Think you have a pretty good idea on how your favorite NFL team will do this upcoming season? More importantly, does your "pretty good idea" differ drastically from the super-early predictions the experts have forecasted for your squad? If so, the gambling gods have given
themselves you another way to empty your pockets make a small fortune!
Thanks to Cantor Gaming, which operates six sports books in the Las Vegas area, you now have the opportunity to wager on individual games for the first sixteen weeks of the upcoming NFL season four months before the season begins!
That's right! Point spreads for every NFL game in Weeks 1 through 16 (basically for the first 15 games of every NFL team's season) are out, and if you fancy yourself someone who "knows things" then this is the investment opportunity for you.
(Week 17 is not included mainly because two-thirds of the league are either resting guys for the playoffs or starting a bunch of third-string scrubs because they've shut down their stars for the season.)
Since most of my readership is Houston-based, I'll keep the crux of this post focused on the Texans lines (with a few bonus games at the end), but you can find all of the 2012 Week 1 thru 16 lines over on beyondthebets.com.
Now, before you start betting crazy on what you think are soft lines, hear me out with this brief gambling public service announcement. I'll start by showing you all of the posted lines for Week 1 of the upcoming season:
2012 WEEK 1 Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants -3 Indianapolis Colts at Chicago Bears -9.5 Philadelphia Eagles -7 at Cleveland Browns New England Patriots -6.5 at Tennessee Titans Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs pick 'em Jacksonville Jaguars at Minnesota Vikings -4 Washington Redskins at New Orleans Saints -9.5 Buffalo Bills at New York Jets -5 St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions -9.5 Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans -6.5 San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers -6.5 Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals -2 Carolina Panthers -3 at Tampa Bay Buccanneers Pittsburgh Steelers at Denver Broncos -2 Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens -6.5 San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders pick 'em
Looking at those lines, I don't see anything too crazy (although it seems a little strange that the line on the Texans hosting the Dolphins is the exact same as the line on the Packers hosting the Niners). These are all lines where if I had to guess before seeing them, I'd probably guess within a point or two either way (if I were a superhero, guessing lines would be my special power).
So how wildly inaccurate will these lines wind up being? Well, let's look at Week 1 lines for 2011:
2011 WEEK 1 New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers -4.5 Atlanta Falcons -1 at Chicago Bears Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans -9 Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs -3.5 Tennessee Titans -1 at Jacksonville Jaguars Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns -6.5 Philadelphia Eagles -3.5 at St. Louis Rams Pittsburgh Steelers -1 at Baltimore Ravens Detroit Lions at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1 Minnesota Vikings at San Diego Chargers -9 New York Giants -1 at Washington Redskins Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals -6.5 Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers -6 Dallas Cowboys at New York Jets -6.5 New England Patriots -7 at Miami Dolphins Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos -3
The games in bold are all games where (a) the final margin was significantly off from where the spread was and (b) the teams that lost (three of whom were outright favorites in Week 1) wound up, for the most part, playing at a level the rest of the season significantly below expectations at the start of the season (even the Falcons, who made the playoffs, but played well below where people expected them to, accentuated by the Giants' trouncing of them in the playoffs).
Also, there were a handful of spreads that wound up being justifiable in Week 1 based on the game outcomes but would have been drastically different at year end -- notably, Tennessee at Jacksonville (Jags -1, they won by 2, but that line would have been Titans -4 at least by December), and the Giants at Redskins (Giants -1, Redskins won outright, and yet by end of the year, Giants would have probably been a touchdown favorite).
The message, as always, wager at your own risk.
Now, here are your Texans lines for the upcoming season: WEEK 1 Miami Dolphins at Houston Texans -6.5
WEEK 2 Houston Texans -5.5 at Jacksonville Jaguars
WEEK 3 Houston Texans at Denver Broncos pick 'em
WEEK 4 Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans -7.5
WEEK 5 Houston Texans at New York Jets pick 'em
WEEK 6 Green Bay Packers -1.5 at Houston Texans
WEEK 7 Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans -3
WEEK 8 -- BYE
WEEK 9 Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans -7
WEEK 10 Houston Texans at Chicago Bears -1
WEEK 11 Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans -10.5
WEEK 12 Houston Texans at Detroit Lions -2.5
WEEK 13 Houston Texans -3 at Tennessee Titans
WEEK 14 Houston Texans at New England Patriots -6.5
WEEK 15 Indianapolis Colts at Houston Texans -10.5
WEEK 16 Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans -10
A few observations:
-- The Texans are favored in nine games, underdogs in four games, and a pick 'em in two games. (NOTE: Their Week 17 game is in Indianapolis, a game in which the Texans will likely be favored.) So if you're using individual game conjecture to come up with a predicted Texans record, 12-4 or 11-5 sound about right.
-- The Texans are favored in 7 of 8 home games, with Green Bay in Week 6 the only favorite coming to Reliant.
-- The Texans are favored by an average of nearly eight points in the seven home games in which they're favored. They are at least a 6.5-point favorite or better in all but two home games (Packers, Ravens). Translation: Anything less than 6-2 at home would be a massive disappointment.
-- The Texans are underdogs by an average of just under 3 points in the four games in which they are underdogs.
-- The Texans are favored in all six of their division games. They've never gone better than 4-2 in the division.
-- The Texans are not favored in any of their five prime time/nationally televised games (including Thanksgiving), underdogs in four and a pick 'em with the Jets.
In my post on the release of the NFL schedule a few weeks ago, I outlined five games I was marking down and clearing my calendar for. The lines on this games:
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WEEK 5: Denver Broncos at New England Patriots -7 WEEK 6: New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers -3 WEEK 11: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers -3 WEEK 12: San Francisco 49ers at New Orleans Saints -3.5 WEEK 12: Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles -7
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.