2009 NFL Week Six Selection Analysis

After a strong finish to the just completed NBA 2010 playoffs, Dan Gordon Sport Picks is already hard at work for the NFL and NBA betting/handicapping year of 2010-11. Very soon, clients will have the chance to sign up with us for NFL football and NBA basketball selections.

"Normal" season, weekly and monthly prices for both the NFL and NBA sports handicapping selections will be the same as last season. There will be discounts for full-season NFL/NBA clients who sign up BEFORE 9/1/10 and even BIGGER DISCOUNTS for full season NFL/NBA clients who sign up BEFORE 8/1/10. While I don't make 'official' NFL football pre-season selections, this year I WILL BE offering opinions on the 2010 NFL pre-season football games. Those clients who sign up during or before these pre-season games will receive these opinions AT NO ADDITIONAL COST AND THUS AT A DISCOUNTED RATED FOR THE WHOLE YEAR!! In addition, during the NFL pre-season, I will be making posts about once a week on my 'take' on the coming NFL season. In these posts I will be sharing various NFL football handicapping insights for the coming year.

Hope to be serving you very soon.

Below is an example of the 'work' I do.

The below posts were originally made on 10/15/9 (Kansas City Chiefs over Washington Redskins analysis) on the NFL Discussion board and on 10/18/9 on the NFL Pick board.

The key to all of these selections was being able to spot games in which AN UNDERDOG had BOTH emotional edges AND spread value working for them. Such games (especially in competitive situations, which existed with the Chief-Redskin and Texan-Bengal games) represent the best bets one can make in sports. In such games, one has working in his favor:

1) A team that KNOWS they can compete against their opponent. Such a team knows that they can come back even if they fall behind early since they are, at worst, close to even in talent with their opponent.

2) A team that will be fighting hard until the end of the game. Taking such a team AS AN UNDERDOG can possibly provide an unexpected 'bonus' to the bettor since it can 'win the money' EVEN IF THE GAME ENDS UP BEING AN OUTRIGHT LOSS!! Though all three of these selections ended up being outright underdog winners, we also had the additional 'cushion' of some 'extra points' to fall back on. Though we did not need this 'cushion' in these selections, it was nice form of 'security' to have!!

3) In every game like this being bet, one is getting 'extra points.' In itself, getting 'extra points' due to the public misconception and overrating of the favorite, is critical in overcoming the house 'vig' one is laying (whether 'the standard' -1.10 or whatever). NEVER LET ANYONE TELL YOU DIFFERENT ON THIS!! (Many bettors say how games with 'juicy' spreads are 'traps' being set by the linesmaker for 'donkey bettors.' All I'll say about those bettors is that they ALL have one characteristic in common: all of them 'pay the freight' for the few bettors who DO win betting sports. In my 32 years in the betting/sports handicapping field this 'tell' has been 100% accurate about bettors worrying about 'traps.'

With Dan Gordon Sport Picks you are using someone, who after digesting all of the important betting and handicapping factors of a game, is able to come up with an ACCURATE TRUE price on games. This is then compared by me to the NFL or NBA betting lines being made available. When enough spread or price value exists--especially on underdogs with a decent emotional edge in the game--I step in and bet and tell my NFL/NBA clients to do the same. My method of handicapping, betting and, over the long run, winning betting sports, including the NFL and the NBA, is really about as simple as that!!

Selection Analysis
Kansas City Chiefs +6 ½ or more over Washington Redskins: Small Play.
Though the Chiefs are winless this season and have covered just one point spread all season (last week against the Dallas Cowboys), they are not really your "typical and horrible" winless team.

Thus far this season the Chiefs have already played four games (of their five) against teams that are in at least serious playoff contention. Of those four games, the Chiefs lost two of them rather badly: to the Philadelphia Eagles by 19 and the New York Giants by 11. (The Giant score was misleading since the Chiefs got two very late "garbage-time" TDs.) The Eagles were coming off of a very embarrassing 26 point loss to the New Olreans Saints. Under Reid, the Eagles have played quite well after blowout losses. In addition, the Chiefs had played a three point war against their arch rivals, the Raiders, the week before. Thus the Chiefs 34-14 loss in that game was not very unexpected. The Giants may well be the best team in the NFL so a Chief bad loss in that game was not unexpected at all.

In their other two tough games, the Chiefs had a long touchdown drive (with back-up quarterback Croyle) to tie the Baltimore Ravens with about five minutes to play before losing late, 38-24. Last week, the Chiefs took the Dallas Cowboys to overtime (evened the game with a late touchdown drive) before falling. The Ravens and the Cowboys are each far better than the Redskins, the Chief opponent this week.

Being very eager to get a win, the Chiefs will be up for this one against a club that has shown that they struggle against teams even worse than the Chiefs (Redskins eked out two and three point wins over the Rams and Bucs).

Meanwhile the Redskins are already looking at another lost season. The Redskins are wondering more when their coach Jim (AKA Aging Wolf Face) Zorn will be fired and when and if their quarterback Jason Campbell will be benched than about the Chiefs. Next week, the Redskins have a home Monday night game against the Eagles: a bitter divisional rival. Since 2006, the Redskins are 0-3 covering before the Eagles when the opponent is a non-divisional one. With their offense struggling and their offensive line hard hit by injuries (Randy Thomas out for the year and Chris Samuels now out for several weeks), the Redskins seem a most dangerous team to be laying almost a touchdown with. And as written above, they have already failed to cover big home spreads against the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Bucs. I don’t see why that will change this week.

Matt Cassel has shown signs of starting to jell with the Chief offense. This jelling should continue this week.

Houston Texans plus 5 or more over Cincinnati Bengals: Normal Play.
Take +6 right away if and when you see it. Could well pop up in spots this morning.

Thus far this season, the Bengals have been one of the major plus surprises of the year while the Texans have somewhat underachieved. Many point out that the Bengals are just one fluke play (the very late tipped 87 yard touchdown pass that the Denver Broncos hit them with in Week One) from being undefeated. However, on the other hand, it could also be said that the Bengals are just 2:31 and ten yards away from being winless. They scored the winning touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens with 14 and 22 seconds left, and got a tying touchdown (had the potential winning extra point blocked) against the Cleveland Browns with 1:55 left before later winning in overtime. Against the Green Bay Packers, the Bengals were just ten yards away from losing a ten-point lead in the last two minutes.

Obviously, the Bengals play close games. Another way in which this betting and handicapping reality itself is that the underdog is a perfect 5-0 to the number in 2009 Bengal games. This includes two games where the Bengals failed to cover as favorites.

Two weeks ago, after a supreme effort against the Steelers, the Bengals came out flat against the Browns and actually had a 38 minute stretch in that game where they got NO first downs against the Browns: one of the worst defensive teams in the league.

With another "franchise" game last week in the late win over the Ravens (which ended a 3-0 stretch of divisional games) last week, the Cincinnati
Bengals could well come out flat again this week.

With the price being –5 and –5 ½ for the Bengals, coming off this stretch and the fact that they play games decided in the final seconds would seem to indicate that they are a poor value in this game. With my calculations making my power rating –3 ½ on the Bengals, this handicapping and betting "feel" has been confirmed.

While the Houston Texans have been one of the disappointments of 2009, they have shown much character in their games. In Week Two, they overcame a two touchdown deficit to win at the Tennessee Titans against a team wanting revenge (lost last game to Texans last season) and also coming off of a loss. Last week against a very fired up Arizona Cardinal team, the Texans battled back to overcome a late third quarter 0-21 deficit before falling, 21-28. Since he assumed this job in 2006, I have always had much respect for Texan head coach, Gary Kubiak. His players respect him greatly and play hard for him.

Thus far this season, the Texans have won and covered after both outright losses. With their character and the Bengals playing all close games, this looks like a game that will be decided in the final seconds.
The game is also far more important to the Texans in the standings. With the Indianapolis Colts almost having the AFC South salted away (up three games on the Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars), the only way that the Texans can seem to get a playoff berth is via the Wild Card route. They will need to overcome a lot of competition for that, but are definitely still in contention for this. The Bengals not only are a game up in the AFC North but are 3-0 in the division (having beaten everyone in it once with two of the three rematch games being played at home) which puts them in very powerful position in potential divisional tiebreakers.

The Texan run defense has gotten better the last two weeks and I feel that Bengal Cedric Benson is vastly overrated as a running back. He was cut by the Chicago Bears and despite leading the league in rushing he is averaging under five yards a carry and under 100 yards a game rushing. He will finish far back in the pack when the final rushing tallies are in. At quarterback, Carson Palmer is showing much inconsistency. Matt Schwab should find a number of holes to exploit in the Bengals secondary.

Again, take +6 right away if you see it and make sure you don’t settle for less than +5.

Oakland Raiders +14 or more over Eagles: Small Play

Here I go again picking yet another "non-competitive game." Yeah, I know I lost such a game last week with the St. Louis Rams against the Minnesota Vikings. Wrote about it a couple of days later on the Discussion page. Also do remember losing twice with the Cleveland Browns in the first two weeks when I didn’t realize how horrible they were.

However when a game is four points higher (I made the Eagles –10 in this game) than my odds-making line and I have a 6 ½ point edge (my power rating is Eagles –7 ½) and feel that good reasons abound for the selection, I’ll take my chances and put my money up.

In a way this game is a trip about 35 years back in time in terms of NFL handicapping and betting. In those times, when a team played badly for a few games, the odds-makers piled on the points that bettors would have to lay to bet against them. In more recent times, this seldom happens since there seem to be tons of "wise-guys," "esteemed market-forces" and "sharp bettors" who jump right in the second they feel a line is at all too high. And, in fact, many of those bettors did just that in betting the Raiders the last two weeks in losses at the Houston Texans
(getting as many as ten points) and at the New York Giants (getting as high as 16 ½ points). Having lost their shirts the first of those weeks and their pants the next, these bettors seem most gun-shy about betting the Raiders again.

However, I feel that the Raiders have far more value than they had in those two games and the psychological factors favor them much more in this game than in those two. What also seems to be totally forgotten about by the above "wise-guys," "esteemed market-forces," and "sharp bettors" (many of whom never read anything and have a memory span of about 15 minutes) is that the Raiders showed that they can be competitive—at least at home—against a team as good as the Eagles in their Week One loss to a healthy San Diego Charger club. The Raiders covered the +10 easily in that game and in fact it took a Charger touchdown in the final seconds to prevent an outright win by them. But, heck that was five weeks ago, probably when many of the above bettors feel that dinosaurs ruled this planet!

In their last three games the psychological components were largely against the Raiders. Against the Denver Broncos, the Raiders were playing a team that they beat by three touchdowns in their last meeting. Since the Broncos have an almost psychotic hatred of the Raiders and with the series being very revenge oriented, the Broncos had the psychology edge and won, 23-3. In their next game at Houston, the Raiders again were facing a team they beat late last year in the Texans. In that Raider win, the Texans were seven-point road favorites and their loss in that game prevented their first ever over .500 season. So the Texans had reason to play hard in their recent 29-6 win over the Oakland Raiders. In addition, the Raiders had just finished playing three straight divisional games. Last week, the edges against the Raiders were less, but still existed. To name two significant ones: A) The Raiders were playing their second early (10:00AM Pacific time) game in a row—a situation they struggle badly in. B) The Giant quarterback Eli Manning was playing hurt. His injury made it less likely that the Giants would take it easy in this game. In fact, they went out of their way to protect him and put away the game before half-time so Manning could rest up for this week’s showdown in New Orleans.

The entire media is now knocking the Raiders. One media member who considers the Eagles over the Raiders as his "lock of the week" this week says that the Raiders will LOSE ALL THE REST OF THEIR GAMES THIS SEASON (11 GAMES TO GO INCLUDING THIS ONE) BY MORE THAN THE 14 POINT SPREAD THAT EXISTS IN THIS ONE!!

Anyway now being at home, the Raiders have a chance to rest and recoup. As I have written, they showed in Week One against the San Diego Chargers that they can compete here. And with the exception of the New York Giant game, the Raider defense has played very respectfully. Before last week’s disaster in New Jersey, the Raiders had given up nine touchdowns in four games—not a bad total at all when you consider that their offense had just four touchdowns in those games and had few moments and lots of three and outs on the field.

What makes me like this game even more is that the Eagles have absolutely no reason to try to blow the Raiders off the field (which they probably will need to do to cover a –14 spread). They come off of a home game where they toyed with the Tampa Bay Bucs. Next, the Eagles have three straight NFC East games starting with the Washington Redskins, who defeated them twice in bitter games last season. Their mindset would seem to be to make this 6,000 mile round-trip jaunt with as little effort as possible—just eke out a win in this game and go back home to prepare for the much more important games.

In fact, it has been since 2002 that the Eagles have won a road game by over 14 points against a non-divisional foe when they (the Eagles) had won their previous game and their opponent had lost theirs.
My 50 point NFL handicapping and betting model (last week’s Eagle win—19 points—and Raiders loss—37 points for a total of 56) comes into play in this game. Plus the Raiders are a fresh due up.

But most important, the price is way out of line and the power rating and emotions strongly favor the Raiders. Thus I am stepping in here—even if for just a small play.

In this game take +14 ½ if you ever see it. This seems very possible about an hour before game-time. +14 should always be around and if need be you can settle for that price.

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