Football Handicapping Strategies: Power ranking by Yards per point

by Chris Jacobson

Let's take a look at a simple yet very effective strategy to assist recreational bettors in making their weekend football selections. This involves a simple method of looking at yards per point on the offensive side of the ball along with the defensive side of the ball. You simply just take the offensive yards gained and divide by points scored along with taking the defensive yards given up and divide by points given up. This will give two numbers for each team. The lower the number on offense the better and the higher the number on defense the better. The next step is to use these two numbers to come up a power ranking number. For example say the Falcons have an offensive number of 13.5 and a defensive number of 15.5 subtract the two numbers and it will give you a power ranking of +2. Let's just say their opponent had a YPP number of -2 that would give you 4 points in the Falcons favor. You can use this number to compare to the line and see what the differences are. It's also good to give a couple points for the home field advantage. This is just the tipping point of this strategy as you can imagine there are many variables that could be added such as breaking down based on home and away or common opponents. Use this tip this season and rack up some wins. 

 

 

MLB UNDERDOG BETTING

by Brian Hay of BettorsEdgeSports.com

The key to having a winning baseball season is finding value in the money line offered by the sportsbook and taking advantage of it. Value is simply the difference between the price being offered and the true chances of a team winning the game. I concentrate on finding value with underdogs. Amateur bettors just can’t comprehend it is possible to be profitable when losing more games than you win. The public instinctively looks to bet on favorites over underdogs. They feel that a -200 favorite is a sure winner. Just remember bad teams will win 40% of their games and great teams won’t win 70% of the time. The best thing about playing underdogs is you don’t have to have a high winning percentage to make a huge long-term profit. If you play two underdogs, you only need to hit one of the two to profit, where if you played two favorites, you need both to cash to end up positive. Underdog situations to look for: Every MLB team is excited to start a new season. Every player thinks his team has a chance of playing in the World Series this year. Every team will play their hardest the first three months of the season so we get tremendous value betting on underdogs early in every MLB season. Look for teams that have lost the first two games of a series and find themselves the underdog in the third game. We will get max effort early in the season in this situation. The MLB season is very long and grueling with lots of long road trips. These road trips get more and more grueling as the season wears on. Every team is excited to get back home after one of these difficult stints on the road. We look to take a home dog after one of these trips as we will be getting an excited and happy team ready to give max effort for the home crowd. These two situation are just something to look for. You must use all your other handicapping techniques to base your final wagers on. You should be able to use the money line to your advantage if you are betting on underdogs and small favorites. While this certainly doesn’t guarantee profits, it does make it much easier to win long-term, especially because there are so many games to choose from each week. 

 

DAILY FANTASY SPORTS LOSSES ARE SPORTS BETTING’S GAINS

by Tony George of BettorsEdgeSports.com 

The recent public scandal and subsequent follow up and injunction by the New York Attorney General for Draft Kings and Fan Duel labeling them gambling sites, have a sports bettor and sports betting advocate like me licking my chops as sports betting in general is under review thanks to Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS). It is under review because Draft Kings and Fan Duel have rubbed everyone’s face in the fact they were deemed legal and at one point on the weekends were on TV every 90 seconds on every weekend in every possible market, and that is not to mention radio. Come on and play were are 100% legal, you can be a millionaire overnight placing down money in entry fees involving sporting events.

Add in the fact the NBA – MLB and the NFL and sports media companies like Time Warner and Disney for instance have investment stakes in them, along with NFL Owners Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft investing in Draft Kings as investors, and these two Giants of DFS were on top of the world. Now everyone is running for cover and distancing themselves from DFS including myself as an investor in a DFS site and App and national radio host on Yahoo Sports Radio with a Fantasy show I have now cancelled. It is toxic and on the chopping block folks. Fan Duel and Draft Kings, Yahoo Fantasy Sports and others were taking in more money in Entry Sign Up fees on a weekly basis that was being bet in Las Vegas on the mutual overhaul handle. Just like sports betting, fantasy sports is a multi-billion industry and was exploding much like Online Poker was at its height. Now the brakes are being put on, by guess who, politicians!

Right around the time some idiot employee at Draft Kings won $350,000 on rival site Fan Duel using proprietary information from his companies database and it was leaked to the media, the Nevada Gaming Control Board deemed Fantasy Sports as “Gambling” and required all Fantasy Sites that operate in the state of Nevada to acquire a gaming license. Of course all the Fantasy Sites objected to no avail, claiming again they are not gambling but instead their wares and the outcomes of their product were solely based on “Skill”, and not “Chance”. Yeah Right, I have some swampland at the end of Las Vegas Boulevard I want to pawn off too!

Daily Fantasy Advocates keep falling back on the worst piece of legislation ever written outside of Obamacare, The Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act, written in 2006 and stuck inside a Port Authority bill that was passed with little fanfare although it had devastating effects on the sports gambling industry, that stated online gambling, and sportsbooks online were illegal because they were a game “Chance”, but there also some wording in the narrative that games of “Skill” would be allowed. This act also all but killed online poker, and anyone again who knows anything about Texas Hold’em Poker knows that players who win have skill, but an element of chance is needed as well. Fantasy Sports has stuck their flag in the ground based on that “skill” narrative.

First of all, Daily Fantasy Sports, just like Sports Betting, in the sense that if you are any good at it, requires “skill” to be successful, and some element of luck is also needed. DFS is nothing more than filling out a 9 team parlay card, plain and simple. And trust me when I tell you that is gambling, because anyone filling out a 9 team parlay card virtually has no chance at winning. Ask yourself this plain and simple question, do you have to put money up before a contest starts, and does somebody get paid at the end of it? Well, that is gambling, plain and simple. I have been a sports handicapper for 23 years, a sports broadcaster on national radio and radio in general for 15 years talking about the Las Vegas Line, and I can tell you to win at sports betting consistently takes more Skill”, than “Chance”. As a matter of fact in a recent study, 84% of DFS players lose money. Imagine you have a 50/50 chance at a sportsbook at winning a wager by choosing either KC or Oakland for instance on a Monday Night Football game if the line has a hook on it so it cannot push. You have a 1 in 75,000,000 chance at hitting the Powerball Jackpot, but the Feds and States love lotteries because they get paid HUGE, but that’s another article.

Let me ask you another question. If it is not gambling then why did Draft Kings apply for and get a Gaming license to operate in the United Kingdom. Why is it when you look on the meta tags on their websites for search engine optimization, sports gambling and sports betting are used? Not only that but as I looked further SEO words used on both sites stated: Fantasy Sports Baseball Betting, and etc. pertaining to all major sports. But yet it is legally critical that these sites be called a game of “skill”, and not “chance”, so they can milk the current legislation. Anyone who knows anything about the chances of winning these big million dollar tourneys every week, know that the Average Joe part time fantasy sports geek has literally no chance of winning anything.

The Stats show that 91 percent of the money won in DFS were won by 1.3% of the players, and vast majority of those winners use sophisticated algorithms, and have master’s degrees in economics’ and math and have developed databases using thousands of scenario’s to arrive at a decision based on what the database is telling them. They are playing a numbers game in order succeed, almost like day traders for lack of a better term. John Q Public does not stand a chance for the most part unless they go head to head with their buddies which you can do on Yahoo for no money and just pay out your side bets, that is right SIDE BETS!

Have no illusions, DFS is gambling and I have been gambling for almost 35 years! The good news is that most states are trying to exempt the Daily Fantasy Sites from their states gaming code as it is under fire, and many states have already deemed it gambling. But this creates opportunity for sports betting advocates as there are numerous legislators out there wanting to lump the two together and just call it all gambling and then have a debate whether to legalize it all or not.

You see DFS is too big to fail, $500 million advertising contracts with networks hang in the balance, individual teams in Pro Sports have deals and joint ventures with them, major hedge funds have investments in them, and the NFL while trying to turn their back to avoid any association with gambling, also stand to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if DFS fails, because it has blown up their TV package sales and ratings, along with all other major Pro Sports Brands. If it comes down to brass tacks, they will help defend the product which in turn opens the door for legalized sports betting and Vegas companies are ready to pounce if that happens. Imagine a sportsbook in every casino in America, and better chances to win at that than slots or blackjack!

At days end, Pro Sports Brands need BOTH daily fantasy Sports and Sports Betting to maintain their level of TV ratings and advertising dollars they to ask for based on ratings. The states need money in their fiscal budgets, and taxes and fees from both DFS and gambling will be more than welcome, just like state lotteries and Powerball and Mega millions, which all are total games of chance, which is the height of hypocrisy, but they love that money. So when the fight gets near a boiling point to save DFS, rest assured legalized sports betting will be in the mix and gain momentum as well.

Tony George is a professional handicapper and one of the Top Ranked NFL Handicappers in the country. 

 

Orlando Magic vs Indiana Pacers

by Chris Jacobson

The Orlando Magic head to Indiana to face the Pacers on Monday night. The game is set to go at 7 p.m. est at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. The Pacers are currently favored by 4. The Magic are coming off a solid win and cover over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday while the Indiana Pacers are coming a hard fought game vs Cleveland on Sunday afternoon. The Pacers dropped the game straight up vs the Cavs but did cover the seven point spread.

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has been playing great in the early part of the season. George put up 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds vs Cleveland on Sunday. George also put up 36 points vs Miami on Friday night. Monta Ellis played great as well yesterday vs the Cavs as he contributed 25 points in the loss. The Pacers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games playing on no rest plus 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games vs a team with a losing record.

Elfrid Payton led the Magic in scoring on Saturday and they will need another solid performance from him if they want to win this game. Evan Fournier put up 17 points on Saturday as well. The Magic had seven players hit double digit scoring in their last game. It's unclear if Vucevic will be playing due to a knee injury. The Magic are a perfect 7-0 ATS on the season.

I expect the Magic to cover in this game if not win it outright. The Pacers expended a lot of energy on Sunday vs the Cavs and it will be a tough turnaround. Take the points here.

 

THE VALUE OF NFL RUN DEFENSE

by Jim Feist of HandicappersStable.com

Feist Facts: Oct. 12, 2015 The Value of NFL Run Defense by Jim Feist Like a giant leak on a sinking ship, one of the first signs of a poor pro football team is weak run defense. Stopping the run is essential to building a championship team. The Top 9 teams at stopping the run last season? Lions, Broncos, Seahawks, Ravens, Jets, Steelers, 49ers, Cowboys and Patriots. All were in the playoffs except the Jets and two made the Super Bowl. The Jets were the only team in that group with a losing record. 

For the record, as we roll into October the 2015 list of top run stuffers include the broncos, Redskins, Seahawks, Jets, Cards, Titans, Panthers, Cowboys and Rams. If that holds up, perhaps we'll see a different look in the postseason with teams like the Cardinals, Jets and Rams sneaking in. Great run defense has anchored Seattle's dominance the last three years, with a pair of NFC titles and one Lombardi Trophy. 

And it's not just in 2015. Four years ago the Steelers, Bears, Jets, Chargers, Ravens were in the Top 8 - all playoff teams except one, and three met in the AFC/NFC Champion games. When the Steelers last made the Super Bowl in 2011 they were tops in run defense. Who won the Super Bowl after the 2008 campaign? Those same Steelers, a team with the No. 1 overall defense, including No. 2 against the run. 

Great defensive fronts stand out in more ways than one, setting the tone for their team's style of play while forcing many opponents to game plan differently. For instance, when the Patriots play teams with great run defenses they essentially bail on the ground game and throw all day long. It's surprising more teams don't copy that. 

Of course, forcing offenses to be one-dimensional is usually an asset for defenses, paring down what plays the opponent is likely to run each time. A defensive coordinator can focus on double-teaming a great wide receiver, for instance, forcing the offense to have even fewer options to go to. Many times that can all start with a strong run defense or pass rush. 

A decade ago the Carolina Panthers were 4th in the league at stopping the run behind its fearsome front foursome. They made it to the NFC Championship game. The team just ahead of the Panthers was the Steelers, who won the Super Bowl. In 2003 the Patriots finished No. 3 against the run with the addition of NT Ted Washington. In 2004 they let Washington walk, but added Keith Traylor and rookie Vince Wilfork to the line and finished No. 6 overall against the run. Both those teams won the Super Bowl. 

Stopping the run in some capacity is essential for success in football. Think about how many third and short situations you see over the course of a game. If a team can't stop the run, opponents can simply run the ball all day long, picking up first downs and controlling the clock. After three games in 2015, here's a list of NFL teams allowing the most yards rushing per game: 

Yds rushing allowed - SU – ATS 
26th Chargers – 124 1-2 1-2
27th: Jaguars – 127 1-2 1-2 
28th: Chiefs – 127 1-2 1-2 
29th: Saints – 133 0-3 1-2 
30th: Giants – 135 1-2 2-1 
31st: Titans – 137 1-2 2-1 
32nd: Browns – 142 1-2 1-2 

Not a lot of wins, are there? The combined mark is 6-15 straight up and 9-12 against the number. Kansas City should actually improve but the rest have serious concerns up front. For perspective, let's look back a few years ago at the same time in the season: 

Yds rushing allowed - SU – ATS 
26th NY Jets – 134 2-3 1-3-1
27th: Panthers – 135 1-4 5-0 
28th: Bears – 135 2-3 1-4 
29th: Bills – 138 4-1 3-2 
30th: Eagles – 140 1-4 1-4 
31st: Colts – 145 0-5 2-3 
32nd: Rams – 179 0-4 0-4 

Not a lot of wins there, either! The Jets and Bears were expected to be better that year, while the biggest flop was the Eagles. The combined mark was 10-24 straight up and 13-20-1 against the number.

In 2009 it was even more stark, with four teams (Redskins, Texans, Bills, Panthers) the biggest busts early in the season. The combined record of that defenseless group against the run to start the year was 13-39 straight up and 16-36 against the number.

Yes, it is still an age of passing the football, but run defense is an excellent place to start when examining NFL strengths and weaknesses each week. History has not been kind to teams that are not stout against the run in midseason or postseason. 

5 Key Tips to Remember when Betting on College Football

by Kyle Hunter of HandicappersStable.com

 

5 College Football Betting Tips 1. Look for Under the Radar Games- There is no tip more important than this one when betting on college football. The under the radar games get less attention from everyone, including the oddsmakers. Everyone knows a lot about Ohio State and Alabama, but how much do you know about teams like Texas State or Florida Atlantic? These under the radar games have softer lines, and that's where you can make your biggest profit.


2. Become a Specialist in Small Conferences- This one is similar to tip number one. Become a specialist in the small school conferences and you'll be ahead of the game. How can you do this? Follow local beat writers, the team on Twitter, and look for nuggets of information in local newspapers. It's the information age, and there is a lot of tremendous knowledge at your fingertips. Go find it!


3. Place your Bets Early in the Week- Why do books have lower limits early in the week? Because they haven't had a chance to watch the market set prices where they truly should be, and they know they do make some mistakes. Your best chance to take advantage of mistakes is usually early in the week. Get your preparation done early and place the bet before the market moves the line.


4. Stay Disciplined- This could be a tip for every sport, but I think it's especially important in college football where there are a bunch of games on a Saturday. There's no need to be a hero and bet every single television game. Pick your spots and stay disciplined with your wagers. Additionally, bankroll management is so important. Everyone has bad days in this business. You have to be able to survive those bad days and not compound your losses.


5. Consider the Weather- This isn't a sport played indoors. Remember that weather can play a huge role in these games. Not enough people check the forecast before their place their bets. Wind is the toughest condition for offenses, so be sure to look for how windy it will be at game time.

 

September Football: Upset City 

By Jim Feist of HandicappersStable.com

There's a reason they play the games. Teams don't always play the way stats and power rankings suggest they are supposed to. That's often evident early in the pro and college football seasons because some teams are very different from year to year. In Week 1 of the NFL season, the money went on the Vikings Monday night, the young up and coming team under Mike Zimmer that had been so impressive in preseason and the second half of the 2014 season. 

Those Vikings were matched up against a San Francisco team with a new coach that had had a terrible offseason, losing a string of talented players on both sides of the line to free agency or retirement. So what happened? The 49ers dominated the Vikings in a 20-3 beat-down as a home dog. 

September is a fascinating time for handicappers to follow college football partly because of surprises. A few years ago Oklahoma was anticipated by many to return to the national title game, but couldn't even get a win in Week 1, losing as a 23-point favorite to BYU, 14-13. Weren’t those the same Sooners were upset by TCU as a 24-point favorite? Yes, and that took place in September, too. 

The upset was because Oklahoma had a lack of quarterback experience as well as an underrated TCU defense. That's the thing with early season football: Injuries can mar the best laid championship plans, while team weaknesses can get exposed and taken advantage of by opposing coaches. 

Notre Dame has already lost their starting QB, while in the NFL Dez Bryant is out for a while and Baltimore star DE Terrell Suggs is already done for the year. I recall another recent season when Notre Dame lost its starting quarterback in September, losing 23-20 to South Florida as a 10-point favorite. 

It's also important not to read too much into major surprises, either, providing there are not significant injuries to key players. Sometimes a team pulls a huge upset not so much because it is so much more improved, but because the opponent is overvalued. One season Duke won at Boston College as a +7 dog, but the Eagles were terrible offensively with QB problems that stretched back two years. When you see a team that can score as a significant favorite, be careful. This was the case with another TCU team that dominated Oklahoma, then went out the next week and lost to SMU, 21-10 as a 13½ point favorite. Were the SMU Mustangs that much improved? No, as the next week SMU lost 66-8 at Texas A&M. 

Early season football also features significant shifts and changes, not only because of injuries but because of ineffective play. How long will Jameis Winston keep getting the call in Tampa? Their backup, Mike Glennon, isn’t that bad – and isn’t that old. The Eagles have new looks all over their defense, so it’s not yet clear how much improved (of at all) they are from 2014. 

Coaches select new starters based on scrimmages before the season, but there is a huge difference between practice and real-game situations. Subtle things reveal themselves in games, such as leadership, decision-making, performance and even pressure. Some players, quarterbacks in particular, have weaknesses in those areas that don't fully reveal themselves until game-day competition. As a result, that can throw off preseason prognostications of fans, media and the team's coaching staff. 

A big early upset a few years ago was USC losing at Washington in a 16-13 stunner that sent shockwaves through the Top 10. Washington had just ended a 15-game losing streak that month and had a 56-0 loss to the Trojans the previous season. The difference? It was not the same Washington team, getting several key players back from injury along with a new coach. 

Maybe this will cheer up Tennessee and Texas fans: In 2003, LSU debuted at No. 12 in the first BCS standings and rallied to win the national title. Understand that preseason expectations are not set in stone, and don't overvalue teams simply based on one impressive game. Handicappers know that big dogs often bark in September, but that doesn't mean they will continue to bark the rest of the season. 

 

 

Rocketman Sports College Football Returning Starter Angle Picks Week 2

by Rocketman Sports of HandicappersStable.com

RETURNING STARTER ANGLE WEEK 2 Many years ago I received a newsletter from Mike Lee, a sports handicapper who just recently passed away in the past few years. I’m not sure if he came up with this Returning starter angle or if he was just passing it along but it has really been a nice addition to my own personal handicapping arsenal. He had said in his newsletter that the previous year the angle had hit above 70%. I was skeptical but I started following the angle and the next two years it achieved the 70%+ mark again. In recent years the angle has not been as strong but still profitable. The Returning Starter angle is as follows: Play On: Any team returning five or more net starters against their opponent. I use Marc Lawrence’s Playbook Yearbook for returning starter information. Go down the list and compare each team’s returning starters. An example from a few years back would be Nebraska vs Kansas State. Nebraska has 17 starters returning for Head Coach Bo Pelini while Kansas State returns only 12 starters for Head Coach Bill Snyder. That’s a difference a 5 returning starters in favor of Nebraska. Nebraska won the game easily by a score of 48-13 on that Thursday night. Let’s take a look at this week’s returning starter angle and see if it can produce us another winning week. Keep in mind several other factors should go into your handicapping methods, so be sure to use this as an addition to your overall handicapping formula. We’ll put returning starters in parenthesis. Temple (19) @ Cincinnati (13) Play On: Temple LSU (14) @ Mississippi State (8) Play On: LSU Kansas State (12) @ Texas San Antonio (6) Play On: Kansas State Marshall (11) @ Ohio (17) Play On: Ohio Wake Forest (14) @ Syracuse (9) Play On: Wake Forest Appalachian State (18) @ Clemson (9) Play On: Appalachian State Oregon State (10) @ Michigan (17) Play On: Michigan Georgia (13) @ Vanderbilt (18) Play On: Vanderbilt Notre Dame (17) @ Virginia (11) Play On: Notre Dame Middle Tennessee State (16) @ Alabama (10) Play On: Middle Tennessee State Bowling Green (15) @ Maryland (10) Play On: Bowling Green North Texas (11) @ SMU (16) Play On: SMU UTEP (11) @ Texas Tech (16) Play On: Texas Tech Oklahoma (12) @ Tennessee (18) Play On: Tennessee South Alabama (5) @ Nebraska (15) Play On: Nebraska UCLA (18) @ UNLV (11) Play On: UCLA To break it down a little further I do my trend work for each game to see if we like the game even further: PLAYS: LSU, Middle Tennessee, SMU, Texas Tech BEST PLAY WITH THIS SYSTEM: LSU WEEK 1 Results: 4-5 Hope this helps you find some extra winners this week! Keep in mind the Rocketman has won 16 of 18 years overall in football in his history! Be sure to get on board this week with us! 66% in College Football last year with all premium picks and 82-53 62% overall in football (NFL and CFB combined) in 2014! 
 

Sharp Money is always the right way to follow with your sports betting strategies

by Tony Stoffo of HandicappersStable.com

 

As all my long term clients know I’m the former race and sports book manager of the old Desert Inn Casino, and I live out here in Las Vegas – So I’m constantly around all the wise guys that make a living wagering on sporting events on a year round basis. Thus I have inside information on where all the sharp money is discreetly coming in on a game. These sharps know things about a game that the public only wishes they had. As just one example the NFL comes out with an injury report every Friday – but you can take it for what it’s worth – absolutely nothing as the teams just give out the bare minimum to the league to report. However the sharps know a lot more of what’s going on inside the locker room then anyone will admit. This separates the men and the boys when it comes to becoming a constant winner when trying to beat the sports books. So wouldn’t it be great to be privy to some of these important occurrences when it becomes time to place your hard earned money on a game. 

The best way to try and follow this action is look for a reverse move on a game. By this I mean let’s say the New York Giants are at home and playing the Chicago Bears, and the odds makers have made them a 5 point favorite. I want you to look at the percentages of money coming in on this game – let’s say 80% of all the straight action is coming in on the Giants – yet the odds makers are lowering the number say to -4 / this is a sure clue that the smart money is coming in on the Bears overwhelming all the public Giants money – forcing the sport books to lower their line on the favorite in this situation to try and even up their books. 

So simply put when you see the majority of the action on one side of a game, and the odds makers are moving the line looking for more of the square money – it’s a sure sign the smart money is on the other side of the game. 

This works in all sports – however when it comes to a football game this betting strategy is the best way to be on the same side as where the insider action is coming in on. Something Joe Public will never know or be on. 

Here is an example of what a reverse money play will look like: 


Team.....................Betting Percentage....Current Line....Opening Line 

Chicago Bears.................20%.........................+5.....................+4 

New York Giants .............80%.........................-5......................-4 Continue to watch here for the rest of my reports or contact me at support@handicappersstable.com About the Author Tony Stoffo is the former Race and Sports Book Manager at the old Desert Inn Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. He has produced his living in the sports betting industry for over 30 years now. Plus he has earned the reputation as one of the best Sports handicappers in the nation. 

 

Tony Acosta's NFC East Preview

The NFL regular season is almost upon us. I would like to give you a quick look at the NFC East.

The Dallas Cowboys finished last season 13-5 SU and 10-8 ATS. The Cowboys have really improved their depth at the linebacker position for this upcoming season and with Sean Lee returning from an ACL injury they should be solid at the LB position. Dallas also used 5 of their first 6 picks on the defensive side of the ball. Dallas should be contenders especially if quarterback Tony Romo who lead the league in passer rating last year can come up with similar results. Here's a trend to keep in mind Dallas is on a 10-0 run as non conference underdogs.

It's no secret the pressure is on for the New York Giants this season. The Giants have missed the playoffs the last 3 years with their last playoff appearance coming in 2012 where they beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl. New York finished last season 6-10 SU and 7-9 ATS. The Giants have made some moves in the offseason to improve on a couple of weaknesses. The Giants' draft included picks to improve their defense and offensive line. Wide receiver Victor Cruz will return after missing 6 games due to a knee injury last season. Cruz and WR Odell Beckham give quarterback Eli Manning two lethal targets. Manning has had his share of struggles over the last two season.  The Giants will definitely improve on their record from last year and squeak into the playoffs. Here's a trend to keep in mind the Giants are 15-2 ATS vs the AFC East when listed as underdogs.

The Philadelphia Eagles finished last season 10-6 SU and 9-7 ATS missing the playoffs. Head coach Chip Kelly made some splashes this offseason with the hope of sending his Eagles into postseason play. The Eagles traded away running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Nick Foles. The Eagles replaced those two with running backs DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, and quarterback Sam Bradford. The defense should be improved this season with the additions of LB Kiko Alonso and DB Byron Maxwell. Only time will tell if these moves will payoff. Here's a trend to keep in mind the Eagles are 1-8 in their last 9 vs the NFC West.

The Washington Redskins finished last season 4-12 SU and 5-11 ATS. The heat is on for quarterback Robert Griffin III this season. The Redskins drafted to improve their offensive line to protect QB Griffin. The Redskins will be without LB Brian Orakpo this season which will definitely hurt them but Washington also made some changes to improve on the defensive side of the ball. Redskins' GM Scot McCloughan has been quoted as saying the team wants to get back to the ground and pound style of play. This team is heading in a positive direction especially if WR DeSean Jackson, RB Alfred Morris and TE Jordan Reed play up to their potential. I'm optimistically hoping for at least an 8-8 season. Here's a trend to keep in mind the Redskins are 7-1 before Thursday games.

 

Tony Acosta's NFL Season Win Totals: Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals have been a strong regular season team but have had their problems in the playoffs. The Bengals finished last regular season with a record of 10-5-1. The oddsmakers have set this year's win total at 8.5 for the Bengals. This is an interesting line because the Bengals bring back pretty much the same team from last season. The Bengals have also had at least 9 regular seasons for the past 4 years and double digit wins the last 3 years. The Bengals will have veteran quarterback Andy Dalton under center with solid weapons in A.J. Green and Jeremy Hill. The Bengals will also bring a solid defense to the field with the addition of linebacker A.J. Hawk. It's no secret there is a lot of pressure on this Bengals squad this season and if things don't go well for them early head coach Marvin Lewis could get an early exit. The Bengals play a tough schedule as well and I just don't see very many games I would consider automatic wins. The Bengals will have to really play great ball to hit double digit wins and I see the potential for them to struggle in games outside of the AFC North.  I'm taking a slightly contrarian approach to this one as looking at it on paper there is a case for the over but I'm suggesting a play on the UNDER. 

 



 
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