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    NFL Line Movements (09/04/14)

    John Ewing, Director of Research and Analytics, @johnewing
    By John Ewing
    Line movements for the NFL including prop bets for the Saints, Vikings and Bucs. Lines courtesy of

    Welcome back NFL, we missed you!

    With a full slate 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 Saints, Vikings and Bucs.

    Falcons vs. Saints

    After a disastrous 4-12 season, Atlanta opened as a 1.5 point favorite over rival New Orleans. The line movement was relatively quite until August when nearly 95 percent of the money started to come in on the Saints to win. Drew Brees has gone from an underdog to a field goal favorite on the road.

    Here are a few fun prop bets to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

    Brandin Cooks - Total Receiving Yards in the 2014 Regular Season
    Over/Under: 800.5

    Before the NFL Draft, we ranked Cooks as the third overall receiving prospect. We liked him even more once the Saints drafted him, encouraging fantasy players to take him instead of his more highly drafted teammate Marques Colston. We project Cooks to have a 1,000 yards receiving and seven touchdowns in his rookie season.

    Will Mike Smith be the Head Coach of the Falcons for Game 1 of the 2015 Regular Season?
    Yes: EVEN
    No: -140

    After watching Hard Knocks and Smitty's Speech, I came away less than inspired by the Falcons head coach. Mike Smith is 12/1 to be the first head coach fired this season. Another 4-12 campaign and Atlanta's seventh year coach will be out the door.

    Rams vs. Vikings

    In May, with a healthy Sam Bradford and one of the best defensive lines in the league, it was no surprise that St. Louis opened as a favorite over a Minnesota team expected to start a rookie quarterback. Then the Rams lost Bradford for the year and the line moved from St. Louis -6 to -3.5.

    Perhaps the movement is due to the Bradford injury, but there is no difference in our simulations between Bradford and backup Shaun Hill. Perhaps the line movement is because the Rams as favorites are just 18-25 (41.9% ATS) since the end of the Greatest Show on Turf era in 2004.

    Teddy Bridgewater – total games started in 2014 regular season?
    Over/Under: 4.5

    Minnesota used the last pick in the first round to take Bridgewater. The Vikings quarterback of the future will begin his career on the bench as Matt Cassel was named the Week 1 starter.

    In our simulations, Bridgewater is worth +13 percent to the Vikings playoff chances over Cassel.

    Buccaneers vs. Panthers

    The defending NFC South Champion Carolina Panthers opened as a 2.5 point road favorite, the line ran as high as four points before money started coming back in on Tampa Bay in mid-August. The Buccaneers are now favorites (-2) of just less than a field goal.

    The money is evenly split on this game. Bettors do not seem confident in backing the Panthers after Cam Newton injured his ribs this preseason. Nor is the public willing to go all in on Josh McCown. Speaking of the former Bears' quarterback.

    Josh McCown – total passing yards in 2014 regular season?
    Over/Under: 3500

    The Buccaneers are hoping that McCown can lead Tampa Bay to the playoffs for the first time in six years. The long time backup was excellent in five starts for Chicago last year throwing for over 1,500 yards, 11 touchdowns and one interception. We like the Bucs to improve from last year but we aren't sure McCown tops 3,500 passing yards.

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