Updated on 12/22/2010 3:13PM

Cold weather has been no help for 'under' bettors


The first day of winter was officially Tuesday, Dec. 21, but a lot of the country has been experiencing inclement weather for longer than that. We have seen our share of snow games and others played in cold and windy conditions.

This is usually the time of year when we see low-scoring football games and bettors loading up on the unders when it comes to betting NFL totals. The under has been a losing proposition all year at less than 44 percent as overs were 114-89-5 entering last week, but those who were betting that the unders would come through as the weather turned frightful were disappointed again as overs went 10-5-1 last week (and the push was the Lions’ 23-20 win over the Bucs that closed at 43 but had opened at 41 1/2, so early over bettors cashed there as well).

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The Cowboys and Patriots have been the best over teams this year at 12-2, with the Cowboys going over in their last 11 games and the Patriots in eight straight. This week, the Cowboys were set to play the Cardinals on Christmas Night with a total of 45; the Patriots play at Buffalo on Sunday with a total of 44 1/2.

The Falcons and Lions top the NFL ATS Standings at 10-4 against the spread after they covered last week while the Jaguars and Rams lost and fell to 9-5 each. The Bills and Patriots are next at 8-5-1 going into their clash on Sunday. The worst teams against the spread are the Panthers, Cardinals, and Broncos at 4-10 (the Panthers had been in sole possession of last place before beating the Cardinals last week).

Bowl season heating up

After no bowl game on Dec. 25, we now start a run of 10 straight days with at least one bowl. For some reason, there’s no game on Jan. 5, otherwise that’s the only day between Dec. 18 and Jan. 10 without at least a college or pro football game being played. It’s a great time of year for bettors, and for the bet-takers.

In early bowl action, the favorite won and covered the first four games (BYU, Northern Illinois, Troy, and Louisville), but as discussed in this space last week about regression to the mean in regards to trends in the NFL, except that to even out during the course of the bowl season.

Elimination bowl deadline

It’s last call (something you don’t hear often in Vegas) for the “Last Man Standing Elimination College Football Bowl Contest” hosted by Station Casinos for the games starting Tuesday, Dec. 28, and running through the BCS title game on Jan. 10. The cost is $25 per entry and if you buy four entries you get a fifth free (so $100 for five entries). Players then make one pick against the spread each day. The person lasting the longest will win the entire pool, which is guaranteed at $15,000 but expected to be more.

Back to the betting board

I went 1-1 last week as I won with the Lions not only covering vs. the Buccaneers but winning outright, 23-20, in overtime but lost with the Jaguars +5 vs. the Colts as they lost 34-24 (don’t get me started on the odds of a team covering the spread and giving up an onside kick return for a TD). I will stick with one game on Sunday and one on Monday.

Titans +5 vs. Chiefs

Before the season, the M Resort here in Vegas put up lines on the first 16 weeks of the NFL season and this game had the Titans as a 2 1/2-point road favorite. Obviously the Chiefs have been one of the pleasant surprises of the season while the Titans have disappointed, especially since the acquisition of Randy Moss, so that’s why we’re seeing a change of more than a TD in the point spread. However, last week the Titans showed in their rout of the Texans that they haven’t packed it in on the season and they’re willing to try and play spoiler. The Chiefs are an enigmatic team that has routed the Jaguars, Cardinals, and Seahawks, but they also have been blown out by the Broncos and the Chargers. The Titans, led by Chris Johnson trying to make up ground for his second straight NFL rushing title, should be able to move the ball on the Chiefs while the defense, which locked down leading rusher Arian Foster last week (holding him to 15 yards on 11 carries) should be similarly motivated to contain the Chiefs’ league-leading running game.

PLAY: Titans for 1 unit.

Saints +2 1/2 vs. Falcons

This is a great Monday night match-up that would only be better if the Falcons hadn’t wrapped up the NFC South, but it still means a lot to both teams as the Falcons are trying to wrap up home field (where they are 19-1 straight-up in quarterback Matt Ryan’s career) and the Saints are trying to make the playoffs as a wild card to defend their Super Bowl title. The Falcons are obviously flying high with their NFL-best 12-2 straight-up record and 10-4 against the spread, but the Saints are also rounding into form as they have won six of their last seven games with the only slip-up being last week on the road at Baltimore, and there’s no shame in that. Even with the division not on the line, this should have a playoff atmosphere and I will side with the more experienced team.

PLAY: Saints for 1 unit.

Last week: 1-1 for a loss of 0.1 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). NFL season record: 24-18 for a net profit of 4.2 units.