NFL Betting Lines

Thursday Night Football Preview, Bears vs. Dolphins
2010-11-18 Bears vs. Dolphins Lines: Miami -1, Total: 40

The 6-3 Bears head to Miami tonight as one-point underdogs to take on the 5-4 Dolphins. Due to injuries to Chad Pennington (shoulder) and Chad Henne (knee), Tyler Thigpen will start under center for the Fins.

Thigpen might not get the protection he requires because two key offensive linemen might not play. LT Jake Long is questionable with a torn labrum in his shoulder and C Joe Berger’s status is uncertain due to a knee injury. This could allow the Bears to actually tally some sacks for a change. Only Tampa Bay and Cincinnati have fewer than Chicago’s 13 sacks this year.

But despite the non-existent pass rush, the Bears defense has been formidable this year. They lead the league in turnovers forced (24) and rank second in both scoring defense (16.2 PPG) and rushing defense (82 YPG). On the offensive side of the ball, Chicago has not been efficient, ranking 23rd in rushing (95 YPG) and 21st in passing offense (202 YPG). QB Jay Cutler has six touchdowns and seven interceptions in his past five games, while RB Matt Forte has a dismal 170 combined rushing yards and a 3.2 YPC average in his past four games.

Thigpen played very well after Miami’s top two quarterbacks left last week’s 29-17 win over Tennessee. He went 4-for-6 for 64 yards and a touchdown to cap off an 85-yard drive that sealed the win for the Dolphins. For his four-year career, Thigpen has played 19 games and completed 54.3% of his passes for 2,811 yards, 20 TD and 16 INT. Most of his experience came in 2008 with Kansas City when Thigpen played 14 games and threw for 2,608 yards, 18 TD and 12 INT. Thigpen will look to get Brandon Marshall more involved in the passing game. Marshall has been bothered recently with a hamstring injury, but he only has one touchdown in nine games this season. Over the past four weeks, Marshall has a paltry 18 receptions for 185 yards (10.3 average).

These teams have only played twice since 2000, with Miami winning both games easily, 27-9 in 2002 and 31-13 in 2006. Additionally, this NFL betting trend indicates that point spread bettors might find better value on the home team.

Play Against - Any team (CHICAGO) - opportunistic team (2.5+ TO/game forced) against a team with <=1.25 TO/game forced, after a game where they forced 3 or more turnovers.

(25-5 over the last 10 seasons.) (83.3%, +19.5 units. Rating = 3*).

Given the aforementioned stats and betting trends, it is a bit surprising that 60 percent of the Bears vs. Dolphins point spread money is on Chicago.

For those looking to make a play on the ‘total’, take the following football betting trend into consideration before placing your wager:

MIAMI is 10-1 OVER (+8.9 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons. The average score was MIAMI 25.4, OPPONENT 26.9 - (Rating = 3*).

To check out all of the Bears vs. Dolphins betting odds and to take a look at the NFL Week 11 point spreads, head over to now.

Football betting: Colts favored to win Super Bowl XLV

Despite coming up short in Bicimotos last year's Super Bowl, the Indianapolis Colts enter the 2010 NFL campaign as the favorite to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy. In the football betting lines at, the Colts are a +700 choice to win a championship. Led by MVP quarterback Peyton Manning, Indianapolis has won 12 or more games in the regular season in each of the last seven years. However, the Colts have been able to cash in with only one Super Bowl title back in 2006. This season, Indy will face a challenging stretch following a bye in week 7.

After the bye, the Colts will play seven straight games against squads that finished .500 or better in 2009. Five of those games will be against clubs that went to the postseason last year. The franchise that will showcase its home stadium in Super Bowl XLV is the top contender from the NFC. The Dallas Cowboys (+800) are looking to take the next step in 2010 after gaining a playoff win in 2009 for the first time in over a decade. With a talented and balanced squad, the Cowboys could be ready to be an elite club in 2010. There could be a potential Super Bowl preview in week 13 when the Cowboys travel to Indianapolis to face the Colts.

In the prior week, Dallas will entertain the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Thanksgiving Day. New Orleans listed at at (+800) is the third top contender in the Super Bowl pool. Quarterback Drew Brees leads an explosive offense for the Saints. While the defense gave up plenty of yards last season, the unit had a knack of creating big plays with turnovers. After opening at home against Minnesota in a rematch of the NFC Championship game, New Orleans will face only one playoff team from 2009 over its next nine games.

The San Diego Chargers are the next choice at +1000. San Diego has won four straight AFC West titles but has been unable to reach a Super Bowl during the stretch. In a division that appears to be the weakest in the conference, the Chargers have a decent shot to gain home field advantage in the AFC Playoffs. San Diego will only have to face four teams this year that reached the postseason in 2009. The Green Bay Packers (+800) appear to have made a nice transition from the Brett Favre era after making the playoffs last year behind emerging quarterback Aaron Rodgers. If the Packers are going to become a legitimate contender in 2010, the club will need to matchup better against the Vikings (0-2 vs. Minnesota in 2009).

In a period of under a month, Green Bay will face defending NFC North champion Minnesota twice. The first meeting will be a Sunday night contest at Lambeau Field in week 7. In week 11, the Packers will battle the Vikings at the Metrodome.

The New England Patriots (+1200) were the NFL's top squad in the last decade with three championships. However, the Patriots last Super Bowl crown was back in 2004. Quarterback Tom Brady will try to get his club back to the top this season in a deep AFC field. In its first seven games of the season, New England will face five teams that reached the playoffs in 2009.

A popular team in football betting circles heading into 2010 is the Baltimore Ravens (+1200). Behind young quarterback Joe Flacco, the Ravens have reached the postseason in each of the last two years as a Wild Card. While Baltimore has won three road playoff games since 2008, the team would like to take an easier path this season as a division champion. The addition of veteran wideout Anquan Boldin should enable the Ravens offense to be a little more dangerous this season. Baltimore's initial five road games of 2010 will be against squads that posted winning records in 2009.

The Super Bowl hopes of the Minnesota Vikings (+1200) could be derailed before the season begins. If Brett Favre decides not to return for a second year with the Vikings, Minnesota will have to rely on a couple of marginal quarterbacks in 2010. Without Favre, the Vikings go from a legitimate title contender to a squad that will have to battle just to reach the playoffs.          

NFL: AFC-NFC Pro Bowl (6:20 PM ET, ESPN)

The site of the 2010 Pro Bowl has changed, as it will be played at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, as opposed to Hawaii. The timing of the game has also changed, with it being played as a lead-up to the Super Bowl, rather than a follow-up. How does it figure to affect the contest, or the wagering on it? Let’s see if we can dissect it. In any case, the NFC is the 2.5-point favorite at last check, and 84% of bettors at apparently feel that is too low. The total is set at 57.

This will be the 40th version of the Pro Bowl, and interestingly, the NFL chose to mark the occasion with some experimentation. The changing of the date was done to promote the Super Bowl week, as opposed to the Pro Bowl being an afterthought it has been in the past.

The problem with the change in most people’s minds is that no members of the Colts or Saints, the league’s two best teams who will meet in Super Bowl XLIV, will be available to play. That fact cost the game 14 players, and the problem was only exacerbated later with regrets by 21 other players who were named to the Pro Bowl but declined due to injuries.

The site change is noteworthy for no other reason than this will be the first time in 31 years that the game will be somewhere other than Honolulu, HI. Not since the 1978 season has the game been played somewhere other than the 50th state, though the game is slated to return to Hawaii for the 2010 and 2011 seasons. It remains to be seen what type of panic might ensue if the elements come into play on Sunday and the field gets torn up for next week’s all-important game.

In terms of who will be manning the sidelines, San Diego head coach Norv Turner and Dallas head man Wade Phillips will guide the AFC and NFC squads. Phillips will be coaching in his first Pro Bowl, while Turner will be presiding over his second. Turner coached the AFC to a 42-30 loss following the 2007 season, when his Chargers lost to the Patriots in the AFC Championship. The two coaches met in the regular season, when San Diego pulled off a 20-17 upset of Dallas on December 13th.

The NFC leads the all-time Pro Bowl series by a 20-19 margin, including wins in the last two games.

The NFC was a 30-21 winner in last year's contest, with Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald earning MVP honors after catching five passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns in the triumph, parlaying his Super Bowl performance of seven catches for 127 yards and two TD’s.

Digging into the game a little bit, with the Saints' Drew Brees and Vikings' Brett Favre unavailable to play, the NFC offense will be guided by quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers of the Packers, Donovan McNabb (3553 passing yards, 22 TD, 10 INT) of the Eagles, and Tony Romo (4483 passing yards, 26 TD, 9 INT) of the Cowboys. Even with the two NFC title game combatants backing out, this is still a star-studded trio. Rodgers, who threw for 4,434 yards and 30 touchdowns against just seven interceptions while leading Green Bay to a playoff berth, will be making his first appearance in the game. The receiving corps will include the Eagles' DeSean Jackson (63 receptions, 9 TD) and Cowboys' Miles Austin (81 receptions, 11 TD), both of whom are expected to start, with the 49ers' Vernon Davis (78 receptions, 13 TD) getting the start at the tight end spot. The Vikings' Adrian Peterson (1383 rushing yards, 18 TD) is expected to open in the backfield one week after his fumble-laden performance in the NFC Championship. The offensive line will be led by Minnesota guard Steve Hutchinson, who makes his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl appearance.

The game will feature a “no-blitz” rule as always, meaning pressure on the passer will have to come from the down linemen. In this case, for the AFC, with would-be starting ends Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis of the Colts both unavailable due to their Super Bowl commitment, Mario Williams (38 tackles, 9 sacks) of the Texans and Kyle Vanden Bosch (44 tackles, 3 sacks) of the Titans will get the first crack at Rodgers and the NFC quarterbacks. Broncos outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (41 tackles, 17 sacks), who led the NFL in sacks in 2009, will also be involved. On the back end, a star-studded secondary paced by perhaps the league's top three cornerbacks - the Jets' Darrelle Revis (49 tackles, 6 INT), Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha (29 tackles, 1 INT) and Broncos' Champ Bailey (61 tackles, 3 INT) - along with starting strong safety Brian Dawkins (95 tackles, 2 INT) of Denver, will focus on slowing the NFC receivers.

Like the NFC, the AFC team will not be without its top QB’s, in this case, three of them. With Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, and Tom Brady all unavailable on Sunday, the AFC will go with NFL passing yards leader Matt Schaub (4770 passing yards, 29 TD, 15 INT) of the Texans, with the Titans' Vince Young (1879 passing yards, 10 TD, 7 INT) and Jaguars' David Garrard (3597 passing yards, 15 TD, 10 INT) both backing him. Young will be appearing in his second Pro Bowl game, after making it as a rookie in 2006. Houston's Andre Johnson (101 receptions, 9 TD) and Denver's Brandon Marshall (101 rushing yards, 10 TD) will open at wideout for the AFC, with the Chargers' Antonio Gates (79 receptions, 8 TD) starting at tight end. Among the notable reserve pass-catchers is the Bengals' Chad Ochocinco (72 receptions, 9 TD), who makes his sixth Pro Bowl appearance. A standout AFC backfield will include NFL Offensive Player of the Year Chris Johnson (2006 rushing yards, 50 receptions, 16 TD) of the Titans, along with the diminutive Maurice-Jones Drew (1391 rushing yards, 53 receptions, 16 TD) of the Jaguars and Ray Rice (1339 rushing yards, 78 receptions, 8 TD) of the Ravens. Jets guard Alan Faneca and Titans center Kevin Mawae, who now have 17 Pro Bowl appearances between them, anchor the line.

The NFC will look to pressure the AFC quarterbacks with Vikings end Jared Allen (43 tackles, 14.5 sacks), Panthers end Julius Peppers (36 tackles, 10.5 sacks) and Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware (47 tackles, 11 sacks). Their defensive backfield features Asante Samuel (43 tackles, 9 INT) of the Eagles and Terence Newman (61 tackles 3 INT) of the Cowboys, in addition to safety Nick Collins (47 tackles, 6 INT) of the Packers. The linebackers are headed by 49ers middle man Patrick Willis (113 tackles, 3 INT), among others.

Prediction: On paper, you certainly have to like the QB rotation of the NFC much better than that of the AFC, with Rodgers, Romo, and McNabb all capable of lighting up the scoreboard. That said, the AFC defensive backfield is one of hall-of-fame credentials and certainly won’t make things easy. With the total set at 57 for this contest, we’ll go with a rare predcition of an UNDER in the game, with the NFC pulling it out 24-20.