NFL: 'Boys II Men? Books hope so

Oct 26, 2008 5:53 PM
by Mark Mayer |

It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Dallas Cowboys were hailed as the NFL’s best team and often double-digit favorites in Las Vegas. Not now. Tony Romo has a bad pinky, the Cowboys were shellacked by of all people St. Louis and Phillips (pictured on the right) will reportedly be calling the defensive plays today against Tampa Bay.

And, the ‘Boys have at least for this week fallen out of favor with the majority of bettors who knocked the line down from Dallas -4 to -2½. "The Cowboys have not looked good the last two weeks and the public is on it," said Jay Rood, race and sports book director of operations for MGM-MIRAGE properties. "In fact, we’re pulling for Dallas, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Three weeks ago we were rooting against Indy. Now we’re for them."

Such is the NFL, where elite can turn to mush and vice versa in one week. No one figured the Tennessee Titans would be 6-0 and going for a perfect 7 as a 4-point favorite Monday night against those Indianapolis Colts. As for Pittsburgh, it’s a home date with the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants. The line hasn’t budged all week with the Steelers a 2½-point favorite.

The now famous double-digit favorite debacle gets another test this week as the New York Jets are a 14-point chalk against Kansas City. The Chiefs are down to third string QB Tyler Thigpen and again has suspended RB Larry Johnson, yet double-digit dogs are a stunning 11-1 against the spread. The only DD favorite to cover was the Giants and it took a late safety against San Francisco to do it.

Five of the 13 games on the slate have favorites spotting at least 7. Just missing double-digit status is Philadelphia, which went from -7½ to 9 for its home game with Atlanta. Baltimore, Jacksonville, New England and Washington are the other teams favored by at least 7. The closest matchup on the slate is at Miami, where the Dolphins are a pick’em against Buffalo. The Bills had been as much as a 2½-point favorite earlier in the week.

Underdogs have gone 8-6 ATS each of the last two weeks, but favorites still hold a 52-47 edge for the season.