Saturday Betting Notes
August 18, 2012
By Antony Dinero
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Editor's Note: Antony Dinero started the preseason with a sizzling 16-6 (+934) record. Grab his guaranteed winner for the Chiefs/Rams showdown right here. Click to win!
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N.Y. GIANTS at N.Y. JETS
After hearing about him all summer, the reigning champion Giants are certainly interested in making a statement against Tim Tebow. Consider it the unfortunate curse of being the most popular backup quarterback in NFL history, but the already important preseason encounter between the teams that share MetLife Stadium takes on added significance, polarizing the city due to the likelihood that the Jets chances hinge on this month's GQ cover boy. According to the New York Daily News, Tebow went 2-for-10, got picked off and took four sacks in Thursday's final scrimmage of training camp.
Santonio Holmes won't play for the Jets, nursing a rib injury. That means starter Mark Sanchez and backups Tebow, Greg McElroy and Matt Simms will be working short-handed as far as options, since rookie Jordan White and newcomer Chaz Schilens are definitely out. Another top rookie, Stephen Hill, hurt his right ring finger earlier in the week, while Jeremy Kerley has just recently returned to practice after a hamstring issue. So, yes, there's a fairly good chance Antonio Cromartie's two-way experiment sees the light of the day against the Giants.
The Giants are without Hakeem Nicks (foot), who returned to practice this week but isn't ready for game action. There's a lot of competition behind Nicks and Victor Cruz, so Eli Manning and David Carr will have the luxury of playing with eager targets Jerrel Jernigan, Rueben Randle, Domenik Hixon and Isaiah Stanback, trying to carve out roles and separate themselves.
Despite the advantage at the receiver spot, the Giants have similar attrition on the defensive front. DT Marvin Austin's back issues aren't going away, which makes it likely that he'll be out the entire preseason. DT Chris Canty is already out until at least Week 1 with his knee issue and DT Shaun Rogers has been lost for 2012. Suddenly, a position of strength is no longer deep, as new signees are just getting up to speed. That's a big factor for NYG to start the season, but obviously even more critical against the ground-oriented attack the Jets employ.
Both Rex Ryan and Tom Coughlin have been over-friendly in their preseason careers. Coughlin racked up another in last week's shootout in Jacksonville to get to 42 overs in 66 games, while Ryan's Jets were held down by Cincinnati, making him 8-4-1 in the totals game.
KANSAS CITY at ST. LOUIS
Following last season's injury-riddled and highly irregular preseason that ultimately cost Todd Haley his job, the Chiefs have remained healthy and were among the most impressive teams in Week 1. Matt Cassel shined in his first outing under new coordinator Brian Daboll. This showdown in St. Louis is expected to be a big opportunity for Ricky Stanzi to win the backup QB job over Brady Quinn.
Kansas City's top receiver, Dwayne Bowe, finally signed a contract and reported to camp, though he's not expected to play here.
St. Louis was a 38-3 loser in Indianapolis and put together the most listless peformance of the preseason. Jeff Fisher is counting on a more aggressive approach and plans on seeing more from starter Sam Bradford and the first-string offense, hoping to take advantage of Kansas City's top corner, Brandon Flowers.
Last year's annual in-state rivalry preseason game went the Rams way, 14-10, at Arrowhead.
WASHINGTON at CHICAGO
The Bears will see QB Jay Cutler, RB Matt Forte and DE Julius Peppers start after sitting out last week against Denver. Look for them all to get at least a quarter, while a porous offensive line that badly needs reps is expected to play the entire first half.
Any time Rex Grossman faces the Bears, it's news. He's accepted backing up Robert Griffin III but will have a little something extra for his former team, especially with the Chicago crowd likely to be as ruthless as they were when he wore their uniform. RG3 was impressive in his debut and will play into the second quarter against a defense missing Brian Urlacher, among others.
Last year's top two rushers, Tim Hightower and Roy Helu, remain out for Washington. As a result, likely opening day starter Evan Royster will see early action before giving way to Alfred Morris, a rookie out of Florida Atlantic who has made a strong impression on the coaching staff. He'll get some time with the starters. No active coach has won more preseason games than Mike Shanahan, who racked up his 48th victory in 77 outings last week. He's also an impressive 43-32-2 against the number.
SAN FRANCISCO at HOUSTON
Arian Foster fumbled in his only carry last week, so even though all eyes will continue to be on Matt Schaub as he returns from last year's season-ending injury, look for Houston's All-Pro running back to get an increased workload. Andre Johnson will also be out there, as head coach Gary Kubiak is interested in seeing his best players perform into the second quarter.
Jim Harbaugh is still playing with new toys, but Frank Gore will finally get a few carries after sitting out last week. Kendall Hunter and Brandon Jacobs will still likely get the bulk of the action. Mario Manningham will also be unveiled for the first time, as he Randy Moss and a new-look receiving corps will work with Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick and Josh Johnson, slated to play ahead of Scott Tolzien.
Harbaugh is 3-2 SU and ATS in his brief preseason career, while Gary Kubiak has really done a nice job with the Texans (14-11 SU, 14-9 ATS).
SEATTLE at DENVER
Peyton Manning barely got touched in last week's opener in Chicago, so the plan is for him to continue keeping his uniform clean as he debuts in front of friendly faces at Mile High. It remains to be seen how cautious the Broncos plan on being with him, but it's worth pointing out that he'll be playing behind an offensive line missing right guard Chris Kuper, who fractured his forearm in practice this week.
The story from Seattle's standpoint is Terrell Owens making his debut with the team. It sounds like he'll be catching passes from starter Matt Flynn and exciting rookie Russell Wilson, who was electric in helping net last week's win and cover. Speedster Doug Baldwin will also be back after a bout with a hamstring injury, so the Seahawks will get a better look at what their offense can do. That said, top receiving threat Sidney Rice (shoulder) will again be held out. While it looks like Flynn is a virtual lock to start the season under center, Wilson can make things interesting if he shines again.
Denver's defense won't be at full strength due to cornerback Tracy Porter (abdominal) and safety Quinton Carter (knee) missing from the secondary. Linebackers Danny Trevathan (ankle) and Keith Brooking (hamstring) also missed time, so the depth that is typically a strength won't be in play.
The Seahawks will be debuting their futuristic-looking new road uniforms, a metallic blue with lime green trim that could do long-term damage to your retina if you stare directly at it.
DALLAS at SAN DIEGO
After an ominous debut where the Tony Romo-led first-string offense failed to score in Oakland and lost Jason Witten to a lacerated spleen, the Cowboys hope for a lot more scoring in San Diego. That's the only reason Romo is being exposed for at least a quarter, since Jason Garrett has already said he'd like to see him for a longer turn than he took against the Raiders on Monday night. Kyle Orton will follow, also looking for sharper play. It won't help either that Miles Austin remains out.
Despite an array of offensive line issues and Ryan Mathews having broken his collarbone in the preseason opener, Philip Rivers is slated to get in a substantial workload. Following up will likely be Charlie Whitehurst in his first action of the preseason, while rookie Jarrett Lee is set to mop up. Ronnie Brown is starting at running back.
Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware has been declared out with a hamstring tweak, so two first-team linebackers will be missing with Anthony Spencer (hamstring) still out. First-round pick Morris Claiborne will start. Dallas is hoping he'll be its shutdown corner, so it will be interesting to see if any of the guys vying to be San Diego's No. 1 receiver can get off on the rookie.
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