Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NFL Betting: An Early AFC Update

Before the season began, an argument could have been made for any one of three AFC divisions to be the top of the class. Sorry West, you weren’t invited to the party.

After three weeks, not a lot has been settled in the debate for divisional supremacy. The East and South divisions each contain three teams with identical 2-1 straight-up (SU) records while Baltimore and Cincinnati balance the North.

Miami impressed with back-to-back road wins to start the season but couldn’t handle the New York Jets Sunday night. New England has looked very good on offense for two and-a-half of its three games but a defensive breakdown cost bettors against the Bills and in the only half where the Pats offense was shutout, the Jets made them pay dearly.

Going back to the end of last season, New York’s record is now 6-2 SU/ATS in its past eight games and 9-3 SU/ATS in its past 12. No one seems willing to crown King Sanchez just yet, but a 75-percent record for bettors is at least worth a tip of the cap.

The Bengals have an edge over the Ravens, not just for beating them straight-up in Week 2 but also for dominating the Panthers Sunday with an offense that didn’t even shift out of second gear.

Baltimore does lead the AFC in fewest points allowed (41) but Tennessee is right behind, giving up just 42. And Houston is the only one of 10 teams in the conference with a winning record that has allowed more points (78) than they have scored (77).

But then there is Pittsburgh...

NO OFFENSE, NO PROBLEM

If you can find anyone that says they projected the Steelers (3-0 SU/ATS) to win three-straight games to start the season, shake their hand, say “Congratulations” and then never buy any real estate or insurance from that person.

QB Charlie Batch guided the Steelers to a an absolute drubbing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday, making plays and proving he is a capable backup. A Steelers team that was lost in `09 when defensive standout Troy Polamalu went down has positioned themselves as legitimate Super Bowl contenders. With one game left to play before Ben Roethlisberger returns, bettors need to have a strong system or trend in effect before fading Mike Tomlin’s crew.

The Baltimore Ravens are in Pittsburgh for Week 4 and the early line at sportsbook is Steelers (-1.5). The Over/Under is 34. Early betting action at Sportsbetting.com has 55% of the action on the visiting Ravens and 58% of the volume on the “Under”.

HOT STREAKS

We mentioned how well the Jets have performed if you include last season’s results, but Pittsburgh slips under the radar since they missed the playoffs in January.

- Pittsburgh is 6-0 straight-up in its last six games and for sports bettors, they have a record of 4-1-1 against the spread in that stretch.

- The Steelers are outscoring opponents 44-12 in the first-half through the first three weeks of the season

Not bad for a team built on defense!

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Have a great week.

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