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    NFL Line Movements (09/27/13)

    John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics, @johnewing
    By John Ewing
    Line movements for the NFL, plus prop bets for the Steelers vs. Vikings, Chiefs vs. Giants, and Buccaneers vs. Cardinals. Lines courtesy of Bovada.lv.


     
    With a full slate (minus two teams on bye) of NFL games this weekend we take a look at some of the more interesting line movements to see how the current lines got where they are today. Plus fun prop bets for the NFL including the Steelers, Chiefs, and Buccaneers. Lines courtesy of Bovada.lv.
     
    Steelers vs. Vikings
    This is the first of two games to be played in Wembley Stadium this season but it probably won’t be the last to feature a winless team (Jaguars play the 49ers on October 27th). For a game featuring two teams in the bottom of our Power Rankings there sure has been a lot of line movement. There is variance of 4.5 points. The Vikings were favored by as much as 1.5 points early in the week before Steeler money swung it to Pittsburgh -3. If the NFL ever hopes to get a team in London they better hope the game is as entertaining as the line movement has been.
     
    As per usual, here is a fun prop associated with this game.
     
    Will any team that is 0-3 makes the Playoffs?
    Yes:  10/1
     
    Since 1990, only 3 out of 115 teams that started 0-3 have made the playoffs, none since 1998. At 10/1, the odds imply there is a 9.1% chance that one of the six 0-3 teams will make the playoffs. Believe it or not, we actually think there is some value in this bet. The Giants, according to our NFL Playoff Probabilities, have a 9.9% chance of making the playoffs. This is more of a testament to how weak the NFC East is than how much faith we have in the Giants.
     
    Chiefs vs. Bills
    How much can three games really change Vegas’ opinion on a team? Answer, a lot. Before the season began, back in May, Cantor Gaming opened this game as Giants -1.5. A hot start by the Chiefs and an implosion by the Giants, caused this game to open at Kansas City -5. The line spiked Sunday at Chiefs -6.5 as the Giants were in the middle of their worst loss (a 38-0 butt kicking by the Panthers) in the Coughlin era. The line has retreated to Kansas City -4 and some of movement might be due to the following prop.
     
    Will the Chiefs have a turnover Week 4 vs. the Giants?
    Yes:  1/2
    No:  3/2
     
    The Chiefs have an NFL-best plus-nine turnover differential. They had a league-worst minus-24 mark last season. The Chiefs have not committed a turnover so far this season while the Giants are tied for the worst turnover differential at minus-nine. Turnovers will help decide this game. Check out our Projected Box Score to see who wins the turnover battle.
     
    Buccaneers vs. Cardinals
    Josh Freeman has completed an NFL-low 45.7% of his passes this season, but is it enough to justify benching him? Yes and no. The Buccaneers opened as 3.5 point favorites but the line was bet down to Tampa -1 as they were getting shellacked by the Patriots on Sunday. However, a poor showing by Arizona in New Orleans sent this line right back where it began, Tampa Bay -3. There are a lot of question marks surrounding this game. Poor performances by both teams the previous week, a rookie quarterback for the Buccaneers, and a slew of injuries for the Cardinals might keep most casual (square) bettors away.
     
    Not us, we have a strong opinion on this game.
     
    But back to Josh Freeman, on-again/off-again boyfriend of Bill Simmons.
     
    Will Josh Freeman start another game for the Bucs in the 2013 Regular Season?   
    Yes:  2/3
    No:  11/10
     
    Freeman thinks that a trade is “probably the best option”. Since his 10-6 season in 2010, Freeman is 11-23 as a starter. Only Blaine Gabbert has been worse with a 5-20 record per ESPN Stats & Info. If the Buccaneers are going to trade him they might need a productive start from their former first round pick to procure any offers. 
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