LAS VEGAS – It’s easy to fade the Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks without quarterback Matt Hasselbeck this week.
Just be careful. Double-digit favorites are 2-13 against the spread in the NFL this season, according to VegasInsider.com's closing line figures.
San Diego already is a whooping two-touchdown home favorite against the Chiefs, while the Raiders and Seahawks could close 10-point underdogs before their Sunday kickoffs.
The spot isn’t good for Kansas City, off consecutive narrow losses against the New York Jets and Tampa Bay in overtime. The Chargers, on the other hand, were idle last week.
The oddsmakers at Las Vegas Sports Consultants recommended an opening line of San Diego minus 13 ½. The Chargers currently are minus 14. That’s too high of a number says LVSC linesmaker Mike Seba.
“You just can’t lay 14 no matter what team you are playing,” Seba said. “Fourteen is like a barrier. You don’t want to go past that barrier.”
Miami is minus 9 ½ hosting Seattle. The Seahawks not only could be without Hasselbeck again, but also key defensive players Patrick Kerney and Lofa Tatupu. Both missed Sunday’s home loss to Philadelphia with injuries.
The Seahawks are making their third cross-country trip of the season. They’ve lost at Buffalo, the New York Giants and Tampa Bay by a combined score of 98-26.
“There’s no way any one is going to bet Seattle,” Seba said. “I could see that game closing 10.”
People aren’t exactly standing in line waiting to beat Oakland either. Al Davis’ knack for turning potential talent into mush was on full display Sunday when Atlanta held Oakland to 77 yards in a 24-0 whitewash.
The Raiders are nine-point home underdogs to Carolina. LVSC opened the Panthers low at minus 7 ½.
“I don’t have a problem with sending out a road team at 7 ½ instead of nine,” Seba said. “Look at what happened to Jacksonville and Tampa Bay both laying more than a touchdown on the road Sunday.
“The problem with a good team laying big points on the road is they know how weak their opponent is and they’re not as focused as they should be.”
So the house would rather have an inflated home ‘dog working for them, especially knowing if the line gets too high professional bettors are going to get involved taking the points.
The problem with going ugly, though, is getting behind awful quarterbacks such as Seattle’s Seneca Wallace and Oakland’s JaMarcus Russell. Neither quarterback has a distinguished cast of wide receivers to make their jobs easier and the Raiders have a bad offensive line, too.
There’s a chance Week 10 could feature five double-digit favorites. The New York Jets currently are minus nine hosting St. Louis and Arizona is minus 9 ½ hosting San Francisco on Monday night.
It’s weird to see the Cardinals favored by such a large margin. But Kurt Warner is putting together an MVP-type season, Arizona’s defense is making big plays and rookie running back Tim Hightower provided a ground spark last week, which the team wasn’t getting from veteran Edgerrin James.
Is it enough for the Cardinals to roll past what looks to be an overmatched 49ers squad?
“This is another case of be careful with a double-digit favorite,” Seba said. “The 49ers are off a bye, have a new coach (Mike Singletary) and new quarterback (Shaun Hill). That should make them more competitive.”
If ever the 49ers want to show something, this is their chance making their lone national television appearance.