12/15/2011 1:44PM

Colts having more success against the spread than on the field


LAS VEGAS – What NFL team is overachieving the most this season?

Well, most people would answer the San Francisco 49ers as they have pretty much come from nowhere to win 10 games and have already clinched the NFC West under first-year head coach Jim Harbaugh with basically the same players that weren’t able to win under Mike Singletary. Their over/under season total in Vegas sports books was set at 7.5 wins, and they blew past that by mid-November. They also have the best record against the spread at 10-2-1, despite losing to the Cardinals last Sunday.

But an argument can be made that the Indianapolis Colts are actually overachieving more as they haven’t won a single game on the scoreboard, yet they’re 4-9 against the spread after getting the backdoor cover on the final play of the game last Sunday at Baltimore, losing 24-10 as 16-point underdogs.

No other NFL team has covered four more times than they’ve won straight up. The closest would be the Vikings, who are 5-6-2 ATS, despite being only 2-11 straight up; the Panthers are 7-5-1 ATS while 4-9 SU; and the Dolphins are 7-6 ATS while 4-9 SU.

The most underachieving team by this measure is a bit of a surprise: the Green Bay Packers, who are 13-0 but only 9-4 ATS. The Patriots haven’t been as profitable as many assume as they’re 10-3 but only 7-6 ATS, including a non-cover against the Redskins last Sunday. The Cowboys are 7-6 and still battling the Giants for the NFC East title, but they’ve let down their backers to the tune of 4-8-1 ATS and have failed to cover their last four games, tied for the worst current ATS losing streak along with the lowly Rams (who are a league-worst 2-11 ATS).

The hottest teams in the league are the Texans (second in the ViewFromVegas NFL ATS Standings behind the 49ers at 9-3-1) and the Saints with five straight covers. The Broncos are obviously also in that debate of the hottest teams, but they had their five-game cover streak snapped last week in their 13-10 overtime win over the Bears. The ViewFromVegas Consensus Closing Line that I use to grade all these records had the Broncos closing as a 3-point favorite for the push, though many early bettors lost with them at –3.5.

In totals wagering, the best bet has still been the Dolphins as they’re 11-2 with the under, though the Titans have gone under in seven straight games and are now 9-4 with the under, tied with the Falcons and Chiefs for second best. The best over team is the Bengals at 9-3-1, while the Jets (who have exceeded the total in their last five games), Packers, and Giants are all 9-4 with the over.

Back to the NFL betting board

I went 2-1 with my NFL plays last week as I lost with the Raiders vs. the Packers but won with the Texans rallying to beat the Bengals 20-19 as 3-point underdogs and held on with the Bears +3.5 in their 13-10 overtime loss to the Broncos.

Redskins +6.5 vs. Giants

The Giants got a big win over the Cowboys on Sunday night, but they had problems covering the Dallas receivers. The Giants rank 15th in the NFC in defense and allow 263.7 passing yards per game. Rex Grossman took advantage of the Patriots’ porous pass defense last week and they covered the spread. He should do the same in this divisional matchup. The Redskins won the first meeting in the season opener.

PLAY: Redskins for 1 unit.

Vikings +6.5 vs. Saints

The Titans were a popular wise-guy play last week against the Saints, and I’m glad I passed as the Saints barely held on for the cover. However, their performance again showed how they struggle on the road as they’re 3-4 ATS away from the Louisiana Superdome, where they are 6-0 ATS. And before you point out that last week was on grass and this is in a dome, remember that the Saints lost at St. Louis.

PLAY: Vikings for 1 unit.

Raiders-Lions over/under 48

I like the Raiders, a 1-point underdog as of this writing, to rebound and win this game, but I think the under is the stronger play. Both teams are fighting for their playoff lives, with the Raiders now trailing the Broncos by a game in the AFC West (and hoping the Patriots help them out by winning in Denver later Sunday) and the Lions holding the last wild-card spot in the NFC with little room for error. I love going under in these types of games as they take on a playoff intensity, and we should be a hard-fought battle that comes down to the wire (as the near pick-em spread suggests).

PLAY: Raiders-Lions Under 48 points for 1 unit.

Steelers +3 vs. 49ers

This line was off the board at most Vegas books during the week, with the questionable status of Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Both teams are vying for first-round playoff byes, so we’ll get a top effort from each. Even if Roethlisberger isn’t able to go, the Steelers have barely missed a beat when he’s been sidelined in the past (3-1 at the start of last season when Big Ben was suspended). Besides, this play is just as much about how the 49ers struggled in their Thanksgiving night 16-6 loss to the Ravens as the Steelers are a mirror image of that team.

PLAY: Steelers for 1 unit.

Last week: 2-1 for a profit of 0.9 units (based on risking 1.1 units to win 1). NFL season record: 16-22-1 for a net loss of 7.2 units.