With the start of the 2009 NFL season less than 1 week away, Sportsbook.com offers the most props and futures in the industry. Just this week, two unique futures were opened: the Top Offense and the Top Defense for the 2009 campaign. Defense may win championships, however the list of best defensive teams changes more frequently than offense.
We rightly assume Pittsburgh and Baltimore are always in the mix and these two teams are the favorites in this prop category, with the Steelers +250 and the Ravens +400. Though both should be looked at strongly, teams can pop up unexpectedly, with no prior warning. The Oakland Raiders were 27th in total defense in 2005 and shot all the way to third in 2006, only to return to 22nd in 2007. The NFC East had four of the Top 8 defenses in 2008 and all four squads are listed in the Top 11 wagers, ranging from +600 for the New York Giants to +1500 for Dallas and Washington.
One team to keep an eye on at +1000 is Minnesota. The Vikings have finished in the Top 8 of total defense in two of the last three years and they have a quarterback in Brett Favre who can move the chains and possess the pigskin. Plus, Minnesota has the second easiest schedule coming into the season which could enhance their chances. The top offenses tend to be more stable for one main reason, the quarterback position. If a team has a top flight signal caller, they have to have a good offensive line to protect him and the front office realizes they have to supply him with weapons to maximize potential. With Tom Brady back, most would expect New England to approach the numbers they reached in 2007, when they led the NFL in points scored (NFL record) and total offense. The Patriots were fifth in yards gained last season with a quarterback (Matt Cassell) only a select few had ever heard of. New England is a justifiable +300 with a healthy Brady. New Orleans is prolific in moving the ball with Drew Brees at quarterback and Sean Payton designing the offense. Payton understands Brees’ strengths and plays to them and the former Purdue QB is accurate passer both in the long and short game. The Saints led the NFL in most yards gained a season ago and are co-favorites with the Pats at +300. Green Bay has been an unwonted offensive team since Brett Favre first played for the Green and Gold and Aaron Rodgers has learned his lessons well based on last year’s performance. The Packers are +600 to be top offense and have the third easiest slate in 2009.
Arizona, Philadelphia, Dallas and Houston can all move the ball with aplomb and have to be contenders. San Diego could be absorbing long shot at +2000 with Philip Rivers now in control of team and relatively favorable schedule once they get past Baltimore and Pittsburgh in the first four games. There are also other fun NFL props to consider, like most individual player sacks and who will be the leading scoring kicker. Log on now to Sportsbook.com to check out these props and much more. Arizona favored to give sharp effort The Arizona Cardinals are the defending NFC champions and are winless in the preseason, no big deal right? None of the top three quarterbacks have generated an offensive touchdown, no big deal right? Kurt Warner had off-season hip surgery and hasn’t looked like the quarterback that took his team to Super Bowl last season, no big deal right? This needs to be the week the Cardinals put it all together, to erase any doubts about them, especially playing at home. Green Bay at Arizona The Cardinals are 3.5-point favorites at Sportsbook.com and need to start building confidence for the upcoming season. Arizona ALMOST won the Super Bowl, yet the fact remains they were 9-7 in the regular season in 2008 and were not considered an elite team when the playoffs began. In this contest, Warner and the first team offense want to put up points and will face Green Bay’s new 3-4 defensive scheme, which features a great deal of blitzing. This could mean check downs to Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, along with some long passes facing one on one coverage. The Packers have rebuilt their offensive line and though talk out of Green Bay is coach Mike McCarthy is satisfied with their progress, the Cards generated four sacks last week. Aaron Rodgers and the first team offense have been crisp. Last week the Pack built 24-0 halftime lead over Buffalo before cruising to 31-21 triumph. However, this is first road game which will alter dynamics. Arizona has thrived in this situation with a 6-0 ATS record in Week 3 and is 9-0 against the number if off a SU loss and opponent is off double digit win. Tim Hightower has been outstanding for Arizona, nevertheless, they didn’t pay top draft pick Beanie Wells to sit on the sidelines and be injured. Watch the total in this contest, which presently is 41 points. The Redbirds are 10-2 OVER after scoring seven points or less in the first half in two straight games and Green Bay is 8-1 OVER when playing with six or less days rest.
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