Updated on 09/16/2011 9:19AM

Those 21-point dog Texans? Don't bite!


LAS VEGAS - Often in college football mismatches between ranked teams and overmatched opponents you will see pointspreads in the 20's, 30's, even the 40's, but it's a rare thing in the NFL.

When the Stardust, relying on its network of oddmakers that includes Las Vegas Sports Consultants, opened the Eagles as a 21-point favorite over the expansion Texans for Sunday's game in Philadelphia, it was the highest NFL pointspread since the 49ers were 23 1/2-point favorites over the Bengals back in 1993. According to LVSC's Cesar Robaina, only three other spreads have been 19 or higher in the past 10 years: the 49ers were 20 1/2-point favorites over the Buccaneers in 1992, the Packers were 19-point favorites over the Eagles in 1998, and the Rams were 19-point favorites over the expansion Browns in 1999.

How did the previous big favorites do? They were 1-3 against the spread.

The Rams battered the Browns 34-3 in 1999, but the 49ers beat the Bucs by only 21-14 in 1992, the 49ers beat the Bengals by only 21-8 in 1993, and the Packers squeaked by the Eagles by only 24-16 in 1998.

Does that mean you should take the Texans and the boatload of points? Robaina says he can't recommend that.

"The Texans have a decent defense, but their offense is so bad - they have a lot of three-and-outs - that they can't keep their defense off the field," he said. "The defense just wears down. I think that will lead to this team getting worse rather than better as the season goes on."

If that happens, the pointspread might be even higher when they travel to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh (assuming the Steelers turn their season around) on Dec. 1 and 8, respectively.

More NFL betting trends

Underdogs went 7-6-1 against the spread in week 3 and are still a very profitable 29-16 (64.4 percent) with one push. The push was the 49ers' 20-10 win over the Redskins Sunday. The line closed at 10 in Las Vegas and is graded a push for our purposes though the vast majority of bettors had the 49ers between -7 and -9 1/2 and won their bets.

Road teams went 8-5-1 and are 25-20-1 on the season.

The over is still 24-22 on the season, but the under was a little bit better for the second straight week with an 8-6 mark. The over is basically ahead due to a 12-4 record in week 1.

The AFC is 9-5 against the spread against the NFC so far this season. AFC teams playing interconference games this week include the Bills, Texans (hey, they did beat the NFC's Cowboys), Bengals, and Seahawks.

Home dogs are 10-6 against the spread (and have won seven of those games straight up to be a very profitable money-line angle). Home dogs this week are the Chiefs, Lions, Cardinals, Bengals, Chargers, and Ravens.

Tracking the team trends

LSU is 9-1 both straight up and against the spread in its last 10 games vs. Mississippi State. LSU has to lay 12 1/2 points in Saturday's game, which might not be too tough considering LSU won 42-0 at Starkville last year.

Iowa State has lost nine straight games to Nebraska, but is favored over the Huskers for the first time in ages. The Cyclones, who have been bet up from pick-em to -1, have covered eight of their last 10 times as home favorites.

Florida has covered seven of its last eight meetings with Kentucky, winning by an average of 37 points. The Gators are laying 19 points on Saturday to a much-improved Wildcat team.

In the NFL, the Chiefs used to have a great home-field advantage but are only 2-10-2 in their last 14 games at home. They're getting 3 points from the Dolphins Sunday.

The Jets are 23-9 as road dogs over the last five years and are getting 3 1/2 points from the Jaguars on Sunday.

Browns' games have gone over the total in their last 11 road games. They're at Pittsburgh this week and the total is 42 and rising.

The Titans have covered the last four times they've played the Raiders and are 21-10 in their last 31 games as a road dog. The Raiders are favored by 6 1/2.

NFL bankroll bounces back

I'm back in black with my NFL bankroll as I went 3-2 on sides and 5-3 on eight unders last Sunday. Entering the week, I was 9-11 with a net loss of 2.1 units (based on laying 1.1 units to win 1). I split my 2-unit best-bet plays on the Lions (who covered the 8-point spread in a 37-31 loss to the Packers) and Cowboys (who were blown out 44-13 as 8 1/2-point dogs to the Eagles).

Other pointspread winners were the Bills and the Seahawks, while I lost on the Texans. For the season, my NFL picks are now 17-16, including a 2-1 record on best bets, for a net profit of 0.3 units. It's not much, but it is a profit.

The college bankroll is still down as I went 2-2 last Saturday, including splitting my best bets: NC State, which beat Texas Tech 51-48 in OT as a 3-point underdog, and Southern Cal, which lost 27-20 as a 4-point dog to Kansas State. I also won with Houston and lost with Tennessee. For the season, I'm at 5-10 for a net loss of 7.3 units.

Florida State at Louisville (+15)

Louisville is off to a disappointed 2-2 start, losing 22-17 to Kentucky - a team that is better than most people expected - and 36-33 to Colorado State. This is Louisville's last chance to get some national respect against a ranked team. Florida State's offense has shined - and they'll get their points here - but the defense hasn't lived up to expectations. Louisville Q.B. Dave Ragone should have some success against a defensive line that hasn't put much pressure on opposing quarterbacks, and a young, developing secondary. Duke scored 14 points against FSU, so Louisville should be able to put up at least 20, and that should keep them within two T.D.s and maybe just maybe have a shot to pull the upset.

PLAY: Louisville for 1 unit.