The NFL regular season contains 256 games and last Monday night’s game between the Giants and Cowboys marked the 100th game of the 2006 season. The 2005 season became known as the “year of the favorites” as the favorites cashed in at a rate close to 58 percent, while the home underdogs had their worst year in memory. The home ‘dogs’ finished the 2005 season at 29-48-4 ATS, just 43.3 percent.

The favorites aren’t having that kind of success this year, as through 100 games the favorites are 48-51-1 ((48.5 percent) and the home dogs are getting their “bite” back. The last two weeks the Home dogs have gone 8-5 SU and a terrific 10-3 ATS, giving them a 24-14 ATS mark so far this year, or a 63.2 percent winning percentage! It’s the midpoint of the season (week 9 of 17 week schedule) and I’ll give a more detailed midseason update.

Week 7 was the highest scoring week of the season thus far, as games averaged 46.7 PPG (week 4 had been the highest scoring week at 46.4 PPG) and eight of the 13 games “exceeded” the total. Adding in the Week 6 games, the past two weeks have seen bettors go 16-9-1. Weeks 1 (34.6 PPG) and 2 (36.8 PPG) saw the bottom bettors go 19-11-2, but the top bettors have now caught up (midseason count next week).

“Run the ball and win” has been a staple of NFL football for years and that was clearly evident last week as the teams with the most rushing yards in games last week had record 11-2 SU and 10-2-1 ATS. Even more interesting is the fact that the teams with the most run attempts for the game went 13-0 SU and 12-0-1 ATS! Again, I’ll update the full season totals in these numbers next week.

The Oakland Raiders ended their losing streak of points in Week 6, with a 13-3 loss at Denver (they were 15-point dogs). Last week, the Raiders snapped the longest losing streak in the NFL (they had lost 11 in a row, going 1-10 ATS) by beating Arizona 22-9 at home. The home win also snapped the team’s five-game winning streak at home (0-5 ATS), which was also the longest active streak by any team.

The Cardinals, who have now lost six straight games (2-4 ATS) since a Week 1 victory over the 49ers (34-27), own the longest active losing streak in the NFL. The league’s longest active road losing streak belongs to the Texans (10 in a row but 5-5 ATS), who will play in Tennessee against the Titans this week (Tenn is a three-point favorite).

Miami remains the only NFL team still looking for its first win this year. The Dolphins 1-6 beat the Titans in Week 3 (13-10 as a 10 1/2-point favorite) but are now 0-7 ATS after last week’s 34-24 home loss to the Packers. In that game, Miami quarterback Joey Harrington threw for 414 yards (the most total in a single game by any quarterback in 2006) and attempted 62 passes, a Miami regular-season record! The Dolphins are off this week.

The Bears and Colts are 6-0 and will enter Week 8 as the only two undefeated teams in the NFL. Both are 4-2 ATS and while there are no teams with perfect points at this point in the year, the Rams 4-2, Saints 5-1 and Vikings 4-2 are 5-1 ATS. All five are in action this week (see below).

There are 16 teams that are up. 500 at this point in the season (nine NFC/seven AFC), three teams under .500 (two AFC/one NFC), and 13 teams under .500 (seven AFC/six NFC). The Steelers (defending champions) are 2-4 and have the distinction of being the only team with a losing record to have outscored their opponents (144-125). The Seahawks 4-2 (121-142), Jets 4-3 (147-173) and Panthers 4-3 (123-128) all have winning records but have been bested by their opponents.

In the case of the Steelers (beat KC 45-7), Jets (lost 41-0 to Jax) and Seahawks (lost 37-6 to Chi), a good or bad game is the reason for the point spread. . However, the Panthers are a unique case. The Panthers’ four wins have been by margins of two, three, eight and two points, while the team’s three losses have been by margins of 13, three and three points!

Speaking of a team that “can’t beat the close ones,” I bring up Marty Schottenheimer’s San Diego Chargers for your consideration. The Chargers lost 30-27 last week to the Chiefs as they fell to 4-2. San Diego’s other loss this year was also by three points, a 16-13 loss in Week 4 in Baltimore to the Ravens. So what else is new? Believe it or not, the Chargers have now lost the last NINE times they’ve played in a game decided by four points or less (including the team’s 2004 playoff loss to the Jets)! Kinda says something about Marty’s training skills, doesn’t it?

Week 8 Notes

The two 6-0 teams in the league (Bears and Colts) are in action this week, but face very different challenges. While the Bears are hosting the 49ers and are 16-point favorites, the Colts are in Denver to take on the Broncos, where they are three-point underdogs. The Bears are the second-biggest seed of any team this year, as the Colts were an 18-point pick at home over the Titans at Indy in Week 5 (they barely escaped with a 14-13 win).

The Colts’ 6-0 start makes them the ninth team in NFL history to open back-to-back seasons 6-0 (the Colts opened the LY 13-0!) but they face their toughest test ever. year. The Broncos are 5-1 TY and have allowed just two TDs all season, as well as just 44 points (7.3 PPG). Denver will also have the league’s longest active home winning streak in the contest, as the Broncos have won 13 straight regular-season games at Invesco Field (7-5-1 ATS).

As for the top three teams in the league, the Rams are in San Diego, where they are 9 1/2 points behind the Chargers, the Saints are at home to face the Ravens (Saints are 1 1/2 favorites). 2 points) and the Vikings will host the Patriots on Monday Night Football (Pats are favored by 1 1/2 points). As noted above, if the Rams can stay close against the Chargers, they just might win.

As for the Saints, they are 5-1 for the fifth time in team history and face a Baltimore team with great defense but a struggling offense. Jim Fassel was fired during Baltimore’s bye week after the Ravens were held to two or fewer touchdowns in 14 of 22 games since he was promoted to offensive coordinator. As for the Vikes, they will take on a New England team on Monday night that owns the longest active road winning streak in the league, having won and covered their last five road games, beating the opposition 156-64!

The Eagles are 4-3 this year, with all three losses coming on the last play of the game (is Andy Reid taking lessons from Marty?). Philadelphia hosts the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, who will go with backup quarterback David Garrard. The Eagles are favored by 7 1/2 points. Garrard isn’t the only backup quarterback playing this week, as Tony Romo fills in for Drew Bledsoe when the Cowboys visit the Panthers for Sunday night’s game. The Panthers are favored by five points.

The Seattle/Kansas City game could feature two quarterbacks making their first career starts. The Seahawks will almost certainly start Seneca Wallace (Iowa State) and a late-week injury to KC’s Damon Huard has the Chiefs possibly in line to start Alabama rookie Brodie Croyle. The current lineup has the Chiefs favored by four points.

The Cardinals (losers of six in a row) are in Green Bay to take on the Packers, who have lost all three games at Lambeau Field in 2006 (can you believe it?). The Pack is favored by four points. Finally, the Barber twins (Rhonde and Tiki) meet at the Meadowlands, when the Giants host the Bucs. The Giants (1-2 after Week 3) are now 4-2 and look like the best team in the NFC. Nine points favor them.

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