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As we kick off the 2008-2009 NFL season we'll come out of the gate slowly. Just two small plays for week one NFL action. Both of these are 2* plays. Early season NFL handicapping can be a crap shoot. There's always a tendency to come out firing with many bettors, after having waited so long for the season to finally get here. In most of those instances, the bettor is broke by week 3! So sit back, relax, enjoy the games, take notes and don't be in a hurry. There's plenty of time to cash in on the NFL.

2* Houston Texans +7 -115 over Pittsburgh Steelers - In with the new and out with the old? Well, perhaps not. But you could say that this is a matchup of a team on the rise against a team that perhaps has peaked. Though we can't expect much of a decline from the Steelers this year. They return 19 of 22 starters from last years team which went 7-1 at home. The Texans on the other hand are in off an 8-8 year and expectations continue to grow. Gary Kubiak enters his 3rd year at the helm and we'd expect his scheme to start kicking in.

In this day and age of NFL football, we see teams go from worst to first. Perhaps the fact that the Steelers made virtually no changes during the offseason is enough reason to believe the decline has started. Losing at home in the playoffs to the Jags last year may very well be the game pundits point to as the start of the decline. This weeks game may very well be a continuation.

Early season handicapping can be tough. It really comes down to a handicappers ability to size up talent and off season moves. Not always an easy task. However, it's not the only tool available to bettors. The ability to read and interpret betting patterns is huge. In doing this successfully, you're actually able to take advantage of some extremely sharp players information and work, without necessarily ever knowing just what that info is. The lines on these week one games have been posted since mid July. There are some very sharp sportsbooks out there that cater to a heavily slanted wiseguy clientele. A couple don't even accept American action but the wisguys all have ways into these books. In analyzing the betting patterns at these books and then taking a look at the betting trends publicly available to us at a book like, we see a game which the majority of the action coming in is on the Steelers and yet we see the line having moved from  7 to 6.5 and even 6 in spots. We're going to ride that trend here in week one. Texans +7 -115 for a small 2* play.


2* Titans +3 over Jags - The betting patterns described in the above game fit this game as well. But perhaps this ones easier to interpret. The Titans figure to be even better than they were a year ago going 10-6 and earning a trip to the playoffs. There was a 3 game stretch in November where they lost 3 in a row. Other than that, their other regular season losses were a 2 point loss to the Colts, a 3 point loss to the Bucs and an overtime loss to the Chargers. Fisher always has this team ready to play. Young has more weapons this year. The Jags have a world of off the field problems with the latest being the shooting of Richard Collier. An outright Titan win shouldn't surprise anyone. Titans +3





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