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Opening Line Report - Week 12

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Bookmakers are taking a huge risk any time they put out a double-digit underdog, even if that ‘dog is the Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders are 10-point road underdogs to the Denver Broncos Sunday. Laugh at Oakland’s offense, but the Raiders are 2-0 against the spread when getting 10 points losing at Buffalo and Miami by a combined three points.

Favorites laying 10 or more points are 1-14 against the spread this season.

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“You can’t make any team a double-digit favorite,” said Mike Seba, a senior linesmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants.

From a power ratings standpoint, Seba said he would rate Denver a 10 ½-point favorite at home versus Oakland. Yet his opening-line recommendation was Denver minus nine.

“You have to dial it down a notch the way double-digit ‘dogs have been covering,” he said. “We’re sending these (double-digit favorites) out knowing the pros are going to take the ‘dogs.

“But it’s to the point where the public won’t back these big favorites anymore.”

This matchup could be a case of Oakland finally finding a defense it can score against. The Raiders’ offense has managed to score 35 points in six games under new coach Tom Cable.

Maybe that will change now that Darren McFadden finally appears healthy from his lingering turf toe injury. The Broncos rank 29th in total defense.

Winless Detroit certainly rivals Oakland in being inept. Bookmakers weren’t going to make the Lions 10-point home underdogs, though, to Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers are nine-point road favorites.

The LVSC oddsmakers sent out Tampa Bay minus 7 ½ to their many Nevada hotel clients.

“It won’t get to double-digits,” Seba said. “Not with Tampa Bay.”

The Buccaneers were nine-point road chalk three weeks ago versus Kansas City and had to go into overtime to win. The Buccaneers also lost their best running back, Earnest Graham, possibly for the season because of an ankle injury suffered Sunday. Graham’s loss leaves the run-oriented Bucs without a real power back.

Despite their 0-10 record, the Lions actually are playing hard. They are motivated not to become the first team to go 0-16 in a season. They are 4-2 against the spread in their last six games with one of those non-pointspread covers coming in an eight-point loss to Washington as a seven-point underdog.

The LVSC oddsmakers had some disagreement on the New England-Miami matchup. Some, like Seba, made New England a one-point favorite. The linemakers ended up putting out the Dolphins as two-point favorites. The Las Vegas Hilton was showing Miami minus 2 ½ on Monday morning.

The Dolphins caught the Patriots by surprise in Week 3 unleashing their Wildcat formation in a 38-13 victory. Bill Belichick probably isn’t going to have his team unprepared again, especially with extra time to prepare.

Belichick, however, historically has had problems with the Dolphins. He’s just 9-8 against them. The Dolphins have won seven of their last 10 home contests against New England.

Still, the Patriots have yet to lose back-to-back games this season.

“There’s no way it will get to three,” Seba said about the Patriots-Dolphins line. “Miami only beat Seattle and Oakland (during the past two weeks) by two at home.”

The New York Giants were inching their way up to becoming 3 ½-point road chalk against Arizona after sportsbooks opened the defending world champions minus three with higher juice.

“I might lay three, but not 3 ½,” Seba said about the Giants taking on the Cardinals. “I don’t want to go against the Cardinals at home.”

The Cardinals stand a shot at winning their first division title since 1975 during this month. Arizona has won 10 of its last 12 home games, including seven in a row under Ken Whisenhunt.

The Giants, though, are the best road team in football covering 13 of their last 14 as a visitor.

  
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