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07-29-2009, 05:04 PM
Steelers' 2009 pointspreads
Posted July 28, 2009 @ 9 a.m.

Lucky's Race and Sports Book in Nevada has posted pointspreads for every regular-season game. Here's the early line on all 16 Steelers games. The spread refers to Pittsburgh.

Sept. 10 Tennessee -5
Sept. 20 at Chicago -2
Sept. 27 at Cincinnati -5
Oct. 4 San Diego -3
Oct. 11 at Detroit -7
Oct. 18 Cleveland -9
Oct. 25 Minnesota -5
Nov. 1 Bye
Nov. 9 at Denver -5
Nov. 15 Cincinnati -10
Nov. 22 at Kansas City -6
Nov. 29 at Baltimore +1
Dec. 6 Oakland -12
Dec. 10 at Cleveland -6
Dec. 20 Green Bay -7
Dec. 27 Baltimore -5
Jan. 3 at Miami -2

A (long) look forward
Posted July 28, 2009 @ 9 a.m.
By Mike Wilkening

Note: For early regular-season pointspreads for all 32 NFL teams, click here for a team-by-team list.

You can wager on the NFL in Las Vegas. To many, that's a big part of the allure of the place, particularly when it gets cooler in the fall. I know, I know you knew that already.

But did you know you can wager on every NFL regular-season game ... right now?

The Lucky's Race and Sports Book chain, which manages race and sportsbooks in 11 Nevada hotels, including Terrible's and the Plaza in Las Vegas, has posted lines for all 256 regular-season games, from the Titans-Steelers opener on Sept. 10 that we're all counting the minutes until to the Titans-Seahawks season finale on Jan. 3, 2010, which could have major playoff ramifications for both conferences or have zero bearing on anything but draft position.

No one knows what the regular season will bring. Which begs the question: Why set lines for Weeks One through 17 so early?

For Jimmy Vaccaro, the director of sports operations and public relations at Lucky's, these initial spreads serve two purposes: They are a valuable promotional tool for Lucky's, and they give Vaccaro a way of assessing how bettors view particular teams.

Vaccaro, who has 30 years of oddsmaking experience, said the line-making process this far away from the start of the season wasn't all that difficult. He used last season's power rankings as a guide, tweaking them when appropriate, and set the lines in about four days over the spring.

Vaccaro echoed a sentiment you'll often hear among bookmakers: Setting lines for NFL games is much easier than for college games because of the vast amount of attention given to pro football.

"There are no big mistakes you can make on an NFL game," he said late last week.

This is the second year Lucky's has put all 256 games on the board before the start of the season. The company turned a small profit on the bets last year, Vaccaro said. Popularity of the wagers is expected to pick up later in the summer as the season approaches, Vaccaro said.

One game that has already drawn quite a bit of interest is the Broncos-Bengals Week One matchup. Denver opened as a two-point favorite, but Cincinnati is currently favored. "Cincy, they can't play as badly as they did a year ago," Vaccaro said, also noting that the public is down on the Broncos after an offseason that included the trade of Cutler, one of the NFL's top young quarterbacks.

With the lines for every game at our fingertips, we couldn't help but get Vaccaro's thought process on setting the numbers for 10 of the more intriguing games this season:

Week One: Lions at Saints (-12)

Vaccaro's take: "Bookmakers win money on bad teams the first weeks of the season, because they can't be as bad as they were last season," he said. While the number could seem a little on the low side, Vaccaro said he doesn't make anyone too big of an underdog early in the season because it takes a few weeks to ascertain a club's true form. That said, if the Lions again look hapless, Vaccaro said he will quickly adjust the lines in subsequent weeks, considering how lowly regarded Detroit is held and how difficult it could be to attract Lions money.

Week Two: Giants at Cowboys (-2)

Vaccaro's take: "My take on that is the Giants are the better team," he said. However, the Cowboys are tremendously popular with the public, which accounts for them being a small favorite in the opener at their palatial new stadium.

Week Four: Packers at Vikings (-5)

Vaccaro's take: "Every 'squareball' will have the Vikings in their parlay," he said of this Monday-night affair, which could mark Brett Favre's first game against Green Bay.

Week Five: Colts at Titans (-1)

Vaccaro's take: "I'm not going to give (Colts QB) Peyton Manning three (points)," he said, but added that he thought the Titans were the better team.

Week Seven: Cardinals at Giants (-6)

Vaccaro's take: This line is a window into Vaccaro's view of the Cardinals, who he believes will be hard-pressed to replicate last season's magic. "I think San Francisco wins that division," he said.

Week 10: Patriots (-2) at Colts

Vaccaro's take: "(The Patriots) are far and away three points better than anyone at any junction," he said.

Week 11: Jets at Patriots (-9)

Vaccaro's take: The Patriots' ruthlessness and hatred of the Jets will be built into the line. "If the game figures a solid 'nine,' you open at '10,' " he said.

Week 12: Steelers at Ravens (-1)

Vaccaro's take: These teams have played some close games over the years, which forces him to "shade down" the line somewhat.

Week 14: Eagles at Giants (-3)

Vaccaro's take: "If they play 20 days in a row, they're going to be a 'three' (point underdog) on the road and a 1 (point) favorite at home," he said of the Eagles in relation to the Giants. Vaccaro doesn't believe in sleeper teams, but he believes this could finally be the year for QB Donovan McNabb and Philadelphia.

Week 16: Chargers at Titans (-2)

Vaccaro's take: "All isolated games, the favorites get the bulk of the money," he said of this rare Christmas Day matchup.

Week 16: Vikings at Bears (-2)

Vaccaro's take: The public has fallen in love with the Bears and their new quarterback.

Kickoff is coming! Be sure to buy copies of the Pro Football Weekly/Yahoo! Sports 2009 NFL preview magazine, as well as the Pro Football Weekly/Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football Guide 2009, both of which are now available at bookstores, newsstands and retail outlets where magazines are sold. Or order your copies online at PFWStore.com.