USA Today Sports

Football lines that make you go hmmm...

I only caught about 30 seconds of the Chicago Bears’ win over the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday night.

As I settled into bed, I flicked the game on with Pittsburgh down 34-23 in the fourth quarter, just in time to see Bears DE Julius Pepper scoop up a fumble and run it back for a 42-yard score.

“OK, I’ve seen enough”. CLICK!

Chicago is among the handful of 3-0 teams but isn’t getting the love that Denver, Seattle, and New Orleans are receiving. Hell, they’re even getting overshadowed by perfect starts from Kansas City, New England and Miami.

That disrespect continues in Week 4, with oddsmakers setting the Bears as high as 3-point road underdogs in Detroit Sunday. Only one other undefeated team is an underdog in Week 4: The 3-0 Dolphins visiting the 3-0 Saints as 6.5-point pups (Patriots are a pick'em at Atlanta after opening -1).

The Lions have started 2-1, taking some of the pressure off head coach Jim Schwartz, but haven’t been overly impressive in those contests. Detroit’s pass defense has been sub-par, allowing 262 yards through the air per game, against the likes of Christian Ponder, veteran Carson Palmer and one-legged Robert Griffin III.

Chicago has won three straight over the Lions and boasts a 9-1 SU record in its last 10 versus its NFC North rivals. Detroit has been a favorite in only one of those games. Until this week.

NCAAF


South Carolina Gamecocks at Central Florida Knights
(+7)

Central Florida is making the most of its new stage in the AAC and will take to the national stage this Saturday.

Central Florida hosts SEC power South Carolina in front of a sold-out crowd at Bright House Networks Stadium, a game which will be broadcast on ABC – the first time UCF will play on national network television in the school’s history.

The Knights have jumped out to a 3-0 start and are coming off a bye after stunning Penn State in Happy Valley two weeks ago. Central Florida is doing it on both sides of the ball, averaging 36.7 points will giving up just 12.7 per game.

Books are giving UCF a TD cushion versus the Gamecocks, who aren’t going to look past the Knights. Central Florida nearly spoiled Steve Spurrier’s debut with South Carolina eight years ago, losing 24-15 to the Gamecocks but covered as 21-point road underdogs.

Early money has sided with the Knights, taking the home side down from +7.5 to +7. Is it faith in UCF or a sharp move to discount South Carolina?

Oklahoma State Cowboys at West Virginia Mountaineers (+18.5)

The last time these Big 12 programs clashed, the total topped out at 80 points last November. Oklahoma State won that shootout, 55-34.

This year, the number is much slimmer, with books setting the total at 57 points. The Cowboys offense is still the same, putting up 45.3 points per game so far, but WVU doesn’t have the same explosiveness, which was painfully evident in a 37-0 pantsing by Maryland last weekend.

Oklahoma State shows no mercy on the road, going 16-5 SU away from Stillwater since 2010. If the Mountaineers and former OSU offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen put on another showing like last weekend, Okie State could top the total – and the 18.5-point spread – all by itself.

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Posted by LeRinkRat
1 year ago

Lions best "possession" wide receiver Nate Burleson OUT with a broken arm will hurt their offense. their other top WR Calvin Johnson didn't practice Wednesday and is Questionable? also Reggie Bush (Knee) is also Questionable and if he plays he is obviously NOT 100%. YIKES!!!
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Posted by hoosline
1 year ago

I don't think Burleson is that big of deal. He hasn't done anything other than catch 19 out of 23 targets(23% of Stafford targets), but when your QB throws an avg of 40 times a game..it's not that hard. Ryan Broyles might even be better than Nate. He will step into the slot and be just as productive as Nate.
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Posted by hoosline
1 year ago

I don't think Burleson is that big of deal. He hasn't done anything other than catch 19 out of 23 targets(23% of Stafford targets), but when your QB throws an avg of 40 times a game..it's not that hard. Ryan Broyles might even be better than Nate. He will step into the slot and be just as productive as Nate.
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Posted by theclaw
1 year ago

Detroit's pass defense ranks 16th in ave per pass, Bears rank 29th. Lions pass defense ranks 8th in defensive passer rating, Bears 17th. Total yards has little correlation to winning while these 2 stats have a very high correlation to winning. Lions rank 3rd in the league at a monster 29 in QB passer rating differential, the Bears 14th at a mediocre 5. The ave SB winner is around 29. Yea the book got it right.
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Posted by htrain34
1 year ago

I can't believe Covers pays a guy who only watches 30 seconds of a MNF game and then rights an article about it.
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Posted by The8ofCups
1 year ago

Well, they're not going to pay someone who writes "rights an article", are they?
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Posted by J_Logan
1 year ago

Oh, I watched the MNF game. This was the Sunday Night Football game. I followed it on my phone from the start but lost interest when Chicago got up 17-0. Saw Pittsburgh may be making a push in the fourth quarter and turned it on just in time to see Peppers score the back breaker.
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Posted by Ed-Collins
1 year ago

At least he knows when to use the word 'write' and when to use the word 'right.' I can see you don't.
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Posted by LIanafranks5
1 year ago

Sometimes I wonder how much money the books pay covers to write all this BS
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Posted by LIanafranks5
1 year ago

It was a fluke that they lost to the Bears. CIN should have won that game outright. The bears are over-rated and the books know it. Detroit would be the better play this week at home. Chicago due to lose. No brainer....don't listen to covers, they don't know what they're talkin bout.
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Posted by J_Logan
1 year ago

I have one reader saying the Bears are underrated by the books and another reader saying the books know Chicago is overrated. Seems like I picked a great game to feature in a column title, "Football lines that make you go hmmm...".
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Top Response

Posted by The8ofCups
1 year ago

"Well, they're not going to pay someone who writes "rights an article", are they?"