1. #1
    TodaysAction's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    NFL Betting Preview: 2008 New England Patriots

    NFL Betting Preview: 2008 New England Patriots

    August 2, 2008

    No matter how dominant New England looks on paper, or how easy its schedule appears, it's crazy for the Patriots to have a regular-season 'over/under' win total of 12 .

    Yet early money in Las Vegas has been on the Patriots to win more than 12 games. New England does have the easiest schedule and is riding an NFL-record 19-game regular-season win streak.

    The Patriots may match last year's record 589 points. Tom Brady is in his prime, Randy Moss hasn't slowed down and the running back corps goes four-deep with LaMont Jordan joining Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk.

    But a lot of things have to break right for the Patriots to go 13-3 or better. Yes, the AFC East is a very weak division. That may work against a high New England victory total, though, if the division is won before the first snow flake hits.

    Even Bill Belichick, the genius hooded maniac, wouldn't risk playing his starters the entire game during the last couple of weeks if the division already is sewn up and playoff seeding is set.

    It has been four years since New England last won a Super Bowl. The New York Giants did show a blueprint on how to beat the Patriots, not that too many teams can match the Giants' fast defensive front spearheaded by outstanding pass rushing ends.

    The Patriots do have issues on defense. Most of their linebackers are old, shutdown cornerback Asante Samuel is in Philadelphia leaving Belichick without an impact corner for the first time and safety Rodney Harrison is 35 and rapidly slowing down.

    Punter Chris Hanson isn't very good, not that the Patriots use him much. But place-kicker Stephen Gostkowski is below average, too. It's telling that Belichick would go for a 4th-and-13 in the Super Bowl rather than let Gostkowski attempt a 48-yard field goal.

    Those who bet the Patriots 'over' 12 wins, or took a shot with them on the future book at 7-2 to win the Super Bowl, have to pull for Brady to once again emerge unscathed. Take away Brady and the Patriots are an AFC version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    The Patriots did slow down during the last two months of the season. They won by an average of 25.4 points in their first 10 games. They won their next eight by an average of 10.1 points.

    Now about this weak New England schedule. The Patriots should open 3-0 with games against Kansas City, the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins although you know both Eric Mangini and Bill Parcells - Belichick's former boss when he was with the New York Giants - would give anything to pull an upset.

    Then New England draws a bye in Week 4, its earliest since 2004. Most teams would prefer to have their bye later in the season. Then come two games in California against San Francisco and San Diego. The Patriots play at Indianapolis three weeks after meeting the Chargers. My pre-season power rankings have the Chargers No. 2 and the Colts No. 3 behind New England.

    Dan O'Brien, an NFL oddsmaker for Las Vegas Sports Consultants, said the Chargers would be minus-3 against the Patriots at home and the Colts would be one-point home favorites versus New England if the teams were meeting in the regular-season right now.

    But where could a third New England loss occur? The Patriots host Pittsburgh on Nov. 30. The Patriots close with three road contests during the final four weeks. They conclude their regular-season at Buffalo in a game that could hold significance for the Bills, but mean nothing to New England.

    Fantasy spin: Just about every fantasy owner prefers to take a running back first. Tom Brady, with his 50 touchdown passes, is the exception even in leagues where touchdown passes count four instead of six points. There are so many good running backs. But the pool of good quarterbacks has gotten much smaller and Brady, fantasy-wise, is in a class of his own.
    Because the running back crop is so deep, it's perfectly justified to take Randy Moss in the first round. He scored 23 touchdowns, which was four more than LaDainian Tomlinson had last season. The next highest touchdown mark by a running back was 15 by Joseph Addai.

    Moss scored seven more touchdowns than the combined end zone totals of Steven Jackson, Frank Gore and Larry Johnson.

    By Stephen Nover

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    Brady2Moss's Avatar Become A Pro!
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    Future bets are for suckers, stay away