USA Today Sports

Football lines that make you go hmmm...

Jason Logan
We’ve seen this "Rope-a-Dope" from the New York Giants before.

New York, which is 0-2 SU and ATS out of the gate, lost its opening two games of the 2007 season in similar fashion, dropping to Dallas in Week 1 and getting blown out of the water by Green Bay in Week 2.

That New York team would rebound from that 0-2 start to win 10 of its final 14 games SU and ATS, make the playoffs, fight its way to the NFC Championship, and stun the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

So you can excuse us for being a little skeptical of the Giants as 1-point road underdogs in Carolina this Sunday. They actually opened as high as 2.5-point pups at some books.

New York is better than its record indicates. If not for a turnover bonanza, the Giants would have likely beaten the Cowboys in the opener, and Week 2’s loss to the Broncos wouldn’t have the G-Men scrambling for the panic button.

According to beat writer Art Stapleton of the N.J. Record, only three teams have gone on to make the playoffs after starting 0-3 since 1990 and none since 1998. That factoid makes this Sunday’s trip to Carolina even more important for New York.

And, just in case you were wondering, the 2007 Giants followed that 0-2 start with a 24-17 win at Washington in Week 3 as 3.5-point underdogs – starting a streak of six straight wins in which N.Y. went 5-1 ATS.


Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-14.5, 49)

Rarely do you get to say two touchdowns is not enough when talking about NFL spreads. But, here we are.

The Broncos look like world beaters, smoking the defending Super Bowl champs and thumping the one team that may have the most inside info on Peyton Manning (H/T Eli) in the first two weeks of the season. Denver has outscored opponents 90-50 through those two games, winning by an average of 20 points against two very good teams.
The Oakland Raiders are not a very good team. A close loss to Indianapolis – which plays every game close – and a win over Jacksonville – which could be the worst team in NFL history – has everyone’s Silver and Black panties in the bunch.

If Denver’s defense can pick off a total of six passes against Super Bowl MVPs like Eli Manning and Joe Flacco, a forgotten third-round pick like Terrelle Pryor doesn’t stand a chance.


West Virginia Mountaineers at Maryland Terrapins (-5.5)

The Terps are 3-0 and looking for their first 4-0 start since 2001. But standing in Maryland’s way is a familiar foe – West Virginia. Oddsmakers have this one hanging at Maryland -5.5, moving up from as low as -4.

The Mountaineers have owned the Terrapins in recent years, winning seven straight and going 5-2 ATS in that span. If this is the year Maryland gets over the hump, a win over WVU is the first step.

That sounds a lot easier than it really is. West Virginia isn’t running and gunning like the last few years under Geno Smith. The ‘Neers struggled to put up points in their loss to Oklahoma but will be facing a depleted Maryland secondary that has two new starters in at corner.

Maryland backers can’t afford to give up a couple quick scores over the top at his wonky spread.

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Posted by LeRinkRat
3 years ago

What makes Me go "Hmmm" is the Bears only -2 1/2 @ my Steelers. half the Pittsburgh offense is hurt esp top receivers and their #1 center. IF you think "The Bears Still Suck" (as in the polka) then the alternative is UNDER 40 1/2. 1st two games the Steelers scored 2 (Yes TWO) points against the Titans (the TITANS?) and 10 at the Bengals and the UNDER was golden

Posted by KevinBookie
3 years ago

W. VA +5,here is the odds on covering the points in this game W.VA 1.93,MD 1.96 so close call,but give me W.VA and the points

Posted by mrlif1
3 years ago

tom coughlin's brother died on monday....heart trumps all in football..giants

Posted by fluffhead43
3 years ago

I think you forgot that Pryor didn't win the Heisman. I agree with your analysis anyway.

Posted by J_Logan
3 years ago

You know what, I got my OSU QBs mixed up. I was thinking Troy Smith. Good eye.
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Top Response

Posted by mrlif1
3 years ago

"tom coughlin's brother died on monday....heart trumps all in football..giants"