Posted 10/10/2011 at 06:58 PM
After a dismal week for home favorites and favorites in general in college football two weeks ago the results flipped last week. Favorites went 32-19 last week including going 23-9 as double-digit favorites. Home favorites were 9-30-1 two weeks ago, last week they went 22-8 and favorites of 20 or more incredibly went 11-2. Joe Public likely had a big weekend in college football as betting on the top ten in the AP poll would have led to a 9-0 result (Wisconsin was off) even with some massive spreads. Look for some adjustments and some inflated spreads this week in college football as underdogs still have a slight edge in the overall numbers for the season at 179-181-4 even after a huge chalk week. The BCS standings are out after this week so there may be some thought to putting up big numbers to impress the computers but ultimately the big head-to-head showdowns will sort everything out. There are 13 undefeated teams through the near halfway point, ten of those teams play on the road this week so don’t be surprised it that number is trimmed by at least one this week.
In the NFL the incredible run on ‘overs’ has been remarkable. Playing the ‘over’ went 9-3 last Sunday and for the year the ‘over’ is 46/27/1 for over 63%. Value is certainly on the ‘under’ right now as adjustments have been made by books, including seven games with totals of 45 or higher last week but it has not mattered so far. Double-digit favorites have been deadly this season going 2-6 ATS, there will be at least two big favorites this week.
Green Bay moved to 5-0 but the Packers have allowed 111 points in five games for an average of over 22 points per game. Last season the Packers allowed just 15 points per game. Aaron Rodgers is deservedly getting MVP praise for his brilliant start and last week was one of the few times in his career where he delivered a comeback second half win as he really has not had a ton of great fourth quarter moments despite the great statistics and winning results he has had. Rodgers only has led three fourth quarter comebacks and only has delivered five game winning drives in three plus years as a starter. It is more of a compliment to how well Green Bay has played and the leads they have had than a knock on Rodgers but it is surprising. For comparisons sake Josh Freeman has led eight fourth quarter comebacks and nine game winning drives even with one less season under his belt. Before getting too carried away with the ‘best QB ever’ arguments consider that Green Bay has faced pass defenses that rank 30th, 27th, 22nd, 16th, and 15th in the league through five weeks but the MVP is certainly his to lose at this point in the season and the schedule will allow for more big games.
The Lions are yet to play this week and could take over the lead, but the San Francisco 49ers own the best point differential in the NFL this season. Last week’s blowout created almost the entire margin but what a turnaround it has been after this team started so poorly last season. Jim Harbaugh has already proven he was worth the big money luring him away from Stanford and while the NFC West is certainly a weak division, the 49ers are 4-1 having played only one division game. Other surprises when considering point differential: Minnesota is +5 despite being 1-4, Philadelphia is just -7 despite being 1-4, and Carolina is just -16 despite being 1-4. Teams that may be a bit phony on the other side of the ledger: Pittsburgh is just +13 at 3-2, Oakland is just +3 at 3-2, and San Diego is just +11 at 4-1.
While we were in the minority that was bullish on Cincinnati this season the Bengals have even exceeded our expectations at 3-2. With the Colts this week at home and a game at Seattle following the bye week this is a team that could very realistically get to 5-2 in a season where some projected a run at 0-16 after a ton of negative press this summer. Two games each with the Ravens and Steelers will be waiting in the second half so this is not a team that is likely to make a legitimate playoff run but for once the front office can get some credit for standing its ground in the Carson Palmer situation and making some very promising recent draft picks, adding some serious talent to the offense and currently featuring the best per game defense in the league in terms of yards allowed through five weeks of the season. Best of Luck, on to this week’s slate…