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Beating the Book: 2007 Beating the Book-Week 1

Chris Liss

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

Beating the Book

By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor



Betting Tips

Week 1 is always an odd one to bet because we haven't seen the teams play in so long. The best thing to do is junk most of your assumptions you picked up from last year, and don't by any means take the preseason too seriously. As usual, we like to pick against the grain on the premise that the herd is usually wrong, but there will be times where we make the obvious or "sucker" choice because we have a particular hunch. In fact, the logic usually comes from the lean rather than the lean from the logic. We get a feel, then we explain it. Or sometimes we see ourselves going down a false path, and we move in the other, more righteous direction. Picking the games against the spread isn't just something you do to get a cheap thrill or win a couple extra bucks - it's the act of aligning yourself with the forces of nature and becoming one with God. You might think I'm joking, but only partly, maybe 75 percent. I'm 25 percent dead serious.

Enjoy the games.

THURSDAY NIGHT


Saints +6 at Colts

Two of the league's offensive powerhouses square off here, and it should be a close game. It'll be interesting to see how the Saints attack the Colts deep Cover 2, though Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister could both have big games as runners and receivers out of the backfield. The Colts will get theirs, too, but we don't see them pulling away from a New Orleans offense that can control the clock or explode for the big play. Back the Saints with the points - we have a hunch they might even win outright.


Saints 31 - 30


EARLY GAMES

Falcons +3 at Vikings

Michael Vick was overrated, and we were saying that before he was excused from the league. As such, we think the public will likely overreact to the downgrade to Joey Harrington, who might actually be a better passer than Vick. And he's almost certainly a better one than Tarvaris Jackson at this stage of their careers. Take the Falcons and the points.


Vikings 17 - 16


Panthers +1 at Rams

It's been nine months since the Panthers proved to everyone that they were a medicore team, so why are they getting just one point as a road team? As far as we can tell these are even teams until they prove otherwise, and this line should be three. Back the Rams.


Rams 24 - 20


Broncos -3 at Bills

The Broncos are probably the better team, but to expect them to lay three points on the road in Jay Cutler's first game of the season is unrealistic. We're high on Cutler, but he hasn't played in a real game in nine months, and it will probably take the inexperienced QB a few games to find his rhythm. Back the Bills who cover and likely win outright.


Bills 19 - 16


Chiefs +3 at Houston

Initially Damon wanted the Chiefs, but I pointed out that Houston seems genuinely improved on offense with Matt Schaub and Ahman Green around, and Damon came around. That gave me second thoughts because Houston's a trendy team this preseason, and when I looked it up sure enough, 64 percent of the bettors took the Texans. The Chiefs had a bad preseason - basically, they went with their mediocre veteran QB Damon Huard only because Brodie Croyle proved beyond any doubt that he wasn't ready to take the job. But there's something contrarian about going ugly with the Chiefs - their defense isn't bad, and if Larry Johnson can log 20 carries and Huard takes care of the ball, they should keep this close. Back the Chiefs with the points.


Chiefs 23 - 17


Dolphins +3 at Redskins

The Dolphins are an odd team with a new coach, a new quarterback and a starting running who until two days ago was slated to be the team's primary kick returner. The Redskins aren't great, but they have more continuity, they're at home and in Week 1, that's good enough for us. Back Washington.


Redskins 19 - 13


Patriots -6.5 at Jets

This one is almost too good to be true, so it makes us a little nervous. As good as the Patriots are, asking them to lay six and a half on the road against their biggest division rival who not only beat them once last year but made the playoffs is borderline insane. Moreover, their best defensive player, Richard Seymour, is out, and so is Rodney Harrison, one of their key defensive backs. Back the Jets who keep this one very close.


Patriots 21 - 20


Eagles -3 at Packers

We think the Eagles are always going to be a good team so long as Donovan McNabb is healthy, Andy Reid's system is in place and Jim Johnson is in charge of the defense. But it's tough to win on the road in the NFL, and even worse when you have to win by three to get the push. Back the Packers whose defense improved last season.


Eagles 19 - 17


Steelers -4.5 at Browns

This one is interesting because the Browns are almost universally regarded as a doormat - if you need proof, consider that 95 percent of the public backed the Steelers, who despite going 8-8 last year and losing their long time coach, are laying more than a field goal on the road. We don't see how the Browns can play with Pittsburgh, either, but we don't need to. The public has spoken, and they're usually wrong - especially when they embrace a road favorite. Back the Browns.


Steelers 17 - 13


Titans +6.5 at Jaguars


Both teams were 8-8 last year, but the Jaguars outscored their opponents by 97 points, while the Titans were outscored by 76. In other words, Tennessee had more than a few bounces go its way, while Jacksonville was actually unlucky. Still, after a nine-month layoff, and considering the six-and-a-half point spread, we'll make the sucker play and go for the Titans. Back Tennessee.


Jaguars 20 - 16


LATE GAMES


Bears +6 at Chargers

We're just going to be naive here and pick the Chargers because they were, in our opinion, the best team in the league last year, and their passing game should only get better. The Bears get a big lift from the return of Tommie Harris, but we see them have a tough time in San Diego. Back the Chargers who pull away late.


Chargers 27 - 13


Lions +2 at Raiders

The Lions are a fun team to think about - with their super-athletic receivers and pedal-to-the-medal offensive coordinator. But the Raiders have a very nasty and underrated defense, and we expect them to force Jon Kitna into some misakes. This line should be the full three, and it isn't, so back the Raiders.


Raiders 23 - 19


Buccaneers +6 at Seahawks

The Seahawks were better last year, for sure, but the Bucs' poor showing isn't too probative nine months later, especially because they upgraded from Bruce Gradkowski, a completely untested rookie, to Jeff Garcia - a savvy vet. Seattle should win this game at home, but six points is a lot to part with in Week 1. Back Tampa.


Seahawks 21 - 17


SUNDAY NIGHT


Giants +6 at Cowboys

Last year, these two teams were roughly equal, though New York faded more down the stretch after too many of its key players got hurt. Now that the team is healthier, we don't see a huge disparity in quality here, trendy though the Cowboys might be right now. Back the Giants who keep it close.


Cowboys 20 - 19


MONDAY NIGHT


Ravens +2.5 at Bengals

This seems simple enough - two roughly equal division rivals having a fair fight in September on Cincinnati's home turf. The line should be three, right? But it's only 2.5. Back the Bengals who win by a field goal.


Bengals 24 - 21


Cardinals +3 at 49ers

This is probably the right line for two mediocre division rivals playing against each other in Week 1. We'll give the slight edge to the 49ers because of the team's continuity from last season to this one (Same system, same coach). Back San Francisco


49ers 27 - 24

We went 139-108-9 against the spread last season. From 1999-2006, we were 1057-898 - not including ties - (54.1 percent).

Article first appeared 9/5/07