade of trying to ‘get over the hump’, the Texans finally broke through last year, going 10-6, winning the AFC South and even winning a playoff game, despite an injury plagued season that saw many of their top players go down for extended stretches. 

Houston was a money winner for their supporters, thanks to a 9-5-2 ATS mark.  They outgained their opponents by 0.9 yards per play, tied for second best in the NFL, and finished with a +7 turnover margin.  The Texans were an Under team in 2011, cashing Unders at a 10-6 clip.

But before we get carried away with the Texans success, let’s not forget that they were beating up on a very weak slate of opponents.  Houston faced 3rd easiest schedule in the NFL based on my numbers – numbers which are based on my power rating of their opponents for the week that the game was played.

2012 Issues:

Houston has fairly good continuity from last year to this year.  Head coach Gary Kubiak and both coordinators return, most notably defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.  Phillips took a defense that had been ranked dead last against the pass and #30 overall, and transformed the unit into the #3 defense in the NFL last year. 

The salary cap challenged Texans did suffer some ... [More]

Posted Monday, August 13, 2012 01:33 PM

The Value of '3' in Preseason

The Value of ‘3’

NFL bettors are conditioned to think about the pointspread number of + or -3 as being the single most important or ‘key’ number in football betting.  That certainly holds true for the regular season, when nearly one out of every seven games finishes with a final margin of three points.

But in August, coaches don’t play for overtime.  We saw two prime examples of that this past weekend.  Jacksonville rallied from 17 points down against the Giants, scoring their final TD with two minutes left in the fourth quarter. 

Instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game – making it quite likely that one of the two teams would win by a field goal – Jacksonville head coach Mike Mularkey went for the two point conversion and the win.  The Jags made that conversion and won the game by a single point; a great result for line shoppers and a lousy result for the house.

On the very same night, the Lions were a three point home favorite against the Browns.  Cleveland, like Jacksonville, rallied from a double digit deficit in the second half.  With just over six minutes left in the fourth quarter – plenty of time – Browns head coach Pat Shurmur made the same decision that Mularkey had made.  Instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game, the Browns went for the two point conversion,... [More]

Posted Sunday, August 05, 2012 08:53 PM

College Football Openers

Over the course of the past week, just about every major sportsbook both here in Las Vegas and offshore has posted their Week 1 college football pointspreads.  And, of course, to no one’s surprise, the early bettors had some very different opinions about the relative worth of those 124 board teams, resulting in a handful of significant line moves in the first few hours and days after they were posted.

This column is titled the ‘Wiseguy Report’ for a reason – most of my readers are looking for insight about the sharpest bettors in the world.  Who do the sharps like in college football for Week 1 and why do they like them?  Read on to find out, but before I continue, a word of caution! 

‘Sharp’ bettors are not a single entity; they are a multitude of individuals and groups, each with their own opinions.  Most of the groups have not gotten involved yet, so the early money that I will describe is largely the result of individual betting opinions.

First, let me make this perfectly clear.  Of all the different ‘inflection points’ that come to pass as the football market slowly starts to mature, there’s only one group of wagers that attracts significant ‘public’ money – the odds to win it all.  Sharp bettors don’t ignore those bets, but they tend to focus on ‘live longshots’ that have a puncher’s chance to win a title at 20:1, ... [More]