‘Total’ collapse

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Weather played its first major role of the NFL season during Week 14 as totals dropped dramatically on a few games.

In Minnesota, the weather was so bad the Metrodome broke under the force of the compiling weight of snow on its roof. Since the Giants-Vikings game was moved to Detroit and the date changed to Monday, all original bets were refunded.

While the elements were causing havoc in Minnesota, over in Chicago, Tom Brady was having his best game of the year and it came during a snow storm. Why is it that Brady seems to be so good, or lucky, in the snow? Remember seeing him wipe up the Titans last year, the tuck-rule game with Oakland years back and Sunday putting up 369 passing yards in impossible throwing conditions.

All pretty amazing.

The Patriots opened a small -2½-point favorite and closed at -3 (EV), but the big adjustment was on the total, which opened 42½ and closed 37. Ironically, the total landed 43, but it took an amazing day for a quarterback on an incredible streak right now for it to go OVER.

In Brady’s last five games, he has put up some crazy statistical numbers en route to the Patriots putting up more than 30 points in each. You hate to say there’s any correlation between letting Randy Moss go and what they are doing now, but the shoe does seem to fit.

The public loved the Patriots in this game, but there was some sharp money supporting the Bears to help balance out some of the sports books’ losses, which paired with the Falcons, were pretty large.

However, before we start to sympathize with the books, just know that it was a pretty tough week for both the public and sharps, which is good news for the house. All reports indicate that the sports books cumulatively had a decent day despite many of the favorites coming through — like the Chargers, Steelers and Saints.

The combination of the Lions upsetting the Packers and the Dolphins handing the anemic offense of the Jets a loss was a huge lift for the sports books. The Seahawks got some surprising support at San Francisco in a game the 49ers won 40-21, making them both look like the teams we thought they were coming into the season.

The Broncos-Cardinals game may have been hard to find at your local sports pub, but all the sports books had the luxury of seeing this epic battle where the Broncos had six turnovers losing 43-13.

However, the public had seen what the interim coaches had done the last two times a coach had been whacked and felt the Broncos would win easily based on ticket counts. Come on, the Cardinals were using a fourth-string quarterback named Skelton, why wouldn’t you bet the Broncos?

Usually when the favorites come in at an 8-4 clip from the first two waves of games, it’s bad news for the house and party time for the players, but that wasn’t the case last week. Parity is playing its own game in the bettors’ mind, still, as we roll into Week 15 next week.

The sports books even got a bigger gift with the late game when the Eagles, another popular public team, didn’t cover against the Cowboys as 4-point favorites. Had the Eagles covered, it would have been the difference for many sports books winning and losing on the day.

Odd sight: One of the strangest oddities on the day, beyond seeing Brady throw so well in the snow again, was seeing the Patriots game from Chicago with swirling winds and snow making the television screen white, sit side by side with another game held in San Diego where the weather was a 90 degrees and super sunny to the point where you had to adjust your tint.

No John Brodie: K.C.’s Brodie Croyle had to step in for Matt Cassel in the pivotal AFC matchup at San Diego and failed miserably, but it should come as no surprise. Croyle hasn’t won as a starting QB since his college days at Alabama. Croyle is now 0-10 in the NFL as a starter. Because of the move, the Chargers went from 7-point favorites to 10 by kickoff. Incidentally, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon each started their NFL careers 0-11.

Week’s best: It’s fair to say because of the constant lead changes, where the spread was also involved, that the Raiders game at Jacksonville had the most ohh’s and aaahh’s. The Jaguars were laying 4 and for a while it looked like the points wouldn’t matter as the Raiders handled them nicely. But the Jags stormed back late with 17 unanswered points to take a 31-24 lead.

Not long after, the Raiders countered with a long run to tie the score with just under two minutes to go.

Those having Jaguars hoped for the gift TD late, which rarely happens because teams usually set-up for the winning field goal. The Jaguars were doing exactly that, when the defense broke down and Maurice Jones-Drew broke loose for a 30-yard score.

Week’s gift: Bettors felt pretty good early on with their Redskins ticket getting 2½ points at home against the Buccaneers, but soon the lead and cover were gone as Tampa Bay was up 17-10 deficit. With time almost gone, Santana Moss scored, but the Redskins failed to convert the extra point, ending the game at 17-16.


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