Updated on 09/15/2011 1:26PM

NFL dudes and duds at mid-season


LAS VEGAS - The NFL season has passed the halfway point: 23 teams have completed eight of the 16 games on their schedules and eight teams have played nine games. It's a good time then to see which teams are exceeding expectations and which are not.

A fair measure is to look back at the season win totals offered at the Imperial Palace back in May. Season win totals is a popular proposition bet for professionals and tourists alike.

The oddsmakers had the Bears' expected wins at 7, but the team is 6-2 at the halfway point and in need of only two additional victories the rest of the way to go over. Other virtual locks to go over are the Steelers, 49ers, Chargers, Patriots, Bengals, and Browns.

Also are highly likely go over, unless the wheels fall off, are: the Rams, Raiders, Eagles, Packers, Jets, Dolphins, and Falcons.

The Lions and Titans are on the other end of the spectrum. At 0-8, the Lions would have to win out, take eight games in a row, to exceed their total of 7.5 wins posted in May. Surprisingly, the over on the Lions was bet up to -160 in the early wagering, because many people incorrectly thought they would be a Cinderella team.

With the Titans at 3-5, those who bet the under know they can't lose. The Titans would have to win their last eight games merely to get over bettors a push on the posted total of 11. Many bettors will be cashing in on the Titans, as the under on this prop was bet to -180. It was the biggest line move in the early wagering.

Other teams grossly underachieving are the Bills, Redskins, and Panthers. Even though the Broncos have a winning record at 5-4, they need to finish 6-1 to go over the target 10.5. The Buccaneers, Vikings, Seahawks, Jaguars, Chiefs, Cowboys, and Cardinals also look like they will stay under their totals.

The Ravens, Colts, Giants, and Saints will be close and may push. The Ravens have to go 6-1 to go over their posted total of 11, but 5-2 seems more reasonable. The same goes for the Colts, who are 5-4 and need a healthy Peyton Manning to go 5-2 and finish with a total of 10 wins.

Trends evening out at mid-season

The Ravens' wild 16-10 win over the Titans Monday night means that favorites went 10-4-1 against the spread in Week 9. But all that did was even the season ledger between favorite wins and underdog wins at 61-61-6.

Home teams hold a 66-56-6 edge against the spread at the halfway point.

The under was 9-6 in Week 9, and now has a narrow 65-61-2 edge on the over for the season.

The AFC has won 17 of 28 games against the NFC so far this season, but the edge is only 14-13-1 against the spread. Interconference games this weekend are the Colts-Saints, the Redskins-Broncos, and the Rams-Patriots.

The team with the best against the spread record is the Dolphins, at 6-2. The Steelers and Eagles are 5-2-1 and the Patriots 6-3. The Titans are the worst, at 1-6-1, followed closely by the Bills and Vikings at 2-6, and the Chiefs at 2-6-1.

Season-long contest updates

Author Mike Orkin went 3-4 in picks to defeat Stanford Wong (2-4-1) and advance in the Stardust Invitational. The original field of 16 is now down to eight. The quarterfinals begin Friday at 9 p.m. in the sports book (and broadcast live on KDWN AM-720) with the matchup of Tim Trushel against Patrick Forsythe. Other quarterfinalists include defending champion Dave Cokin, oddsmaker Pete Korner, Coast Resorts bookmaker Bert Osborne, sports gaming writer Stephen Nover, and Reno-based handicapper Bob Donahue.

* Donahue is running away with the Sunset Station All-Star Handicappers Invitational. He was 6-0 last weekend in a contest in which the field of handicappers gets two points for a win, three for a best-bet win, and one for a push. His 13 points give him 79 for the season. Rob Veno is a distant second with 69 points. Tom Stryker was 6-0 to move into third with 67 points. The four leaders through the first 15 weeks will compete for a $7,500 first-place prize.

* The Bud Man extended his lead in the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest, partly because many of those on the leader board had losing records this week. The Bud Man was 4-1 and now has a season record of 31-11-3 for 32.5 points (pushes count for half a point). James Pronovich is second with 30.5 points after a 4-1 week.

* My bankroll selections were 1-2 in college football last Saturday, winning with Florida but losing with Miami-Fla. and Nebraska. The net loss of 12 units drops the college bankroll, which started the season at 1,000 units and entered the week at 993, down to 981.

The news was better in the NFL, where I was 4-1, including a best-bet 22-unit wager on the Jaguars. Other winners were the Dolphins, Patriots, and Seahawks. The Vikings were the sole losers. The NFL bankroll, which also started the season at 1,000 units and had fallen to 951, is now back up to 990 units with the 39-unit profit on the week.