AFC Division-By-Division Pointspread Notes

AFC DIVISION-BY-DIVISION POINTSPREAD NOTES

By Jim Hurley

The National Football League Training Camps are just around the bend and all 32 teams will be in camp by the end of this month -- and so let's go ahead and continue to whet your gridiron appetite with our Jim Sez NFL Pointspread News/Notes as we bring you the AFC..

AFC EAST

BUFFALO -Last year's Bills made it 10 straight  non-playoff seasons for the upstate New York crew but bettors know that Buffalo cranked out a rather decent 8-7-1 ATS (against the spread) mark that included three-of-four spread covers when in the favorite's role and a solid 3-2-1 spread log inside divisional play.

The Bills also copped a Week One cover last year -that heart-wrenching 25-24 loss-but-cover at 13-point favorite New England -and that marked the fifth consecutive campaign that Buffalo covered their regular-season lid-lifter. One other positive spread stat for the Bills: They're now a collective 27-21-1 versus the vig away since the start of the 2004 season and note that includes covers at Foxboro last year, at Denver in 2008 and at Indianapolis in 2006. Not bad!

If you're looking for a negative note here than keep in mind Buffalo is just 5-13-1 spreadwise in head-to-head battles with the NE Patriots dating back to the second meeting in 2000.


MIAMI -Betcha didn't know that the Dolphins have not sported a winning spread season since 2002! Back then the Fish registered a 9-7 ATS mark but ever since it's been .500 or worse -Miami's 48-62-3 versus the Las Vegas prices the past seven years and that includes last season's 8-8 ATS mark that "featured" three consecutive season-opening spread setbacks and then back-to-back pointspread losses to end the regular season. Overall, Miami really has really cost its backers in home games as the Dolphins covered just three-of-eight home tilts last year and are a ragged 16-40-1 against the odds as hosts dating back to the start of the 2003 season (folks, that's a slip-shod .286 winning percentage!).

Meanwhile, Miami is a dismal 1-5-1 ATS in its last seven season-opening games and note the Fish have failed to cover their home opener in each of the past four seasons.


NEW ENGLAND -If you trace back to the last time the Patriots won a Super Bowl (see 24-21 over Philadelphia in SB XXXIX) then you'll notice that this AFC crew is a collective 46-40-3 against the Las Vegas price tags ... not bad but certainly not nearly on a par with those 14-4-1 and 13-5-1 ATS seasons in 2003 and '04, respectively. The fact of the matter is Bill Belichick's crew has not handled that "big favorite" role quite as well in recent years as New England is just 7-15 spreadwise as betting favorites of more than 7 points while dating back to midway of the 2007 season.

Now here's another thing you may not have known about these Pats: They're 0-and-5 spreadwise in all post-season games since that AFC Championship Game loss at Indianapolis back in 2006. In that time, the Patriots have failed to cover post-season games against the Indy Colts, Jacksonville, San Diego, the New York Giants (see SB 42) and last year's AFC Wild Card Playoff Game against Baltimore (a 33-14 loss as 3 ½-point home favorites).
 

NEW YORK JETS -Last year's 11-8 pointspread season (that included two-of-three covers in the playoffs) marked the third time in the past six years that the J-E-T-S actually finished a year with 11 spread "W's" as they also cranked out that many covers in 2004 (see 11-7 ATS) and '06 (see 11-6 ATS). Maybe the most amazing part of last year's run that pushed the Jets all the way to the AFC Championship Game was that NYJ enjoyed three different spread streaks of three-or-more wins in a row and two separate three-game spread losing streaks ... hmmm.

Dig  a little bit deeper and you'll see the Jets actually managed a winning spread season as betting favorites as Rex Ryan's guys went 6-5 ATS as the chalk last year but add up the team's prior two seasons and you see New York was a crummy 4-10-1 ATS as favs.

Note that the Jets are a rock-solid 5-2-1 ATS in season-opening games dating back to the 2002 season.


AFC NORTH

BALTIMORE - Since the start of the 2000 season (when the Ravens won their one-and-only Super Bowl) this crew has boasted eight winning spread campaigns in 10 years including a 14-5-1 ATS (against the spread) log back in '00 and a spiffy 14-5 spread mark in 2008.

Overall, Baltimore is a bombastic 94-75-4 against the odds the past 10 years - a rock-solid .556 winning rate - and note that includes last year's modest 9-8-1 spread season that featured the stunning 33-14 AFC Wild Card Round win at 3 ½-point favorite New England.

Go back to that aforementioned 2000 campaign and you will discover that the Ravens are a collective 8-5 versus the vig in any/all post-season games including a splendid 4-0 pointspread run during that Super Bowl season but here-and-now Baltimore backers will note that this club has covered playoff road games at Foxboro and at Miami and Tennessee too in this brief John Harbaugh Era that began in 2008.

Finally, Baltimore is 6-3-1 spreadwise in its last 10 head-to-head battles with archrival Pittsburgh.

CINCINNATI - Last year's 7-10 ATS record means the Cincy Bengals now have strung together back-to-back-to-back losing season versus the vig the past three years while producing a ragged 20-28-1 spread log during this recent time frame.

Maybe what stands out most here is the fact that Marvin Lewis' squad has been some a rotten betting favorite: Last year alone the Bengals were an abominable 0-8 against the odds as chalk-eaters and they are a collective 4-17 ATS as favs since the start of the 2007 season ... folks, that's a .190 winning rate!

Ironically, last year's Bengals pounded out a 7-2 spread log whenever in the underdog role and so - if you simply wagered on the dogs in all Cincinnati games last year you wound up going 15-2 ATS for a scintillating .882 winning percentage.

Believe it or not, the Bengals have produced a better-than-.500 winning percentage as betting favorites only once since 2001 and that occurred in 2005 when Cincy scratched out a 7-5 ATS mark as chalk sides - so keep this poor favorite's history in mind this 2010 season.

CLEVELAND - Here's one of the crazier things that happened in the NFL '09 season: The Browns staggered badly out of the starting gate while losing 11 of their first 12 games SU (straightup) and yet wound up finishing off the season with a 10-6 ATS mark that ranked amongst the best in the league ... right, go figure!

The '09 Brownies did cover their final seven games in a row to put a smile on their backers' faces but did you know that this AFC North crew ended its 2008 season (under then-coach Romeo Crennel) on a six-game spread losing skein?

Note that in the past three years the Browns have gone 8-1, 0-4 and then 2-0 (last year) as betting favorites thus showing a real topsy-turvy side to this team's fortunes and one final note here is the Cleveland has failed to cover its season-opening game the past five years in a row.

PITTSBURGH - Now, was that any way to follow up on a Super Bowl-winning season?

The 2009 Steelers never did get untracked spreadwise en route to a 5-10-1 ATS season that included five spread losses in their first six games and a shoddy 4-10-1 spread record whenever in the favorite's role. Mike Tomlin's club last year went 1-4-1 vig-wise in divisional play with the lone cover inside the AFC North coming in a 20-17 overtime loss at 7 ½-point fav Baltimore when Steelers' starting QB Ben Roethlisberger didn't play because of injury

Note that Pittsburgh still sports a shiny 94-75-5 ATS mark overall since the start of the 2000 season - a .556 winning rate that exactly matches the spread mark of rival Baltimore during this time frame (the Steelers played one more game during this time and "pushed" that - see above Ravens spread record). Interestingly enough, the Steelers were wagering pups just once last year - that Sunday Night game in Baltimore - and now are 16-7 vig-wise as dogs since the start of the 2004 season.


AFC SOUTH

HOUSTON - Believe it or not, the Texans now have been part of the NFL for the past eight years and they've produced an overall pointspread record of 63-63-2 ... and we like to call that a dead-even-but-vig-losing mark.

Okay, so last year's club only covered back-to-back games once en route to an up-and-down 7-8-1 against-the-odds mark and did you know that Houston now has failed to cover its Week One game in five of the past six seasons - after having covered the season opener in those early years of 2002 and '03.

No doubt that the Texans have had it rough against divisional rival Tennessee as the Titans have notched spread wins in six of the last eight head-to-head battles (note a spread split last year with Houston winning 34-31 as 7-point road underdogs and then the Titans turning the tables with a 20-17 win as 3 ½-point road pups).

If you're looking for one spread stat that's been particularly good to the Texans than take note that Houston is a rock-solid 12-6 vig-wise as wagering underdogs while dating back to late in the 2007 season.

INDIANAPOLIS - Hats off to the Colts who have churned out better-than-.500 spread seasons in six of the last seven years and that's really saying something when you consider many of the "tall" prices that Indy was laying in these games. Heck, last year alone the Colts were betting favorites of 6-or-more points on nine different occasions and managed a solid 6-3 ATS mark in those games.

The Colts have been true "streakers" when it comes to spread play as the 2009 team enjoyed a pair of five-game spread winning streaks and that Super Bowl-winning team from the '06 season cranked out a four-game spread winning streak to close out the year (including a 29-17 triumph over 6 ½-point underdog Chicago in Super Bowl 41) to go along with two separate three-game spread winning streaks.

And now hear this ... the Colts are 8-4 ATS overall as underdog sides since the start of the '06 season.

JACKSONVILLE - There was nothing positive to report regarding last season for these Jaguars who stumbled to a second straight losing season SU (straightup) and also took a major tumble versus the vig: The AFC South crew finished up 5-11 against the Las Vegas prices and that included a season-ending four-game spread losing skein and a separate four-game ATS losing streak earlier in the year.

In fact, if you really want to find out where Jacksonville's burning the most loot than it's as a host as the Jags are a collective 3-12 versus the vig at home the past two seasons (a .200 winning rate). Throw in the fact that Jack Del Rio's squad is a brutal 4-16 ATS when facing non-divisional opponents the past two years and you get the distinct feeling that Jacksonville's ruined more than a few Sundays for its financial backers the past couple of seasons.
    
TENNESSEE - Once upon a time, the Titans were a real pointspread juggernaut but that's simply not been the case in recent seasons.

Last year's crew stumbled its way to a 6-10 ATS mark that included a five-game spread losing streak following that Week One loss-but-cover at Pittsburgh and overall Jeff Fisher's team is 82-85 against the odds since the start of the 2000 season.

Okay, so the Titans are still a really sound investment as point-grabbers despite last year's less-than-starry 3-4 ATS mark as pups: Tennessee's 20-11 ATS overall as underdogs since the start of the 2006 season and note that this AFC South club went 10-3 ATS as dogs back in 2006.

Note that Tennessee's covered six of its last eight season-opening affairs and the Titans own a winning spread mark against mighty Indianapolis the past four years (see 5-3 ATS overall but with Indy covering each of the last three head-to-head showdowns)

AFC WEST

DENVER - The Broncos now have not been to the post-season for the past four years but at least the 2009 edition was able to scratch out a winning pointspread mark at 9-7: Note that the three prior Denver teams combined to go 14-33-1 ATS (a wobbly .298 winning rate). Last year's Broncos actually busted out of the starting gate with six consecutive season-opening spread "W's" - quite a contrast from the club's 0-5 ATS mark to begin the 2008 season.

Still, Denver's so-so 4-4 spread mark at home last year means the Broncos are a collective 9-22-1 versus the vig as hosts since the start of the 2006 season. Dig a little bit deeper you see that from the start of 2000 through the end of '09 the Broncos registered a 34-45-3 ATS log at home (a .431 winning percentage) and isn't that a far cry from decades past!

If you're looking for a positive spread spin here, than take note that the Broncos are a heady 6-2-2 vig-wise in their first home game of a season the past 10 years.

KANSAS CITY - Can you say less-than-mediocre?

The KayCee Chiefs are a collective 30-34-1 against the Las Vegas prices since the start of the 2006 season and that includes last year's 7-9 spread log that featured outright upset wins at 6-point favorite Washington, 11 ½-point fav Pittsburgh and 9-point chalk-eater Denver.

One strange spread fact relating to the Chiefs is that they are 9-3 ATS when facing fellow AFC West foes in the last two "even" years (2006 and '08) and just 4-8 spreadwise in the past two "odd" years (2007 and '09).

In keeping with one long-ago spread stat, the Chiefs do seem to know how to finish a regular season as KC's covered six of its last nine campaigns and note that includes a 3-and-oh spread mark when finishing up at home - and this year it closes out the 2010 season at home versus archrival Oakland. You have been forewarned!
 
OAKLAND - The Raiders have lost double-digit games SU (straightup) the past seven years in a row and, predictably, the against-the-odds record during this down time hasn't been too shiny either: The silver-and-black is a dreadful 41-70-1 spreadwise since the start of the 2003 season (a putrid .369 winning rate) and that includes last year's 8-8 ATS mark.

In fact, last year's Raiders never did tack together back-to-back spread wins after the Week 1 and Week 2 covers against San Diego and Kansas City, respectively, and you might be interested in knowing that the last time Oakland covered three consecutive games in the same season was back in 2006 during the Art Shell  Era ... remember him?

No doubt you can pick-and-choose a slew of terrible pointspread stats for this AFC West crew but here's a couple that stick out for us:

The Raiders are 0-11 ATS as betting favorites while tracing back to midway of the 2005 season and this dysfunctional team is 3-11 spreadwise in its last 14 head-to-head games with archrival San Diego ... and that includes covering both of last year's games (a 24-20 loss-but-cover as 10 ½-point dogs in Week 1 and then a 24-16 loss-but-cover at 16-point fav San Diego in Week 8 play).

SAN DIEGO - The '09 Chargers were one-and-done in the AFC Playoffs and the 17-14 home loss as 8 ½-point favorites against the New York Jets meant this AFC West crew had to settle for a .500 spread log for the year at 8-8-1. After four consecutive seasons of winning spread football - that's 45-21-3 ATS from 2004-thru-2007, the Bolts now are a collective 16-17-2 versus the vig the past two seasons.

Part of San Diego's problem last year is that Norv Turner's team registered just a 5-7-1 spread mark as betting favorites (the Chargers went 5-7 ATS as favs in 2008) and so keep an eye on this club in 2010 and see if maybe Las Vegas is "overrating" it early in the year. Interestingly enough, San Diego now is a composite 21-7-3 versus the vig as point-grabbers while dating back to the start of the 2004 campaign (that's a slick .750 winning rate, folks).

Finally, note that the Chargers are 22-10-4 ATS in divisional play the past six seasons and that includes last years mediocre 3-3 spread log against fellow AFC West foes.

17
Nov

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