While week 11 of the betting on NFL season got underway with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins hooking up at South Beach, the most highly anticipated match ups of the week won’t get underway until this Sunday. Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings will look to keep their slim postseason hopes alive when they welcome Favre’s former team, the Green Bay Packers, to the Mall of America Field. The Oakland Raiders will try to continue establishing themselves as a legitimate contender in the AFC when they go up against one of the best in the Pittsburgh Steelers, while a couple of key division match ups highlight Sunday night in the NFL.
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings
A couple of overtime losses earlier in the season have kept the Packers from pulling away from the Bears in the NFC North, but after three straight pay per head wins are looking to move to four games above .500. Minnesota was the team expected to be there with them competing for top spot, but after losing six of their first nine are all but out of contention. The irony would be overwhelming if the Packers can push Favre one game closer to elimination from the postseason in his final year in the league, making this game the most compelling of week 11 in the NFL.
Oakland Raiders @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Oakland Raiders have won three straight to climb in to a tie for first place in the AFC West with the Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Tim Cable continues to preach his team as being a legitimate playoff contender, but they will have a tough time proving it against the best from the AFC North. The Steelers are coming off a home loss to the Patriots but have not lost back-to-back games this season, and will be eager to redeem themselves in front of the crazy fans at Heinz Field. Oakland will provide a solid challenge, but head coach Mike Tomlin will not accept his team losing two in a row at home in the middle of a race with the Baltimore Ravens for first in the division.
Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
It’s a big deal whenever Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are on the same field, and that won’t change this week with both the Patriots and Colts at the top of their respective divisions. New England rebounded from a shocking online sports betting loss to the Cleveland Browns with a massive victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers last Sunday, and will need a similar performance to keep their perfect home record intact against a quality Indianapolis team.
New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles
After his outstanding performance in last Monday night’s win over the Washington Redskins, Eagles’ quarterback Michael Vick will once again be in the football betting spotlight. Vick has not only regained his Pro Bowl form from his days with the Atlanta Falcons, but has been even better. He will face his toughest challenge this week against a Giants’ defense that is reminding fans in New York of the one that helped them to a Super Bowl two years ago.
Sports betting can be a risk if you spend your entire time betting on teams like the Seattle Seahawks. You can feel it in the nearly autumn air. It is that sense in the NFL football betting world that, at some point, the Seattle Seahawks have to fall back to Earth and lose some football games.
The Seahawks are coasting along in first place in the NFC West. They have a 2-1 record, they have scored 72 points in three games and only allowed 57 points. They are undefeated at home and their nine offensive touchdowns is second in the league. But football betting enthusiasts cannot shake that feeling that the Seahawks are living on borrowed time and it will all come crashing down.
The St. Louis Rams are not doing too badly under their new rookie quarterback Sam Bradford. The Rams are 1-2 this season and have a positive point differential with 57 points scored and 49 points given up. They are playing excellent defense compared to last season, and their special teams are much improved as well. If Bradford and the offense can figure out how to put 20 or more points on the board each game consistently, the Rams could be in business.
That is the dynamic of this game. On the one hand you have the team that no one expected to be winning in the Seahawks, and on the other hand you have the team with the first overall draft pick that needs to start showing results. The Seahawks are walking on eggshells while the promise of the new St. Louis Rams seems to be potentially real.
The Seahawks have give up just as many points this season as the Rams have scored. While that is a wild coincidence, it is also significant. The NFL pick for this game would have to go to the team that is used to playing conservative offense over the team that has been playing run and gun all season long. The Rams defense can shut down the Seahawks offense, and the Rams offense could rack up big time of possession numbers against the Seahawks defense. If Seattle quarterback Matt Hasselbeck and the offense is not on the field, it cannot score.
Bradford is developing quickly. He has been lucky to have an elite running back like Steven Jackson to help take some of the pressure off of him. Jackson came up injured in the Rams week three victory over the Washington Redskins. If you ask Jackson, he will say he can play. The doctors and coaches will make that decision later in the week.
The entire St. Louis offense looked good against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins have been having problems on both sides of the ball this season, but any time a team can beat a Mike Shanahan coached team with Donovan McNabb at quarterback then that is an accomplishment. It is an accomplishment that the Rams will build off of and use to defeat the Seahawks in week four.
Pick: St. Louis Rams 34-27
MLB Betting – Cincinnati Reds @ San Diego Padres
Travis Wood (5-4) vs. Jon Garland (14-12)
Wood vs. Padres Hitting
This rookie lefty has been a solid acquisition for the Reds in 2010. He came out of nowhere and has given Cincinnati one of their most consistent starters. In nine of his last 10 outings, Wood has pitched at least 5 innings and allowed three or less runs. His 1-3 record in his past six starts is less of an indication of bad pitching and more of a combination of bad luck and little run support. If your into sports betting, bet that he’ll continue his solid play in pitcher-friendly PETCO Park.
Wood’s never played against the Padres, but there’s not much offense to be afraid of. Adrian Gonzalez is a dangerous hitter, and is headed for another 30 HR, 100 RBI season. Miguel Tejada has heated up as of late, most recently hitting his 300th career home run. But after those two there is not much to be feared. Ryan Ludwick hasn’t been the consistent force he needs to be, and the rest of the team is just good enough to let the pitching carry them. It won’t be easy, but it’s not going to be like playing the Phillies.
Garland vs. Reds Hitting
Not many people predicted 14 wins for Jon Garland this season, but that’s what the veteran has delivered in his first season in San Diego. He’s been a very big part of the Padres turnaround in 2010, and will be needed to be just as good on the stretch run. The team is lucky to be starting him at home; at PETCO, where Garland’s fly-ball antics are an asset, the veteran is 7-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 16 starts.
The Reds have a dangerous lineup, highlighted by MVP candidate Joey Votto. Although the first baseman is no longer in contention for the Triple Crown, his numbers in those categories (.323, 35 HR, 106 RBI) is nothing to be scoffed at. Add in Scott Rolen, Jay Bruce and Drew Stubbs, and you have the makings of an offense that can hit a lot of home runs. Unfortunately, they’re playing in a park that doesn’t allow too many long balls. Advantage: San Diego.
If you’re into MLB betting, you know the Padres bullpen is the best in baseball. Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson and Joe Thatcher are the best trio of set-up men in the league. But the face, star and anchor of the ‘pen is Heath Bell. The outspoken reliever has recently set a new career high with 43 saves in 2010, including a current streak of 30 straight.
It doesn’t matter how good the Reds ‘pen may be, it’s not as good as San Diego’s. The thing is, it’s not that good anyway. Francisco Cordero has 38 saves, but his 4.12 ERA isn’t an ideal number for an elite closer. Arthur Rhodes is the only regular with an ERA under 3.00. This is the biggest self-hurdle the Reds will have to overcome on the road to postseason glory.
Earlier in the year, the Padres swept the Reds in a three-game series in Cincinnati. Considering that’s a ballpark that plays to the Reds strengths, it was a bit of a surprise. Now they’re in San Diego, where the Padres are still clamoring for a playoff spot and the Reds are trying to stay healthy for the postseason. San Diego motivated, Cincinnati not-so-much. I’m betting San Diego.
MLB Betting Pick: San Diego Padres