Mid-term recap of NFL

October 23, 2001 9:38 AM
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Bettors should consider pro sports “an athletics stock market.” With such regular movement, there’s no place like Las Vegas Sports Consultants for quarterly reports.

“We usually adjust the Super Bowl odds on Mondays,” said Mike Seba, an oddsmaker at LVSC.

The early NCAA men’s basketball championship odds were also released this past week with Duke favored at 3-1, followed by Maryland and Kentucky at 5-1 apiece. Two-time defending national champ Michigan State was 25-1 and North Carolina opened at 30-1 in a pair of very enticing futures bets.

But that’s a little down the road. Let’s focus on the NFL.

“Right now St. Louis, Green Bay and Baltimore are the best teams,” Seba said. “The Rams are 5-0 and a great turf team. Having the Super Bowl in the Louisiana Superdome favors them. The Packers have passed Baltimore with (Brett) Favre healthy. I think the win against the Ravens legitimized them as a Super Bowl threat.”

Seba believes Miami will take the competitive AFC East with the division’s best defense, with the New York Jets a possible Wild Card. “Indianapolis has problems,” he said. “I don’t think they make it.”

Seba, a proud University of Arkansas alum, gave GamingToday some inside access to the LVSC “think tank” that produced good, bad and indifferent report cards for the first quarter of the NFL year.

GOOD

Green Bay: “A healthy Favre, mass improvement on defense. The Ravens game legitimized the Packers as a Super Bowl team. RB Green has been a great pickup from Seattle. WR Freeman now getting a lot of looks with Schroeder getting double covered.

New Orleans: “Believe in this team. Saints have the NFL’s best offensive and defensive lines. They win games by controlling the line of scrimmage. The emergence of QB Brooks and RB Williams coming into his own has created a monster. San Francisco: “The most improved team in the league along with Chicago. The 49ers can score and the defense has improved ten-fold. QB Garcia is mobile, accurate, smart and not injury prone. He’s the complete package.

NY Giants: “Their defense keeps them in games. Not flashy, but can stay with any team with the good running game. Fassil one of the better coaches. I see them right back in playoffs. It helps to play six games against Arizona, Dallas and Washington.

BAD

Washington: “Big problems. Schottenheimer is trying to instill some philosophies that are outdated. Players don’t seem to be playing very hard. Salary cap problems. The wrong mix of players. Bad chemistry. Take your pick.

Dallas: Just a cut above Washington.

Buffalo: Worst in the AFC.

RISING

San Diego: Solid with Flutie, RB Tomlinson has helped. The Chargers are still trying to learn how to win, but they will get their share. A team on the rise.

Chicago: Legitimate Wild Card team. LB Erlacher is a leader. Can get consistent play from offense. I think QB Miller is the right choice. Players, coaches like him. As long as they keep the mistakes down, they are in.

Cleveland: Emergence of QB Couch. Solid defensive players built from the draft. Not a new franchise any more. May not be a playoff contender, but not getting pushed around either.

Pittsburgh: Have more offense. Similar team to Chicago. The Steelers will go as far as The Bus (Jerome Bettis) and Kordell (Stewart) will take them.

Seattle: Building momentum. Hasselback will play if healthy. RB Alexander is doing great job in place of injured Watters.

FALLING

Minnesota: When you lose to Carolina there’s problems. Lost Griffin, their best defensive back. No running back replacement for Smith puts more pressure on passing game. Opponents double-team Moss. Springer dieing. Very tough schedule.

Denver: A team on a downslide. Lost WR McCafferty, RB Davis to injuries. QB Griese is banged up.

Tennessee: Came into the season with QB McNair and RB George banged up. Defensive secondary depleted. Lost confidence. I think they are a running team taken out of their game plan by.injuries.

Team  

Open  

Now

St. Louis  

5-1  

5-2

Green Bay  

20-1  

 4-1

Oakland  

 10-1  

6-1

Baltimore  

12-1  

8-1

NY Giants  

15-1  

8-1

Denver  

10-1  

10-1

New Orleans  

20-1  

10-1

San Francisco  

40-1  

15-1

Philadelphia  

20-1  

15-1

Tampa Bay  

15-1  

15-1

Indianapolis  

12-1  

15-1

Miami  

20-1  

15-1

Pittsburgh  

 40-1  

20-1

NY Jets  

25-1  

25-1

San Diego  

120-1  

30-1

Tennessee  

 7-1  

30-1

Jacksonville  

18-1  

30-1

Chicago  

100-1  

35-1

Minnesota  

12-1  

40-1

Seattle  

50-1  

60-1

Atlanta  

50-1  

75-1

Kansas City  

25-1  

100-1

Cincinnati  

 150-1  

100-1

Cleveland  

200-1  

100-1

New England  

40-1  

120-1

Buffalo  

25-1  

200-1

Carolina  

40-1  

200-1

Detroit