The dogs were on a Sunday feeding frenzy as 10 spread covering puppies chewed up on the chalk players’ already depleted bankroll. Teasers, which seemed to be the salvation for the players both last season and for the first seven weeks of this year, were again taken down hard as the Jaguars, Lions, Falcons, and Patriots were shocked as prohibitive favorites, and in their own ‘houses’ no less.
All four had solid public backing. Both the Texans and Browns got their third victory courtesy of their wins over Jacksonville and Atlanta, and in the case of Houston, two of those wins have been against those same Jaguars, who at 5-4, are now vying for only a wild card as their division hopes were dashed with yet another Indianapolis victory, 17-16, putting the Colts at 9-0 and once again conjuring up talk of an undefeated season.
In that Indianapolis win, Ryan Lindell went wide right with a 44-yard field goal with just over six minutes to play which left the Bills a point short in the 17-16 final. Buffalo could manage only162 yards of offense against that very suspect Colt D, which continues to dodge bullets. Other ‘dogs that snuck in under the number were the Titans one-point heartbreaker to the Ravens, 27-26, the Rams two-point defeat at the hands of the Seahawks, 24-22, and the Raiders coming up short in their 17-13 loss to the Broncos.
In that Tennessee game, early money was all over the Titans at plus-9, with the line finally settling at seven courtesy of an early wave of sharp action. The spread was never in doubt as the Titans opened up a 26-7 lead, only to see the Ravens fight back with 20 unanswered, though Baltimore still needed a last second block of a Rob Bironas 33-yard field goal to preserve the victory.
While public support of the Broncos was heavy leaving the house yet another win, the Rams vs. Seahawks contest featured solid two-way action in a game played in a steady Seattle rain. Josh Browns 38-yard field goal as time expired provided the margin of victory, giving the Seahawks their second two-point (24-22) victory of the division rival Rams this season.
The 5 ½-point dog Packers advanced to 4-5 with a win over the Vikings who succumbed for their third straight game. Once again public support was split as Minnesota fell into a tie with the Packers in the NFC North.
In the money mover of the week, the Dolphins, fresh off their upset of the Bears, held off the Chiefs for a 13-10 win as two-point favorites. The line shifted four points as the Chiefs opened as a two-point chalk, but the number moved quickly and decisively as the sharps pounded the Fish, as public action on KC, which remained steady, was overwhelmed.
Favorites that covered were scarce as only the Eagles, Cowboys, and Steelers left their backers with a live ticket, though the Saints gave Pittsburgh all they could handle in amassing 517 yards of total offense in a 38-31 loss as a six-point dog. In that contest, the line opened 6, dropped to 4, and came back to 6 by Saturday, no doubt a result of the announcement that WR Joe Horn would once again sit it out due to injury.
Philadelphia and Dallas both coasted to easy wins over Washington and Arizona as each team moved to 5-4, and within a game of the New York Giants, who were soundly defeated in the night game 38-20 by the Chicago Bears. In that game, the Bears overcame a 13-3 deficit in overtaking the Giants, who opened a one-point choice, moved up to 2 ½ , and then back down to 1 by kickoff. The total also saw wild swings with the number opening at 37 on Sunday night, moving to as high as 39 ½ midweek, before the rainy Meadowlands forecast triggered a wave of under action which drove the line back to 37.
In the most entertaining contest of the day, the Chargers twice overcame 21-point deficits and went on to defeat a struggling Bengals’ team, 49-41. Chad Johnson pulled in 11 balls for 260 yards and two TDs, but in the end, a 42-point second half scoring barrage by the Chargers was more than the Bengals could bear. Once again, bookmakers saw solid two-way action on the side and the 48 point total.
Another lopsided decision for the house as the season heads towards the home stretch.
Until next week.