Week 8: Betting Off The Bye
by Robert Ferringo - 10/23/2006
(This is an excerpt of an article that appears in the current addition of Every Edge Magazine)
Here is a look at the four games from Week 8 that feature teams off a bye. Notice that two of the games pit a pair of rested clubs against one another. That means that one won't cover and will prove my theory correct, while the other will beat the line and prove me wrong. So no matter what, I am right. And wrong. Nevermind.
Baltimore at New Orleans (-2.5)
The Big Bad Ravens under Brian Billick are a solid 6-3 ATS with an extra week of meditation and car jacking under their belts. On the other hand, New Orleans is one of only 11 franchises with a winning record (10-7) after a week's vacation.
Baltimore is reeling after two straight losses. Billick fired his offensive coordinator and BFF Jim Fassel just prior to the Ravens' respite. We're not sure if Fassel gave Billick his friendship bracelet back, but I am sure that Baltimore is a team that's feeling the heat and will be playing desperately.
The Saints are the Feel Good Story of the season, leading their division and undefeated in the refurbished Superdome. While it hasn't been hookers and hurricanes (the drink, not the Act of God) that have cast a spell over opponents there could be something supernatural at work with this team. Perhaps some good ol' fashioned Cajun voodoo is protecting them at home. Whatever it is, the Saints ain't no joke.
San Francisco at Chicago (-16)
This line is on steroids for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, the Bears are a bunch of bloodthirsty savages hell-bent on World Domination. The fact that they are 3-0 SU and ATS at home, outscoring their trio of opponents by 110-20, is evidence enough.
Secondly, the Bears are coming off the bye. But that ignores the fact that Lovie Smith is 0-3 ATS with rest, San Francisco is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 against Chicago, and the 49ers are coming off rest as well.
Last year the 49ers came to Soldiers Field and went toe-to-toe with the Monsters. San Fran was actually leading, 3-0, just before halftime when coach Mike Nolan foolishly decided to attempt a 52-yard field goal in nearly 40-mile-per-hour winds. The result was Nathan Vasher's heart-stopping 108-yard return for a touchdown to give the Bears a 7-3 and momentum.
St. Louis (+9.5) at San Diego
Since he's a new coach, we're not sure how Scott Linehan will handle the off week. His defensive coordinator is Jim Haslett, who in six years as a head coach in New Orleans was 3-3 ATS and 3-3 O/U with rest. That record includes 2004, when a Haslett's Saints marched into San Diego and got hammered 43-17.
But looking at this number, inflation for the Rams seems to be counterbalanced by the oddsmakers' infatuation with the Chargers. San Diego is coming off a loss to a barely edible Kansas City crew, and this St. Louis team has a similar modus operandi as the Chiefs. Both teams have aging, but talented, skill players and are recommitted to defense.
The ace in the hole for the Chargers is the fact that they've covered in both of their home games, winning by 33 over Tennessee and by 10 over Pittsburgh. However, they will be without Shawne Merriman, who is serving a four-game suspension for steroid use.
Houston at Tennessee (-3)
Jeff Fisher is just 6-9 ATS with rest and the Titans are a feeble 1-5 against the number as a home favorite off a win after a week of rest.
The Texans are coming off their second win of the year, a convincing 27-7 decision over the Jaguars (who were, naturally, coming off a bye). I believe the Texans are the better team here, but neither of these organizations are what I would call, what's the word, competent. The Texans are 3-1 ATS in the Volunteer State and have brought home the dough in four of the last five meetings between these teams.
You're taking your life into your own hands here. But I will say that the extra week of prep time may have benefited Tennessee because it was another seven days for Vince Young to work on his Halloween costume as an NFL quarterback. That being said, maybe that is only the difference between him throwing for 98 yards instead of 88.
Carpe diem, my friend. And good luck.
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